The editing of book 3 has left me with some disturbing memories of the terrorist threat that existed in the 70s, 80s and 90s when the IRA were at their most active. Thankfully, there has been less violence surrounding Northern Ireland in recent years where peace talks must have finally paid off.
At the time however, these incidents induced fear: the occasions I took a train to London when services were suspended because of a bomb scare. On one occasion, I was sat in a tube train in the middle of a dark tunnel amongst hundreds of other commuters for nearly an hour! There was even occasion when my home town of Bognor was targeted – who remembers the bicycle bomb outside Woolworths?
The attacks were mainly confined to the British Commonwealth and took place in England. Here are a few of examples, which I chose to mention – as they occurred in 1987, 1990 and 1991 (the years in which parts of the story are set) and have therefore found their way into the pages of my most recent novel, Pleasures:
Poppy Day Bombing
November 8th 1987: At a remembrance Day parade a bomb was detonated killing 11 and injuring 60 including women and children.
He admitted to being in a dark place; upset by the troubles in Northern Ireland, which had culminated in the recent ‘Poppy Day’ bombing in the small town of Enniskillen. This callous attack, carried out by the IRA, had sent shock waves through the community…
Death on the Rock of Gibraltar
March 7th 1988: A chain of events which began with an IRA plot in Gibraltar and ended with the murder of 2 British soldiers
The news had been rocked by a chain of brutal events, starting with the three IRA terrorists gunned down at point blank range on the rock of Gibraltar. It was believed, they had been plotting to bomb a local changing of the guards ceremony – plastic explosives had been discovered.
A week later, a military style funeral took place in Belfast. Yet in a barbaric twist of fate, a Protestant gunman had materialised, opening fire into the crowd and hurling grenades. Both nationalists and loyalists traditionally respected sectarian funerals – which made this an unusual incident, although it had eventually emerged, the assassin was operating alone.
“What’s this latest atrocity?” Eleanor whispered in horror.
“Two British soldiers have been murdered,” Peter shuddered. “They found themselves inadvertently caught up in the midst of an IRA parade; they were dragged from their car, beaten unconscious, then taken to some nearby wasteland and shot!”
July 1990: The IRA stepped up its campaign of violence in the form of a bomb attack on the London stock exchange, followed by an even more terrible attack on a British MP.
Peter closed his eyes. There had been so many incidents in the news since then and as the bus chugged its way through a sea of rush hour traffic, he was mentally listing them. He blinked, just as they were passing the London Stock Exchange – clocking the sharp grey walls, the columns of tall windows. It was hard to imagine, an IRA bomb had blown a massive hole in that building in July 1990. Peter felt the onset of a shiver. Wasn’t it in the same month, an IRA car bomb had also claimed the life of Conservative MP, Ian Gow; a hefty Semtex device whose effects were nearly as devastating as the one in which Albert Enfield had been killed.
Mortar bomb attack on the British Government
February 7th 1991
He decided to jump off, knowing it would be quicker to get to his friend’s house by tube. Yet the memories kept jabbing at him. There was no question, the IRA had upped their offensive. Earlier that year, they had fired a mortar bomb at 10 Downing Street – a shocking attack which had left the entire Conservative cabinet reeling!
The above extracts are from Book 3 Pleasures, Same Face Different Place, a British series which begins with a political conspiracy and a car bomb attack which claims the life of a British MP.
Obviously, no-one can ignore the far deadlier threat which now exists in the form of extreme Islamic terrorism via Al-Qaida. It is something that is never going to go away and no longer affects just Britain but the whole world.
It seems like a horrific twist of fate that on the day I finished writing this post, news broke out of a barbaric shooting at Paris offices of satirical magazine, resulting in 12 people being killed. Just another example of the type of terrorist attack which has become one of the worst evils of the modern world.