Birmingham pub bombings
|Birmingham pub bombings|
|Part of The Troubles|
Aftermath of the explosion in the Mulberry Bush pub, which killed ten people.
|Date||21 November 1974
20:17 (Mulberry Bush)
20:27 (Tavern in the Town) (GMT)
|Target||The Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town public houses, Birmingham City Centre
Barclays Bank, Edgbaston
|Perpetrator||Provisional Irish Republican Army|
The Birmingham pub bombings, also known as the Birmingham bombings, were a series of bombings which occurred in public houses in Birmingham, England on 21 November, 1974. The explosions killed 21 people and injured 182 others.
Although the Provisional Irish Republican Army have never officially admitted responsibility for the Birmingham pub bombings, a former senior officer of the organization confessed to their involvement in 2014, with an admission the Birmingham pub bombings "went against everything we [the Provisional Irish Republican Army] claimed to stand for".
Six Irishmen were arrested within hours of the blasts, and in 1975 sentenced to life imprisonment for the bombings. The men—who became known as the Birmingham Six—consistently maintained their innocence and insisted police had coerced them into signing false confessions through severe physical and psychological abuse. (The convictions of the Birmingham Six were declared unsafe and unsatisfactory, and quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1991.)
The Birmingham pub bombings are seen as one of the deadliest acts of the Troubles; the deadliest act of terrorism to occur in Britain between World War II and the 2005 London bombings; and one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British legal history.
- 1 Background
- 2 The bombings
- 3 Initial reaction
- 4 Official response
- 5 Arrest of the Birmingham Six
- 6 Trial and conviction
- 7 Release
- 8 Aftermath
- 9 Media
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Cited works and further reading
- 13 External links
In 1973, the IRA extended its campaign to mainland Britain, attacking military and symbolically important targets to both increase pressure on the British government, via popular British opinion, to concede to their demand to withdraw from Northern Ireland, and to maintain morale amongst their supporters. By 1974, mainland Britain saw an average of one attack—successful or otherwise—every three days. These attacks included five explosions which had occurred in Birmingham on 14 July, one of which had occurred at the Rotunda.
Prior to any attack upon civilian targets, a code of conduct was followed in which the attacker or attackers would send an anonymous telephone warning to police, with the caller reciting a confidential code word known only to the IRA and to police, to indicate the authenticity of the threat.
On 14 November, James McDade, a 28-year-old U.K.-based member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army was killed in a premature explosion as he attempted to plant a bomb at a telephone exchange and postal sorting office in the city of Coventry. A second man, Raymond McLaughlin, was arrested near the scene of the explosion; he was charged with unlawfully killing McDade and causing an explosion. In response to the death of McDade, the republican movement in England had initially planned to bury McDade in Birmingham, with the funeral procession conducted with full paramilitary honours; however, these plans were altered in response to the British Home Secretary's insistence this proposed funeral, and any associated sympathy marches, would be prevented. Likewise, various councils within the West Midlands chose to ban any processions connected to the death of McDade under the Public Order Act 1936.
James McDade's body was driven to Coventry airport and flown to Ireland on the afternoon of 21 November 1974. All police leave was cancelled on this date, with an extra 1,300 officers drafted into Birmingham to quell any unrest as the hearse carrying McDade's coffin was driven to the airport. (McDade's body was subsequently buried in Milltown Cemetery in his birth town of Belfast on 23 November.)
According to a senior figure within the Provisional Irish Republican Army, tensions within the local (Birmingham) IRA unit were "running high" over the disrupted funeral arrangements for James McDade.
In the early evening hours of 21 November, a minimum of three bombs connected to timing devices were planted inside two separate public houses and outside a bank located in and around central Birmingham. It is unknown precisely when these bombs were planted, although if official IRA protocol of preceding attacks upon non-military installations with a 30-minute advance warning to security services was followed, and subsequent eyewitness accounts are accurate, the bombs would have been planted at these locations sometime after 19:30 and shortly before 19:47 in the evening. According to testimony delivered at the 1975 trial of the six men wrongly convicted of the Birmingham pub bombings, the bomb planted inside the Mulberry Bush was concealed inside either a duffel bag or briefcase, whereas the bomb planted inside the Tavern in the Town was concealed inside a briefcase or duffel bag (possibly concealed within a large, sealed plastic bag) and Christmas cracker boxes. The remnants of two alarm clocks recovered from the site of each explosion leaves the possibility that two bombs had been planted at each public house, although the actual explosion crater at each location indicates that if two bombs had been planted at each public house, they would each have been placed in the same location and likely the same container.
Reportedly, the individual(s) who planted these bombs then walked to a preselected phone box to telephone the advance warning to security services; however, the phone box had been vandalised, forcing the caller to find an alternate phone box and in so doing, significantly reducing the amount of time police had to clear the locations.
At 20:11, an unknown man with a distinct Irish accent telephoned the Birmingham Post newspaper. The call was answered by an operator named Ian Cropper. To Cropper, this individual stated the words: "There is a bomb planted in the Rotunda and there is a bomb in New Street at the tax office. This is Double X", before terminating the call. (Double X was a then-used official IRA code word recited to authenticate any warning call.) A similar warning was also sent to the Birmingham Evening Mail newspaper, with the anonymous caller(s) again giving the official IRA code word to indicate the authenticity of these threats, but again failing to specifically name the actual public houses in which the bombs had been planted.
The Rotunda was a 25-storey office block that housed the Mulberry Bush pub on its lower two floors. Within minutes of the anonymous phone threat, the police had arrived at this location and had barely begun to check the upper floors of the building for explosive devices, but had not had sufficient time to clear the crowded pub located street level. At 20:17, just six minutes after the first telephone warning had been delivered to the Birmingham Post, the bomb—which had been concealed inside either a duffel bag or briefcase located close to the rear entrance to the premises—exploded, devastating the pub. The explosion blew a crater measuring 40 inches in diameter in the concrete floor of the premises, causing a section of the roof to collapse and trapping many casualties beneath girders and concrete blocks. Numerous buildings near the Rotunda were also damaged and passersby in the street were struck by flying glass from shattered windows. Several of the fatalities were killed outright, including two youths who had been walking past the premises at the moment of the explosion.
Ten people were people were killed outright in this explosion, with dozens were injured, including many who would lose one or more limbs. Several survivors had their clothes burned from their bodies. A paramedic called to the scene of this explosion would later describe the carnage as being reminiscent of a slaughterhouse, whereas one fireman would state that, upon seeing a writhing, "screaming torso", he had begged police to allow a television crew inside the premises to film the dead and dying at the scene, in the hope the IRA would see the consequences of their actions; however the police refused, fearing the reprisals would be extreme. One of those injured was a 21-year-old woman named Maureen Carlin, who was so badly wounded she would later recollect informing her fiancé—himself badly wounded in the explosion:—"If I die, just remember I love you." Carlin was given the last rites, with surgeons initially doubtful she would live, although she would recover from her injuries.
Tavern in the Town
Patrons at the Tavern in the Town—a basement pub on New Street located just 50 yards (46 m) from the Rotunda and directly beneath the New Street Tax Office—had heard the explosion at the Mulberry Bush, but had not associated the sound (described by one survivor as a "muffled thump") as sourcing from explosives. Police had begun attempting to clear the Tavern in the Town when, at 20:27, a second bomb exploded at these premises. The explosion was so powerful that several victims were blown through a brick wall. Their remains were wedged between the rubble and live underground electric cables that supplied the city centre. One of the first police officers to arrive on the scene, Brian Yates, would later testify that the scene which greeted his eyes was "absolutely dreadful", with several of the dead stacked upon one another, other fatalities strewn about the ruined pub, and several screaming survivors staggering aimlessly amongst the debris and rubble. According to one of these survivors, the sound of the explosion was replaced by a deafening silence intermingled with the smell of burnt flesh.
Rescue efforts at the Tavern in the Town were initially hampered as the bomb had been placed at the base of a set of stairs descending from the street which had been destroyed in the explosion, and the premises had been accessible solely via this entrance. The victims whose bodies had been blown through a brick wall and wedged between the rubble and underground electric cables would take up to three hours to recover, as recovery operations would be delayed until the power could be isolated. A passing West Midlands bus was also destroyed in the blast.
This bomb killed a further nine people and injured every person present in the pub—many severerely. One of those injured in this explosion, a 28-year-old barman named Thomas Chaytor, would succumb to his injuries on 28 November; another individual, 34-year-old James Craig, would also succumb to his injuries on 10 December.
After the second explosion, police evacuated all public houses and business premises within Birmingham City Centre and commandeered all available rooms in the nearby City Centre Hotel as an impromptu first-aid post. All bus services into the city centre were halted, and taxi drivers were encouraged to transport those lightly injured in the explosions to hospital. Prior to the arrival of ambulances, rescue workers removed critically injured casualties from each scene upon makeshift stretchers constructed from devices such as tabletops and wooden planks. These severely injured casualties would be placed on the pavement and given first response treatment prior to the arrival of paramedics.
At 21:15, a third bomb, concealed inside two plastic bags, was found in the doorway of a Barclays Bank on Hagley Road, approximately two miles from the site of the first two explosions. This device was connected to a timer, and was intended to detonate at 23:00. The detonator to this device did activate when a policeman prodded the bags with his truncheon, but the bomb failed to explode. This bomb was destroyed in a controlled explosion early the following morning.
Altogether, 21 people were killed and 182 people were injured in the Birmingham pub bombings, making these attacks the worst terrorist atrocity (in terms of number of fatalities) to occur in mainland Britain throughout the Troubles, and the bombings colloquially referred to by residents of Birmingham as being the "darkest day" in their city's history.
Many of those wounded were left permanently disabled, including one young man who lost both legs, and a young woman who was rendered blind by shrapnel embedded in her eyes. The majority of the dead and wounded were young people between the ages of 17 and 30, including a young couple on their first date, and two brothers of Irish descent: Desmond and Eugene Reilly (aged 21 and 23 respectively). The wife of Desmond Reilly would subsequently give birth to his first child four months after his death. One of the victims killed in the second explosion, 18-year-old Maxine Hambleton, had only entered the Tavern in the Town to hand out tickets to friends for her housewarming party. She was killed seconds after entering the pub and had been standing directly beside the bomb when it exploded, killing her instantly. Her friend, 17-year-old Jane Davis, was the youngest victim of the bombings and had herself simply entered the Tavern in the Town to view holiday photographs she had had developed that afternoon.
Mulberry Bush: 20:17 p.m.
- Michael Beasley (30)
- Stanley Bodman (51)
- James Caddick (40)
- Paul Davies (20)
- Charles Gray (44)
- John Jones (51)
- Neil Marsh (17)
- Pamela Palmer (19)
- John Rowland (46)
- Trevor Thrupp (33)
Tavern in the Town: 20:27 p.m.
- Lynn Bennett (18)
- Thomas Chaytor (28)
- James Craig (34)
- Jane Davis (17)
- Maxine Hambleton (18)
- Anne Hayes (19)
- Marylin Nash (22)
- Desmond Reilly (21)
- Eugene Reilly (23)
- Maureen Roberts (20)
- Stephen Whalley (21)
The bombings stoked considerable anti-Irish sentiment in Birmingham, where the 100,000 members of the Irish community were ostracised from public areas and subject to physical assaults, verbal abuse and death threats. Both in Birmingham and across England, Irish homes, pubs, businesses and community centres were desecrated and attacked, in some cases with firebombs. Staff at thirty factories across the Midlands went on strike in protest at the bombings, while workers at airports across England refused to handle flights bound for Ireland. Bridget Reilly, the mother of the two Irish brothers killed in the Tavern in the Town explosion, was herself refused service in local shops due to her Irish heritage.
Because of the anger directed against Irish people in Birmingham after the bombings, the IRA's Army Council placed the city "strictly off-limits" to IRA active service units. In Northern Ireland, loyalist paramilitaries committed several revenge attacks on Irish Catholics: Within two days of the Birmingham pub bombings, five Catholic civilians had been shot to death by loyalists.
An analysis of the recovered remnants of the bombs placed at the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town revealed these devices had been constructed in a similar manner to the bomb placed at Hagley Road, and that each bomb placed inside the public houses would have weighed between 25 and 30lbs. Furthermore, this forensic analyst was also able to state that the construction of these devices was very similar that of seven other bombs and incendiary devices discovered at various locations in Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton in the 16 days prior to the Birmingham pub bombings, and that the explosive material used to construct the bomb discovered at Hagley Road was of a brand solely manufactured in the Irish Republic which could not legally be imported into Britain. All these factors led the explosives expert to conclude that all three bombs had been manufactured by the same individual or individuals, and that whomever had constructed these bombs had likely committed previous IRA atrocities. This forensic analysis was further supported by the actual methodology of the attacks, and the official IRA code word given to the Birmingham Evening Mail and Birmingham Post prior to the explosions.
First IRA statement
Two days after the Birmingham pub bombings, the Provisional IRA issued a formal statement in which they flatly denied any responsibility for the bombings. Although the statement did stress that a detailed internal investigation was underway to determine the possibility of any rogue members' involvement in the bombings, the Provisional IRA emphasised that the methodology of the attacks contradicted the official IRA code of conduct when attacking non-military targets, whereby adequate warnings would be sent to security services to ensure the safety of civilians. (Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, then-president of Sinn Féin, did conduct an internal investigation which he stated confirmed the Birmingham pub bombings had not been sanctioned by the IRA leadership.)
The Provisional IRA have never officially admitted responsibility for the Birmingham pub bombings.
Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1974
Within four days of the Birmingham pub bombings, Roy Jenkins, then-Home Secretary of the United Kingdom, formally announced that the Irish Republican Army was to be proscribed within the United Kingdom. Two days later, on 27 November, Jenkins signed into effect the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1974; an Act which granted police the right to arrest, detain, and question individuals for a period of up to seven days if they were suspected of the commission or preparation of an act of terrorism within the British mainland, and their subsequent deportation to either Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland if culpability was proven. Jenkins is known to have described the measures of this Act as being "draconian measures unprecedented in peacetime".
In response to public pressure, a separate debate within the House of Commons as to whether those convicted of terrorist offences should face the death penalty was held on 11 December, 1974. This motion drew the support of more than 200 MPs, although the majority of those in Parliament voted against the restoration of the death penalty, in part due to fear such a move may encourage the IRA to use children to plant bombs.
Arrest of the Birmingham Six
Almost immediately following the bombings—and prior to the Provisional IRA issuing a statement confirming or denying their culpability in the bombings—responsibility for the atrocities had been placed with the IRA. At 19:55 (scarcely 30 minutes before the first bomb had exploded), five Irishmen—Patrick Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker—had boarded a train which had alighted Birmingham New Street station. These men—who, alongside Hugh Callaghan, would become known as the "Birmingham Six"—were originally from Belfast, whereas John Walker had lived in Derry until age 16. All six men had lived in Birmingham for between 11- and 27-years respectively and, although they had known James McDade and/or his family to varying degrees, each man was adamant they had not known of his IRA affiliations.
When the bombs exploded, the booking clerk from whom the men had purchased tickets informed police that these men had purchased tickets to the coastal village of Heysham, en route to Belfast. Within three hours of the bombings, each man had been detained at Heysham Port and taken to Morecambe police station to undergo forensic tests to eliminate them as suspects in the bombings. Each man expressed their willingness to assist in these inquiries, having informed the officers of a half-truth as to the reason they had been travelling to Belfast: that they intended to visit their families (although they also intended to attend the funeral of James McDade).
At 03:00 the following morning, forensic scientist Dr. Frank Skuse conducted a series of Griess tests upon the hands, fingernails and belongings of the five men arrested at Heysham Port, to determine whether any of the men had handled nitroglycerine (an active ingredient in the manufacture of explosive devices). Skuse concluded with a 99% degree of certainty that both Patrick Hill and William Power had handled explosives, and remained uncertain as to the test results conducted on Gerard Hunter, whose right hand had tested positive, but whose left hand had tested negative. (The test results upon both Walker and McIlkenny had been negative.)
Despite their protestations of innocence, the men were transferred to the custody of the West Midlands Serious Crime Squad on the morning of 22 November. The same evening, Hugh Callaghan would be arrested at his home in Birmingham, and the homes of all six men extensively—and unsuccessfully—searched for explosives and explosive material.
Later that day, one of the men arrested at Heysham, William Power, signed a confession written by police after being subjected to repeated beatings, vocal and psychological abuse. Three other members of the Birmingham Six (Callaghan, McIlkenny and Walker) would sign confessions the following day. In these statements, all four men falsely claimed to be members of the IRA, to have conspired with James McDade to cause explosions prior to his death, and to have planted the bombs at the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town pubs. All four men would claim that, upon their being transferred to Birmingham, officers had coerced them into signing these confessions through severe physical and psychological abuse. This mistreatment included beatings, deprivation of food and sleep, being subject to mock executions, intimidation, and being burned with lit cigarettes. In each assault, their assailants had taken great care to avoid marking their faces. In addition, each man had heard threats directed against their families. Both Hill and Hunter would also state they had been subject to the same mistreatment, and although both men had refused to sign false confessions, police would later claim both men had given verbal confessions as to their guilt. Patrick Hill would later state that police had told him from the beginning that they "didn't care if we did it or not – that people right at the top needed convictions".
On 24 November, each man was initially charged with the murder of 17-year-old Jane Davis, who had been killed in the Tavern in the Town explosion. All six were remanded in custody at Winson Green Prison, and each man would only be assigned a solicitor the following day.
Inside Winson Green Prison, all six men were subject to the same mistreatment at the hands of prison officers as they had endured at the hands of police, with one of the men losing four teeth in one assault. At a further court hearing on 28 November, each man was observed to have extensive facial injuries; an examination by a prison doctor found each man to have extensive injuries not only on their faces but on their bodies. (Following an independent investigation into this mistreatment, the British Director of Public Prosecutions recommended that 14 prison warders be charged with assault. These men were suspended from duty in December 1975, although all 14 were found not guilty of 90 separate charges of misconduct and assault on July 15, 1976.)
Second IRA statement
Although Dáithí Ó Conaill (then a member of the IRA's Army Council), had just four days prior to the Birmingham pub bombings issued a statement declaring that the "consequences of war" would incessantly be felt not only in Northern Ireland, but on the British mainland, until the British government announced their intentions to "disengage from Ireland", one week after the Birmingham Six had been formally charged with the murder of Jane Davis, Ó Conaill issued a further statement emphasising that none of the Birmingham Six had ever been members of the IRA. In this official statement, Ó Conaill stated:
|“||If IRA members had carried-out such attacks, they would be court-martialled and could face the death penalty. The IRA has clear guidelines for waging its war. Any attack on non-military installations must be preceded by a 30-minute warning so that no innocent civilians are endangered.||”|
At a committal hearing in May 1975, each man was formally charged with 21 counts of murder, with additional charges of conspiracy to cause explosions. Due to the wave of public outrage towards the perpetrators of the Birmingham pub bombings within the Midlands, Judge Nigel Bridge conceded to defence motions to move the trial away from the Midlands, and the trial was set to be heard at Lancaster Crown Court the following month. Also to stand trial with the Birmingham Six were three men named Michael Murray (a known member of the Provisional IRA who had previously been convicted of a separate charge of conspiracy to cause explosions), James Kelly and Michael Sheehan. Murray was also charged with conspiracy to cause explosions across the Midlands, with Kelly and Sheehan also charged with possession of explosives.
Prior to the trial, defence lawyers for the Birmingham Six formally applied for their clients to be tried separately from Sheehan, Kelly and, particularly, Murray, stating that their clients' presumptions of innocence and denials of association with the IRA would be tainted if they were tried alongside an admitted member of the Provisional IRA, who had been convicted of causing explosions. This application was rejected by Judge Bridge, who was to preside over the trial.
Trial and conviction
On 9 June 1975, the Birmingham Six stood trial at Lancaster Crown Court before Judge Nigel Bridge. Each was charged with 21 counts of murder and conspiring with the deceased James McDade to cause explosions across the Midlands between August and November, 1974. Michael Murray, James Kelly and Michael Sheehan were also charged with conspiracy to cause explosions across the Midlands, with Kelly and Sheehan facing the additional charges of possession of explosives.
All six men emphatically maintained their innocence, stating they had never been members of the IRA; that they had not known James McDade had been a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army until his death; and reiterated their earlier claims of having been subject to intense physical and psychological abuse upon their arrest. Sheehan and Kelly also denied the charges brought against them, with Murray simply refusing to acknowledge or speak throughout the entire proceedings.
The primary evidence presented against the Birmingham Six linking them to the Birmingham pub bombings were their written confessions, the Griess test results conducted by Dr. Frank Skuse at Morecambe police station on the morning of 22 November, 1974, character witnesses, and circumstantial evidence, with the Crown conceding that an exhaustive search of the six men's homes had revealed no traces of nitroglycerine. Moreover, no direct evidence was offered to link Murray, Sheehan or Kelly with the actual bombings. Nonetheless, the Crown alleged they were part of the same IRA unit as the Birmingham Six, and contended the Birmingham pub bombs may have been planted "in some illogical way" to avenge or commemorate the death of James McDade.
Dr. Frank Skuse testified as to his conducting Griess tests upon the hands of the six men following their arrest. Skuse testified as to his being 99% certain that both Hill and Power had handled explosive materials, and to a possibility Hunter had also done so, although Skuse conceded that he could not rule out the possibility that Walker's right hand could have been contaminated from his (Skuse's) own hands. This testimony was refuted by Dr. Hugh Kenneth Black, a former Chief Inspector of Explosives for the Home Office, who testified that a range of innocuous substances and objects one could handle on a daily basis containing nitrocellulose (such as varnishes and paints) would produce a positive result to a Griess test. Moreover, the tests conducted by Dr. Skuse had not succeeded in identifying nitroglycerine as the source of the positive results Griess test.
Several weeks into the trial, Judge Bridge overruled motions from the defence counsel to omit the four written confessions from evidence due to their being extorted under extreme physical and mental pressure—instead citing the statements as admissible evidence, and they would be presented in evidence at the trial following an eight-day hearing conducted outside the presence of the jury. The judge refused to allow the jury to view the written confessions, which would have disclosed not only that each of these four confessions contradicted details contained within the three other confessions, but that they also contradicted testimony from forensic scientists delivered earlier in the trial as to the devices used to conceal the bombs, and the locations in which they had been placed inside the public houses. For example, William Power had claimed in his written confession that he had placed the bomb which devastated the Mulberry Bush public house by a jukebox at the foot of a staircase to the premises; whereas a forensic scientist named Douglas Higgs had testified on the fourth day of the trial that the bomb which had detonated within these premises had been left by a wall located at the rear to the premises.
The trial lasted 45 days, and saw one hundred witnesses testify on behalf of the prosecution and defence. On 15 August 1975, after over six-and-a-half hours of deliberations, the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts in relation to the 21 murder charges against the Birmingham Six. Upon passing sentence, Judge Nigel Bridge informed the defendants: "You stand convicted of each of 21 counts, on the clearest and most overwhelming evidence I have ever heard, of the crime of murder." All six men were sentenced to life imprisonment. None of the Birmingham Six displayed any emotion upon hearing the verdict, although William Power did salute the judge.
At the same trial, Michael Murray and Michael Sheehan were each convicted of conspiracy to cause explosions and sentenced to nine years' imprisonment. James Kelly was found not guilty of conspiracy to cause explosions, but guilty of possession of explosives and sentenced to five years' imprisonment.
Following their conviction, the Birmingham Six steadfastly maintained their innocence. All six men did submit an application to appeal their convictions, although this motion was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in March, 1976.
One year later, in November 1978, the Birmingham Six were granted legal aid to sue the Lancashire and West Midlands Police, and the Home Office through the Court of Appeal in relation to the injuries they had suffered in custody. The motion to appeal their convictions on these grounds was challenged by the West Midlands Police, and was formally stricken by Lord Denning in January 1980, thereby thwarting the attempts of the men to find legal redress for their grievances via these grounds. The Birmingham Six were initially refused permission to further appeal against their convictions.
In January 1987, the Home Office granted the Birmingham Six grounds to appeal their convictions. This appeal was formally heard before a three judges of the Court of Appeal in November, 1987. At this hearing, the defendants again cited they had been convicted upon unreliable forensic evidence; that the signed confessions had been obtained under extreme physical and mental duress; and that they were victims of a gross miscarriage of justice. These allegations were refuted by Mr. Igor Judge QC, who informed the three judges of the Court of Appeal of the Crown's contention that the allegations that police had obtained false confessions was "baseless", and of his belief that only film footage of the defendants actually planting the bombs would provide stronger evidence than that which already existed against the Birmingham Six.
This appeal also heard evidence from journalist Chris Mullin, who testified as to the contradictions in the written and verbal confessions obtained from the defendants, both with regards to the actual events of the day, and with regards to the content of the statements made by their fellow defendants—all purported by the Crown to be solid evidence. Mullin also testified as to the fundamental flaws in the forensic tests conducted upon the men's hands for traces of nitroglycerine. Nonetheless, in January 1988, the Lord Chief Justice again declared the convictions of the Birmingham Six as safe.
In 1985, the current affairs programme World in Action presented the first of six episodes focusing upon the Birmingham pub bombings which seriously challenged the validity of the convictions of the Birmingham Six. In this first episode broadcast, two distinguished forensic scientists conducted a series of Griess tests upon 35 separate common substances which the men had likely come into contact within their everyday lives. Each forensic scientist was able to confirm that only those substances containing nitrocellulose produced a positive result, and that the Griess test would only produce a positive reaction to nitrocellulose if conducted in a room with an average room temperature. When asked to comment on testimony delivered at the trial of the Birmingham Six, in which Dr. Skuse had had stated that the temperature in a room in which the Griess test was conducted would need to be heated to 60 degrees centigrade to produce a false positive reaction to nitrocellulose (and thereby confuse the reading with nitroglycerine), one of the forensic scientists stated, "Frankly, I was amazed." In addition, Joe Cahill, a former IRA Chief of Staff, acknowledged on this first World in Action episode broadcast that IRA members had indeed perpatrated in the Birmingham pub bombings.
In 1986, journalist Chris Mullin published Error of Judgement: Truth About the Birmingham Bombings, which provided further evidence that the men had been wrongly convicted. It also included anonymous interviews with some of those who claimed to have been involved in the bombings. These individuals claimed the protocol 30-minute warning bomb warning had been delayed because the preselected telephone box had been vandalised, and that by the time another telephone box was found, the advance warning had been significantly delayed.
On 28 March 1990, ITV broadcast the Granada Television documentary drama, Who Bombed Birmingham?, which concluded that the Birmingham Six had been wrongly convicted, and extensively detailed both the flaws in the forensic evidence against the men, and the extensive physical and psychological abuse to which they had been subjected. The programme formally named four of five members of the Povisional IRA as having organised and committed the Birmingham pub bombings. One of these men was Michael Murray, who had been tried alongside the Birmingham Six and convicted of conspiracy to cause explosions. Murray was named as the individual who had assisted in the selection of the targets, and to have placed the advance warning call to the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Evening Mail newspapers. The other three individuals formally named within this documentary were Seamus McLoughlin, whom the programme asserted had, alongside Murray, planned the atrocities; James Francis Gavin (a.k.a. James Kelly, who had likewise been tried alongside the Birmingham Six and convicted of the possession of explosives), who allegedly constructed each of the bombs; and Michael Christopher Hayes, who had planted the bombs at the preselected locations.
The executive producer of Who Bombed Birmingham?, Ray Fitzwalter, has formally stated that those involved in the production of this documentary drama are 100 percent certain that those formally named as the perpetrators of the Birmingham pub bombings had committed the atrocities.
At the conclusion of the Birmingham Six's second appeal in 1991, their convictions were quashed upon the bases of police fabrication of evidence, the suppression of evidence, and the unreliability of the scientific evidence presented at their 1975 trial. The tests conducted by Dr. Skuse upon the defendants' hands for nitroglycerine were deemed by the Court of Appeal judges as being particularly unreliable and "demonstrably wrong ... even by the state of forensic science in 1974", as the solution used to conduct these tests would not only have produced a positive result for traces of nitroglycerine, but would have also produced a positive result through the suspects' handling of everyday products, such as soap. The discrediting of this evidence was sufficient for the Crown to withdraw its case against the defendants: The Birmingham Six were released on 14 March 1991 to an ecstatic public reception.
In 2001, each of the men would subsequently receive between £840,000 and £1.2million in compensation.
Ongoing campaign for justice
In 2011, Julie and Brian Hambleton—the brother and sister of Maxine Hambleton, a victim of the bombings—initiated a campaign called Justice for the 21. The stated aim of this campaign is to highlight and resolve the fact the families of the 21 victims of the Birmingham pub bombings have never seen true justice for the loss of their loved ones, with a collective determination to see the criminal investigation into the bombings formally reopened, and the perpetrators brought to justice or, if deceased, publicly named. Campaigners within Justice for the 21 believe they have amassed evidence indicating that a British double agent was part of an IRA unit that had committed the Birmingham pub bombings.
Patrick Hill—who has publicly backed the efforts of the Justice for the 21 campaign—would also later state that, follow their 1991 release from prison, the Birmingham Six would learn the names of the real perpetrators of the Birmingham pub bombings, and that their identities are known among the upper echelons of both the IRA and the British Government. In addition, Hill also states that, following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, he has been told five members of the Provisional IRA have admitted they had committed the Birmingham pub bombings. Hill also states that the reason for this admission is that one clause of the Good Friday Agreement is an immunity from prosecution. Two of these men have since died; a further two have been promised immunity; whereas a fifth individual has not received any such assurances of immunity from prosecution.
|The memorial plaque commemorating the victims of the Birmingham Pub Bombings|
- A memorial plaque for the victims stands in the grounds of Birmingham's Saint Philip's Cathedral. This plaque is engraved with the names of the 21 fatalities of the Birmingham pub bombings and bears the inscription: "The people of Birmingham remember them and those who suffered."
- In the weeks and months following the Birmingham pub bombings, Birmingham's Irish community experienced ostracision, assault and abuse. As a result of these tensions, any public celebrations of Irish culture, including the annual St Patrick's Day Parade, were cancelled. The tensions created in the wake of the bombings would take more than a decade to heal.
- In 1983, the Director of the Birmingham Irish Welfare and Information Centre, Fr. Joe Taaffe, reinstated Birmingham's annual St Patrick's Day Parade, with a message that the Irish community in Birmingham should again unashamedly celebrate their heritage without fear of reprisal. Birmingham's annual St Patrick's Day Parade is deemed to be the world's third largest St. Patrick's Day Parade, with annual attendance figures reaching or surpassing 130,000.
- Following his release from prison in 1991, Patrick Joe Hill co-founded of the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation; a group whose dual aims are to provide and improve emotional and physical support for those found to have been wrongly convicted once released from prison, and to provide advocacy for those individuals still inside prison who proclaim their innocence.
- The West Midlands Police and then-Director of Public Prosecutions, Barbara Mills, formally reopened their investigation into the Birmingham pub bombings following the release of the Birmingham Six. In April 1994, the Chief Constable of the West Midlands, Sir Ronald Hadfield, publicly stated: "The file, so far as we are concerned is now closed ... We have done everything we could possibly have done to bring the perpetrators to justice". Hadfield then emphasised that the Director of Public Prosecutions had found "insufficient evidence for [criminal] proceedings to be taken".
- At the conclusion of the 1994 investigation, the Director of Public Prosecutions implemented a 75-year public-interest immunity certificate on documents relating to the Birmingham pub bombings—effectively preventing any release of documents relating to the reinvestigation until 2069. This court order forbids the disclosure of this evidence to the public as any disclosure would be deemed as damaging to the public interest.
- Both Patrick Hill and the families of those killed in the Birmingham pub bombings remain united in their efforts to overturn this 75-year public interest immunity order, and have publicly demanded the British Government order the release of all government, police, and crown papers related to the case. In reference to the public interest immunity order, a spokeswoman for the Justice for the 21 campaign group commented in 2014:
|“||Patrick [Hill] clarified the details of this and the significance of this in relation to the truth being known. With reference to the kind of information that is hidden in these files, it's anyone's guess. But, for us, knowing that they [the files relating to the Birmingham pub bombings] have been locked away for so long, only adds weight to our argument that the government and the police do not want this information to be known until we are all dead. Why do you think that might be? What do they have to hide and who are they protecting?||”|
- In 2004, civil rights campaigner Rev. Denis Faul—who had previously campaigned for the release of the Birmingham Six—officially called on the IRA to both admit their culpability in the Birmingham pub bombings, and to formally apologise. These calls were echoed by Sinn Féin, who stated: "What happened in Birmingham 30 years ago was wrong and should not have happened", adding "[if] issues relating to the IRA concerning the Birmingham bombings are still to be addressed, then it is very clearly the Sinn Féin position that this should happen".
- Several survivors and relatives of those killed in the Birmingham pub bombings have visited the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation in the Republic of Ireland in an effort to come to terms with the events of 21 November, 1974. The Glencree Centre is a charitable organisation whose stated aim is to promote peace and reconciliation in Britain and Ireland as a response to the Troubles. One of those who has visited the Glencree Centre, Maureen Carlin (who survived the Mulbery Bush bombing), would state in 2009 that she had conversed with two former IRA members who referred to the Birmingham pub bombings as a mistake for which the IRA would never publicly admit responsibility.
- Richard McIlkenny, one of the six men wrongly convicted of the Birmingham pub bombings, died of cancer on on 21 May 2006. He was 73 years old. McIlkenny had returned to Ireland shortly after he was freed from prison, and died in hospital with his family at his bedside. McIlkenny was buried on 24 May in Celbridge, County Kildare. Four other members of the Birmingham Six were present at the Wake and funeral.
- Of the five surviving members of the Birmingham Six, Patrick Hill currently resides in Ayrshire; Gerard Hunter in Portugal; John Walker in Donegal; and both Hugh Callaghan and William Power in London.
- In 2014, the Birmingham Mail formally named Michael Murray as the mastermind behind the Birmingham pub bombings. Murray was an admitted member of the IRA who held a high rank within the Birmingham IRA unit. He had been arrested just four days after the Birmingham pub bombings and had stood trial alongside the Birmingham Six, although charged only with conspiracy to cause explosions. Prior to his 1975 trial, Murray had been convicted of separate charges of conspiracy to cause explosions and with causing an explosion. The Birmingham Mail alleges Murray had assisted in the construction of the bombs at a house in Bordesley Green, and had then transported them to the city centre, where he had handed them to another individual who then placed them in the preselected targets. Upon receipt of a signal that the bombs had been planted, he had then telephoned the delayed warning to the two Birmingham newspapers. These allegations are supported by John Walker, who remains adamant that at one stage during the 1975 trial, Murray had privately admitted being one of the bombers. Murray allegedly told Walker: "I'm very sorry to see yous in here. Nothing went right that night. The first telephone box we got to was out of order" before threatening Walker that if he ever divulged their conversation, both he and his family would be attacked. Moreover, the prosecutor at the trial of the Birmingham Six had suggested Murray may have been the organiser of the Birmingham pub bombings.
- Michael Murray never formally his alleged involvement in the Birmingham pub bombings. Following his release from prison, he remained active withing the Provisional IRA, and would later become a vocal opponent of the decommissioning in Northern Ireland as part of the Northern Ireland peace process. Murray died of a heart attack in County Tipperary in 1999.
- The Justice for the 21 campaign group was founded in 2011 to highlight the fact that, although officially an open inquiry, no efforts are being made to actively pursue the perpetrators of the Birmingham pub bombings unless significant new leads are to surface. The campaign is spearheaded by Brian and Julie Hambleton, who lost their 18-year-old sister, Maxine, in the Tavern in the Town explosion. The Justice for the 21 campaign continues to strive to bring those responsible for the Birmingham pub bombings to justice.
- Kieran Conway, a former senior officer of the Provisional Irish Republican Army, formally admitted that the terrorist group had committed the Birmingham pub bombings in 2014, adding that he was "appalled and ashamed" at the atrocity, and that other senior IRA officials shared his opinion the bombings had been immoral and detrimental to the objectives of the republican movement. Conway disputed allegations that an insufficient warning had deliberately been given to security services due to ill-feeling within the IRA over the disrupted funeral arrangements for James McDade, but claimed the perpetrators had actually tried to use several phone boxes were either out of order or in use to deliver the protocol 30-minute warning, before finding a free, operable phone box to deliver the warning call.
- In 2014, the Justice for the 21 campaign implemented a fresh petition to pressurise the British Government to form a new inquiry into the Birmingham pub bombings. This petition was signed by four retired West Midlands Police officers, and by Patrick Hill, who wrote of his desire that a fresh inquiry would "establish the true circumstances of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings, and to order the release of all Government, Police, and Crown papers related to the case in order to bring truth and justice for the 21 innocent people who died, the 182 people who were injured, for the six innocent men who were wrongfully convicted, and for the families of all those affected."
- The made-for-TV film Who Bombed Birmingham? was first broadcast in 1990. Directed by Mike Beckham, the film is directly inspired by the painstaking efforts of then-journalist Chris Mullin to prove the six men convicted of the bombing had been the victims of a miscarriage of justice, as detailed in his 1986 book Error of Judgement: The Truth about the Birmingham Bombings. The film casts John Hurt as Mullin and Martin Shaw as Granada Television producer and fellow researcher, as they investigate the convictions of the "Birmingham Six."
- The Birmingham Bombs, by Brian Gibson (ISBN 978-0-859-92070-4)
- Encyclopedia of Modern Murder 1962-1982, by Colin Wilson (ISBN 978-0-517-66559-6)
- Error of Judgement: The Truth about the Birmingham Bombings, by Chris Mullin (ISBN 978-1-853-71365-1)
- Forever Lost, Forever Gone, by Paddy Hill (ISBN 978-0-747-52125-9)
- The British investigative current affairs programme World in Action has broadcast a total of six episodes focusing upon the Birmingham pub bombings between 1985 and 1991. The last of these episodes, World in Action Special: The Birmingham Six – Their Own Story, was broadcast on 18 March 1991—four days after the release of the Birmingham Six— and was later nominated for a BAFTA award.
- The BBC have commissioned a 30-minute documentary focusing upon the Birmingham pub bombings. This documentary, Who Murdered Maxine?, was first broadcast in 2013 and focuses upon the ongoing campaign by relatives of one of those killed in the Birmingham pub bombings, Maxine Hambleton, to reopen the investigation into the bombings and their ongoing efforts to raise public awareness of their campaign.
- The Telegraph 21 Nov., 2014
- The Birmingham Framework -Six Innocent Men Framed for the Birmingham Bombings; Fr. Denis Faul and Fr. Raymond Murray (1976)
- "Birmingham pub blasts kill 19". BBC News. 21 November 1974. Retrieved 2007-08-15.
- Birmingham Mail 9 Dec., 2014
- "Britain 'defiant' as bombers kill 52 in attack on the heart of London". The Times. 8 July 2005. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
- Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA p. 169
- O'Day, Alan. Political Violence in Northern Ireland p.20
- BBC News 4 Mar., 2011
- Gibson, Brian. The Birmingham Bombs. 1976. p.50
- Gibson. p.49
- Birmingham Mail 21 November, 2011
- The Glasgow Herald 3 Nov., 1987
- McKittrick, David. Lost Lives. p.494
- The Dispatch 22 Nov., 1974
- "Processions"; Hansard 10 Mar 1978
- Mullin, Chris (1990). "Chapter 1". Error of Judgement (3rd ed.). Poolbeg. p. 5. ISBN 1-85371-090-3.
- BBC14 Nov., 2014
- The Glasgow Herald 11 Jun., 1975
- Dillon, Martin (1996). 25 Years of Terror: The IRA's war against the British. Bantam Books. p. 188. ISBN 0-553-40773-2.
- "The man who spoke to a Birmingham pub bomber: A voice calm, collected and full of hatred". Birmingham Mail. 22 November 2012.
- Birmingham Mail 9 Dec., 2014
- McKittrick, David. Lost Lives. pp. 497–498
- Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974-1979 p. 168
- Birmingham Mail 22 Nov., 2014
- McKittrick, David. Lost Lives. p. 497
- Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974-1979 p. 166
- BBC 20 Nov., 2014
- The Birmingham Pub Bombings, 21 November 1974. A personal account by Alan Stuart Hill
- ITV.com 21 Nov., 2014
- "David Cameron says new Birmingham pub bombings probe unlikely". The Sunday Mercury. 22 November 2009.
- Birmingham Mail 21 Nov., 2012
- McKittrick, Lost Lives, p. 504
- Lost Lives: The Stories of the Men, Women and Children who Died as a Result of the Northern Ireland Troubles pp. 504-505
- The Birmingham Pub Bombings, 21 November 1974. A personal account by Alan Stuart Hill
- BBC.co.uk 27 Nov., 2013
- Mullin, Chris (1990). "Chapter 1". Error of Judgement (3rd ed.). Poolbeg. p. 5. ISBN 1-85371-090-3.
- "Third explosive on night of Birmingham pub bombings proved real culprits got away". Birmingham Mail. 24 November 2013.
- Express & Star. 21 Nov., 2014
- Cain Events: Birmingham
- Birmingham Mail, 21 Nov., 2014
- McKittrick, David. Lost Lives. p. 500
- "Family of Teenager Killed in Birmingham Pub Bombings in 1974 'insulted' by plans for compensation". Birmingham Mail. Edward Chadwick. 3 February 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2012
- David McKittrick, Seamus Kelters, Brian Feeney and Chris Thornton (2008), Lost Lives. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing, pp. 496–500
- "Every Briton now a target for death". Sydney Morning Herald. 1 December 1974.
- Irish Post 20 Nov., 2014
- McKittrick, David. Lost Lives. p. 500
- "Millimetres from disaster". Sunday Mercury. 13 April 2003.
- McKittrick, Lost Lives, pp. 501–502
- Seasons in the Sun: The Battle for Britain, 1974-1979 p. 168
- Chronology of the Conflict: November 1974, Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN)
- White, Robert W. Ruairí Ó Brádaigh: The Life and Politics of an Irish Revolutionary. Indiana University Press, 2006. pp. 221, 381
- Bangor Daily News 12 Dec., 1974
- [Roy Jenkins; a Well-Rounded Life p. 427]
- Sydney Morning Herald 1 Dec., 1974
- "Two-for-one reprisal vowed for each IRA member hanged". Montreal: The Gazette. 12 December 1974.
- Encyclopedia of Terrorism, Volume 1 p. 125
- "Release of Birmingham Six: Statements". Seanad Éireann 128. 15 March 1991.
- The Glasgow Herald 29 Jan., 1988
- The Independent 2 Apr., 1993
- Daily Mirror 15 Nov., 2014
- innocent.org.uk p. 4
- Extract from The Birmingham Framework by Denis Faul & Raymond Murray (1976).
- BBC 24 Nov., 1974
- Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA p. 169
- Birmingham Mail 21 Nov. 2014
- Error of Judgement p. 159
- west-midlands police.co.uk
- The Glasgow Herald, Jun. 11, 1975
- Error of Judgement p. 160
- innocent.org.uk p. 5
- Error of Judgement p. 187
- innocent.org.uk p. 6
- [Error of Judgement p. 164]
- [Error of Judgement p. 187]
- The Glasgow Herald 16 Aug., 1975
- Express & Star 21 Nov., 2014
- McKittrick, David. Lost Lives. p. 498
- innocent.org.uk p. 15
- The Glasgow Herald 21 Nov., 1987
- Reading Eagle 2 Nov., 1987
- Express & Star 21 Nov., 2014
- Error of Judgement p. 239
- "IRA fails to say sorry for Birmingham pub bombs". The Guardian. 22 November 2004.
- Mullin, Chris. Error of Judgement (3rd Edition). Poolbeg Press, pp. 153–154
- "BRITISH TV NAMES BOMBING SUSPECTS". The New York Times. 29 March 1990.
- Sean O'Neill (18 November 2004). "The man behind the pub bombs in Birmingham that killed 21". The Times. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
- YouTube: 5:43 Who Bombed Birmingham? (Part 11)
- "BRITISH TV NAMES BOMBING SUSPECTS". The New York Times. 29 March 1990.
- Birmingham Post 21 Nov., 1974
- The Lessons of the IRA Cases in England p. 4
- Schurr. "Expert witnesses and the duties of disclosure and impartiality: The lessons of the IRA cases in England" (PDF). Retrieved 10 October 2011.
Both the scientific evidence of contamination by nitroglycerine and the documents said to set out the confessions obtained by the police were found to be unreliable following the admission of fresh evidence.
- Expert Witnesses and the Duties of Disclosure & Impartiality: The Lessons Of The IRA Cases In England; Beverley Schurr
- Chronology of the Conflict: 1991, Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN)
- "Birmingham Six member dies in hospital". The Guardian 22 May 2006.
- The Independent 21 Nov., 2014
- Birmingham Press 21 Nov., 2012
- "Birmingham pub bombings: Call to reopen investigation". BBC News. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- "Birmingham pub bombing families' fury as Martin McGuinness speaks at peace conference". Birmingham Mail. 18 September 2014.
- "Member of Birmingham Six challenges IRA pub bombers to come forward". The Guardian. 2 February 2014.
- Guardian newspaper: Birmingham Six man signs petition, 22 April 2012
- Express & Star 21 Nov., 2014
- Don Hale (2 March 2014). "Birmingham pub bombers given secret letters promising immunity – claims Paddy Hill". The Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 2014-03-10.
- "Birmingham pub bombings: Families remember victims in moving service". Birmingham Mail. 21 November 2009. Retrieved 5 April 2010.
- Irish Post 21 Nov., 2014
- "IRA should apologise for pub bombings: Sinn Fein". The Guardian. 18 November 2004.
- The Independent 22 Apr., 1994
- BBC.co.uk 21 Nov., 2014
- The Justice Gap.
- "Birmingham pub bombings survivor told by IRA man that atrocity was 'a mistake'". Birmingham Mail. 22 November 2009.
- The Guardian 22 May, 2006
- IrishTimes.com 25 May, 2006
- Daily Record 9 Mar., 2011
- IRA Bombing Cases Reports
- Gibson, p. 148
- Birmingham Mail 21 Nov., 2014
- Birmingham Press 21 Nov., 2012
- "Birmingham pub bombings: Ex-IRA chief admits 'we did it – and I am ashamed'". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
- Sunderland Echo.com
- New York Times; 29 March 1990; British TV Names Bombing Suspects
- Public Issue Television: World in Action 1963-98 p. 106
- www.bafta.com: 1991 Awards
- BBC.co.uk 18 Nov., 2013
Cited works and further reading
- Chalk, Peter (2012). The Encyclopedia of Terrorism - Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-313-30895-6.
- Davis, Jennifer (2013). Wrongly Convicted: Miscarriages of Justice. RW Press Ltd. ISBN 978-1-909-28440-1.
- Geraghty, Tony (1998). The Irish War: The Hidden Conflict Between the IRA and British Intelligence. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-8018-6456-9.
- Gibson, Brian (1976). The Birmingham Bombs. Barry Rose Law. ISBN 978-0-859-92070-4.
- Hill, Paddy (1996). Forever Lost, Forever Gone. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-0-747-52125-9.
- McGladdery, Gary (2006). The Provisional IRA in England: The Bombing Campaign 1973-1997. Irish Academic Press Ltd. ISBN 978-0-716-53374-0.
- Mullin, Chris (1997). Error of Judgement: The Truth about the Birmingham Bombings. Poolbeg Press. ISBN 978-1-853-71365-1.
- Wilson, Colin (1985). Encyclopedia of Modern Murder 1962-1982. Bonanza Books. ISBN 978-0-517-66559-6.
- 1974 BBC news article describing the aftermath of the Birmingham pub bombings
- News article and image galleries relating to the Birmingham pub bombings
- Contemporary BBC news article detailing the arrest of the Birmingham Six
- Transcripts of the false confessions given by the Birmingham Six
- Contemporary BBC news article detailing the release of the Birmingham Six
- World In Action Special: The Birmingham Six – Their Own Story as broadcast on 18 March 1991
- Official website of the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation
- Justice for the 21: A website detailing the campaign by relatives of those killed in the Birmingham pub bombings for those responsible to be brought to trial
- Audio interview with Julie Hambleton detailing the resolve and obstacles the Justice for the 21 campaign has endured in their efforts to seek a fresh inquiry into the Birmingham pub bombings
- A personal account of the Birmingham pub bombings, written by a member of the West Midlands Fire Service
- 2013 Birmingham Mail article detailing the renovation of the memorial to the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings