Harrods, pictured in 2009
London, England, United Kingdom
|Date||17 December 1983
|Target||Harrods department store|
|Attack type||Car bomb|
|Deaths||6 (3 police officers, 3 civilians)|
The bomb had been planted by members of the Provisional IRA, although the IRA Army Council later claimed that it had not authorised the attack. IRA members had sent a warning 37 minutes before the explosion, but the area was not evacuated. Six people were killed – three police officers and three civilians.
The store was the target of a much smaller IRA bomb almost ten years later, in January 1993, which injured four people.
1983 bombing 
The bomb contained between 25 and 30 lb (14 kg) of explosives and was left in a 1972 blue Austin 1300 GT four door saloon with a black vinyl roof, registration KFP 252K. It was parked outside the side entrance of Harrods, on Hans Crescent, and set to be detonated by a timer.
At 12:44, a man using an IRA codeword phoned the central London branch of the Samaritans. The caller said there were bombs inside and outside Harrods, specifying the registration number of the car, but not its make or colour. At about 13:21, four police officers in a car, a dog handler, and an officer on foot approached the car when the bomb went off. The police car absorbed much of the blast, probably reducing other casualties. Six people were killed; three passers-by (including one citizen of the United States), and three Metropolitan Police officers.
Those killed were: Philip Geddes (journalist, 24); Kenneth Salvesen (28); Jasmine Cochrane-Patrick (25); Police Sergeant Noel Lane (28); and Police Constable Jane Arbuthnot (22). Police Inspector Stephen Dodd (34) was mortally injured and died on 24 December. Police Constable Jon Gordon survived, but lost both legs and part of a hand in the blast.
At the time of the first explosion, a second warning call was made by the IRA. The caller stated that a bomb had been left in the C&A department store on the east side of Oxford Street. Police cleared the area and cordoned it off but this claim was found to be false.
IRA statement and response 
In a statement, the IRA Army Council admitted that its members had planted the bomb, but claimed that it had not authorised the attack:
The Harrods operation was not authorised by the Irish Republican Army. We have taken immediate steps to ensure that there will be no repetition of this type of operation again. The volunteers involved gave a 40 minutes specific warning, which should have been adequate. But due to the inefficiency or failure of the Metropolitan Police, who boasted of foreknowledge of IRA activity, this warning did not result in an evacuation. We regret the civilian casualties, even though our expression of sympathy will be dismissed.
There is now a memorial at the site of the blast. Yearly prizes in the honour of Philip Geddes are awarded to aspiring journalists attending the University of Oxford. Also, every year the Philip Geddes Memorial Lecture on the theme of the future of journalism is given by a leading journalist.
1993 bombing 
In January 1993, Harrods was once again targeted by the IRA: this time a package containing 1 lb of Semtex plastic explosive placed in a litter bin at the front of the store in Brompton Road. Four people were injured. The bomb smashed windows but did no internal damage. Those responsible were Jan Taylor, a 51-year-old former corporal of the British Army, and Patrick Hayes, a 41-year-old computer programmer with a degree in business studies from Central London Polytechnic and a member of Red Action. In March 1993, police captured them at Hayes' home in Stoke Newington, north London. They received prison sentences of 30 years.
See also 
- List of British police officers killed in the line of duty
- Provisional Irish Republican Army campaign 1969–1997
- Bomb unauthorised says IRA The Guardian 19 December 1983
- Sutton Index of Deaths CAIN Web Service (Conflict Archive on the Internet)
- Northern Ireland: Thatcher letter to Reagan (outrage at Harrods IRA bomb) Margaret Thatcher Foundation website
- On this Day BBC Report BBC website
- Police City Themes London
- Prize money for students rises to £2,500 Holdthefrontpage
- PHILIP GEDDES MEMORIAL PRIZES 2005 Oxford University Gazette
- Bennett, Will (1993-01-29). "Four hurt by IRA bomb outside Harrods - UK, News". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
- Geraghty, The Irish War: the hidden conflict between the IRA and British Intelligence, 163.
- Seaton, Matt (29 January 1995). "Charge of the New Red Brigade". London: The Independent. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
- Mickolus, Terrorism, 1992-1995: a chronology of events and a selectively annotated bibliography, 282.
- "'Proud' IRA bombers jailed for 30 years: Police remain mystified why two Englishmen, who had no apparent connections with Ireland, became terrorists". London: The Independent. 14 May 1994. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
- Mickolus, Edward (1997). Terrorism, 1992-1995: a chronology of events and a selectively annotated bibliography. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-30468-8.
- Geraghty, Tony (2000). The Irish War: the hidden conflict between the IRA and British Intelligence. JHU Press. ISBN 0-8018-6456-9.