Kenneth Howorth

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Kenneth Howorth
Born (1932-09-28)28 September 1932
Littleborough, Lancashire, England
Died 26 October 1981(1981-10-26) (aged 49)
London, England
Awards George Medal
Police career
Department Metropolitan Police Service
Years of service 1973–1981

Kenneth Robert Howorth, GM, (28 September 1932 – 26 October 1981), was a British explosives officer with London's Metropolitan Police Service who was killed whilst attempting to defuse a bomb planted by the Provisional Irish Republican Army in Oxford Street.

Howorth served for twenty-three years with the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) with postings to Austria, Japan, Tripoli in Libya, Stonecutters Island in Hong Kong and various United Kingdom bases. He reached the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 (Conductor) before leaving to join the Metropolitan Police Service as a civilian explosives officer in 1973.[1]

On 26 October 1981, police received warnings that bombs on a busy shopping street in central London would explode within thirty minutes. A booby-trapped improvised explosive device (IED), planted by the IRA, was discovered in the basement toilet of a Wimpy restaurant on Oxford Street. While attempting to defuse the bomb, Howorth was killed instantly when it detonated.[2]

Howorth was survived by his wife Ann (died 25 November 2003), his son Steven and his daughter Susan. In 1983, he was posthumously awarded the George Medal for gallantry.

In 1985, IRA volunteers Paul Kavanagh and Thomas Quigley, both from Belfast, were convicted of his murder (along with other attacks including the Chelsea Barracks nail bomb in September 1981) and each handed five life sentences with a minimum tariff of thirty-five years. They were released in 1999 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Trust, Police Roll of Honour. "Police Roll of Honour Trust". 
  2. ^ [1] Time Magazine, Once More, Terror in the Streets
  3. ^ "Comic Relief cash given to ex-IRA bomber".