Scott's Oyster Bar bombing
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|Scott's Oyster Bar bombing|
|Part of the Troubles|
|Location||20 Mount Street, Mayfair, London|
|Date||12 November 1975 |
The Troubles had been raging in Northern Ireland since 1969. In March 1973 the IRA conducted its first operations in England with a series of car bombs. In February 1975 the Provisional Irish Republican Army agreed to a ceasefire with the British government and the Northern Ireland Office. Before the truce, the IRA active service unit (ASU) later dubbed the Balcombe Street Gang (because of the December 1975 Balcombe Street siege) had been bombing targets in England since the autumn of 1974, particularly in London and surrounding areas. The ceasefire was to last officially until 23 January 1976; however, there were a number of incidents during 1975 involving members of the IRA including dozens of bombings in England, particularly London. On 27 August 1975 the IRA unit carried out the Caterham Arms Pub Bombing, at a pub popular with soldiers from Caterham, which injured 33 people. This attack marked the start of a renewed bombing campaign ("Phase Two")  in England and the end of the truce with the British Government.
The bomb used in the Scott's bar attack was a five-pound gelignite shrapnel-laced throw bomb similar to the one used a year earlier in the Woolwich bombing, for which two members of the Guildford Four had already been given long jail term. The IRA ASU threw the bomb into Scott's restaurant bar at around 21:00 when around 70 people were inside. The blast killed one man (John Batey, age 59) and injured at least 15 others, some very injured. People reported seeing three young men running away after the blast. It was the first bomb by the IRA team to be thrown instead of being primed and planted since the start of the "Phase Two" bombing campaign in England.
Just six days after the Scott's bar attack the same unit attacked Walton's restaurant killing two people and injuring 20 others. The IRA unit responsible for the bombing of Scott's bar returned a few weeks later to the same restaurant with a machine gun on 6 December and sprayed it with bullets. The Metropolitan Police Bomb Squad had detected a pattern of behaviour in the IRA ASU, however, determining that the unit had a habit of attacking again some of the sites they had previously attacked. In a scheme devised by a young detective sergeant, the Met flooded the streets of London with unarmed plain-clothes officers on the lookout for the ASU. The four IRA men were spotted as they slowed to a halt outside Scott's and fired from their stolen car. As they drove away, the police started chasing them which was the beginning of the week-long siege of Balcombe Street that ended in the capture and arrest of the IRA unit.
- Melaugh, Dr Martin. "CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1975".
- "CAIN: PRONI Public Records on CAIN Web - Search Results". ulst.ac.uk.