Airey Neave assasinated


History on 30th March

John Major gets on his Soapbox

1st Broadcast of Channel 5

Airey Neave assasinated

Westminster, London The 30th of March 1979 AD

In early 1979 Irish nationalist terror organisations returned to a tactic used five years previously (when Ross McWhirter was shot), the spectacular assassination of prominent targets.
At about 3pm on March 30 Airey Neave was blown up in his car as he drove out of the Palace of Westminster car park. Neave was a colourful character: the first British officer to escape from Colditz; subsequently a military intelligence operative; and after the war a lawyer at the Nuremburg trials . When he died Neave was Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary.
The day before the date for the general election had been announced. The message to all British politicians was clear, that they were not safe even in their own backyard. But Neave was also chosen as the terrorists’ victim because he was viewed by them as capable of making a major impact on their campaign in Northern Ireland should the Conservatives win the election (as indeed they did), and because he was very close to Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher – he ran her leadership campaign.
There was a second message for politicians, public and police alike in the device used to kill Airey Neave: it was sophisticated, using a tilt-switch that was activated as his car descended a ramp; and the bomb itself was attached to the underside of his car with magnets, a swift method reducing the danger of the bombers being spotted. The level of terror was being ratcheted up.

More famous dates here

7468 views since 30th March 2009

Brit Quote:
I didn't come into politics to change the Labour Party. I came into politics to change the country - Tony Blair
More Quotes

On this day:
First True King of England Crowned - 0973, Becket Becomes Archbishop of Canterbury - 1162, Army Seizes Charles I - 1647, Battle of Lowestoft - 1665, Evacuation of Dunkirk ends - 1940
More dates from British history

click here to view all the British counties

County Pages