chapter  9
80 Pages

The 1939–40 Bombing Campaign

WithSeán McConville

In autumn 1938, the second echelon of those who had volunteered for the bombing campaign was trained at various locations in and around Dublin. Reports had been received throughout 1937 and 1938, and during the Munich crisis of September 1938, several independent sources indicated that, in anticipation of a European war, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) plans were well advanced. On 29 March 1939, Hammersmith Bridge (beloved of Fenian and IRA bombers), close to the Irish district of Kilburn, was attacked, perhaps as a gesture of defiance in the face of the Old Bailey sentences. The weakness of the IRA campaign (a low impact overall and rapid decline to the level of nuisance) was comprehensively demonstrated by the development of the war with Germany. Even the IRA realised that its occasional acts of arson and explosions were no more than candles at noon.