IRA Member Jailed For The Killing of A British Elder Statesman Lord Mountbatten - 11/23/1979

History |


On this day in history, one of the members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) Thomas McMahon, is sentenced to life in prison for the killing of Lord Louis Mountbatten and three others three months earlier. They were all killed in a bomb explosion planted by McMahon.

McMahon and other IRA terrorists were behind a planted 50-pound bomb that exploded and killed Lord Mountbatten and three others on August 27, 1979. The bomb exploded on a fishing vessel Shadow V. belonging to Lord Mountbatten, who is a World War II hero, an elder statesman, and the second cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, who was having a timeout with his family in Donegal Bay off Ireland's northwest drift when the bomb detonated. The incident claimed the lives of another three people including Mountbatten's 14-year-old grandson, Nicholas. The same day, the IRA carried out another attack on 18 British paratroopers stationed in County Down, Northern Ireland.

The death of Mountbatten was a major blow on the British royal family by the Irish Republican Army during its terrorist campaign to chase the British out of Northern Ireland and merge it with the Republic of Ireland in the south. However, the attack did not achieve its aim on the British rather it hardened the heart of the Britons against the IRA and persuaded Margaret Thatcher's government to take a firm stance against the group.

After the incident, the IRA claimed they were behind the Mountbatten attack stating that they detonate the bomb by the use of a remote control from the shore. The organization also claimed responsibility for the killing of the British troops in County Down, the same day.

Later, Thomas McMahon was captured and tried for his part in the Mountbatten killings. He was a pioneer of the IRA's famous South Armagh Brigade that murdered more than 100 British officers, and was close to being a legend in the organization. He was among the first members of the IRA send to Libya to study detonators and timing devices and was a specialist in explosives. 

McMahon was the only person jailed for the Mountbatten murder though authorities believed that the killing was the handy work of several people. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was later discharged in 1998, alongside other IRA and Unionist jailed for terrorist act. After his release, McMahon declared that he is longer a member of the IRA and now turning into a carpenter.

Share On Facebook