Thursday 6 August 2020


The Provisional IRA tried to fire a home-made grenade launcher at a police Land Rover in Londonderry.  The attempted attack took place at around 10am as the RUC vehicle turned into William Street.  The device jammed and then exploded, killing one terrorist and badly injuring the second.  Two passers-by reportedly took the injured terrorists to hospital, but were stopped at the entrance by police who then escorted them to the emergency department.  21-year-old Charles English was dead on arrival.

The wounded terrorist was Eddie McSheffrey.  He survived, but was killed two years later in another explosion.  He and an accomplice were blown up by their own bomb as they were transporting it to an unidentified target in Londonderry.

Charles English came from the republican Bogside area of the city and had joined the IRA following the death of his brother in 1981.  Gary English and another man had been struck and killed by an army Land Rover during rioting.

The funeral of Charles English was preceded by rioting in which soldiers and police were attacked with stones and petrol bombs near 'Free Derry Corner'.  Three masked gunman fired dozens of shots over English's coffin which had been carried into City Cemetary by, among others, Martin McGuinness and his brother William.  A senior figure from the US based Irish Northern Aid Committee (NORAID) also attended the funeral despite being banned from entering the country.  Martin Galvin slipped into Northern Ireland from the Republic reportedly disguised in a cap and glasses.  NORAID was primarily involved in fundraising for the Provisional IRA.

Martin McGuinness and his brother William (right) carry the coffin of Charles English