Looking back at when the IRA bombed Bognor Regis

Views London Road and High St Bognor phot kate...High Street Bognor, ks190387-1
Views London Road and High St Bognor phot kate...High Street Bognor, ks190387-1

On August 13 1994 at 5.57pm Bognor Regis trembled when a bomb planted by the IRA exploded in the town centre.

A mountain bike, hired in London by the IRA, was used to conceal a Semtex device which was then wheeled into Bognor. The blast damaged 15 shops on London Road and littered the street with broken glass.

The bicycle had been locked to a post outside Woolworths and the explosion had left the front of the building in tatters.

Only 65 hours later the shop reopened.

Painter and decorator Shaun Shergold was 30 at the time and off to a rave at The Regis Centre. He said: "We didn't know about the bomb until we were in the cab. It had already happened and we hadn't seen it in the news.

"The cab driver had to detour because of the bomb. We saw the damage to the building the next day."

Shaun said the people of Bognor 'just carried on', but he himself struggled a bit more as a veteran who had spent time stationed in Londonderry where two of his friends were killed.

"It affected me a bit as I lost two friends [to IRA attacks] so I have a particular dislike of the IRA," he added.

Another bicycle loaded with a bomb was placed under Brighton pier but was found and detonated by the British army in a controlled explosion. The attacks were believed to mark 25 years of the deployment of British troops in Ulster.

26-year-old Anthony Duncan appeared in court on terrorism charges but the legal process was superceded by the Irish peace process in 1999. No one was ever brought to justice.

Following the event, former mayor Paul Beckerson was quoted as saying: "Everyone was terribly shocked at the events of that day. The damage cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, but within days everyone was trading again. We were determined not to lose out to terrorists."

Do you remember it? Let us know by emailing news@bognor.co.uk