The Angry Brigade Gets Mad Enough to Blow Things Up


Bizarre urban guerilla group goes on a prolific bombing run.

The Angry Brigade (an appropriate moniker) was a far-left terrorist group that conducted a series of bombings throughout Great Britain.  The group was dubbed an anarcho-communist (oxymoron) terrorist organization that found its beginnings in the protests against America’s involvement in Vietnam (MYOB).  They moved on to protest or complaint about every instance where communism was under attack.

The group began their bombing spree on August 30, 1970, at the home of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Waldron.  It was a small bomb that did little damage and caused no injuries.  A letter accompanied the bomb which claimed the Waldron had been sentenced by “the revolutionary tribunal for crimes of oppression” and was signed “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.

The group went on to place an astounding additional 22 devices over the next year.  The Angry Brigade, which appeared to be remarkably hard working for a bunch of communists, often left letters alongside their bombs.  Some were signed off as “The Wild Bunch” and many as “The Angry Brigade”.  All the bombs were small and only one injury was reported from the all the incidents. 

Police were having a tough time with the prolific yet impish bombers.  Several letters were received from the faction that were sometimes serious and sometimes non-sensical.  The identity of members of The Angry Brigade remained a mystery.  Even determining what attacks could be ascribed to the group was difficult.  There were several attacks before 1970 that were unattributed but may have been the work of members of The Angry Brigade. 

In August 1971, police conducted a series of raids and arrests in and around London for members of the squad.  By August 23, 1971 Metropolitan Police claim to have arrested and charged all members of the Angry Brigade.  Several bombings immediately after the arrests didn’t change the opinion of the investigators. 

On May 30, 1972, eight members of the Angry Brigade went on trial.  John Barker, Christopher Bolt, Stuart Christie. Hilary Creek, James Greenfield, Anna Mendelson, Catherine McLean. and Angela Weir, aged between 21 and 27, faced charges including conspiracy to cause explosions as well as individual acts attributed to each member of the organization.

 The trial was a media circus in Great Britain.  Many members of the public were sympathetic to the group as they saw them as bumbling and harmless.  The accusations, in some cases proven, of police misconduct further obfuscated the truth.  The trial was a split decision, four members were acquitted and four were found guilty.  The guilty were given 10-year sentences.  Approximately 10 years later, several irate letters were received by media outlets and the Conservative Party complaining of government oppression.  They were signed, “The Angry Brigade”.   

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