Published: 15:10, 20 September 2019
| Updated: 15:30, 20 September 2019
Calls have been made for a fresh investigation to be launched ahead of the 30th anniversary of the IRA's bombing of the Deal barracks.
The Royal Marines Association says the atrocity remains “unfinished business” as serving and retired bandsmen prepare to pay their respects to the 11 murdered musicians on Sunday.
Now the town's MP Charlie Elphicke wants the bombers found and brought to justice.
The attack on September 22 1989, changed Deal forever.
Soon after the bomb was detonated at 8.25am, from the sofa inside the Coffee Boat recreation room in Canada Road, the act was 'claimed' by the Provisional IRA.
In the hours that followed it was announced 10 musicians had died. Twenty one others were wounded, one of whom succumbed to his injuries in hospital weeks later.
No-one has been convicted in relation to it and Kent Police says the case remains open.
"We must have a fresh inquiry. No whitewash or cover-up by Northern Ireland ministers..." Charlie Elphicke MP
Mr Elphicke has written to the Government’s Northern Ireland Secretary – whose department is setting up an Historical Investigations Unit – to demand a full inquiry.
He said: “This was an appalling attack on our community. Totally innocent band members lost their lives at the hands of terrorists.
“Yet all the Northern Ireland Office seems interested in is hounding our army veterans – for trying to protect us from the same evil people.
“This is abhorrent and I strongly believe our efforts should be focused on securing justice for the band members and their families.
“We must have a fresh inquiry. No whitewash or cover-up by Northern Ireland ministers.
"And we must see an end to the harassment of those who have so bravely fought to defend us.”
Mr Elphicke has written the Justice Secretary, the Defence Secretary and the Northern Ireland Secretary demanding a new investigation.
The bombers rented a home in nearby Campbell Road. It overlooked the barracks and it was there that the IRA plotted the atrocity.
At 8.25am that Friday, September 22, a 15lb time bomb was detonated in the recreation room, destroying the recreational centre, levelling the accommodation building next door and causing extensive damage to the rest of the base and nearby civilian homes.
It sent shock waves through the Deal community which have never properly healed.
David Storrie, a former Royal Marine and President of Deal’s Royal Marine Association, said the failure to prosecute anyone for the bombings represented “unfinished business”.
Mr Storrie said: “The fact that no one has been caught has been a running sore for The Royal Marines Band Service and The Royal Marines. That view is also felt by the people of Deal, where so many were affected by this horror in some way.
“It had a definite bad and lasting effect on Lt Col Richard Dixon RM, Commanding Officer of Royal Marines Deal at that time, and I have no doubt that it contributed greatly to his early death.
“I and many people will be remembering with great sadness the tragedy and the unfinished business on Sunday.”
More by this authorBeth Robson