Forty years ago today, an IRA bomb ripped through a Maidstone pub, injuring two police officers as they desperately tried to evacuate the area.
Thursday, September 25, 1975, was a normal evening at the Hare and Hounds in Lower Boxley Road.
Soldiers from nearby Invicta Park Barracks were among about 40 people enjoying their drinks when one of their comrades burst into the bar.
Sharp-eyed Sapper David Campbell, 19, had seen a suspicious package outside and told landlord Brian Wooster to evacuate.
Recalling the terrible day four decades on, Mr Wooster, now 68 and living in Derbyshire, told the KM he was half expecting an attack, having been informed by police just weeks before that his pub appeared on a “hit list” confiscated from a man in Ireland.
But until a policeman shone his torch into a black holdall placed under Mr Wooster’s white J-reg Rover and discovered wires and mechanisms inside, he did not think it would really happen.
Half an hour later, at 10pm, the bomb exploded. The car, which the landlord had only owned for two weeks, was blown to pieces.
Two policemen were injured evacuating the pub and nearby homes. One witness reported seeing an officer draped over his patrol car with glass sticking out of his back.
Mr Wooster, who became a policeman after the attack as he no longer felt safe running a pub, said: “Anyone in there would have died without a doubt.
"One of the wheels from my car went through the front window of the pub and out the back window. The bonnet and steering wheel went over the prison wall.
“I had a two-year-old son, Paul. His mum took him down the road and sat in my mate’s car, thinking they’d be safe.
“The force of the blast blew the back windscreen in, but fortunately they weren’t hurt. The IRA claimed responsibility soon afterwards. I was really angry, but what can you do?”
Sapper Campbell was credited with saving the lives of the people in the pub and received messages of thanks from the Army, police and Mayor of Maidstone Cllr Horace Ashton.