Eleven Empty Spaces: An oral history of the 1989 IRA bombing of Deal Royal Marine School of Music

Posted on 17/10/2011 by


At 8.22am on Friday 22nd September 1989 a massive blast destroyed all three floors of the recreation centre at the Royal Marine School of Music, Deal, killing 10 bandsmen and injuring 22, one of whom died a month later. The Deal Barracks bombing was part of a concerted campaign by the IRA against the deployment of the British Army in Northern Ireland since 1969. The bomb had been planted by an IRA cell the night before and contained 15lb (7Kg) of explosives.

Dover Museum  launched an oral history project to mark the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Royal Marine School of Music at Deal, with funding from the ‘Their PastYour Future’ project on 20th Century conflict, Deal Town Council and Walmer Parish Council, which is now online. As well as recording the experiences of those who were serving at theWalmer Barracks, the project includes the recollections of members of the local community and emergency services during the time of the bombing.

The project’s exhibition panels and 29 audio recordings can be found at the Eleven Empty Spaces website. The BBC have also put together a small audio slide show showing some of the images and some of the voices taken from the project, which you can view here.