A six-man terrorist team calling itself the "Democratic Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Arabistan" (DRMLA) captures the Embassy of Iran in Prince's Gate, Knightsbridge, central London, taking 26 hostages. The siege ends when the SAS storm the building, killing five of the terrorists and freeing the hostages.
It is announced in parliament that US nuclear cruise missiles will be located at RAF Greenham Common, Berkshire, and the disused RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire. Later in the year, CND hold a rally at RAF Greenham Common.
The Liverpool-registered coal ship Nellie M is bombed and sunk by an IRA unit driving a hijacked pilot boat in Lough Foyle.
Bobby Sands, an IRA member on hunger strike in the Maze prison, Northern Ireland is elected MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone in a by election. He later dies after 66 days on hunger strike.
Chelsea Barracks bombed by the Provisional IRA, killing two people.
CND anti-nuclear march in London attracts over 250,000 people.
The Glasgow-registered coal ship St. Bedan is bombed and sunk by an IRA unit driving a hijacked pilot boat in Lough Foyle.
Canada is granted full political independence from the United Kingdom.
Argentina invades the Falkland Islands & South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands on 2nd April. A naval task force is dispatched from the UK and after heavy fighting, the UK retakes the islands, finally declaring an end to hostilities on 20th June 1982.
The Provisional IRA detonates two bombs in central London, killing 8 soldiers, wounding 47 people, and leading to the deaths of 7 horses.
Sinn Féin win first seats on Northern Ireland Assembly, with Gerry Adams winning the Belfast West seat.
Three RUC officers killed by an IRA bomb near Lurgan in Northern Ireland.
A letter bomb explodes in 10 Downing Street sent by Animal rights activists with packages sent to the leaders of the other political parties. One member of Downing Street staff was burnt.
Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp: 30,000 women hold hands and form a human chain around the 14.5 km (9 mi) perimeter fence.
Thousands form a 14-mile human chain to protest the siting of American nuclear weapons in British military bases.
22 IRA members receive sentences totalling over 4,000 years from a Belfast Court.
38 prisoners hijack a lorry and escape from HM Prison Maze in County Antrim, Northern Ireland; one guard dies of a heart attack and twenty others are injured. Nineteen of the prisoners are later apprehended.
Over a million people demonstrate against nuclear weapons at a CND march in London.
The first US cruise missiles arrive at RAF Greenham Common amid protests from peace campaigners at the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp.
An SAS undercover operation ends in the shooting and killing of two IRA gunmen, a third is injured.
A Provisional IRA car bomb kills six, three police and three members of the public, and injures 90 outside Harrods in London.
The National Union of Mineworkers start a strike which lasts until the following year. During the strike, there are frequent clashes between picketing strikers and police.
Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams and three others are seriously injured in a gun attack by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).
Peace protesters are evicted from the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp.
WPC Yvonne Fletcher is shot and killed by a gunman during a siege outside the Libyan Embassy in London in the event known as the 1984 Libyan Embassy Siege. 11 other people are also shot but survive. Britain severs diplomatic relations with Libya.
In October, the IRA planted a bomb in the hotel in which the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet are staying during the Conservative party conference. Five people were killed and 31 injured, including some members of the cabinet.
Riots in Brixton, Toxteth, Peckham and Tottenham
The Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed, and some hoped this would mark the beginning of the end of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Many opposed the agreement, however, and so terrorism and violence continued.
Gerard Hoarau, exiled political leader from the Seychelles, assassinated in London.
Democratic Unionist Party stage protest at dissolution of Northern Ireland Assembly.
Rioting breaks out in Portadown in Northern Ireland between Protestants and Catholics.
UK breaks off diplomatic relations with Syria over links to Hindawi Affair.
Soldiers of the SAS kill eight members of the Provisional IRA at Loughgal, County Antrim.
Eleven people killed by a Provisional IRA bomb at a Remembrance Day service at Enniskillen.
Channel Tunnel construction is initiated, with completion targeted within seven years.
An Ulster Freedom Fighters terrorist, Michael Stone attacks and kills six mourners at the funeral of the three IRA members who died in Gibraltar.
Two British Army Corporals are killed by a mob after accidentally driving into a funeral cortege for the victims of the Michael Stone terrorist attack.
Pan Am Flight 103 explodes over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway and kills a total of 270 people - including all 259 who were on board. It is believed that the cause of the explosion was a terrorist bomb.
Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane is murdered by the Ulster Freedom Fighters.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran places a fatwa (order to kill) on author Salman Rushdie following the publication of his controversial book "The Satanic Verses", which has caused outrage among the Islamic community. Iran later breaks off diplomatic relations with the UK over the book.
IRA bomb the Tern Hill Barracks in Shropshire, injuring 50 soldiers of the Parachute Regiment.
Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and Superintendent Bob Buchanan of the Royal Ulster Constabulary are killed by the IRA.
The IRA bomb the Royal Marine School of Music in Deal, Kent killing 11 soldiers.
During the Twilight WarEdit
- Also take a look at our page Survivors' Guide to the United Kingdom.
The government started redeploying Gurkha battalions to the Americas, creating an "in-area rapid reaction force", in response to political pressure from several American governments
After an indecisive general election, the Labour and Liberal parties formed a government, known as the "Lab-Lib Alliance"
Following the Soviet invasion of China in August, the British Army is placed on maximum alert. Many people leave major cities in case of a nuclear war, but return a few months later. In late October, the army is stepped down to a normal state of alert.
- The 19th Infantry Brigade is formed at Circkhowell, the 4th Armoured Division is formed at Salisbury and the Artillery Division is brought up to strength by addition of wartime reservists
- In November, the 1st Royal Marine Brigade is deployed to Norway, along with a detachment from the Canadian Airborne Regiment, shortly before the Soviet invasion
- December - 2 Para and 2/Royal Green Jackets reinforce NATO forces in Norway
- December - The remaining Gurha battalion in Hong Kong is reinforced by Gurkha units from Nepal, and organised into the 6th Division, which is sent into China to help their war with the Soviet Union.
- December 5 - 5th Mechanised Division is formed from the 5th British Field Force and used as internal security in England.
- December 9 - 3rd Armoured Division crosses the inter-German border, along with the 5th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards and the Canadian 4th Mechanized Brigade.
- December 10 - 1st and 2nd Armoured Divisions cross the inter-German border. 3rd Armoured Division engages Soviets.
- December 12 - 1st and 2nd Armoured Divisions engage Soviet forces with the Canadian 4th Mechanised Brigade and US 3rd Armoured Calvalry Regiment
- December 24 - 1st Corps relieves the beseiged NATO forces in Berlin
- 6th Infantry Division enters China and comes under Chinese command
- The Parachute Regiment (British 1st Airborne Brigade) is formed as a mobile strike force for SACEUR
- 1st Corps links up with the survivors of the Berlin Infantry Brigade
- British forces reach Frankfurt-an-Oder on the Polish border. It enters the city, but is unable to seize the bridges over the Oder
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and the Queens’ Royal Irish Hussars are sent to Germany as part of the new British II Corps
German 1st Army, with British 1st Corps, drives through central Poland. 1st Corps breaks through the Polish forces on the Oder River.
- May 2 - 1st Corps enters Poznan, Poland and splits up
- May 11 - 4th Armoured Division takes Kalisz with only token resistance
- May 17 - 4th Armoured Division reaches Lodz
- May 25 - Lodz falls to the 4th Armoured Division
- June 7 - US and British units begin a rapid flanking movement through northern Finland, but are severely hampered by Finnish troops. This gives enough time for the Soviets to activate the 376th MRD in Leningrad and send them northwards as reinforcements
- June 17 - Warsaw is surrounded by NATO forces, including British 1st Corps; the city begins to prepare for seige
1st and 2nd Armoured Divisions move against the Italians
- Some British units are withdrawn from Norway for reassignment to Iran
- 24th Infantry Brigade is sent to Poland to help NATO forces.
- British forces halt the Italian drive through Germany
- Selected units are pulled out of Norway and returned to England, where they prepare for transit to Iran
- Following Argentinean military moves in the South Atlantic, a battalion of Territorial Army infantry is sent to the Falkland Islands. The Argentines back down, but the battalion remains
- Sept 15 - Seige of Warsaw is lifted by the Warsaw Pact; Soviet 7th Guards Tank Army breaks through. 1st Corps begins a fierce withdrawal action but is too heavily outnumbered
- 6 tactical nuclear airbursts strikes are made over Warsaw to slow the Warsaw Pact forces and cripple the road and communication networks, Trident II missiles fired from a British sub. 2 other missiles hit military targets to the south-east
Violent clashes between protestants and catholics in Northern Ireland get worse. Many catholics consider the police and Ulster Defence Regiment to be puppets of the protestants, and call for help from the Republic of Ireland.
As nuclear strikes hit, many people panic and leave the cities for the countryside. The police lose control in many areas, and the military are brought in to help restore order. Martial law is declared in November. Food and fuel rationing is introduced, but food riots break out in many cities.
The Irish army invades Northern Ireland.
Dec 4 - A Soviet nuclear strike destroys the British Government wartime command post, killing most of the government, some of the royal family, and the chiefs of staff
By the start of the year, most cities and towns have declared their independance, with the government only in control of garrison towns in southern England. The army spends the year re-establishing control in south-east England, and by the end of the year, the government controls the area south of a line from Dover to Reading and east of a line from Reading to Portsmouth.
In Ireland, the Irish Army had some initial success, but the UDR managed to halt its advance. As winter approached, both sides concentrated on feeding their people and the war effectively stopped, but the IRA started fighting a guerilla war.
British 3rd Armoured Division is withdrawn from combat for rest and refit, joined with the 7th British Field Force and renamed the 3rd Mechanised Division
The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) declares independance in February, and establishes the Royal Army of Scotland (RAS). The RAS manages to keep the peace betweeen the towns, and finds itself fighting various marauder groups, the largest one being known as the Tartan Army.
- 1st Armoured Division and US 38th Infantry Division participates in the NATO counter offensive into Czechoslovakia
- 3rd Mechanised Division comes under command of British II Corps
- 5th Mechanised Division and 19th Infantry Brigade sent to Europe to fight in southern Germany
British Army fights major battle with Soviet forces near Fulda, routing them
The military in southern England manages to rid the area under its control of marauders and set up a basic communications network.
Royal Engineers set up defensive lines at the edge of the military-controlled area, and work on housing the many refugees. The government sends a group of oil workers, with a military guard, to the North Sea oil rigs, in an attempt to establish a flow of oil.
In August, the 1st Airborne Brigade is withdrawn back to England.
In other areas, fighting started again in spring. In summer, the Tartan Army moved south of the border, but was decisively beaten by the Red Devils and moved back to the border region of Scotland.
In Ireland, the IRA maintained its guerilla war, despite UDR and police attempts to break it. The Irish Army launched an unsuccesful attack in April, and the UDR counter-attacked in May, pushing the Irish back along the whole front.
The army maintains martial law in south-east England, but organises the election of a civilian government. Two divisions return from Germany, increasing the available manpower for the newly-established government.
In other areas, there are now fewer marauder groups as large groups have set up small kingdoms and enforce order.
In Ireland, the Irish Army launches a surprise attack during the winter. Surprise allowed the Irish to make gains, but the weather worked against them, limiting their success. In the summer, the UDR launched an offensive, but made few gains.
- January - British forces in Germany are consolidated; 4th Armoured Division moved from south Germany to Magdeburg in north Germany
- February - 5th Mechanised Division is withdrawn to northern Germany
- July - British II Corps battles the Soviet counterattack following the failed NATO offensive
- December - 2nd Armoured Division returns to the UK with the 5th Mechanised Division and is renamed the East (2nd Armoured) Division. The 5th Mechanised Division is renamed West (5th Mechanised) Division