Liverpool City Police

Hope Street siege 1975

By Chris kelly & bill morris Retd.

Click on an image to enlarge


On the evening of Tuesday 8th of July 1975 an IRA active Service Unit made up of three men went into a Chinese restaurant in Manchester and during the meal there was a disturbance and the Police attended. One of the men produced a firearm and threatened a Police Inspector. They then fled the scene in a vehicle.

In the early hours of the following morning a vehicle with the men in went through a red light at the junction of Hope Street and Hardman Street and was stopped by Police Officers. Sgt Nick Doran and PC John Taylor came out of the nearby Hope Street Police station to assist the officers and as they got to the kerb, one of the IRA Unit went down on one knee took aim and fired at the two Police Officers. The bullet hit the ground in front of Sgt Doran and ricocheted into his face injuring him slightly. The men then ran off.

 Later that morning a team was put together to do the investigation made up of Regional Crime Squad Officers, Special Branch, Task Force, and divisional CID.
That afternoon a man went into Hope Street Police station and stated that he had been held prisoner in his house by the IRA. Detectives interviewed him and began making enquires.

The following day in the early hours of the morning and acting on information received, a team of Detectives met on “The Mons” car park in Bootle and proceeded through the entries to a house in Clare Road where they raided a house and arrested a number of people and took them to St Anne Street Police station.

As a result of those interviews and further information coming to light the Detectives decided to raid an address in Oxford Road Waterloo, leaving St Anne Street Police Station at about 4am . There were approximately two dozen Detectives on the raid and they were armed.

The first door that was kicked in belonged to a school teacher who pointed at the door across the hall. The officer Det Sgt Tommy Davies was about to kick that door in when shots rang out from inside the flat and the officer was wounded to his stomach and groin. The Police fired back and then removed the injured officer to safety. It later transpired that explosives were found at the scene too.

After a few hours the three IRA men gave themselves up and were taken to St Anne Street Police station under arrest. Accompanied by Royal Army Ordnance Corps ammunition technicians, the Police later took away 17 plastic bags of explosives, guns and ammunition and several boxes.

After a prolonged operation Det Sgt Davies was taken off the critical list and allowed to see his family.

Sgt. Nick Doran was shot on July 9th 1975. There's a mention of it in a July 11th article in The Times Archive:

"From John Chartres Llverpool Shooting incidents in Liverpool yesterday morning and on Wednesday, and another in Manchester last week, all involving Irishmen and the wounding of police officers, are causing concern in the North- West of England, which so far has been spared any serious re- enactment of the conflict 'in Northern Ireland. All police leave in Merseyside was cancelled last night. Early yesterday a party of 20 policemcn, some of them armed, surrounded a house in Oxford Road, Waterloo, near Liverpool. Three officers entered the house, and Det Sergeant Tom Davies was seriously wounded in the stomach by shots fired through a closed door on the first-floor landing. He was taken off the critical list in Walton hospital last night after a prolonged operation for the removal of bullets; and was allowed to see his wife. He has two children. Other police officers returned fire after Sergeant Davies fell, then entered the house and carried him to safety.Accompanied by Royal Army Ordnance Corps ammunition technicians, they later took away 17 plastic bags of explosives and several boxes. Three men were arrested. They were described yesterday by Det Chief Supt Thomas Whittlestone, head of Merseyside CID, as Irishmen. He said that a large quantity of explosives, firearms and ammunition were recovered from the house. The raid followed inquiries into the shooting early on Wednesday of Sergeant Nicholas Doran, aged 46, the inquiry desk sergeant at the metropolitan force's Hope Street head. quarters, and the searching of several houses in the Liverpool area on Wednesday night Sergeant Doran was shot in the face and leg when he went to assist two officers interviewing the driver of a car stopped for crossing a red traffic light near the police station. The occupants of the car ran away. Sergeant Doran's injury was not serious. In a separate incident yesterday, two men carrying sawn-off shotguns and a holdall walked to the door of O'Hare's jewellery shop in Breck Road, Anfield, Liverpool, and were challenged by Mr Alfred Alcock, a security guard. One of the men fired at point-blank range and shot him dead. The men got away in a stolen car, which was later found abondoned, despite an attempt by a passer-by to block their route Mr Whittlestone, who was called from a news conference on the Waterloo shooting to investigate the Anfield murder, said there was nothing to connect the two incidents. Photograph, page 2 Arms found after two policemen are shot."

Chris Kelly, Retd.

Please click to enlarge

Hope Street on the morning of the siege

Please click to enlarge

Vehicle abandoned by the IRA shortly after the Hope Street shooting

After the incident in Hope Street during the early hours of Wednesday 9th July 1975, when an IRA Active Service Unit had been stopped by the Police and subsequently opened fire and injured Sergeant Nick Doran, they then went to ground in the Canning Street Upper Parliament Street area.

Later that morning an operation was put together involving Detectives from the Regional Crime Squad, Special Branch, Task Force and Divisional Detectives, the officers worked from St. Anne Street Police Station and enquiries were concentrated in the Upper Parliament Street area in an effort to locate the men concerned.

Late in the afternoon of the 9th July a man went into the General Enquiry Office at Hope Street Police Station and informed the desk officer that he had been held hostage by the IRA men in his own home.

Detectives from the on going operation spoke with him at Hope Street and then brought him to St. Anne Street Police Station where he was further interviewed by Special Branch Officers during the evening.

As a result of the information that was obtained a decision was made to search a house in Clare Road Bootle and in the early hours of the morning of the 10th July some twenty Detectives rendezvoused on the car park of the Mons Hotel Southport Road after a further briefing they went through the rear entries and quickly gained entry into the house, a number of persons were subsequently removed from the property and taken to St. Anne Street Police station, the house was then searched.

As a result of interviewing those from Clare Road and further intelligence that had come into the enquiry, a house was identified in Oxford Road Waterloo as the location where the Active Service Unit were now located.

The house concerned was a three story terrace house sublet into a number of flats, shortly after 4.00a.m. on the morning of Thursday 10th July a convoy of unmarked Police Vehicles left St Anne Street Police and travelled to Waterloo there were some 24 officers involved in the operation a number of which were armed.

As the Detectives arrived at Oxford Road, the vehicles were parked in side streets, and a number went to the rear with three officers including Detective Sergeant Davies going to the front door, they quickly gained entry into the premises and ran up the stairs to a landing they entered one of the flats which in fact was occupied by a retired school teacher, who instantly pointed out a flat across the small hallway, the Detectives then turned round and approached this door as they did, a firearm was discharged from within the flat and the subsequent bullet travelled through the door hitting Detective Sergeant Davies in the stomach area. He was seriously injured, and then shots were returned by the Detectives on the landing.

There was no further exchange of gun fire and Detective Sergeant Davies was evacuated out of the premises and removed to Walton Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery later that morning.

There was now a stand off, however after a couple of hours the 3 IRA men surrendered to armed Police Officers. They were arrested and taken to St. Anne Street Police Station.

A large quantity of explosives was recovered from the flat, these explosives had in fact been stored in the fireplace, also recovered were firearms and a machine gun.

The three men concerned were later charged with numerous offences and eventually stood trial at the Old Bailey where after being convicted they were sentenced to lengthy prison sentences.

Detective Sergeant Davies recovered from his injuries and resumed normal Police Duties.

On 6th December 1975, an IRA Active Service Unit took a man and a woman hostage at a flat 22B Balcolm Street in London, this siege lasted six days and on 12th December the four men concerned surrendered to armed Metropolitan Police Officers.

Bill Morris RTD
(Former RCS Detective Constable involved in the enquiry and subsequent incident at Waterloo)

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