Christopher Ewart-Biggs
Christopher Ewart-Biggs, CMG
Order of St Michael and St George
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is an order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later George IV of the United Kingdom, while he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, George III....

Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (1921 – 21 July 1976) was the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 Ambassador to Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

 and an author. He was assassinated by the Provisional Irish Republican Army
Provisional Irish Republican Army
The Provisional Irish Republican Army is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation whose aim was to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and bring about a socialist republic within a united Ireland by force of arms and political persuasion...

 in Sandyford
Sandyford is a suburb of Dublin, located in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County, Ireland. A major part of Sandyford today is composed of the Sandyford Industrial Estate and related developments.- Location and access :...

, Dublin.

His widow, Jane Ewart-Biggs
Jane Ewart-Biggs, Baroness Ewart-Biggs
Felicity Jane Ewart-Biggs, Baroness Ewart-Biggs was a British politician and wife to the British Ambassador to Ireland, Christopher Ewart-Biggs, who was murdered in office...

 (died 8 October 1992), became a Life Peer in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

, campaigned to improve Anglo-Irish relations and established the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize
Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize
The Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize was created in 1977, in memory of Christopher Ewart-Biggs, British Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland, who was assassinated by the IRA in 1976....

 for literature.


Christopher Thomas Ewart Biggs was born in the Thanet
Thanet is a local government district of Kent, England which was formed under the Local Government Act 1972, and came into being on 1 April 1974...

 district of Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

 to Captain Henry Ewart Biggs of the Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

 and his wife Mollie Brice. He was educated at Wellington College
Wellington College, Berkshire
-Former pupils:Notable former pupils include historian P. J. Marshall, architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, impressionist Rory Bremner, Adolphus Cambridge, 1st Marquess of Cambridge, author Sebastian Faulks, language school pioneer John Haycraft, political journalist Robin Oakley, actor Sir Christopher...

 and University College, Oxford
University College, Oxford
.University College , is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England. As of 2009 the college had an estimated financial endowment of £110m...

 and served in the Royal West Kent Regiment of the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 during the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. At the battle of El Alamein
Second Battle of El Alamein
The Second Battle of El Alamein marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The battle took place over 20 days from 23 October – 11 November 1942. The First Battle of El Alamein had stalled the Axis advance. Thereafter, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery...

 in 1942 he lost his right eye and as a result he wore a smoked-glass
Smoked glass
The term smoked glass refers to two different types of glass. It can be either of the following: Smoked glass is a flat sheet of glass held in the smoke of a candle flame such that one surface of the sheet of glass is covered in a layer of smoke residue...

A monocle is a type of corrective lens used to correct or enhance the vision in only one eye. It consists of a circular lens, generally with a wire ring around the circumference that can be attached to a string. The other end of the string is then connected to the wearer's clothing to avoid losing...

 over an artificial eye. Also, as a British consul in Algiers in 1961 (before the French withdrawal), he had been a potential target for assassination by diehard French colonialists.


Ewart-Biggs was 55 when he was killed by a land mine planted by the IRA. He had taken previous precautions to avoid such an incident since coming to Dublin only two weeks before the incident (e.g. varying his route many times a week), but due to a vulnerable spot on the road connecting his residence to the main road, at that point had only the choice between left or right. He chose right, and approximately 150 yards from the residence, hit a land mine (said to contain hundreds of pounds of explosives). Ewart-Biggs and fellow passenger and civil servant Judith Cooke (aged 26) were killed. Driver Brian O'Driscoll and third passenger Brian Cubbon
Brian Cubbon
Sir Brian Crossland Cubbon GCB is a former senior civil servant and is currently a member of the Charter Compliance Panel of the Press Complaints Commission.Cubbon was educated at Bury Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge...

 (aged 57, the highest-ranking civil servant in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 at the time) were injured.


Dublin launched a man-hunt involving 4,000 Gardaí
Garda Síochána
, more commonly referred to as the Gardaí , is the police force of Ireland. The service is headed by the Commissioner who is appointed by the Irish Government. Its headquarters are located in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.- Terminology :...

 and 2,000 soldiers. Taoiseach
The Taoiseach is the head of government or prime minister of Ireland. The Taoiseach is appointed by the President upon the nomination of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas , and must, in order to remain in office, retain the support of a majority in the Dáil.The current Taoiseach is...

 Liam Cosgrave
Liam Cosgrave
Liam Cosgrave is an Irish Fine Gael politician who served as Taoiseach and as Leader of Fine Gael . He was a Teachta Dála from 1943 to 1981....

 declared that "this atrocity fills all decent Irish people with a sense of shame." In London, Prime Minister James Callaghan
James Callaghan
Leonard James Callaghan, Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, KG, PC , was a British Labour politician, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1976 to 1980...

condemned the assassins as a "common enemy whom we must destroy or be destroyed by". Thirteen suspected members of the IRA were arrested during raids as the British and Irish governments attempted to apprehend the killers, however no one was ever convicted of the killings.


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