Friday, 3 April 2015

Sunderland Republicans

Above: Members of the Sunderland Republican Movement (SRM) armed with a variety of firearms (rifles and sidearms) as well as wearing a mix of military attire and casual wear.

The SRM are a fairly young militant group founded in 1980 by George Hamilton, along with his father Michael Hamilton. They were, at first, a peaceful political organisation set up as part of a wider Republican Movement based in Liverpool and London. They were never voted for thus never getting a seat on the council. 

The elder Hamilton couldn't accept this defeat and, contacting his wife's Uncle in Londonderry, asked for arms to be shipped over to them in Sunderland. The Uncle agreed and sent a handful of firearms including several AKs, two sterlings, and a number of SLRs. This shipment went unnoticed by authorities and strengthened the SRM.

Their first operation was against the occupying Loyalist forces. They shot and killed two Paras near a checkpoint in the town centre. This attracted large media attention and it wasn't long before they claimed responsibility for the attack. 

The Hamiltons remained unidentified, however, and a manhunt for supporters spread across the city. Similar attacks took place across the country, with police officers being killed in Newcastle, Liverpool, and London.

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