Today is a rather sombre memory for the Household Cavalry. On this day 35 years ago, four members of the Regiment and seven horses lost their lives when the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) detonated a car bomb at 10:40am in Hyde Park. The Blues and Royals, riding down from Knightsbridge Barracks to perform the Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards Parade, were caught in the ensuing explosion.
The blast was one of two attacks that day in London (a second bomb blast at 12:55pm in Regent's Park claimed the lives of seven members of the Royal Green Jackets).
Four members of the Blues and Royals (Lieutenant Anthony Daly, Corporal Major Roy Bright, Lance Corporal Jeffrey Young and Trooper Simon Tipper) were killed, while seven of the Regiment's horses (Cedric, Epaulette, Falcon, Rochester, Waterford, Yeastvite and Zara) either died in the blast or were put down due to the severity of their injuries.
The Museum has in its collection several items connected to this tragic event, including the helmet worn by Trooper Simon Tipper on that day, a letter of condolence from the Queen Mother to the commander of the regiment at the time, as well as the hoof and damaged bridle of cavalry horse Sefton.
Sefton's wounds from the bomb blast were so severe, it was believed he would not survive. He endured 8 hours of surgery, a record in veterinary terms at that time, treating over 34 injuries, all of them potentially life threatening. After the surgery he was given a 50/50 chance of survival, but he made an amazing recovery that turned him into a national symbol of defiance. He returned to active duty with the Regiment, being awarded Horse of the Year that October.
Sefton retired from active service on 29th August 1984 and lived out the remainder of his life at a rest home for horses in Buckinghamshire. He died at the age of 30 from health complications believed to be related to the injuries he sustained in the bombing.
Helmet of Trooper Simon Tipper of the Blues and Royals, who died 20th July 1982 in an IRA car bombing.
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