IRA hand grenade from raid on Brookeborough Police Station
Material: cast iron
Dimensions: 13 x 6 cm
Organisation: Irish Republican Army, Royal Ulster Constabulary
Source: Police Museum 1993.212/ 1993.262
Photograph of Brookeborough Police Station
Dimensions: 20 x 14 cm
Organisation: Royal Ulster Constabulary
Source: Police Museum
A home-made cast iron hand grenade used by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in their raid on Brookeborough Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) barracks, Co. Fermanagh on New Year's Eve 1956. During the attack, the IRA fired on the police station and placed a mine which failed to detonate. The station sergeant returned fire as the party escaped across the border, fatally wounding two of the men. The attack was part of the IRA’s Operation Harvest or Border Campaign.
The IRA launched Operation Harvest with ten bomb and arson attacks across Northern Ireland on 12 December 1956. In the first year of the campaign, there were 366 incidents including attacks against courthouses, transmitters, army and police personnel and barracks. Police stations quickly tightened security, using sandbags to protect windows and erecting barbed wire entanglements. Unapproved border roads were closed and 200 B Specials were mobilized to man checkpoints and guard important installations. The Garda and the RUC worked together against the IRA and both the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland governments introduced internment. In 1962, Operation Harvest petered out due to lack of popular support. The campaign involved 605 incidents and resulted in £1 million worth of damage and the deaths of six RUC and twelve IRA men and 32 security force casualties.