In 1987, Prince Edward left the Royal Marines just three months after joining. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s special envoy Terry Waite disappeared in Beirut whilst negotiating for the release of hostages. The ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise capsized while leaving the Zeebrugge harbour, killing 193.
The 1987 General Election resulted in Margaret Thatcher securing her third term in office and £60 million was stolen during the Knightsbridge Security Deposit robbery. The novelist and former Conservative MP Jeffrey Archer won a libel case against Daily Star over allegations that he was involved in a vice ring.
Michael Ryan shot dead 15 people in the Berkshire town of Hungerford before taking his own life. A 16th victim was to die later in hospital. Despite UK government attempts to ban the publication of former spy Peter Wright’s memoirs, Spycatcher, in the UK, the book is freely available in other parts of the world, notably Australia.
This was the year in which Michael Fish got it wrong as hurricane-force winds battered much of south-east England, killing 23 people and caused extensive damage to property – Sevenoaks in Kent was reduced to one oak. In October the Black Monday Wall Street crash lead to £50billion being wiped off the value of shares on the London stock exchange. Also, retired jockey Lester Piggott was jailed for tax evasion. Prompting a very funny joke (well I thought it was – ‘Who was the last fifteen stone rider of a Derby winner? – Lester Piggott’s cellmate.’ Boom tish, I thank you!)
1987 was also the year of the Enniskillen bombing and the fire at Kings Cross on the London Underground. Mike Gatting and Pakistani cricket umpire Shakoor Rana had their famous on-pitch discussion and construction of the Channel Tunnel was started.