On this day in 1981 Provisional Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands began his hunger strike in HM Prison Maze. Sands was the leader of the hunger strike by Irish Republican prisoners protesting the removal of Special Category Status. Special Category Status was POW status giving them some of the privileges of POW’s as specified in the Geneva Convention.
Bobby Sands would die on May 5, 1981 at the age of 27. Sands death and the deaths of nine other hunger strikers led to a surge in Provisional Irish Republican Army recruitment and activity. I remember well the evening news during those two months that Bobby Sands was on his hunger strike and it was a big story every night.