What happened to Combat 18 after the '95 Landsdowne Road riot?

The Neo-Nazi group continues to have a presence in Northern Ireland

With Ireland and England set to cross paths again on Wednesday at Wembley, thoughts are obviously turning to the last meeting at Landsdowne Road in 1995.

With Ireland leading 1 - 0, the game was abandoned in the first half after English fans rioted.

But the chief perpetrators of the events was a Neo-Nazi entity known as Combat 18. Long associated with the football hooligan scene in the UK which was used a recruiting ground for prospective members, British intelligence warned the Gardai that the group intended to cause mayhem in Dublin.

And trouble they certainly did cause. While Amhran na bhFiann was being played, Combat 18 chanted 'Seig Heil' and 'No Surrender to the IRA', all the while giving Nazi salutes.

They then rioted after an English goal was disallowed, causing 20 injuries.

It was a black day for football, but what became of Combat 18 since those events?

Charlie Sargent founded the organisation in 1992. Initially a stewarding group for the BNP, Combat 18 eventually split from the party in 1993 due to their hostility towards electoral politics. The number 18 in C18, are the initials of Adolf Hitler (AH), the first and eigth letters of the alphabet.

Two years after the Landsdowne Road riot the group began to implode because of an internal feud between the group's founder Charlie Sargent and a faction led by Wilf 'The Beast' Browning.

The latter's faction believed that Sargent had become an informant for British Intelligence and demanded that he hand over Combat 18's membership list in return for cash and work tools.

However both factions distrusted each other so Browning sent a mutually accepted go-between called Christopher Castle to go to Sargent's house.

However one of Sargent's associates Martin Cross stabbed Castle to death with a nine-inch knife.

Sargent and Cross were sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder.

With the Neo-Nazi group suffering internal problems, the UK police took advantage, arresting dozens of members in dawn raids with some eventually imprisoned.

Although Combat 18 is currently active in the UK and a number of other countries in Europe, North America and Australia, other groups have splintered off such as the White Wolves and the Racial Volunteer Force.

Combat 18 have also been active in Ireland since 1995, particularly in Northern Ireland where they formed alliances with Loyalist paramilitary groups especially Johnny 'Mad Dog' Adair's UDA during the 1990s.

As recently as 2009, the grave of Republican hunger-striker Bobby Sands was desecrated with Combat 18 grafitti.

In the same year, along with physical assaults, Combat 18 published the following menacing message via text and email, aimed at Roma immigrants in Loyalist parts of Northern Ireland:

"Romanian gypsies beware beware

"Loyalist C18 are coming to beat you like a baiting bear

"Stay out of South Belfast and stay out of sight

"And then youse will be alright

"Get the boat and don't come back

"There is no black in the Union Jack

"Loyalist C18 'whatever it takes'."


© INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan