I missed my Lockerbie flight

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by AlienFTM, Apr 9, 2010.

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  1. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    I just found the following quote on another thread and wondered if it was worthy of starting a new one.

    I'll go first.

    Over the years I seem to have had a close personal interest in many disasters.

    Starting in 1947 (there was an intervening brother still to be born before me). My mother and eldest brother flew to South America to join my father who had spent the war down a mine and nearly lost his arm in an argument with a conveyor belt so he changed career to become ... a gold mine engineer. Mum flew to Colombia in a converted Lancaster with the nascent British South American Airways. Of the inaugural flights, every other one crashed without trace and my mother's flight broke the sequence (luckily for me). Google has lots of interesting information about this sequence.

    In the early 70s, two 747s collided on the runway at Teneriffe with enormous casualties. A married couple of my mother's teacher friends were due to fly back that day. Not their flight.

    Reporting to my training unit in 1975 (I cannot now remember whether it was the abortive RMPTC Chichester or RACTR Catterick), somewhere behind us on the way from Sutton Coldfield to Euston there was a massive goods train crash near Watford Gap.

    I was on the Northern Line to Barnet (from RMPTC to a friend's house for a party) the night of the Moorgate disaster.

    A week after I eventually flew from Gib (ex adventure training to Gatwick) in 1980 delayed due to strong crosswinds closing Gib airfield as anyone who has ever experienced will know, the same British Caledonian flight disappeared mid-Atlantic en-route from the Canaries (or Madeira?).

    Posted to 12 Armd Wksp, Mercer Barracks Osnabruck in late 1982, we travelled via Felixstowe. A week or two later a freight ferry collided and sank off Harwich, taking to the bottom all the MFO belonging to 1 Green Howards, contemporaneously posted to the same barracks.

    I travelled Zeebrugge - Felixstoxe / Dover numerous times, often on the Herald of Free Enterprise. On Teletext the next day I saw the name of a clerk from 12 Armd Wksp that I'd left a few months earlier describing his experience. (Working by this time in Manning Division of the RAPC Computer Centre, I had access to the Manning Database and there was only one D*** G****y from Coventry on the list.)

    The Lockerbie flight must have exploded somewhere over my mother's deathbed at my brother's house on the border: wreckage was scattered in a 15-mile arc centred thereabouts.

    Clapham Junction. The guy from the next desk in the Computer Centre completed his four-year time bar and like most went straight to civvy street and a London commute (as did I a couple of years later). Badly injured.

    The instructor on my Transfer-In-Soldier course in 1982 was on the British Midlands flight to Belfast that crashed at East Midlands Airport. Killed.

    I think that covers it for me. The floor is open.
  2. Years ago when I was still 12/13 years ago and living in Thailand, we were all sent on a work jolly to a grim hotel in Pattaya. My father was the only European in his department, so we were the guests of honour at some sort of families dinner malarkey.

    The day after we left the hotel, it burnt to the ground killing the majority of the occupants; the fire escapes had been chained shut.
  3. Further to the Herald of Free Enterprise. I was being posted at the time.
    The contents of my house was on board that ship the week before it RoRo'd and I was booked on to it the week after - though that booking was amended :)
  4. Would have been on the Herald if my Flt Comd had got his way; fortunately a brother aviator gave me a lift to the UK to pick up a new motor, sailing 24 hours prior to the incident. (Thank you, Mark LeGresley, I still owe you a beer).

    I sat in Dover while the dealer sorted out a few snags with the car, and sailed for Zeebrugge in time to get stuck outside while the whole shebang went off. Got ashore and drove home to Detmold, to find myself on call to fly bodybags back to Koksijde.
  5. Day one of my new job in Norn Iron, I was working at the Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ) in Belfast. By day two, Plan B was in operation and I was sent to the new cop shop in Lisburn. Also on day two with me safe in Lisburn, a bored republican numpty from the Markets, lobbed a coffee jar bomb over the RCJ railings and while the only real casualty was the foreman's car (which he'd only just advertised as 'for sale'), those who had been in the ISO container (duty tea hut) had hearing problems for weeks.

    Or someone who managed to catch his Lockerbie flight or equivalent was a BAT I worked with in Hildesheim. He had left early to catch a North Sea ferry but he hadn't reckoned with a drunken German sea captain and the ferry had to take avoiding action and then managed to run itself aground. The passengers got off the ferry eventually but he didn't get his car back for days. :lol:
  6. 3-2-1 tropper enters stageright
  7. I was walking to the newsagent this morning for a pint of milk and a bus was coming. IF I had stepped out inot the road without looking at that precise moment I probably wouldn't be writing this shoite!!!
  8. Truly a lucky escape. :)
  9. The instructor on my Transfer-In-Soldier course in 1982 was on the British Midlands flight to Belfast that crashed at East Midlands Airport.
    I think that covers it for me. The floor is open.[/quote]

    Two lassies from my old firm en route to the annex also perished in this. Not forgotten ladies
  10. Missed the 1983 Harrods Bombing cos my mate and I decided not to go to London that day after all (I was 15, years later my Inspector was the only survivor of the little group of police officers blown up)

    The hotel in Khao Lak i stayed at was flattened by the Tsunami a few weeks later (something I had jokingly "foretold" to my Mrs ...

    on 6/7/2005 i was on a tube train when the news we one the olympics came through and I was the only one who didn't cheer, when asked why I said "cos we'll be a massive terrorist target now" I was roundly tutted by the carriage, I wonder how many remembered that the following day?


  11. :D :D :D

    I was thinking the same!
  12. @ AlienFTM: where do you live? Stay there. Do NOT come anywhere near me, you bluddy Jonah.

    Not me, but.................Route Search in Belfast in 1994, awaiting the arrival of Phil the Greek and his boy for the memorial service in memory of the Chinook crash victims. Having a cheeky cuppa at RUC Musgrave St, I got chatting to a few of the RUC officers who were going to attend the service. One tells me that one of the RUC senior ranks would have retired the following week and the chap had bought the retirement bungalow on the N Antrim coast. Apparently, when the mist cleared, his wife could look out of the lounge window and see the point on the Mull where the helicopter went in.

    Which was thoughtful of him.
  13. :twisted: I got jailed in 75 for loving a woman and released in 2004 for realizing I didn't love her at all :D
  14. Back in the 70's some time I was about to drive to Sheffield (shudder) on leave from 33 in Kent. My mate who was going on leave at the same time asked for a lift up to Waterloo so he could get a train to Jockland. We arrived at Waterloo and as he had a couple of hours to wait for his train we parked up and went into a pub near the station for a pint. After a couple of jars we left the pub, him to cross the road for the station and me to continue to Sheffield (puke). I had got to the North Circular when a news flash on the radio told me that the pub we had been drinking in had been bombed by the IRA minutes after we left.
  15. Not that outstanding really but the coincidence wasn't normal if you ask me.
    My last 3 duties in the Army doing duty NCO at Chilwel followed a very weird pattern. It was a kipping duty to just be in a particular room in case the phone went and to leave a fascinating smell in the small space consisting of whatever shite you had eaten in there hours earlier mixed with manky lung odour topped off with sweaty feet if you could be bothered to take your boots off.... I digress.

    On the morning of 7th March 1987 I woke, switched on the telly and saw the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster unfolding.

    On the morning of 19th November 1987 I woke, switched on the telly and saw the Kings Cross Fire disaster unfolding.

    On the morning of 7th July 1988 I woke, switched on the telly and saw the Piper Alpha disaster unfolding.

    Yeah yeah, I know. Sod all duties really but we were never there! I politely informed the Sazzman that he may not want to put me on duty ever again if he didn't want another major disaster on his concience. He chose to ignore me but as luck would have it, I never managed to fit another duty in before leaving.

    However, one nearly right Royally plopped oneself in the early hours of 16th October 1987 for several hours as we were sailing to Hull on a ferry from Germany at the time. .... just as the great storm of that time was trying to empty the North sea into the Arctic. I don't mind telling you that the 'Dunkirk' spirit was converted into another spirit and imbibed by the pint to calm the old nerves. I really thought we were 'gonners that day.