Remembering M62 coach bomb victims

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Silence fell as victims of a deadly IRA coach bombing were remembered 42 years after the tragedy.

Victims’ family, survivors and dignitaries gathered at Hartshead Moor services on Sunday morning to remember the nine soldiers and three civilians who died following the blast on February 4, 1974.

The coach was carrying off-duty Army personnel and exploded between junction 26 and 27 of the M62 near Oakwell Hall.

The entrance hall of the westbound section of the Hartshead Moor services area was used as an impromptu first aid area for the wounded.

The explosion killed eleven people straight away and wounded many others, one of whom died four days later.

During the service the Mayor of Kirklees, Coun Paul Kane, said: “For some here today, the memories are all too painful, all too real. They live with the memory of what happened that day, every single day. For others – as with many of the atrocities that were committed over those decades – memorials like this are the only way many young people will have an awareness that times were not always as they are now.”

Around 250 people turned out for the service, which included nearly 30 standards from various Royal British Legion (RBL) branches.

Members marched to the bottom of the car park, followed by ex-servicemen on motorcycles. Chaplain of the Spen RBLbranch Terry Brewis led prayers. Wreaths were laid by the families as well as by the relevant regiments, the Mayor of Kirklees Paul Kane and Calderdale mayor Lisa Lambert. On welcoming the mourners, Mrs Lambert said: “Remembering is an important part of what makes us human.”

The Last Post was played and two minutes of silence observed. The Mayor of Oldham – where many of the victims were based – was unable to attend due to illness.