In Memoria

The picture below is the memorial to those who were killed in the Baltic Exchange bomb.

It is very simple and seems to leave out more information than it gives. There is no mention of how and why they died. It does not mention their ages so a casual passerby would have no idea that one of them was a child.

Bearing in mind the devastation in the surrounding area it is remarkable that only three people died. (Although many others were injured, some severely and critically.) But The City tends to be a relatively quiet place at night. It was actually busier than normal that evening. It was a Friday and a number of workers were apparently celebrating the, somewhat unexpected, Conservative victory in the election of the previous day. The bomb was intended to be a spectacular to “welcome” the new government.

Danielle Carter was the only one of those killed that I encountered that evening. She had suffered terrible injuries and was killed instantly. She was 15. She had been waiting in a car for her dad who was a chauffeur who had just delivered a car to the area. He sister was in the car waiting with her and, although she also suffered terrible injuries, she survived. One can only begin to imagine how awful it must have been for her entire family but particularly her sister and her dad.

Her body remained at the scene for some time, an unfortunate consequence for the need of a forensic examination of the scene. I remember feeling a very strong sense of outrage and anger. The death of anybody in these circumstances is tragic but it always seems to be so much harder when a child is involved. I also remember feeling an overwhelming sense of her vulnerability and a need to protect her and give her dignity. I find it frustratingly difficult to exactly articulate this emotion but it was something that came out several times in therapy. It was also an emotion that came flooding back several years later when I encountered the body of another young woman with remarkably similar injuries, killed in another bomb in London.

Although my experiences at the Baltic Exchange that night were to make me ill I was lucky really. Of course anything I suffered was nothing compared to the families of those killed and also those injured in the explosion. And one emergency worker who attended the incident was terribly affected by it and never recovered. He shot his girlfriend five months later and tried to commit suicide. He is now in a secure psychiatric unit. One of the features of my illness was many layers of guilt. One layer of that was feeling guilty about being ill at all when others had really suffered.

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3 responses to “In Memoria

  1. I guess it must be quite difficult to write and share your feelings but I’m finding it really interesting to read – thank you for sharing, keep it up x

  2. Like Linda, I am finding your blog fascinating, Guy. For someone who wasn’t there, being given this visual imagery is extremely impacting. That is without being there. To have this inside you . . . . well . . . to me, this post alone explains PTSD. In fact, it makes it seem impossible for someone to witness this, to have this in their head and memories and not experience PTSD. My hat goes off to you, Guy. This blog is certainly showing me another side to you – your strength of character is amazing xxx

    • Unfortunately, so far I have only told a part of the events of that night.
      Other people have spoken to me about strength of character. It’s something I find hard to identify with. I have never sen myself as being particularly emotionally strong.

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