Frank attends M62 memorial

Frank Patterson
Frank Patterson

Today is the 40th anniversary of an incident Chorley’s Frank Patterson will never forget.

On February 4, 1974, the IRA blew up a coach carrying off-duty soldiers travelling with family members from Manchester to barracks in Catterick, killing 12 people.

The atrocity took place on the M62, near the Hartshead Moor service area.

Frank Patterson, 61, of Heapey, was one of the first people on the scene.

A nightclub entertainer at the time, he was travelling by car on the motorway with a friend, back to Chorley from a gig in Leeds, just after midnight.

His most enduring memory is of a toddler he found on the embankment with a leg blown off.

He cradled the dead child in his arms, still thinking it was alive, until a policeman pulled him away. Father-of-two, Mr Patterson, who was 21 at the time, was so deeply affected, he needed counselling.

Last year he spoke publicly to the Guardian about it for the very first time.

He attended the 40th anniversary service at the service area on Sunday.

“I met with a couple of the survivors and people who lost family members,” said Mr Patterson. “I also met with the officer who took charge of the body of the little boy I found. It was a moving experience.