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Memories of bomb horror

BOMB ATTACK: Frank Patterson. below, the wrecked coach at the scene of the 1974 bombing

BOMB ATTACK: Frank Patterson. below, the wrecked coach at the scene of the 1974 bombing

Today marks the 40th anniversary of a terrorist incident one Chorley man 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.

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

Frank Patterson, 61, of Heapey, near Chorley, 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 to help him get over it.

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

“I met with a couple of the survivors and also people who lost family members in the blast,” said Mr Patterson.

“I also met with the police officer who attended and in fact took charge of the body of the little boy I found on the embankment. It was a very moving experience.”

Twelve people died in the bombing, including two young children.

 

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