Thirty Years On

I remember what I was doing on March 6th, 1987. My brother hadn’t long moved out of home, I hadn’t long got back from Basic Training with the Territorial Army and the crippling snows had nearly all gone.

My brother and I went to a bar that had a lock-in and when we walked in, there was silence from everyone, with just the noise of the newsreader on the radio. I thought he was telling a story from the descriptions he was giving. I said to my brother something along the lines of it being quite a vivid description and wouldn’t mind it being a film so we could watch it. That’s when one of the other patrons said it wasn’t a story. It was real, and then the full horror of it started to sink in.

A ferry had left the Belgian port of Zeebrugge bound for Dover, It was the Herald of Free Enterprise. A red and white Townsend Thoreson ship, one that was referred to as a RoRo – Roll On – Roll Off.

As it left the port, the doors were not closed properly and a wave entered the bottom level of the ship and caused it to list and it was in trouble.

Just ninety seconds later – One and a half minutes. Less time than it takes to boil an egg. Less time than it takes most people to use the toilet. Less time than a commercial break on the TV. 193 people were dead.

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Image courtesy of Google Images

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Image courtesy of Getty Images

A Photo A Day … December 28 2012

I’ve been very busy today, so not able to go out. This is a photo that I took in September. The caption reads:

This Grappling iron is one of many used by the British sailors and Royal Marines to hold HMS Vindictive against The Mole during the Raid on Zeebrugge on the 23rd April 1918

Made at Chatham Dockyard, it bears the scars it received during the fierce battle when the Raiding Parties landed in the face of heavy enemy gunfire at point blank range.

The Zeebrugge Bell above the Town Hall, is rung at noon on the anniversary each year by the Town Mayor to commemorate the raid, the success of which denied the enemy use of the Belgian canals for the remainder of the war.

Eight Victoria Crosses were awarded for a battle lasting only 70 minutes

December 28 2012