Five years ago today four bombers brought death and carnage to London’s transport system. The attacks by four suicide bombers on the London Transport system on 7th July 2005 were the largest mass murder in Britain in peacetime killing 52 passengers on The Tube and on the No. 30 bus at Tavistock Square and injuring 800 more, many seriously.
Injured or not, and serious or not all who lived through the experience carry vivid and unsettling memories. There is a curious obscenity about suicide bombing, about the personal fascism which rationalises killing yourself and complete strangers you have first looked in the eye because you have convinced yourself it is for a greater good. There is a particular perversity, if you have religious faith, in destroying what you believe are God’s creations because you have appointed yourself as God’s representative and indeed have convinced yourself that shortly afterwards you will be personally thanked by Him.
According to a report in the Evening Standard the families of July 7 bomb victims today attacked the Mayor of London and the Government for “forgetting” the dead. On the fifth anniversary of the attacks, they spoke of their anguish at a “lack of compassion” in failing to send even a bunch of flowers to the four sites where 52 innocent people perished.
Graham Foulkes, whose son David, 22, was killed at the Edgware Road bombing, said: “This was an attack on Britain. It was not a natural disaster, it was pre-planned mass murder and there is not even a bunch of flowers from the Mayor.” The 58-year-old office worker, who had travelled from Saddleworth, near Manchester, with his wife Janet, to observe a minute’s silence at Edgware Road station for the six who died there, wiped away tears as he spoke of the “anger” victims’ families felt towards the authorities.
“This was the biggest loss of lives since the Second World War and it has almost been forgotten by the government,” he added. “They couldn’t even be bothered to arrange something for us today, we had to organise our commemoration. If you contrast this to 9/11, it is even more upsetting. The Queen was over there yesterday, yet she has not bothered to come out today for us.”
His comments came as bereaved relatives and survivors gathered at five sites across London to remember those who perished. At Edgware Road, where a train was blown up by Mohammad Sidique Khan, a crowd of 50 people gathered inside the station to lay flowers and stood silent as the clock struck 8:50am — the approximate time of the blast. At King’s Cross, where 26 were killed, families were led by staff into a private enclosure set up around the station’s memorial plaque. Tearful relatives of those who died laid flowers and held a silent vigil. There were also emotional scenes at Tavistock Square, where 13 lost their lives, and at Aldgate station, where seven died.
The Mayor and Prime Minister David Cameron both sent wreaths to the memorial site in Hyde Park, with handwritten notes. Mr Johnson, anxious to show he understood the significance of the anniversary, also sent an email tribute to all City Hall staff for “rising to the challenge” five years ago. But the families and friends of the victims said it was not enough. A 9/11 emergency worker who was buried under rubble as the south tower collapsed was among the crowd at Edgware Road. She had flown from New York to show her support. Bonnie Giebfied, 45, said: “I’m amazed there are no government officials here to be with the families. In America, you could accuse us of going over the top, but we will never let anyone forget September 11.” An unofficial ceremony was held in Hyde Park to mark the fifth anniversary of the 7 July bombings in the capital. Survivors and families of those who lost their lives in the terror attacks laid flowers by 52 steel pillars which represent those killed.
The father of Carrie Taylor, 24, who was killed at Aldgate, said the Government should have funded an official service at Hyde Park. John Taylor, 62, a security guard from Billericay, said: “In New York they have a massive ceremony every year for 9/11. It’s a shame the Government can’t recognise that they need to do more for bereaved families.” George Psaradakis, 54, the driver of the No 30 bus blown up in Tavistock Square, said: “It’s hard for me to accept that no members of the government will be at any of the bombing sites in an official capacity. I’m very disappointed.”
In the Commons today Mr Cameron said: “It was a dreadful day, but it was also a day that I believe will go out as a symbol of the enduring bravery of the British people.”
London Underground (LU) has said it has taken “huge steps forward” to improve safety on the Tube since the bombings exactly five years ago. LU managing director Mike Brown said: “The Tube is safe” on the anniversary. But he added: “Like any open transport system network, where you don’t search everyone going on to the system there will be possibilities for people.”
Since the bombings Digital systems, increased emergency training and more CCTV cameras have been introduced on the network. After the attacks, the radio systems were heavily criticised because emergency teams and Tube workers were unable to talk to each other when they were in the tunnels.
A digital radio system, called Connect, was installed on the entire network in 2008, to replace the old analogue radio and transmission systems. Another digital radio system called Airwave, which uses the same technology as the Connect system, rolled out in 2009, and is used on the Tube by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) British Transport Police (BTP) and the City of London Police.
“We have taken huge steps forward in the time since the 7 July bombings,” said Mr Brown. “I believe we have as many of the mitigation factors in place as we can to reduce the potential for the reassurance of these horrendous events. We’ve increased hugely the number of CCTV cameras across the network. We have more cameras across our Tube system than any other subway in the world.” Since 2005, the numbers of CCTV cameras on the Tube have been increased from 8,500 to 12,000.
As can be imagined many London Underground staff were greatly affected by the bombings, in evacuating members of the public and in having the courage to open stations and drive trains the next day when the happenings of 7/7 were still fresh and still graphic. Arrangements have been made at each of the stations with memorial plaques for bereaved relatives and survivors to pay their respects and Underground’s staff thoughts remain with those who were killed and those who mourn relatives and friends. Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy and MD Mike Brown went to the memorial in Hyde Park to lay flowers as a mark of respect from everyone at London Underground.
Since the bombings and with the Olympics coming to London in 2012 there is continuing concern about how secure you can make an open World City like London and its busy transit systems. It has turned out that two of the 7/7 bombers were known to the security forces who were aware they had been to training camps in Pakistan but leads were not followed up nor cross referenced.
As Prince Charles said at the opening of the memorial to the 52 victims in Hyde Park their bravery “offered us hope for the future”. He said the date of the bombings would be etched vividly on all our minds as a brutal intrusion into the lives of thousands of people. The families of the victims, the survivors and the stout hearted emergency services remain very much in our thoughts and prayers. You are a moving example of holding together bravery in the face of such inhuman and deplorable outrage and you offer us hope for the future,” he added. Which also begs the question, why was no commemoration organised on the 5th anniversary?
See; London 7/7 Bomb Memorial
These are the ordinary Londoners and visitors whose lives were cruelly destroyed on the 7th July 2005. These are the people who are missed by sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and partners of all races and religions. They were innocents going about their everyday lives and represent the diversity and dynamism of this great World City. The bombers looked them in the eye and decided their lives were not important. Londoner’s in their refusal to be cowed by the bombings have effectively said these were important lives, lives that cast a real shadow and count.
King’s Cross bomb
James Adams, 32, a mortgage broker who was travelling from his home in Peterborough to London through King’s Cross from where he called his mother.
Samantha Badham, 35, had taken the Tube with her partner, Lee Harris. The couple usually cycled to work but caught the Tube because they were planning a romantic dinner to celebrate their 14th anniversary.
Lee Harris, 30, an architect who died after receiving treatment at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London. His partner, Samantha Badham, also died in the attacks.
Phil Beer, 22, a hair stylist, was on his way to work at the Sanrizz salon in Knightsbridge with his best friend, Patrick Barnes, who was injured.
Anna Brandt, 41, a Polish cleaner living in Wood Green. She had 2 daughters.
Ciaran Cassidy, 24, of Upper Holloway, north London, on his way to his job as a shop assistant for a printing company in Chancery Lane. He was a keen Arsenal fan.
Elizabeth Daplyn, 26, an administrator at University College Hospital in London, left home in Highgate with her partner, Rob Brennan, before taking a Piccadilly Line train.
Arthur Edlin Frederick, 60, from Grenada, living in Seven Sisters, north London, on his way to work at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Karolina Gluck, 29, from Poland, said goodbye to boyfriend, Richard Deer, 28, at 08:30. The IT consultant was travelling from Finsbury Park to Russell Square.
Gamze Günoral, 24, a Turkish student, left her aunt’s house in north London to catch the tube to go to her language college in Hammersmith.
Ojara Ikeagwu, 55, a married mother-of-three from Luton, was on her way to Hounslow where she worked as a social worker.
Emily Jenkins, 24, from Richmond. Having just returned to the UK from Australia, she was waiting to hear whether she had been successful in her application to become a midwife, on the day she was killed.
Adrian Johnson, 37, a keen golfer and hockey-player with two young children. He was on his way to work at the Burberry fashion house in Haymarket where he was a product technical manager.
Helen Jones, 28, a Scottish (London-based) accountant who had previously escaped death in 1988 when wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed upon Lockerbie. Her family, from Chapelknowe, Dumfries and Galloway, said: “Helen will live on in the hearts of her family and her many, many friends”.
Susan Levy, 53, from Cuffley in Hertfordshire, the mother of Daniel, 25, and James, 23. She had just said goodbye to her younger son.
Shelley Mather, 26, from New Zealand, a tour manager with Contiki Tours.
Michael Matsushita, 37, left his fiancée, Rosie Cowen, 28, at the couple’s flat in Islington for his second day at work as a tour guide. He had lived in New York at the time of the 9/11 attack.
James Mayes, 28, worked as an analyst for the Healthcare Commission and had just returned from a holiday in Prague. He was heading from his home in Barnsbury to an ‘away day’ at Lincoln’s Inn and was thought to be travelling by Tube via King’s Cross.
Behnaz Mozakka, 47, an Iranian biomedical records officer from Finchley who worked at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.
Mihaela Otto, 46, from Romania, known as Michelle. A dental technician from Mill Hill, North London.
Atique Sharifi, 24, an Afghan national who was living in Hounslow, Middlesex.
Ihab Slimane, a 24-year-old I.T. graduate from Lyon, France, who was working as a waiter at a restaurant near Piccadilly Circus, was said by friends to have caught a Tube from Finsbury Park.
Christian ‘Njoya’ Small, 28, an advertising salesman from Walthamstow, east London.
Monika Suchocka, 23, originally from Dąbrówka Malborska, in northern Poland, arrived in London two months earlier to start work as a trainee accountant in West Kensington. A flatmate named Kim Phillip said whilst she was still missing: “This is her first time in London and she is really enjoying the excitement of it all”.
Mala Trivedi, 51, from Wembley was manager of the X-ray department at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.
Rachelle Chung For Yuen, 27, an accountant from Mill Hill, north London, who was originally from Mauritius.
Edgware Road bomb
Michael Stanley Brewster, 52, a father of two who was travelling to work from Derby. He died in the arms of fellow passengers who tried to help.
Jonathan Downey, 34, an HR systems development officer with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea from Milton Keynes, had just said goodbye to his wife at Euston .
David Foulkes, 22, a media sales worker from Oldham, Greater Manchester, was on his way to meet a colleague. It was his first ever journey on the London Tube network.
Colin Morley, 52, of Finchley, marketing consultant. He was originally from Crosby, Liverpool.
Jenny Nicholson, 24, daughter of a Bristol vicar, who had just started work at a music company in London
Laura Webb, 29, from Islington, a PA. Laura was the youngest of three children.
Lee Baisden, 34, an accountant from Romford who was going to work at the London Fire Brigade.
Benedetta Ciaccia, 30, an Italian-born business analyst from Norwich. One of three sisters, she was due to marry her Muslim partner in a ceremony which was to have joint Catholic and Muslim rites.
Richard Ellery, 21, was travelling from his home in Ipswich to his job in the Jessop’s store in Kensington, via Liverpool Street Station. He texted his parents, Beverley and Trevor, at 8.30am to say he was on his way to work.
Richard Gray, 41, a father of two young children, who worked as a tax manager. He was from Ipswich. At the remembrance service for the victims of the bombings in November 2005, Richard’s daughter, Ruby, was chosen to present a posy to the Queen.
Anne Moffat, 48, from Harlow in Essex, who was head of marketing and communications for Girl guiding UK.
Fiona Stevenson, 29, a solicitor who lived at the Barbican, London. Her parents, Ivan and Eimar, of Little Baddow, Essex, described her as “irreplaceable”.
Carrie Taylor, a 24-year-old graduate from Billericay, Essex. June Taylor, her mother, said: “We have a little farewell ritual. Carrie gives me a kiss goodbye”. The day before the bombings, she had written on the bare plastered wall of her parents kitchen (which was about to be redecorated) ‘Carrie Louise Taylor, 6/7/05, we got the 2012 Olympic Games on this day’.
Tavistock Square bus bomb
Anthony Fatayi-Williams, 26, a Nigerian-born executive with an oil and gas company based in Old Street, had been living in the UK for eight years.
Jamie Gordon, 30, from Enfield, worked for City Asset Management and was engaged to be married to his girlfriend Yvonne Nash.
Giles Hart, 55, a BT engineer from Hornchurch and father-of-two, was travelling to Angel via Aldgate.
Marie Hartley, 34, from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, was in London on a course. She was a mother of two young sons.
Miriam Hyman, 32, from Barnet, North London, a picture researcher. She had spoken to her father by phone after being evacuated from King’s Cross station and reassured him that she was all right.
Shahara Akther Islam, 20, from Plaistow, East London, a bank cashier who lived with her parents, and was both fully Westernised and a devout Muslim. Shahara was of Bangladeshi origin, she was the eldest of three children, her parents having moved from Sylhet, Bangladesh to the UK in 1965.
Neetu Jain, 37, was evacuated from Euston and caught the bus to take her to work as a computer analyst. Ms Jain was planning to move in with her boyfriend, Gous Ali.
Sam Ly, 28, from Melbourne, died at the National Hospital of Neurology – the only fatality of ten Australians caught in the bombing.
Shyanuja Parathasangary, 30, a post office worker travelling from Kensal Rise to Alder Street.
Anat Rosenberg, 39, an Israeli-born charity worker who called her boyfriend to tell him she was on the Number 30 bus moments before the blast. John Falding, 62, her boyfriend, said: “She was afraid of going back to Israel because she was scared of suicide bombings on buses”.
Philip Russell, a 28-year-old finance worker at JP Morgan who lived at Kennington in South-East London.
William Wise, 54, an IT specialist at Equitas Holdings in St Mary Axe.
Gladys Wundowa, 50, from Ilford in Essex, a cleaner at University College London. She had finished her shift and was heading to a college course in Shoreditch. Her body was taken to her homeland of Ghana for burial.