Remembering the Victims of the Hyde Park and Regent’s Park Terrorist Attacks, 30 Years On

I met my husband through my first love, music. A musician since the age of five, by eleven I joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Band Service and fell in love with symphonic wind band and military music. At nineteen I spent a week with the Band of the Life Guards to learn about life as a musician in the army. I never did join the armed forces like my father and grandfathers before me, instead I’d fallen head over heels in love with a reserved young Lance Corporal and in time became the wife of a soldier and carried on with my burgeoning museum career instead. For me, playing in a military band (or four) in my spare time was enough. It provided me with a huge new social group, an invaluable musical education, the chance to travel across the globe and unparalleled access to the kind of gigs that other amateur musicians can only dream of (The Royal Tournament 1999, The Queen’s 80th birthday party at Kew Palace, on board the decks of HMS Warrior and HMS Victory among others.)

My experiences with the RNVBs and as a Corps of Army Music WAG have made my life immeasurably better and made me friends for life, so I would like to share a story with you that deeply affected so many people in our military music and Household Cavalry communities.

On the morning of the 20th July 1982 the ceremonial duties of the army were being carried out in usual in London. Crowds of tourists gathered to watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and lined the route that the soldiers took from there to the barracks.

The Blues and Royals were parading down Rotten Row in Hyde Park for the Changing of the Guard when a nail bomb hidden in a car exploded close by. Nails and bomb shrapnel tore through soldiers, horses and tourists. Three soldiers died instantly, and later another would die in hospital from his wounds. Seven horses were killed or had to be put down.

Two hours later in Regent’s Park a concert was well underway at the bandstand. The Band of the Royal Green Jackets were playing a crowd pleasing piece, a medley of tunes from Oliver! I’ve played it several times myself. An audience had gathered, enjoying listening to the music in the beautiful surroundings of the park. Another nail bomb had been hidden beneath the floor of the bandstand and had been timed to detonate in the middle of the concert. Every single musician was injured and seven killed, with many of the audience also hurt.

In the days that followed the IRA took full responsibility. I can’t even bring myself to write what they said about it.

I’ve met survivors of the blast and they still feel the pain of that day very deeply, 30 years on. To this day the Band of the Royal Green Jackets have never played Oliver! since.

Please take just a minute today to pay your respects to those that died in the terrorist attack.

Anthony Daly of the Blues and Royals, aged 23

Simon Tipper of the Blues and Royals, aged 19

Jeffrey Young of the Blues and Royals, aged 19

Roy Bright of the Blues and Royals, aged 36

Graham Barker of the Band of the Royal Green Jackets, aged 36

John McKnight of the Band of the Royal Green Jackets, aged 30

Robert Livingstone of the Band of the Royal Green Jackets, aged  31

Laurence Smith of the Band of the Royal Green Jackets, aged  19

Keith Powell of the Band of the Royal Green Jackets, aged 24

George Mesure of the Band of the Royal Green Jackets, aged 19

John Heritage of the Band of the Royal Green Jackets, aged 29

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6 Comments

Filed under stories from history

6 responses to “Remembering the Victims of the Hyde Park and Regent’s Park Terrorist Attacks, 30 Years On

  1. Patricia

    Thank you for remembering – I am the mother of one of the Bandsmen. Each day is a ‘remembering’ day for me. You have no idea how my son’s death has destroyed my life – my family.
    May I point out that my son was murdered at 1p.m. – I am always present at his grave on the 20th July at 1p.m. The earler bomb in Hyde park was at 12 noon not wo hours earlier. The Green Jackets are no more.
    On that day on my way home from work I purchased the score of ‘Oliver’!! Have no idea why I suddenly wanted it!!??? Didn’t know the band were playing it that day or any other day.
    In the splendour of the Olympic Games the deaths of these young men is a forgotten detail of history despite the 30 year mark – on par with the glorious victory in the Falklands!
    I did not watch any part of the games – Those taking part not heroic – their lives not on line for their countries – simply self indulgence.
    Re the armed forces – Very young men are persuaded and brain washed by powers that be to ‘take the country’s shilling’ – and for what? – A splendid millitary coffin and funeral!

  2. jean mckeating

    Today we remember George a lovely young man a friend of our daughter,who gave her her first kiss,our heart goes out to his parents who we remember Bob and Jean Mckeating

  3. jeff was my younger brother the news of what hapend that day devistated our family on that day i was working in cardiff taking down outhouse sheds that belongd to a huge number of flats in one of those where barrels full of water but in them was these things that i later found out was mercury detinators i phoned the police and it was terorists sort of stuff when i went home i heard the news of jeff was unbeliveable devistating still everyday devistated that i lost my brother

  4. XxX

    My thoughts are never far from the bandsmen that lost their lives, xxxx

  5. Jan

    31yrs today, such a terrible day, my brother David was a drummer on the bandstand, He is still with us Thank God.The Royal Green Jackets are no more. Swift and Bold

    • water

      Dear Jan, I was blessed to meet your brother David today. We sat next to each other on flight BA 009 London to Bangkok. I have filled in the bits he left out, of the event and recovery he endured that day. I do not know how to contact him , so please pass on my email address if you can. Mant thanks Walter Lown; waterlown@gmail.com,,,,(note ;there is no ‘L ‘ie waterlown

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