Ballygawley bus bombing: Former soldier meets women who helped save his life

Discussion in 'Postwar' started by dbf, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD
    8 November 2015

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    James Leatherbarrow suffered extensive injuries in the IRA attack in County Tyrone in 1988

    A former soldier, who was injured during the Ballygawley bus bombing 27 years ago, has met two women on Remembrance Sunday who he believes saved his life.

    James Leatherbarrow suffered extensive injuries in the IRA attack in County Tyrone in 1988.

    Eight soldiers, all aged between 18 and 21, were killed.

    Mr Leatherbarrow put out an appeal on BBC Radio Foyle last month to find those who helped him on that day.

    The injured soldiers were given first aid by members of Londonderry's Star of the Valley Band who were travelling behind the bus.

    Now two women have come forward who were on that bus and looked after Mr Leatherbarrow at the roadside.

    They held an emotional reunion with him at a Remembrance Sunday service at the same spot where the bomb went off.

    One of the women, Grace Curry, recalled how members of the band had lifted the bus that Mr Leatherbarrow was trapped under.

    "I sat with James and he talked about how he was getting married in two weeks," she said.

    "I wouldn't let him go to sleep because I thought if he closes his eyes he mightn't open them again."

    Mr Leatherbarrow said he wanted to thank them "from the bottom of my heart".

    "If they hadn't given us first aid that night, a lot more of us would have died," he said.

    Mrs Curry said: "I'm so happy that I've met him and I'm so happy that he's all in one piece.

    "Through the years, he never left my mind - I always wondered how he was and what injuries he did sustain that night, because I didn't know how badly injured he was."

    Mr Leatherbarrow said the meeting was important for him in "putting the jigsaw together and things to rest".

    "Yes I wore the Queen's uniform and we got persecuted for it sometimes, but I was only doing a job at the end of the day," he said.

    "Seeing this today with all these lovely people means a lot."

    11 November 2013

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