Hyde Park Bombing 1982 And Woolwich Shooting

Jan Leeming

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Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

HYDE PARK BOMBING 1982 AND WOOLWICH SHOOTING

Date: 22nd May 2013

WEDNESDAY 22nd MAY

What a strange day of coincidences. I was sitting typing my Blogs for the website and up came the news.

One item was about the sentencing of the man who set off the Bomb in Hyde Park in 1982. I remember the event very well indeed. I was about to do a presentation for some Corporate Event and heard a massive explosion. I was staying in the Royal Lancaster Hotel and immediately phoned the News Department at the BBC (I was at the time a BBC Newsreader). I thought that they’d already have heard but I was the first to phone in the news. I can still see the pall of smoke which rose in the distance.

I remember the News pictures that night and the scenes of carnage and dying horses lying on the road. The Household Cavalry had been passing when a car bomb was detonated – it was a nail bomb and the poor creatures were covered in piercings made by the nails.

Then another news item was concerning a police chase and shooting in John Wilson Street, Woolwich. My grandmother rented 109 John Wilson Street and that is where I lived for much of my life until my early teens. I used to catch the bus to my Convent School in Charlton – the Assumption Convent long since put to other uses. I do remember on one occasion we had a ‘pea souper’ fog and someone had to walk in front of the bus with a lighted flare. Another memory was the Catholic girls winding up we Non-Catholics and telling us that there was a ghost in the chapel.

I used to go blackberry picking in the park about a mile from my home – you were safe going out and about in those days.

I also remember going home on the bus one afternoon and the bus conductor asked me what my name was and when I told him that it was Janet Atkins and my Daddy was a soldier he replied - and is your father Tommy Atkins. ‘Yes’ I said delightedly ‘Do you know him’. I had no idea that soldiers were called Tommy Atkins and still don’t know why – will have to look it up on the Internet. Actually my father’s name is Ivan but my stepmother met him when they were both serving in Singapore and his nickname must have been Tommy and that’s what he has remained. I much prefer his real name.

And when I passed my 11+ I bussed in the other direction towards Abbey Wood and St. Joseph’s Convent – that was converted into flats some years ago.


 

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