Wednesday, 9 July 2014

I remember exactly where I was on July 7 2005

Iain Dale posed the question in his blog about where he was on July 7, 2005 when London suffered multiple bomb attacks on our transport system. He was prompted by the disgraceful defacing of the memorial to the victims the night before the memorial ceremony.

I remember very clearly exactly where I was: I was on the underground having just left my local station, rather later than usual, as I was going directly to a meeting out of the office.  By the time I got to the next station, still over-ground, I received a call from the office to say that there had been an explosion and they were closing stations but no one knew what had happened.

This triggered our crisis management plan – something you have and hope you never need! I don’t think that my train went any further but I was off it and on my way back home as it made more sense to be contactable. Within 30 minutes we had contacted every single member of staff.  Some were at out of office meetings, some on their way to work.  The transport system had closed down and some hardy souls walked several miles to work. Another was in lock-down at a seminar at the British Medical Association – not far from where the bus bomb had exploded.

News was confused: once we had assured ourselves that everyone was accounted for, colleagues were encouraged to assure themselves that friends and family were OK and then plans were made to get everyone home. No trivial thing as the transport system was shut down. People stayed with friends who lived close and some walked several miles home and where possible got taxis.  How much worse it would have been without the internet and mobile phones. You can read about it here.

Someone who worked in the security service once reminded me – they have to stop the terrorists every time, the terrorists only have to succeed once. So I won’t mind some extra security at the airport....

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