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Moorgate disaster victims remembered with memorial in Finsbury Square 40 years on

PUBLISHED: 15:13 14 June 2013

Richard Jones outside the new memorial

Richard Jones outside the new memorial

Archant

Victims of one of Britain’s worst train disasters finally have their own memorial – almost 40 years after the tragedy.

A total of 43 people were killed on February 28 1975 in the Moorgate Tube crash when a packed commuter train ploughed through buffers and into an end wall.

A further 74 people were injured on the Northern Line service in what is the greatest peacetime loss of life on the Underground.

Relatives of the victims have long campaigned for a permanent tribute to their loved ones with little success, but on Saturday a memorial was unveiled in Finsbury Square.

And on July 28, a special ceremony will take place to honour those who died in the crash.

Richard Jones, who is writing a book about the disaster and helped the campaign for a memorial, said: “We’re hoping people will come from all over the world to the event.

“It took a long time, but I feel very proud to have been part of it. Islington Council have been very good.

“A lot of people thought it would never happen. Some of the families have been in touch to say thank you and well done.

“I’d like more people to get in contact with me so I can tell their stories, which have often never been told, in the book.”

Clare Gerrad, whose grandfather Thomas Thrower, from Highbury, died in the crash, said: “My dad started the campaign about 10 to 15 years ago.

“He went to the Mayor of London and to Downing Street but didn’t get anywhere. He felt he needed to do this – he had no closure as to what happened. Now he’s absolutely over the moon.

‘‘He went up there over the weekend, sat quietly and looked at the memorial. I think he was quite choked- up.”

“It was devastating for him and his brother. I remember it from a simplistic point of view, because I was only five. My grandad worked in the City and was on his way to work. My dad never wanted to lay blame, he just wanted to close the door. Moorgate should have been recognised for the disaster that it was.”

Sadness

Cleland Thom was a reporter for the Gazette on the day of the tragedy.

He said: “I remember a profound sense of shock. It was the equivalent of the Hillsborough disaster, it was that kind of scale – particularly in Islington, which copped it worst.

“There was a terrible sense of shock and sadness that lasted a long time. I managed to get into the tunnel by putting on a fluorescent jacket, although I got pretty short shrift when I was down there. People talk about a scene from hell, but you wouldn’t believe it. Two carriages squashed up into six foot, body parts everywhere.

“I am absolutely delighted there is a memorial, although I’m amazed it hasn’t happened sooner.

“It gives the remaining bereaved people a focal point, acknowledging their struggle.”

n Anyone who wants to get in touch with Mr Jones can email shipwreckdata@yahoo.co.uk


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