Manchester

'Forgotten' IRA bomb 25th anniversary marked

An injured man is treated
Image caption Sixty-five people were injured by the two bombs

A service of remembrance has taken place to mark the 25th anniversary of an IRA bomb attack in Manchester.

Two devices exploded on 3 December 1992 - one close to Kendals department store, the other near Manchester Cathedral - injuring 65 people.

Neil Tattersall, who suffered life-changing back injuries in the attack, said it is often overshadowed by the 1996 Arndale Centre bombing.

The remembrance service took place at St Ann's Church on Sunday.

The first bomb was placed at Parsonage Gardens in the heart of the Manchester's commercial district and exploded at about 08:40 GMT.

The second, which caused the majority of injuries, detonated at 10:05 in Cateaton Street near the city's cathedral.

Image caption Neil Tattersall, pictured after the attack in 1992, was the worst injured casualty
Image caption Mr Tattersall (left) attended Sunday's service at St Ann's Church

Mr Tattersall was hit with shrapnel through the base of his spine and said he remembers people running around screaming.

"They couldn't move me so I was in the zone where nobody could go and there were police officers looking after me there," he said.

"Then one broke off and managed to get an ambulance to me eventually and that's what got me into the hospital."

Image caption Buildings were damaged and

Mr Tattersall said the events had been "devastating" for him.

"Long-term it's not just the injuries to my spine, it's what it's done to my mind - the post traumatic stress disorder," he explained.

"Over the 25 years, it has seen me homeless, it has seen me penniless, ruined relationships because I didn't know what it was or how it was affecting me..

"What upsets me is how many other people out there like me."

The bombs of 1992 were not the last IRA devices to hit the city.

At 11:17 BST on 15 June 1996, a 3,330lb device planted in a truck outside the Arndale Centre exploded.

It caused devastation and left 220 people injured.

No-one was killed in the attack, which took place on a busy Saturday, after police evacuated about 80,000 people from the city centre.

Image caption The first bomb went off near office buildings in central Manchester

Witness: Richard Turner, BBC News Online

The sound was unmistakeable. A leaden thump in the air reverberated inside my chest followed by an eerie hush and the woop of a distant car alarm. There was no doubt - it was a bomb. And we'd been expecting it.

A similar device had gone off that morning close to the Manchester Evening News offices and there was talk of more to follow. Exactly where, no-one knew.

I was a cub reporter at the Manchester Metro News. Thursday was the day we went to press and the city was under attack. This was a big moment.

Dispatched from the offices, I was stood, notepad in hand, at the corner of Cross Street and Market Street talking to nervous office and shop workers who'd been evacuated. By coincidence, I was stood almost exactly on the spot where, four years later, a much, much bigger IRA bomb would detonate, changing the landscape of Manchester for ever.

About 100 yards away, on the other side of Shambles Square, the bomb erupted. I remember running towards the scene, only to be ordered back by a police officer who came charging towards the cordon. 'Get back now!' he roared.

Adrenalin was pumping through my veins. I felt frustrated that I couldn't get closer, yet the clock was ticking on my deadline. I gathered the quotes and shocked reaction I needed, called the news desk from a phone box, and then scurried back to bash out a page lead on a manual typewriter.

I soon learned our photographer Simon Pendrigh had been stood yards away from the explosion on Cateaton Street and captured the defining photograph of two men, clutching their ears, and shrouded in plumes of smoke.

Some people had been injured by glass blown out of office windows but, for now, Manchester had survived one of its first terror attacks.

The worst was yet to come.

Related Topics

Around the BBC