Still shrouded in darkness I made my way across the Stone Bridge, over Sugar Island and then onwards up Canal Street towards home.
Now what was to come was one of those little twists of fate that could almost have went the other (unhappy!) way, if I had started my journey ten minutes later that.
I had reached a point almost midway along Canal Street, somewhere near the junction with Erskine Street when I became aware of a flash of light, and in the split second it took while I tried to comprehend what was happening, my ears were assailed by an almighty BANG! And then there came a blast of air from behind me.
This was clearly an explosion, a bomb, or some sort of explosive device like that had just discharged somewhere back along one of the streets I had just walked along or passed by.
Being young and foolish, I did what all young and foolish lads do. I turned and hurried back the way that I had just come to find out what was going on.
Crossing back over the Stone Bridge once more I discovered that it was Water Street, which was the scene of the explosion. Someone had, as I found out later, parked a car or van with a bomb in it in Water Street and the resulting explosion devastated the entire street. This was the street that I had crossed just ten minutes before. The road was strewn with wreckage, chunks of masonry, broken glass and bits of the car that had once played host to the device that had caused all this destruction.
By this time the local fire siren was wailing like some kind of demented banshee and the decibel levels were considerably increased when the military managed to get a chopper into the air. All of this noise and sonic turmoil was adding to the general atmosphere of confusion.
A crowd was beginning to gather as well as the Army and police, so I stayed only long enough to pick up a small piece of wreckage from the car that had once contained the object of all this devastation. This I would keep as some kind of macabre souvenir. I then decided to make myself scarce and head once more for home.
The picture above shows the piece of wreckage from the car bomb, it is quite genuine and is a picture of the actual piece of debris that I picked up that night, all those years ago. A little of the car’s red paint can still be seen in one corner.
… close shave: concluded …