Memorial for those killed in bombing

Mo Norton
Mo Norton

A MEMORIAL ceremony was held for a heroic coach driver who survived a motorway bombing which killed a young Tyldesley soldier from the borough nearly four decades ago.

Signalman Leslie Walsh, was just 17 years old when he was one of a dozen people who lost their lives in a terror attack thought to be the work of the IRA in 1974.

Mo Norton, the sister of another victim, Terrence Griffin, also lives in Wigan.

Nine soldiers and three civilians were killed when a 50lb bomb left in a luggage locker of the coach carrying off-duty service personnel and relatives from Manchester to an Army base at Catterick, North Yorkshire detonated on the motorway near Bradford.

A tree was planted to mark the atrocity, in which a further 50 people were injured, at Hartshead Services on the M62’s westbound carriageway this weekend in memory of driver Roland Handley, who died last year aged 76.

Mr Handley was widely praised in the aftermath of the tragedy, as he brought the damaged coach safely to a halt despite being injured himself by the flying glass.

Relatives of the victims join soldiers and veterans every year at a memorial service held around a remembrance plaque at the service station.

The tree planting was accompanied by the laying of a wreath and a poignant rendition of the Last Post on Sunday.

All bar one of the victims of the atrocity on February 4, 1974 were from the North West.

The attack happened on February 4, 1974. The prime suspect for the bombing was the Provisional IRA, but it never officially admitted responsibility.