back to article 7/7 memories: I was on a helpdesk that day and one of my users died

Ten years ago today I was sitting at my IT support desk at an ad agency in central London – covering the early shift and waiting for the first calls of the morning to come in from tired, agitated users. But on that day, the phones remained eerily silent and as the minutes ticked by none of my fellow techies had yet turned up …

  1. The Vociferous Time Waster

    Also on a helpdesk

    I was also on a Helpdesk and I recall the calls coming in thick and fast from people wanting backups kicked off immediately as they were evacuating the office and heading home by whatever means possible.

    I also recall the stories of people helping each other out and the surge of pride in how Londoners refused to be intimidated. Ten years later everyone remembers he victims and thankfully everyone has forgotten the cowardly perpetrators. Whatever cause they hid behind is meaningless now but the way London rose up in the face of tragedy will be remembered for many years to come.

    1. AndyS

      Re: Also on a helpdesk

      I was graduating in Glasgow on that day. My friend's girlfriend was in London (luckily unhurt) and her texts started coming through as we streamed out of the hall. In the middle of our celebration, nobody realised until much later in the day how serious it had been.

      While we remember it, let's also remember the many thousands who are still attacked daily round the world. More people have been killed in suicide attacks in Baghdad in the last week, than were killed that day 10 years ago. Just yesterday, Saudi Arabia killed another 30 people (running a tally of 3,000) in a market place in Yemen.

      Every one is heart wrenching.

    2. ckdizz

      Re: Also on a helpdesk

      I too was on a helpdesk. We naturally couldn't float technicians to any place, so all non-essential visits got cancelled.

      I have never heard anything more horrifying or the antithesis of that spirit than the guy who told one operator that he didn't care if people were dead, his internet was down.

      1. dc_m

        Re: Also on a helpdesk

        Highly unprofessional of me, but I pretty much would have sworn and hung up on him.

        1. Phil W

          Re: Also on a helpdesk

          To be fair, I doubt you would have gotten in much trouble for it under those circumstances.

  2. fruitoftheloon
    Thumb Up

    Thank you

    Kelly,

    many thanks for sharing your memory with us.

    Kind regards,

    jay

  3. Steven Raith

    The benefits of being late to work

    My memories of the day are a bit blurry - working (also) on a helpdesk/IT dept, waking up a bit late and traipsing down to the station, and deciding I was going to buy that damned coffee, rather than run for the train.

    Get to Kings X and get told that the underground is closed. Electrical fire. Surprising amount of police around for a fire.

    Try getting a mobile signal to call up the office, nowt.

    Went to the main councourse and it was only then that suggestions of bombs were coming around.

    Ended up sitting outside the main councourse talking to an american exec about the patchy info we had, wishing him well, and walking down Caledonian Road to the office. Then waiting for people to arrive; that was the worrying part.

    A few people I know lost friends that day; by virtue of waking up late, I managed to miss being one of 'em.

    Train was unsurprisingly quiet the next day.

    Steven R

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    I was in Vienna airport

    waiting for a plane to Kiev, having flown out of Heathrow an hour or two earlier.

    The whole airport was full of stunned passengers just watching the news on TV monitors throughout the concourse. Couldn't get through to BBC colleagues for most of the day, eventually got contact later that evening.

    An eerie repeat in some ways of watching the real time 9/11 images when I was in California nine years earlier.

    I've been a lot closer to personal danger of that type throughout my career, but somehow never felt it in the same way.

    <shudder>

  5. Vinyl-Junkie

    When being made redudant turned into a positive...

    I was unemployed at the time and hadn't worked in London for many years in any event. However I had many friends who worked in London (and still do) and, thanks to having time on my hands, was able to do what many couldn't; spend the day continuously phoning until I reached one of them, then reporting that contact back to their nearest and dearest (who were often also caught in the chaos), and then their friends. Not much in the scheme of things, but you do what you can...

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: When being made redudant turned into a positive...

      At least you were dialing from home.

      I had an interview that day and they stopped the trains right before I got on the one to Kings'X. So I drove all the way to the other side of London (and made it) instead. I have never seen so many Chelsea tractors on their roof. The older RangeRovers and Discoveries are extremely unforgiving to trying to dial without a handsfree while way above the speed limit (it was mostly big 4x4 - I did not notice any overturned "commoner'"s cars)

      I counted 10+ on my way that day (one motorway and a piece of M25). If we extrapolate that number to all motorways leading into London the overall casualty number will probably be significantly higher than the official one.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Captain TickTock

    Got in early.

    Part of my route to work was a walk from Kings Cross to Charlotte St, past Tavistock Square.

    I remember we suspected it was more than just electrical problems on the tube.

    And then from the office we heard the bus go off.

    At midday they sent us home, and we walked with half of London it seemed, to Finsbury Park, where the trains were terminating.

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: Got in early.

      Blimey, you're right. It's been so long I forgot about that walk. Bit less of the usual hustle and bustle that day, as I recall - somewhat more sombre.

      Steven R

  8. 8Ace

    Is it just me ... ?

    I find the whole "7/7" monicker a bit offensive. It's like the UK media thought - well the US had a snappy 9/11 title for their horror, we should have one too. There is no reason for it other than to ape the US media, it never happended in the past. Can't they respect the victims without having to "tag" the event.

    1. The Vociferous Time Waster
      Trollface

      Re: Is it just me ... ?

      Yeah, in America they do the dates wrong so it would be... Oh wait.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is it just me ... ?

      What would you call it then cleverdick?

      1. 8Ace

        Re: Is it just me ... ?

        Oh I don't know .. how about the 7th of July ?

    3. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: Is it just me ... ?

      > I find the whole "7/7" monicker a bit offensive.

      No worse than "Bloody Sunday" and "Bloody Friday" etc.

    4. phil dude
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Is it just me ... ?

      It's called a "meme".

      And yes, Govt's, Corps and Religions love them as a way to invoke emotion in the masses....

      P.

    5. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Is it just me ... ?

      It's part of your history... ever heard of "The Glorious First of June"? There's others, but that's sufficiently old to give a sense of history. I'm sure that reference was probably offensive to someone also.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is it just me ... ?

        The Glorious First of June? That's 6/1,half-a-dozen of the other!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "We were all stunned to hear the word "bombs""

    And I now think back to the 70s and 80s when I heard the word far too regularly - more often than not referring to an incident in Northern Ireland but also to events in the capital.

    1. streaky Silver badge

      I assumed first time reading that it was bombs versus bomb, multiple distributed attacks haven't been common in the UK. There have been bigger single bombs by a large margin but there were usually warnings; I think that warning versus not changes the feeling of personal danger to a fairly large extent.

      The IRA attacks were pretty nasty but with exceptions they were smart enough to more damage buildings than people.

      1. Fibbles

        The IRA attacks were pretty nasty but with exceptions they were smart enough to more damage buildings than people.

        This is something I've seen perpetuated for years and it annoys me no end. It's propaganda designed to paint them in a more noble light. Yes, the IRA did plant bombs designed to cause property damage but it certainly wasn't the majority of what they did. With a mixture of bombs, guns, and 'disappearances', the bastards killed thousands and left many more with life changing injuries.

        List of terrorist incidents in Great Britain (incomplete).

        List of notable bombings during The Troubles.

        1. 100113.1537

          Yeah, even my home town had a bomb in a waste-bin on a shopping street during the IRA campaign, No warning, no conceivable rationale for why a small town in the north-west of England merited a bomb - one kiddie died and another badly injured.

          I don`t try to separate terrorists by gradation of their atrocities. When you attack random public targets, I really don`t give a shit for your politics.

        2. streaky Silver badge

          There was nothing noble about the IRA, but if you're gonna bomb things I'd prefer empty buildings over people is all.

          Personally I advocate heavy use of drones and carpet bombing for dealing with terrorists... but apparently we can't have that for reasons.

  10. Jay 2

    I was on the early shift that day, so was already in the office. I got a call from my boss who was on a train coming into Liverpool St, he was stuck somewhere or other and was wondering if I could find out what was going on. I had a look round TFL/BBC websites etc and came to conclusion there was a power failure somewhere round Liverpool St. It was only later on that we started to hear what had really happend.

    I was out at Canary Wharf which sometimes isn't the easiest place to get to when there are tube/DLR problems, and then both of those were out as were the busses. Fortunately for me and many others, the Thames Clipper services were still running so I got myself to Waterloo and got a train home from there.

    It was a bit eerie coming in on the tube the next day.

  11. Paul 25

    In a checkin queue at LAX

    I was flying back from a trekking holiday in California that day. We were all standing in the checkin queue reading the papers, which were all about how London had got the Olympics. We found out what had happened from an Aussie family behind us in the queue. I think we spent the rest of the time at the airport trying to get in contact with friends in London, but of course texts were taking forever to get through and I didn't get replies from most of them until we landed. One of them had a lucky escape by getting an earlier train than usual.

    It felt like the opposite of 9/11, where we watched everything happen in horrific realtime. On 7/7 it was just bits and scraps of information trickling out. Thankfully all my friends were fine, although one would have probably been on one of the tube trains if he hadn't changed his routine that day. So very lucky.

  12. jake Silver badge

    Many people involved in IT have seen this kind of thing.

    For mine, see these three posts starting at:

    http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/containing/1169450

    We do what we can with what we have. Thank you for sharing yours.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We lost a wonderful friend too. He was stood on the platform at Kings Cross and heard the Piccadilly bomb go off. He left the station and phoned his manager to say he was going to be late in as he was going to get a bus instead.

    We miss you Sam.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Many people involved in IT have seen this kind of thing.

      Great Jake, you had some kit on a different continent on a different date and you'd like people to know it.

      Maybe it would be better just to remember those who were killed and injured in the cowardly attacks in London 10 years ago today.

      1. AndyS

        Re: Many people involved in IT have seen this kind of thing.

        You missed the "facts" that he'd also personally trained the search and rescue dogs, and was a volunteer firefighter, but "The Authorities (TM)" decided to deploy him for his tech skilz.

        Perhaps if, when he'd been designing the Twin Towers, he'd incorporated more flame-retardant linings on structural members, or maybe if he'd given more thought to hijackings when finalising the flight-controls and cockpit-access details of the Boeing 757, we wouldn't have been in this mess in the first place.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That is absolutely heartbreaking.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whilst working in technical support outside of the capital as the lead support guy for our POS system, I had the somewhat horrible task of reconciling all the London based employee logins for that morning against scheduled attendance – we couldn’t call anyone. There were plenty of gaps in the data as people got stuck in the aftermath but fortunately, after a day or two, everyone was accounted for. It’s an experience I hope no-one ever has to experience again.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      That reminds me of September 11th, when HQ (of my company at the time) was in Boston, and a bunch of people were on their way over to California that day. And in the confusion it was impossible to find out which flights had crashed and which our guys were on.

      I also remember the internet totally failing me. Someone got a text from a friend about it, which I didn't believe and just assumed was a plane crash. But after the BBC, Guardian, Torygraph, Sky, NBC, New York Times and a few other websites I tried all failed to respond, I decided it must be true. Went up to the MD's office and stuck a piece of wire in the back of a TV used for presentations and managed to get a signal.

      I was working from home for the London bombs - so could have Radio 5 on.

      Weirdly I'd say New York had more impact for me. Despite living near London, with friends there, and knowing someone who was injured on one of the tube trains (it's had a huge effect on her of course). I guess because it was a different kind of attack, and had so much impact on global politics. Maybe also because I've always associated London and terrorism? So it was almost a normal thing. My Dad narrowly avoided serious injury in the IRA's Hyde Park bomb - and was nearby for another one as well.

      I also remember a couple of moments of probably inappropriate humour

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Ooops. Pressed the wrong button...

        Obviously there was John Smeaton at Glasgow aiport.

        But I remember someone from the PFLP claimed responsibility for September 11th. Almost immediately an obviously panicked leadership not only denied all knowledge but also condemned the attacks. I think I just found it grimly amusing to hear a bunch of terrorists getting scared. On the other hand, it was also a sign of how serious and effective the attacks were, that the world had obviously changed - and even a bunch of terrorist has-beens (I'm not sure they were all that effective even back in the 70s/80s) could see it immediately.

        Generally though, I think black humour is a healthy sign.

        It got a friend of mine a new nickname. He was in Sudan at the time. He's got a nice big beard, and his new nickname at football was Osama...

  15. IHateWearingATie

    Very eerie in London

    At the time my route to work was walking through Tavistock squre, but that morning I and my wife had decided to go in early as we were both busy - quite a good idea in hindsight. The bus that blew up was on the route that she used (No30 I seem to recall) which went down the Euston road to Kings Cross but because of the tube bombs had diverted down to Tavistock Square that morning

    Walking back to Euston later that afternoon was really very strange as all the tubes and buses had been cancelled, so everyone was walking. The streets were filled with people but it was very quiet with the mobile networks all still switched off. Walked up the other side of Tavistock Square on my way and saw what was left of the bus, before they screened it off.

    Got one of the first trains out of Euston after they opened the station late afternoon - first and only time that strangers talked to strangers on London transport.

    RIP

    1. Dan 10

      Re: Very eerie in London

      "first and only time that strangers talked to strangers on London transport."

      That pisses me off about people - it's ok to talk to me when they're shitting themselves, but look down their noses at everyone else as long as they are feeling nice and secure? This happened when the lights went out on a tube train - suddenly they're chatty in the darkness.

      I watched two pre-teen siblings do this - bickering for an entire holiday flight, until the descent got a bit rough and suddenly they were hugging each other. At least they were kids.

      To the OP, thanks for sharing. A sad day indeed.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My memories of the bombings.

    I was working for the Press Association back when the bombings occurred. Having sat on a stationary tube outside Bond Street Station for ages, with no announcements, we finally pulled into the station. There was a looped announcement that I'd never heard before as everyone calmly and silently trudged out of the station. Up on Oxford St it was chaos, but I managed to walk to the PA offices in Victoria. Being the national press agency and working on the news feeds, I had a little more knowledge of what was going on than most people. As well as the actual bombings, there were many false alarms that went out on the feeds only to be pulled shortly afterwards.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That afternoon I went into the fancy dress shop by Clapham Junction station (the one that was later burnt out in the 2011 riots) to buy a sombrero. They hadn't had many customers that day by the look of it, and were performing a stock check to pass the time. Lots of funny wigs and inflatables were piled up on the floor as the staff logged all the goods. I bought the hat; as I handed over my money, the lady at the counter looked at me intently with an expression that suggested she thought I was doing something deeply insensitive and inappropriate.

  18. Andy Bell

    A memorable day

    I was on the 7 o clock from York to KX that morning..due into the station just before 9 if memory serves. We stopped just short of the platform and stayed there for an hour or more. It was the time before you had a internet connection in your hand, so the only news came via the PA system and i guess people calling on mobiles. Everyone speaks of the mobiles not working, but i don't remember that bit. Certainly mine worked when i sent a text saying "i'm not dead" to the now ex wife. Probably have been a bit more sensitive.

    Eventually the train set off in the other direction back to York, we never actually set foot in London. York station was full of armed coppers. The sense of getting off the train in a very different country, only a few meters away from where i got on it will always remain with me.

  19. OzBob

    I was in the Territorials at the time

    and we were alerted that our Squadron was on notice to move (I was not Special Forces BTW) in case it was a Dirty Bomb. Fortunately not, but a surprising number of my Pommie Co-Workers refused to travel into London for the next month in case they got "blown up". (The spirit of the blitz seems to have a half-life of one generation)

  20. Nigel Campbell

    I was on the Northern Line at the time, around Charing Cross

    I was on the Underground at the time, coming back from a job interview - if I recall correctly around Charing Cross or Embankment Station. The train just stopped in the station for a while, and then there was an announcement about a Power Surge over the P.A. system. I guess that 'Power Surge' was a code word to alert staff about a bomb or suchlike. This was probably the source of the rumours about an electrical fire.

    Anyway, the train just sat in the station for ages and in the end I got up and walked to Waterloo to get my train back out to Wimbledon, where I was living at the time. There were heaps of people walking to the station and it was pretty crowded.

    I didn't hear what happened until I saw it later on the news.

  21. Yugguy

    I was also there that day

    I was working for Network Rail at Fitzroy House, near Euston station.

    I remember everyone milling around for hours, trying to find trains or buses to get out. Talk of walking to outlying stations to get a train, which some of my colleagues did.

    I stayed at work and waited, my rather pregnant wife was at home many miles away, thank goodness, so I was quite ready to just kip at work if necessary.

    We all watched the train service monitors until later that afternoon things started to move again, as the authorities really needed to get people out of London.

  22. Lord Lien

    Frantic day to be working in London on 7/7

    As luck would have it I was in the office when it went off & all though the mobile networks went down, the landlines in the office were working so I was able to call home.

    No matter how old you get your parents still worry when something like that happens.

  23. Anne-Lise Pasch

    I walked through Kings Cross 4 minutes before the bomb, and got to work on the Macmillan helpdesk on Crinan street. It was just me, and the white-haired security guard. As an hour went by, and nobody turned up, reports of 'electrical surges' on the tubes came in, I joined the security guy at the front desk and scanned BBC news on the old PC. The news slowly changed, and we got more worried. We pulled out the dusty tome of 'what to do in an emergency' and started handing out orange juice to the three others who'd stumbled in by that time. Then the directive to 'go home' came through and we made our way on foot to London Bridge through the gauntlet of police waving us towards zone 2. That was my memory of the bombing, and a chapter of my life that got dusty right up until this morning when I got stuck at Aldgate waiting for the memorial to end, so I could finish my commute. I don't believe we do compare what happened here to 9/11. If you visit new York, the whole city feels defined by the attack. For London, its just another bad episode to be momentarily acknowledged, and then moved on from.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I also give thanks to TPTB, as it was decided just before I left a client's office in south London on the Wednesday evening, that I didn't need to be in the office the next day. Because of this I wasn't at Kings Cross on Thursday 7/7 trying to get a seat in the front carriage of a Piccadilly line train, as I had been doing for several months previously...

      AC out of reverence to those who weren't so fortunate.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      For London, its just another bad episode to be momentarily acknowledged, and then moved on from.

      Yup. Although it involved more bombs than the IRA could manage in a single operation, it didn't seem much different. I walked past a big metal bin at the junction of Oxford St and Tottenham Court Rd when I was a student, and got to college just as I heard deep "thud". Found out later that an IRA bomb had exploded inside the bin. Walked past it on my way home, and it had folded outwards like the petals on a flower. Might have been designed to absorb that kind of thing, since it didn't break into shrapnel, but had it exploded ten minutes earlier than it did then I wouldn't be typing this.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        My memories of Liverpool Street Station over the years have one constant - no bin to put rubbish in; removed so they couldn't be used to secrete one of those "unattended parcels" we were always warned about.

  24. Hollerith 1

    My friend saw...

    A friend of mine finally spoke about her own experience to me just this past weekend. She was very close to where the bus blew up, and the police, she said, were there, were frightened, but were doing everything they should to keep people safe and off the streets. What she remembers vividly is medical workers (clearly doctors, nurses, etc) running towards the Tube station to go down to start helping. Running towards the Tub station. When as far as they knew, there was down there fire, danger, more bombs. Running towards the Tube station. My God.

  25. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    To all those affected on that day...

    This Yank would like to offer a U.S. Air Force MilBrat sharp !SNAP! salute & moment of Respectful Silence.

    Those whom we lost will be Remembered, and those whom Survived will be given many heartfelt hugs.

    I don't drink but I'll raise my tankard in a Toast: To those Brave Men & Women whom risked their lives to save the lives of others. I Salute You.

    1. fruitoftheloon
      Pint

      @Shadow Systems: Re: To all those affected on that day...

      Sir,

      have a (softie) pint on me...

      Kind regards,

      jay

      1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        @FruitOfTheLoon. Cheers! *Clink*

        I've filled mine with Diet Pepsi, but otherwise I thank you for the drink.

        Cheers.

        *Nearly drink spilling clash of tankards*

  26. chrishansenhome

    I was just back from India, and ill, but miss my bubbly co-worker who died

    I was rooted to home as I was suffering from the aftereffects of a work trip to Bangalore and Pune. So I watched it all on TV. When one name was mentioned, I recognised the name as the PA at the company I'd worked for when I first came to London. She died at Russell Square together with her fiancé.

    Being unable to go out or do anything, I felt helpless and horribly sad and angry. In the years since I often feel uncomfortable as I ride a bus through Tavistock Square or a Piccadilly Line train through Russell Square. Had I not been ill that day, it could very easily have been me. RIP Samantha.

  27. Toastan Buttar

    Heading south to start a family holiday

    We were driving down to Somerset from Scotland that day for our summer holidays (Scottish schools finish a few weeks before the English ones). My car radio wasn't working due to not having the unlock code. The matrix signs on the M6 read something along the lines of "London closed to traffic. Find alternative route." It wasn't until we got to a service station that we found out what was going on. Once we reached our destination, we put on the evening news and tried to explain to our primary school-aged children what had happened.

    1. Dan 10

      Re: Heading south to start a family holiday

      "London closed to traffic" - that's a crazy statement right there.

  28. David Austin

    I was finishing a Training course at Sophos HQ that day (They call their HQ "The Pentagon", Which was strangely appropriate on that day)

    Had to drive home from Oxford to Chelmsford. The journey took six hours (Via the A414 instead of the M25); I don't remember much of the details of the drive, but I was listening to Radio 5 live all the way home, and lots of that commentary still sticks in my mind.

  29. BoldMan

    Neetu Jain was on the Tavistock Square bus and was one of the 52 victims. We had been colleagues and friends from about 1996 when we both worked for MAID plc in Leicester Square. I moved on in 1999 but we kept in touch sporadically for some years afterwards. I didn't realise she was one of the victims until about 4 years back when it occurred to me I hadn't heard from her for a while so did a FB/Google search for her name... The shock when I found out was like a physical blow, I was in tears for ages afterwards, she was such a warm, friendly and funny person.

    I was living in Shoreditch at the time, so heard the commotion around Aldgate. It was a very disturbing time, just hours after the celebration of winning the Olympic games to be surrounded by such tragedy.

  30. Dave 32
    Unhappy

    Help Desk

    I was doing help desk support during the First Gulf War, and some of the users I was supporting were in Israel. Luckily, none of my users were hit by the Scud missiles launched from Iraq into Israel, but it still makes you worry. :-(

    Dave

  31. -maniax-

    Working out of North Herts I had a customer to visit somewhere south of the river so my planned route in was mainline to Kings Cross and then southbound Northern line to my destination

    Got into Kings Cross normally and made my way down to the Northern line platform only to find it so packed that I couldn't even get out of the short link tunnel onto the platform itself

    There was no indication of anything untoward except for it being a very busy morning but after a couple of minutes with not trains going through to relieve the congestion I decided to try hopping onto a different line and changing lines somewhere else on the network so I headed away from the Northern line but before I got very far London Underground staff started directing everyone to the exits

    I came out of the station on the south side of Euston Road and could see all the other exits where also spewing out travellers so assumed something had happened to require Kings Cross to be evacuated but didn't think anything more of it at that point

    Giving up on travelling from Kings Cross I decided to head towards Euston intending to get on the Northern line there but by the time I got there (along with numerous others who had obviously had the same idea) the external underground entrances were already closed off. Went into the main line area to find lots of people milling around but still no indication of anything unusual.

    Exiting the station with the intention of a last ditch attempt at getting on the tube at Euston Square or Warren Street I tried ringing the customer to let them know I was going to be late but was unable to get a line. As I was just terminating the call I was walking across the paved concourse area just outside the mainline station sort of looking down at the ground a few metres in front of me when I felt\heard a dull whoomp that caused all the pigeons in the area to take flight and the puddles on the ground to ripple (think of the glass of water scene when the T-Rex first appears in Jurassic Park). I now know this was the Tavistock Square bus bomb exploding but at the time didn't really think anything of it, I've heard all sorts of strange sounds in towns and cities and this didn't seem to be anything particularly unusual and no one else in the area seemed to take much notice either.

    Got to Euston Square only to find that it was also closed off, at this point I started to think "something is going on here". Tried ringing my office to get them to let the customer know I was going to be late but still no lines.

    Subconsciously I'd sort of decided I wasn't going to make it to the customer and started to drift back towards Kings Cross but police officers had started to appear almost out of no where and were directing people off of Euston Road so I found myself meandering along the back streets south of Euston Road generally heading east towards Kings Cross but unable to actually get anywhere near to it due to the police tape that now festooned any road leading to it

    Here and there a uniformed police officer was surrounded by crowds of people obviously trying to find out what was going on, I loitered on the edges of the crowds a few times but wasn't able to glean any real info

    I finally managed to make contact with my office and told them that "something big" was happening and that I wasn't going to be able to get to the customer, they told me they'd already heard rumours of bombs but that info was sketchy, I asked them to contact my Mum to let her know I was ok.

    Having finally decided to write off the customer visit I now needed to work out how to get out of London

    The whole of the Kings Cross area was completely sealed off so no route through there, same for any of the tube stations I knew my way to (didn't know at this point that the network was in the process of being shut down completely), had zero knowledge of the bus routes not that there seemed to be many buses moving so decided to try to walk to Finsbury Park in to hope that there were still main line trains operating out of there

    Did a loop to the east away from the Kings Cross area until I found a road that wasn't cordoned off at which point I headed north and finally found myself on what appeared to be one of the main roads where I started to check the small local area maps on the bus stops to plan my way following the bus routes I'd gleaned from the maps

    As I was walking from bus stop to bus stop I picked up snippets of news coming from radio\TV's in various small shops I was passing and managed to piece together the generalities of the situation, multiple bombs, tube network shut-down, London on lock down etc etc

    After what seemed hours of walking but was probably only about 40 or so minutes I started to see signs for Emirates Stadium so I at least knew I was heading in the right general direction and not long after that saw signs for Finsbury Park station

    When I got to Finsbury Park I found it surprisingly quiet, there were a couple of rail employees stood outside the station but only a half dozen of so other people in the general area. I spoke the the rail employees asking them if they had "anything going north?" and was directed to an intercity train already sat at one of the platforms.

    I sat on the train for maybe 30 minutes or so as other refugees gradually got on before the train eventually pulled out. Unusually for an Intercity train it stopped at many of the smaller stations so it seems it was being used for any and all who needed transport

    I finally got to my home town at about 13:30, rescued my car from the car park and headed off to the office where I got lots of comments of surprise that I'd managed to get back so quickly as they'd heard all transport links were closed and I then got bombarded with questions about what had happened which is the wall of text you see here

    And that was my day 10 years ago

  32. Proud Father

    Late support

    My office was at Goodman's fields, 1 Alie street a.k.a the big red brick building (now demolished).

    I was on late support than week (10am - 7pm). There was a high probability I would have been on that Aldgate train if I didn't have a doctor's appointment that day.

  33. keith_w

    No more terrorism.

    My family and I were landing in Manchester at the time to bombs were going off. I remember seeing the overheads on the motorway saying that access to London had been closed off, and wondering why. Later, we noticed a large number of army vehicles on the southbound road.

    I also remember 9/11 as my former boss was in WT1 when the 1st plane hit. Over 200 of my former co-workers were also among the 3000 plus who died there.

    Terrorism of all sorts must be stopped.

    1. Ralph B

      Re: No more terrorism.

      > Terrorism of all sorts must be stopped.

      Any ideas on how to achieve this, beyond more of those tried already, which haven't worked, and are slowly tipping us towards being a police state?

      Obligatory Ben Franklin quote. “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No more terrorism.

        The best way that we can honour those who died is to carry on as before.

        We should not publicise or glorify the events.

        It is the price we pay to live in a free society unfortunately.

        Let's not forget. The aim of terrorism is not to kill people, it is to achieve religious or political ends by changing the way people think and act in ways that they approve of.

        They want us to be afraid of:

        - criticising religions

        - criticising politicians or atrocities committed by them

        - advocating rights and speaking out for minorities and oppressed people.

        I'll tell you what I think: the more they bomb and intimidate us, the louder I will shout about the above things. It is the *only* way to win against terrorism.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: No more terrorism.

          Sadly, I things will continue to go the "other" way. 7/7, 9/11, etc. have led the powers that be to "mandate safety" at all costs. At least for now, the terrorists are winning although I'm starting to see signs here in the States that people are fed up. More and more the Benjamin Franklin quote is popping up. Perhaps.. maybe perhaps, things will change but as long as those who seek power can, they will rub our noses in these events and use them for their advantage. I sometimes wonder who's worse.. the guy with the bomb or the guy being elected.

          1. Number6

            Re: No more terrorism.

            The irony is that the Franklin quote is used out of context. It's such a good soundbite though, but in its original context it was about taxation and the elected government giving up powers. Google has quite a few articles on the matter.

            1. Ralph B

              @Number6 Re: No more terrorism.

              > The irony is that the Franklin quote is used out of context

              I now see what you mean. Thanks. I shall mentally move that quote from the "obligatory" list to the "deprecated" one.

  34. Camilla Smythe

    Would it help if we banned encryption?

    I can pretend to appreciate the pain, memories and concerns. After all I was not involved so I have no idea what all of you have commented went through so I can't pretend.

    However I do need to ask the question.

    1. Proud Father

      Re: Would it help if we banned encryption?

      That wouldn't stop criminals and terrorists from using encryption. They are not exactly a law abiding bunch of miscreants.

  35. Shades

    "And it was then that the first reports of a terrorist attack on Londoners"

    I don't wish to demean (if thats the right word) the experiences of those caught up in the bombings but it wasn't really an attack on "Londoners" was it. London just happens to be the capital (psychologically important) where there is lots and lots of people in lots and lots of "confined" spaces (logistically/physically important). I doubt the bombers woke up one day and said: "Those bloody Londoners..."

  36. nsld

    Back then

    I had two jobs one in IT and the other in personal training.

    I spent that morning in Hyde Park with a client and we commented on all the sirens we could hear at the end of our session. It seemed livelier than usual for London

    From the park I drove towards the A501 Euston Road to take the right turn down towards Tavistock Square as I used to cut through that way to get across towards Broadgate for my next clients, traffic was slow and I was in the right turn lane waiting at the lights about 5 cars back when the bus bomb went off. I didnt hear it and the only indication was when all the emergency services poured in that something had happened nearby.

    We couldnt turn right as they closed the road so had to do a U turn and by then with the news on the radio saying more about terrorism than power surges I drove back to Hyde Park as I thought it was less of a target than being stuck on the roads next to buses which could go up.

    Spent the next few hours in the car park by the Serpentine with several cabbies and limo drivers who had a similar idea before I took the decision to head home out of London.

    Was an odd journey home, not much traffic but lots of pedestrians in London walking around.

  37. Richard Altmann
    Mushroom

    I was

    in Uganda 9/11 and watched life on CNN. I was in Uganda 7/7 and watched life on BBC. I was in Uganda 11 July when Al Shabaab blew up the Ethiopian Village and the Rugby Club during the World Cup Finals, killing 74 and injuring 70 in Kampala. Lost two friends. For the world press it was not even worth a footnote. So go and stuff your media hype where the sun does not shine. And hyping yourself as well.

  38. entfe001

    Where I was... on 11-M

    I don't remember the exact details about that 7/7, I recall hearing the news at the morning and thinking that the power surge was somewhat fishy.

    What I really remember is 11-M. Because I'm from Spain.

    I heard nothing before leaving home. I took Cercanías trains without any disruption up to the university. Just like everyday. Note, however, that I was at Barcelona, not Madrid.

    Nobody knew anything at class at first. The first term passed uneventful. Before the second term, some of us noticed a faint smell like coming from a gas leak. Some minutes later, we were evacuated from the building, all believing due to this gas issue.

    It was not until 11pm that news surfaced all around the campus. Bombs at trains, which most of us use to ride to the campus. Some said that there were also bombs at Barcelona's network. That was a false rumor, but impossible to know at the time. The silence was terrifying: most of us thought that it could have happened to ourselves.

    I do not remember that 7 of July. But I do remember very well that 11 of March. And know what terrible feelings go through everyone's bodies.

    As with London, the death toll was unbearable. Not because it was higher, but because just one single death is too much.

    I can understand too well how do you feel.

  39. Roundtuit

    Abiding memory of 7/7

    Aside from the grizzly images and sheer horror of the whole event, the thing that sticks in my mind about that day was watching an amazing performance from the police commissioner (? The Top Dog anyway) giving a press conference live on TV before the dust had settled. He was immaculately dressed, and spoke coolly and calmly about the incident before the assembled mob of journalists, in a press room that I guess had been set up in advance. An astonishing oasis of calm if you think about the chaotic scenes and all the work that the emergency services were doing at that very point.

    If YOUR organization had experienced anything on that scale, do you think your Top Dog, advisors and support krew would have been prepared to deliver such a virtuoso performance so quickly and efficiently? I still use this as an shining example of how crisis and incident management can/should be done.

    I believe there had been an emergency exercise in central London just a week or two earlier, so all the emergency services were as ready for the incident as they possibly could be - another worthwhile lesson arising from an otherwise devastating mess.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Abiding memory of 7/7

      That reminds me of the Sioux City (Iowa) plane crash. Perfectly timed, in that they'd just practised their drill with the local hospitals and emergency services the week before.

      Although obviously that was also down to some very experienced pilots doing the right thing and doing it well. Given that I believe in post-crash simulations no-one else managed to even reach the runway.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Late to the party

    I believe I posted this, here, at the time! I'd recently moved out of London. The bombers came in on the line I used to take; also the line my sister took. Was a frantic while finding if she was okay. She'd been on the next train in (to Farringdon) and was okay. I forget whether she turned round and went back home or walked the rest of the way to work.

    Life, eh? I was a Motorcycle Courier in the late-80's/early-90's and had experience of being stopped at checkpoints in the capital; being in a jam at London Wall the morning after Bishopsgate. And, in '01, being at home in Devon when Dad rings me to tell me a plane just flew into the Twin Towers, turn on the TV. Turned it on and watched the second plane.

    The worst part of it all is the repressive laws and security theatre we suffer today. Cliche to say the terrorists have won. Guess they have, but so have the sociopaths in Government. Like they're on the same side. Like the way the far right and the far left are basically the same.

  41. This post has been deleted by its author

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