RELATIVES of victims of the 1974 M62 coach bombing unveiled a new memorial to their lost loved ones.
Families of the those killed when a bomb exploded on board a coach heading for Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, laid wreaths and planted a tree at Hartshead Moor Services – close to where the tragedy occurred.
Dignitaries from Yorkshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester joined staff and veterans of the emergency services and armed forces in commemorating the 35th anniversary of the event.
Nine soldiers, a young mother and her two sons died and 38 were injured in the blast on February 4, 1974.
The IRA was blamed but never proven to have caused the blast.
The soldiers and their relatives had been travelling from Manchester and Oldham as all trains were cancelled due to a rail strike.
The Yorkshire stone plaque, and monument replaces a small brass plaque inside the westbound service station.
The event was organised by Life for a Life, a charity which plants trees to honour the dead, the Royal British Legion and Welcome Break services.
It included a standard bearer’s parade, pipe band, brass band and an address from the bishops of Wakefield and Beverley.
Kirklees Mayor Karam Hussain and Calderdale Mayor Conrad Winterburn also laid a poppy wreath on the new memorial.
Norman Armstrong-Kersh MBE, founder of Life for a Life, said: “It's a pleasure to be here today.
“This is a befitting memorial for those who lost their lives and it replaces the old plaque which wasn't adequate.
“We are only pleased to present this new memorial.”
Former soldier Jim Baker lost friends Gnr Terence Griffin and Bdr Leonard Godden in the attack.
Mr Baker, from Stockport, said: “Terry was a very close friend who used to come to my house every week for lunch.
“I'm very proud to here today. I'm very happy there's going to be a better memorial to remember the victims because out of the tragedy has come growth.”
Liversedge and Gomersal councillor Derrick Yates volunteered as a porter, ferrying the wounded around Batley Hospital where his wife Ruth worked as a radiographer.
Clr Yates said: “I wheeled one chap to x-ray. He was in a lot of pain. I remember I was asked to hold his head and his hair just came off in my hands.
“I'm proud to be here today because it was a horrible experience but it's good that everyone remembers.”
Bill Polion, 72, travelled from Dublin to honour his cousin Cpl James McShane, 28, of Oldham, who was killed in the tragedy.
Mr Polion said: “I was very fond of Jim. I'm very pleased with the new plaque. It's a great improvement on the old one.”
Survivor Jenny McMahon, 59, of Woking, Surrey, narrowly escaped with cut legs and a broken ankle.
She said: “I was told I'd been dragged along the motorway. I came round and I was in the middle of a motorway.
“The back half of the bus was missing. I remember screaming and a couple of lads came and covered my legs.
“I had a lucky escape because some lads had asked me to sit with them at the back of the bus.
“Now ordinary people not just the families of those who died will see it and stop to pay their respects.”
Also present was coach driver Roland Handley, 73, from North Yorkshire. He said: “It's great. I'm absolutely overwhelmed.
“They've done a really good job.”