London remembers bombing 10 years on

  • 08/07/2015
People leave flowers at the July 7 memorial in Hyde Park (AAP)
People leave flowers at the July 7 memorial in Hyde Park (AAP)

By James Pheby

Britons have laid flowers at the sites of the 2005 London suicide bombings and held a nationwide minute of silence for the 52 victims on the tenth anniversary of the attacks.

Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday (local time) led the tributes by placing a wreath at a memorial in Hyde Park and petals were released from the dome of St Paul's Cathedral during a service there.

The Hyde Park ceremony began at exactly 8:50am (local time) - the time the first of four homegrown jihadists detonated his device on London's transport system on July 7, 2005.

"It's still raw 10 years on," said Mark, a 40-year-old train driver fighting back tears on the plaza outside King's Cross train station, near two of the four blast scenes.

"You see things you don't want to see again," he said, adding that he was on duty at the time and was involved in rescue operations.

Bouquets of flowers were laid in nearby Tavistock Square, on the spot where one of the bombers detonated his device on a red double-decker bus, killing 13 people.

"Our precious daughter Shyanu. When heaven took our angel back, they left two broken hearts," read one message left in memory of 30-year-old Shayanuja Parathasangary.

At Russell Square Underground station where a second device was detonated on a train, a tent was erected near the station entrance where mourners could sit and pay a silent tribute.

Spectators at the Wimbledon tennis tournament joined in the minute of silence, as did tourists outside St Paul's where families of the victims and survivors had gathered.

"Ten years on from the 7/7 London attacks, the threat from terrorism continues to be as real as it is deadly," Cameron said.

"The murder of 30 innocent Britons whilst holidaying in Tunisia is a brutal reminder of that fact. But we will never be cowed by terrorism."

The Britons were among 38 people killed when a gunman went on the rampage at a popular Tunisian beach resort on June 26, Britain's worst terror incident since the 2005 bombings.

Prince William joined the ceremony in Hyde Park where several survivors spoke of their experiences.

Emma Craig, 24, was just a schoolgirl on one of the trains targeted as she made her way to a work experience program.

"All of us lost our innocence on that day," she said.

"It might not have broken London but it broke some of us."

The Wimbledon championships also came to a standstill as tennis-goers paused to remember the victims.

Tuesday's start of play on the outside courts was put back by 45 minutes to facilitate the observance of the national minute's silence.

Flags were flying at half-mast around the grounds in suburban Wimbledon, southwest London, where around 40,000 people were expected to pass through the gates.

The silence was announced over the public address system.

"Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention, please," the announcer said.

"The time is half-past 11 and the one minute's silence to reflect on the 10th anniversary of the London bombings will now begin."

Around 50 police and fire officers, security staff, medics and first aid volunteers stood to attention at the foot of the Aorangi Terrace picnic hill.

Tennis-goers on the slope spontaneously stood, while others walking around the grounds came to a standstill.

South Africa's Kevin Anderson, who had been preparing to resume his fourth-round match against world No.1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic later on Tuesday, was practising with coach Neville Godwin on Court 14 when the silence began.

When the announcement was made, Anderson stopped practising and stood still at the back of the court.

"Thank-you for your consideration," the announcer said as the silence concluded, at which people on the Aorangi Terrace held sustained applause.