7/7 10th anniversary: Story of Ipswich British Transport Police officer who led rescue effort at Aldgate
- Credit: AP
British Transport Police Inspector Bob Munn led the rescue effort after being the first uniformed officer to enter the tunnel at Aldgate on 7/7.
The 51-year-old, who lives in the Ipswich area, received commendations for his outstanding work after spent around 13 hours on and off working a helping distraught passengers and badly injured victims in the dark, dust and debris-clogged vacuum.
For much of that time he was sure there would be a secondary device waiting to explode as it was a well-known tactic used by terrorists, and particularly the IRA in the 1970s and 1980s.
Along with a firefighter, he was the last person to return above ground after ensuring everyone who could be had either been led or taken to safety.
His courage and lifesaving efforts led him to receive a coroner’s citation after giving evidence at the London bombings inquest in 2010, and a commendation from the BTP’s chief constable.
Unlike many who still endure the psychological trauma of that Thursday 10 years ago the now-retired BTP officer carries any memories he has with great fortitude.
Mr Munn said: “Most of the time I don’t think about it. It’s not something you think of day in, day out.
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“It doesn’t seem like 10 years ago. It seems far more fresh in the memory than that.”
“It’s a different part of your life. I tried very hard not to bring work home with me.
“It was very much a case of your training kicking in. It was gratifying to know that the years of training were worthwhile and that when they needed to be put into effect they worked.”
Through his 30-year career with the BTP Mr Munn attended the scenes of major train crashes, tragedies and riots.
However, he said: “Nothing else comes close. We didn’t think ‘there must be another bomb’.
“In our minds we were certain there was another bomb. I don’t think it was if, as much as when, as far as we were concerned.
“What happened was without precedent in the UK.
“We never had anything to inform our decision-making. It was very much learning on the job.
“It was a one-off. An incident of that type had never occurred in the UK previously and has not occurred since. It was a steep learning curve.”
Those lessons included making quick decisions on who to help first and what to do for ‘the greater good’.
Mr Munn said: “Human nature is as soon as you hear someone shouting for help you go to help. There is nothing harder than deciding do you try to go and help one person, or try to save that person and others from a secondary device.”
Despite his resolute demeanour the horror of what he saw that day is impossible to forget. Mr Munn said: “How do you begin to describe something like that?
“It was chaos, carnage, an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. Where do you start? How did this happen? How do we put it right? It’s incomprehensible.
“It is a complete assault on all your senses. It’s the sounds, the smell, the taste in the air. It’s not only what you are seeing.
“It’s trying to assimilate all the mass of information that no-one has seen before unless you have been in a war zone.”