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WATCH: Dingwall man’s dying memories of living through Lockerbie bombing

On the 35th anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing, and in tribute to her father, George Garscadden's daughter has shared her dad's final, deathbed memories, of December 21 1988.

When Dingwall Men’s Shed founder George Garscadden was dealt the cruel blow that he was going to die, he expressed his final wishes. None more poignant than “write down my Lockerbie memories”.

Today, on the 35th anniversary of the horrific bombing which claimed the lives of 270 people, George’s daughter Fiona has given The Press and Journal permission to recreate her father’s final words.

“My dad sadly passed away last month. Really, as soon as he knew that was it, that he had no more time left, he asked if we could help him record his memories from that time,” Fiona said.

Ordinary interrupted

The 74-year-old, who had lived and worked in the Highlands for 30 years, had chosen the idyllic setting of Lockerbie to raise his only daughter. In a community where everyone knew each other, the evening of December 21 1988 started like any other.

“My dad wanted his memories to be called ‘Daddy, Daddy, can we go swimming.’ That’s how ordinary the day was. He came home from work. I asked if he could take me to the pool.

“Soon after that I heard a massive bang and rumble. It escalated quickly from there. What I had heard was the initial explosion above,” said Fiona.

Jumping into action George was at the scene in seconds. Cars were alight, houses burning, people hurt and he even described a moment when he discovered that his skin and clothes were “wet from blood”. Not his own, he added. It was just “hanging in the air”.

Unimaginable horror

It wouldn’t be long before the true reality would be revealed: that a plane destined for New York had crashed killing everyone on board. It would later emerge that the catastrophe was the result of a bomb.

Lockerbie was one of the worst terrorist atrocities in history.

Parts of the aircraft fell on Sherwood Crescent, killing three Lockerbie families. Tom and Kathleen Flannigan and their daughter, Joanne, John and Rosalind Somerville and their children, Paul and Lynsey, and Maurice and Dora Henry all perished. Jean Murray and Mary Lancaster, both in their 80s, also died.

It remains the deadliest act of terrorism to take place on British soil.


In 2001 Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was convicted of the bombing during hearings at Kamp Zeist, a Scottish court convened in the Netherlands. It came after a deal was brokered with Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi after South African President, Nelson Mandela intervened.

A 72-year-old man, Abu Agila Masud, is currently awaiting trial. He is accused of making the bomb that destroyed the Boeing 747 US airliner.

Dingwall Men’s Shed

In the years following, George took Fiona to Dingwall for a new start.

Like all those who lived through the events, he was changed forever.

He was influential in getting Dingwall Men’s Shed started, knowing first-hand the importance of having a safe place, as a man, to talk through life’s issues.

George Garscadden with partner Mary, daughter Fiona and partner Troy on a boat trip to Loch Ness.

Yet it wasn’t until his deathbed that George began to truly open up about the forensic detail he had carried with him all those years.

“At the heart of this, people died. And my dad never wanted anyone to forget that. So  many ‘takes’ on what happened seemed to him, to forget the families who lost loved ones.”

George’s Lockerbie legacy

George passed away on November 8, in the Highland Hospice with Fiona and his partner Mary Foley by his side.

In memory of all the 270 souls who perished that day 35-years-ago, George’s final memories have been brought back to life, with the help of a voice actor.

George Garscadden and his partner Mary Foley.

He speaks of the days that followed where the clothes of the deceased were washed and ironed by local women to be sent back to relatives. It all took place while families lived amidst one of the world’s largest crime scenes.

“My dad would have loved to know that what he saw and experienced will now never be forgotten. The impact it had on him helped him to help others. Even in death he’ll leave a legacy.”

Never forgotten

To commemorate December 21 1988 and the 270 people killed, a commemorative rose-laying will take place at Dryfesdale Cemetery followed by a public wreath-laying at 11.45am.

Commemorations have been created to honour the victims of Lockerbie.

Wreaths will also be laid at Sherwood Crescent and Rosebank Crescent.

The Dryfesdale Cemetery Lodge Visitor Centre will be open all day.