Seven heroes who helped foil the attempted terrorist attack on Glasgow airport three years ago were recognised for their outstanding bravery when they received the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery at a ceremony in Edinburgh today.
At the event, hosted by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the seven – two policemen and five civilians – were presented with their awards in front of family members on behalf of the Queen by the Lord Lieutenant of Renfrewshire, Mr Guy WNH Clark; the Lord Lieutenant of Falkirk and Stirling Mrs Marjory McLachlan and the Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost of Glasgow, Councillor Robert Winter.
Following the ceremony, the Deputy First Minister said:
“The immense gratitude and admiration of everyone in Scotland goes to those whose courageous actions helped avert a major disaster on June 30, 2007.
“Those terrible events brought with them the shocking realisation that Scotland was not immune from the threat of international terrorism. The response to that threat was a remarkable expression of community solidarity by emergency service workers, staff from Glasgow Airport and members of the public.
“It is fitting that those who showed such courage and commitment to public safety should be honoured in this way. We must never forget how privileged we are to have such dedicated emergency professionals and volunteers on our side.”
The attack was mounted by two bombers who drove a burning Cherokee jeep filled with home-made bombs into the Glasgow terminal building. This action could have resulted in many deaths and casualties had it not been for the bravery and quick-thinking of police officers, airport staff and members of the public.
Chief Constable of Strathclyde Stephen House, QPM, said:
“If it was not for the bravery of the people being awarded today, there would have been disastrous consequences that would still be felt now.
“The courage shown by all of my officers, especially Sergeant Torquil Campbell and Police Constable Stewart Ferguson, can never be underestimated and I have nothing but admiration and gratitude for them and the others here today.
“Their actions that day potentially saved the lives of many, and it is only fitting that we recognise this.”
Those honoured were:
Sergeant Torquil Campbell (retired) and Police Constable Stewart Ferguson, Strathclyde Police
Sergeant Campbell was the police officer in charge at Glasgow Airport on the day of the attack. Before his shift began, he met an off-duty colleague, PC Ferguson, who had come to the airport to meet returning relatives. When they heard the noise of the impact of the jeep striking the terminal building, the two police officers sped to the scene, alerting other colleagues to the situation and clearing the public from the immediate area. Both officers then tackled the bombers and eventually succeeded in subduing and arresting them. They were helped to do this by other police officer colleagues and members of the public and airport staff.
Stephen Clarkson was at Glasgow Airport to collect relatives. He was waiting in the main public foyer when the bombers struck and ran towards the affected area to assist a police officer in subduing one of the bombers, using his body weight to restrain the man until he was handcuffed.
Michael Kerr was at Glasgow airport as he returned from holiday. He went to help one of the police officers as he tackled one of the terrorist suspects and was punched in the face and kicked on the leg, resulting in his leg being broken. Other members of the public dragged Mr Kerr to safety.
Henry Lambie was working at Glasgow Airport on the day of the terrorist attack. On hearing a loud bang, he headed towards the noise and saw a burning vehicle rammed against the main doors of the terminal building. He began to evacuate the area and helped tackle the fire, using a fire extinguisher to put out flames on one of the attackers who was on fire.
Michael McDonald was also working at Glasgow Airport. Hearing a loud bang, he too ran forward to help evacuate passengers. Seeing a policeman struggling with one of the attackers, he helped bring him to the ground and then used his bodyweight to restrain the man until he was handcuffed.
A lexander McIlveen
Alexander McIlveen was a taxi driver who had just arrived at the terminal building when he saw the bombers ramming it with their vehicle. He directed his fare to safety and then ran to the assistance of a police officer struggling with one of the bombers. In spite one of the attackers throwing a petrol bomb and although being temporarily blinded by CS gas being deployed to try to control the bombers, Mr McIlveen continued to help. He later assisted Michael Kerr to safety.