On February 12, 1993, a young child, James Bulger, was lost in every sense to his mother and family.
James Patrick Bulger was born on March 16, 1990. He was 'snatched' by two 10-year-old boys whilst shopping with his mother, in the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle, Liverpool, England, on February 12, 1993.
On February 20 John Venables and Robert Thompson, both aged 10 at the time, were charged with the horrific murder of James, a toddler who was almost three-years-old.
Grainy CCTV images of the two 10-year-olds, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, send chilling shivers down the backbone. The boys initially appeared as if they were helping little James to find his mother but in truth they were leading him on a long, harrowing journey that would end in his death.
In February 1993 people in the UK read details of the shocking murder of two-year-old James. Revelations of the details of his horrific murder, by two children, sent shock-waves around the world.
The terrible details of how James was attacked, humiliated, made to suffer and then murdered are grim. The details need handling with sensitivity but they do need noting.
As SkyNews reported in 2015, "They took him to a railway embankment in Walton, Liverpool, where they tortured him, inflicting 42 injuries before leaving him dead on the tracks where a train severed his body". There were reports of a 'sexual element' to this murder but that was never proven.
Prior to his death the little boy was walked, dragged or marched a long distance, especially for a child so young. According to Wikipedia it was a meandering 2.5-mile (4.0 km) walk across Liverpool to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, where he was dropped on his head and suffered injuries to his face.
At least 38 people witnessed the children's journey, yet no person intervened.
Some just accepted the soon-to-be-killers version of events that James was their young brother and they were taking him home.
It highlights how we should never be afraid to challenge, interfere or call it what you will; your actions could save a life.
James was killed on February 12, 1993, but his body was not located for two-days.
The killers had stolen various items from shops before they took James. Their original plan was to abduct a child and lead him 'to the busy road alongside the mall'. They would then push the child into the path of oncoming traffic. CCTV footage of the boys lurking in the shopping centre, before coming across James, is chilling.
The boy's mother momentarily lost sight of her young son and he was gone."
Both Venables and Thompson were released from prison some time ago. Both of the young killers served just eight years before they were released back into the community. Both were given new identities but Venables has struggled to meet the terms of his release.
Venables was first given a new identity when he and Thompson were sent to a young offenders' institution and a second new identity was created for him when he was released in 2001; he was given a third identity after he was sent back to jail in 2010 for possessing child abuse images.
The authorities ignored the pleas of James' mother Denise Fergus to keep Venables in prison this time and he was released in 2013.
Reports that under his new fake identity he was allowed to join dating sites angered campaigners and especially the parents of James.
Venables is out on licence which includes strict rules. His parole is a life-long sentence meaning if he breaks the rules he could be jailed once and for all.
Little is reported of Robert Thompson who also has a new life.
[Thoughts with the family at this sad anniversary - RIP James]
Each year in January and February in Kingston-upon-Hull bereaved families from the long-gone fishing industry of the city remember those lost at sea in what was a particularly bad year, 1968, for the local trawler fishing community.
58 men died, and one person survived when three fishing trawlers sailing out of the port of Hull in January 1968 sank.
The three vessels sank within a few weeks or days of each other and highlighted the tough and sometimes brutal conditions these fishermen endured to earn a living and supply the country with fish to eat.
Changes and improvements to working conditions finally arrived but the industry was already on its knees and the British trawler industry never recovered.
The Hull vessels lost in 1968 were:
The FV Gaul is perhaps the most famous Hull vessel lost.
Constructed in 1972 the Gaul sailed out of Hull on the morning of January 22, 1974, with 36 crew on board, and sailed into a list of conspiracy theories and mysteries.
On February 8, 1974, sea conditions were dire and reports from other vessels said waves were reaching a height of between 6.5 and 9m, the wind was blowing between 7 and 10 on the Beaufort scale.
They and the Gaul were in icy cold fishing waters off Norway.
"The Gaul reported to British United Trawlers that she was "laid and dodging off the North Cape Bank" and was in touch one more but something went wrong.
The other British vessels fishing in the area were safe but the Gaul was lost and in spite of several false flags down the years and many conspiracy theories its loss remains a mystery.
In 2013 the mystery of the Gaul looked likely to be solved but it was not. We asked "Will DNA testing on bodies washed up in Russia link back to the Gaul" but the answer was no.
Theories include claims that the Gaul was a spy ship, was scuppered by the crew, was an insurance job, that the crew lived on but abroad all flourished but the mystery remains unsolved and a painful one for the loved ones of the crew.
Locally most people know at least one person, closely or indirectly that was lost at sea. My late grandfather died in 1941 on a merchant navy vessel that was sunk by a German U boat.
My late father-in-law worked on Icelandic fishing trawlers that sailed out of Hull until around 1962 when a winch slipped on board while working off Iceland and severed all the fingers of one of his hands
Hull has or should that be had a proud tradition and history as seafarers.
Each year a memorial service is held locally.
No trace of the Gaul has ever been found.
As a child news of missing trawlers was nothing unusual. With no direct links to the seamen back then it was just 'the news'.
To people like my in-laws it was hold-your-breath-news.
May they all rest in peace
Telegraph - Gaul trawler sunk by wave not submarine
The Gaul Blogspot
[The video below asks do the British government have something to hide?]
But Hull is planning to include Amy in its year in the spotlight when it becomes the country's City of Culture for 2017.
An Amy Johnson Festival could be one of the city's highlights but maybe not.
Those plans took a battering this week when the Science Museum in London refused an application from Hull Museums to house Johnson's De Haviland Gypsy Moth named Jason.
The plane will stay put in London.
Hull's museums already have displays which include buses from a bygone era, old chemist shops, early ice-cream vans and more; Amy Johnson's plane Jason would be the icing on the cake, even if it was a temporary move.
When Amy died as her plane crashed into the Thames in January 1941 her body was never recovered and the events surrounding her death remain a mystery.
Tuesday the Hull Daily Mail reports there will be "a major month-long festival in Hull later this year celebrating her life and record-breaking flights" but unless the Science Museum has a re-think without her plane.
Local historian Alec Gill who has written a new book about Amy, says;
he is convinced details of her death were deliberately suppressed because they were too shocking for people to know in wartime Britain. "The death of Amy Johnson is shrouded in as much mystery as her childhood origins in Hull's fishing community," he said.
You can read the full mail report here
And find the new Alec Gill book at Amazon here - AMY JOHNSON: Hessle Road Tomboy - Born and Bred, Dread and Fled (HESSLE ROAD: Stories about Hull's Fishing Community and Arctic Trawling Heritage (England) Book 4) [Print Replica] Kindle Edition
On This Day in History
Introducing the 'On this Day in History' blog
History is scattered with dates which are etched onto our memories by events that have changed the world; some memorable for happy reasons but all too many that are painful to remember.
The Twin Towers bombing in New York on September 9, 2001, changed modern life in the west for ever. Terrorism has always existed but the acts of terror meted out on that fateful day gave us a glimpse of what was to come.
The following years we have experienced an increase in terrorist atrocities.
The way people view life and freedom after 9/11 has changed and the way that governments operate will never be the same again.
Some dates, such as 9/11 and the day that John F Kennedy was assassinated remain so fresh in our memories that sometimes years later we can clearly remember what we were doing and where we were when the monumental news broke.
For older people Pearl Harbour lives on in their memory forever.
Whether the "on this day in history" was centuries ago, a month earlier or last year it may be long forgotten or as fresh as a daisy but above all worth remembering.
April 15 is one of those days that are significant in history.
On a personal level it is the day this writer's late father, and brother, was born.
As a child there were often reminders of this day in history due to the loss of the Titanic.
Then on April 15, 1945, British troops entered the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen after negotiating a truce with the German commandant.
In 1986 the United States bombed Tripoli in retaliation for Libyan terrorist attacks on American targets and in 1989, at least 93 football supporters were killed in Britain's worst-ever sporting disaster.
All in all a busy day in history.
On this Day in History
The following pages carry notable dates for each month of the year while this blog will carry features for some of those dates:
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