Special thanks to ….

My Mother: For saving my life and letting me live it afterwards.

My wife Audrey: The years we have known each other have not been easy for her. She came into a family that had been devastated by the crash and we talked (a lot) about people she would never meet. She has been so supportive over this time. I could not have handled returning to Ljubljana in 2017 without her. She was willing to tell and ask people things that I found difficult to do myself.

Brigita Zorec: For replying to my initial and subsequent emails. For taking my wife and I to the memorial and being so sympathetic to my feelings. For putting me in touch with Marko Ličina, Metka Derganc and Igor Ravnik.

Jure Murko: Brigita’s colleague who has helped my cousins, Teri and Bill, visit the memorial.

Marko Ličina: For giving us his time at the National Museum of Contemporary History to go through photo archives of the crash itself and the ceremony that took place at the Sports Hall before the coffins were transported back to the UK.

Metka Derganc and Igor Ravnik: For all of the help given to me, my mother and all of the other survivors in 1966 and for meeting my wife and I on Friday 23rd June 2017. I had worried that we might not know what to say to each other but that fear was completely unfounded. This single meeting has probably been the best therapy that I could ever have wished for.

Mirko Derganc and the wonderful staff at the hospital in Ljubljana in 1966. Although I have not met any of these since 1966 there will always be a special place for them in my memory.

The Ljubljana Ambulance and Fire Department rescue services: I have read about the extreme difficulties of the rescue mission in a paper written by Mirko Derganc in 1972. Like Mirko Derganc and the hospital staff, there will always be a special place for them in my memory.

The people of Slovenia: In 1966 the warmth and support given to all of the survivors by so many people was so comforting. In addition, when my wife and I travelled to Ljubljana in June 2017, everyone we met was so kind and helpful. The woman on the plane that we took to Ljubljana who was concerned that I was OK as we came into land; the taxi driver from the airport into Ljubljana who remembered the crash; the florist who made up the beautiful bouquet for me; the people at the Sports Hall who were too young to remember the crash; the porter at the hospital who was not too young to remember and went out of his way to find a young woman who could speak English so that she could translate our questions and his answers.

My family and friends.

There are too many to mention on just one page so please follow the above link to find what I have written about them.

4 thoughts on “Special thanks to ….

  1. Dear Michael, I have found reading your story very helpful and would be grateful if you have any further news or advice,I am going to do a trip to Ljubljana with my son and three grandchildren in memory of my late husband ,who also was in the crash 1.9.1966 , survived with burns and multiple fractures, he lost his first wife and two young children in the crash.My husbands wish was to return to crash site, for years he was asking for the memorial to be put there, unfortunately he passed away few years ago.


    1. Hello Liisa,

      Since my last response to you I have been in touch with Brigita Zorec and she has said that she would be more than happy to take you to the memorial. She is a lovely person who is really happy that she and the others involved in creating the 50th anniversary memorial, have been able to help me and others to get some peace and understanding after all this time. Please don’t hesitate to contact me, either through the blog or at mike@gatfords.uk.

      Very best wishes,



    2. Dear Liisa,

      I am so pleased that you made the trip over to Ljubljana in September and that you contacted Brigita. As you state it was a very moving experience. I too took a look around the site when I was there which was very emotional. I have no memories of the location from 1966 but I tried to imagine what my mother did for me and the experience that Carole Bell-Court (nee Alexander) went through. See:


      I thought for a long time about writing this blog and whether it would be useful or just a self-indulgent exercise for me. However, I have contacted several people through it, some old friends I have not seen for over 50 years but also others who I never knew but have found, I hope, some comfort from reading what I have written. For years I was so wrapped up in what happened to me and my mother that I didn’t realise how much others were affected too: my cousins who visited the memorial in 2017 too, my aunts who had lost their brother and nieces, my wife who never knew my father and sisters and, of course other people I had never met.

      I may add to the web pages but, at the moment, feel that I have written enough.

      Very kind regards and love



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