An unsung hero who dived into a bombed underground carriage to rescue survivors of the July 7 bomb attacks has spoken publicly for the first time about the carnage after being made an MBE in today’s New Year Honours.
Stephen Hucklesby, from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, is one of six people recognised for their service to others during the blasts in July 2005 that killed 52 commuters.
The 46-year-old first aider was honoured for his efforts treating victims of the London Underground bomb that devastated a tube train shortly after leaving the Edgware Road station.
Mr Hucklesby, married with children aged 14 and 12, was travelling on a train in the opposite direction to the one almost blown apart by the explosion.
He said: “Our coach stopped alongside after the blast and I went with three others to the bombed coach to provide some help to those who were injured. The blast was enormous and it was a scene of carnage and devastation inside.
“My work background has taken me to a number of conflicts while involved in international relief in places like Mozambique, Tanzania and Afghanistan, but I never expected to see that sort of thing on the London Underground on the way to work.
“I jumped into the bombed carriage because I had done a first aid course but nothing prepares you for that sort of carnage.”
Mr Hucklesby, still emotional as he described the scenes, added: “It was obvious people had been killed in the blast carriage. I had to work out who needed attention – who was alive and who wasn’t.
“People at the front of the carriage were injured and I made my way down there.
“Largely, it was a question of getting people down on the ground inside the carriage, making them comfortable, and stemming the bleeding.
“There were no medical facilities so we had to improvise, which meant raising people’s limbs in the air to stem their bleeding.”
The emergency services started to arrive about half an hour after the explosion, one of four which caused death and destruction across London at the hands of a group of Islamic extremist suicide bombers.
Nothing has previously been published about Mr Hucklesby’s actions that day, but he said: “I haven’t gone out of my way to seek out publicity, I was simply a member of the public doing what I could to help.
“It is an amazing thing to be awarded an MBE, entirely unexpected. I was one of a number of people helping out on that day who would feel privileged to get this award.”
Mr Hucklesby, who works as a policy advisor for the Methodist Church, said he had kept in touch with several of the injured from that day on the train, but had no idea who had nominated him for the MBE.