the lockerbie triangle

On the morning of Thursday December 22 1988, I went to my student job at the Glasgow Hope Street branch of Jessops photo centre as usual. Outside, there was already a queue of shoppers at the unopened doors – but they weren’t looking for christmas presents. Most of the staffers and freelance news photographers had been up all night and were driving straight back to Lockerbie in their Cavaliers and Sierras after re-stocking on film.

The site of Scotland’s worst rail disaster (Gallipoli-bound troop train collision at Quintinshill 95 years ago) and the site of Scotland’s worst air disaster (Iranian revenge bombing of PanAm flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988) are within minutes of each other (both tolls remain records for the UK).

But the third Scottish connection in this triangle is much less well-known – yet remains genocidically-common and ubiquitous nonetheless.

Cordite was a replacement for gunpowder, and extensively used throughout WW1. It was manufactured in a gigantic factory at Gretna – that Gretna, of parent-unsanctioned love – minutes away from Quintinshill and Lockerbie. The author Arthur Conan Doyle, during a visit to the mostly female-staffed factory, is alleged to have called the substance “the devil’s porridge”.

Abel, Nobel, Noble.

One of them was the instigator of the Nobel prize. All three were chemical death specialists, and synchronistically knew each other. The south of Scotland’s munitions remnants – Nobel’s derelict Ayrshire dynamite works near Irvine, and who knows what horrors dumped conveniently in the nearby seachannel between Ireland and Arran, remain their progeny to the seventh generation at least. This is Jung’s synchronicity working for progress through evil-on-sea, as surely in its motives as the Manhattan project in Oppenheimer’s beloved desert.

A minor diversion down the coast from Lockerbie is Chapelcross, an early Magnox Nuclear facility involved in providing Plutonium to the UK’s nuclear weapons experiments. Anne Herbert describes nuclear like this -

“We shouldn’t torture matter apart, as we do in nuclear activity. I see the mushroom cloud as matter’s agony and we shouldn’t do it.”

Allan Francovitch’s film The Maltese Double Cross – Lockerbie, explores the possible reality behind the bombing of Clipper Maid of the Seas on the night of Dec 21 1988. The perhaps long-forgotten graves of the Quintinshill victims are at Rosebank cemetery, Edinburgh.

I’ve not forgotten either of them.