Bravery Award for Army Officer in Parsons Green Terror Attack
Craig Palmer Awarded Queen’s Commendation for Bravery
Lieutenant Colonel Craig Palmer, Royal Artillery, has been awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery for his actions during the Islamic terrorist bomb attack on the London Underground on 15 September 2017.
When Iraqi asylum seeker, Ahmed Hassan Mohammed Ali, detonated an explosive device on the District Line at Parsons Green station, Lt Col. Palmer ran to towards the explosion and obtained valuable evidence that was later used to bring the Islamic terrorist to justice.
Lt Col. Palmer, 50, a father of three from Fairfield, Stockton-on-Tees, was two carriages away from the bomb when it exploded. As an Army officer of 26 years’ experience, his training enabled him to remain calm as people panicked and ran all around him. He was still acutely aware that he was in grave danger.
Speaking to reporters, Lt Col. Palmer said, “As the train came in to Parson’s Green there was a flash and a commotion and lots of screams and people came charging down the platform running for the exits, but my instinct was to stand-fast.”
“I couldn’t see a terrorist, but I could see what I thought was a burning bomb and realised the terrorist must be on the run.”
Ahmed Hassan used a 20 Amazon voucher he had received as a prize for “best student of the year” from Brooklands College to begin making a bomb packed with bolts, nails and knives that he intended to use against British civilians. He left his homemade bomb on a morning-rush-hour District Line train, but when the device detonated at Parson’s Green tube station only the detonator of the bomb went off. This created a fireball that passed along the ceiling of the carriage, injuring 30 people – if the bomb had exploded as intended the result would have been carnage.
“I saw horrified people, school children, all running past me,” continued Lt Col. Palmer, “and from my previous operational experience I knew that the first few moments after any incidents are crucial to gathering evidence.
“So I went into the carriage, there was no one else there, and I could see that there was a bomb in a Lidl carrier bag on the floor, so I took three pictures of it on my phone and left the carriage straight away to let the police know what I’d seen.
Hassan entered the UK illegally in 2015, smuggling himself across the English Channel from the Calais Jungle immigrant camp. He was eventually questioned by the Home Office who learnt that he had been a member of the Islamic State (aka ISIL, ISIS, Daesh). Despite this, Hassan was assisted by the government to find somewhere to live and attend school. Staff at a Barnado’s children’s home and Brooklands College also gave evidence that Hassan accessed Islamic State material and had stated that it was his “duty to hate Britain.” No action was taken against him at the time.
Lt Col. recalled that the bomb “was still venting fumes and could have gone off at any moment. It was a calculated risk – army officers are in the business of taking such risks, and I thought there’s a 50/50 chance that if it goes off I die.”
Lt Col Palmer, Commanding Officer 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery, gave evidence at the trial of Ahmed Hassan that led to his conviction for terrorism. Hassan denied attempted murder and using the chemical compound TATP to cause an explosion that was likely to endanger life. Hassan was found guilty and sentenced to a minimum term of 34 years in prison.