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The Flowers of Munich Continued - page 4

Heroic

The team line-ups in the Red Star programme for their European Cup quarter-final against Manchester United
The team line-ups in the Red Star programme for their
European Cup quarter-final against Manchester United

Also, for it was a sort of death, central defender Jackie Blanchflower and winger Johnny Berry, neither of whom could play again.

Goalkeeper Harry Gregg, a heroic, untiring rescuer on the snowy runways, pulled out Bobby Charlton, Dennis Viollet and a baby girl from the carnage. Granada traced her in Yugoslavia.

Her mother, too, was found and spoke of regaining consciousness in hospital with a- fractured skull..."Unable to remember who I was. I had forgotten Vesna, my baby. Forgotten that I was pregnant again. "Then, when I saw nuns hovering round me, speaking German, I thought the war had re-started."

Karl-Heinz Seffer, an airline mechanic, was found with proof that demolished "frozen wings" as a cause of the crash. He showed photographs of himself walking on the silver wings of the Elizabethan... "Impossible if there had been ice."

Red Star programme for their European Cup quarter-final against Manchester United
Welcome to United in the Red Star programme for their
European Cup quarter-final against Manchester United

So many deaths caught the airport firemen on the hop without blankets for the bodies. A manager told them to strip the covers off all the VIP cars as makeshift shrouds.

"It was dreadful' says one of the brigade. "Especially when we returned from the mortuary and the same man ordered us to go back for the car covers.

Home in Manchester, a policeman from Stretford spent a night guarding the dead and imprinting on his memory an unusual smell of tragedy.."Fresh varnish on the coffins. I can't forget it."

SWEPT

Gareth Williams, an archive researcher for Granada, showed me a European Cup photograph meant to be cheerful but, in retrospect, the grimmest of warnings.

David Pegg, shouldering a broom like a rifle and accompanied by Viollet and Mark Jones, grins on the runway at Bilbao where the whole squad had just swept their plane's homeward path clear of snow.

The order was given by Busby, worried about being delayed for Saturday's League match.

It was January 17, 1957.Just over a year away from another quarter-final - and the snow turning crimson.


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