ORIGINALLY from just across the border in Clones, Co Monaghan, Jim Dixon suffered some of the worst injuries of those who survived the bomb.
The father-of-three had been at the war memorial hoping to take a photograph of his daughter, who had been chosen to lay a wreath on behalf of her school. He was just 10 feet away when the bomb went off.
He said: “Part of the building hit me in the side of the face. It smashed my skull and the fluid from my brain was coming out through my ears.
“I am told by the surgeons that my eyeballs were sitting on my cheeks. I was split from my chin up to my ear. My face is paralysed. I had a lot of grafting – about five or six operations on my face alone.
“I had three operations in the last two years on my face.”
Mr Dixon said that time was not necessarily a great healer.
“The stronger you get, the stronger the pain,” he said.
“I had ribs broken, hip was smashed, pelvis broke in three places and a leg badly smashed. I was told by the surgeons that I never should have survived. After the bomb I was so badly injured they couldn’t give me painkillers.
“I couldn’t breathe I was so weak and I just pleaded with the surgeons to hit me over the head with a hatchet and put me out of my misery.
“Death is the decent thing. Dying and not fit to die is something else. I never could believe that there could be such fear and terror in a person’s body. It was as if I was placed in the very crypt of hell.”
Despite his own obvious trauma, Mr Dixon has dedicated his life to helping other victims and currently serves as chairman of the Ely Centre victims’ support group.
He said the 25th anniversary of the atrocity has prompted an influx of people in need of help.
“Our membership has doubled in the last 18 months,” he said. “Very few people realise the horror that was suffered from a bomb.
“It goes on for years. I am dealing with people now that have never come before but are feeling terribly traumatised by the bomb – people who were children 25 years ago.”