Jennifer Templeton

Jennifer Templeton

United Kingdom
About: Disaster Responder - Nurse
Bio: Jennifer Templeton was working as a nurse at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary on the night of the terrorist attack. Jennifer shares her experience of her nightshift at the hospital, the sense of confusion felt in the wards and the feeling of helplessness.
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The Night Shift Nurse with No One to Save

The day of the attack

12/21/1988

Jennifer Templeton was a 34-year-old nurse, working at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary on nightshift at the time of the terrorist attack. Jennifer was experienced in dealing with emergencies as she worked in operating rooms (OR), preparing for the unknown and assisting in the emergency room (ER). However, no amount of training could have prepared her for the night of December 21st 1988. 

Jennifer begins her story by sharing a little bit about herself and her role as a nurse. 

 

Jennifer as a nurse at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary

Jennifer worked a pattern of nightshifts, and had spent most of the day on December 21st sleeping and caring for her young daughter at home in Dumfries.

She explains how her day had been relatively normal and why she was oblivious to the tragic events unfolding 12 miles away in Lockerbie.

 

As the minutes and hours ticked by, Jennifer recalls a deluge of staff, who'd been brought in from every corner of the region.

It began to dawn on the staff that they may actually know some of the victims, as they had family, friends and colleagues who lived in Lockerbie.

The corridors were full to bursting with nurses, doctors and surgeons, and Jennifer recalls a vivid memory of a couple of her colleagues frantically trying to make sense of the situation.

Despite the uncertainty of what they were possibly going to be facing during their shift, Jennifer says that everything felt somewhat organised.

Hours into the nightshift, it became clear that there were going to be very few survivors or patients requiring treatment.

Jennifer explains her desperation for somebody to arrive into hospital who needed her help, and how difficult it was to accept that there was really very little they could do.

Throughout the night, more and more people arrived at the hospital doors, looking to help in any way possible. Unfortunately, there was little that could be done and the majority of provisions being donated were sent to be used by the emergency services in Lockerbie. 

 

As news filtered through about the scale of the tragedy, the emergency services were in a position to stand down the vast majority of the hospital relief staff.

Jennifer explains what it felt like to be told there was nothing more they could do, and having to return to a ‘normal’ night on the ward. 

 

Remembering those lost

12/21/2023

Every year on the anniversary of the attack, Jennifer thinks back to what she experienced on that awful night. She remembers the colleagues she was working alongside on nightshift, the feeling of unease and confusion, the overwhelming need to help and the empathy she has for those who lost loved ones.

Jennifer continued in her role as a nurse for the majority of her career, and always took time to remember those who were killed in Lockerbie on December 21st 1988

Jennifer was asked her thoughts on the creation of a new memorial museum, on the site of the 1771 Old Kirk Ruins at Tundergarth. She said she fully supported the project as it would ensure those lost were never forgotten. 

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