This is just an ongoing draft. The start of my book.
Anyone reading this might scratch their head. It will likely jump about as I fill in the Blanks.
I am reading an ongoing saga written by Francis Marion. For some reason his words are resonating with me. I have drawn myself into his story. It also is bringing to life again the images of Westray.
Over The Hills and Far Away
This will be my diary of my thoughts regarding the tragedy of Westray. A place that still looms large where I worked for a short time long ago. Over the hills and far away from where I am now.
Reaching back through the years and the twists and turns of fate has required time and contemplation. Now older I can listen to the quiet solitude many a morning sunrise that life has granted me. A fortunate Son now but not always evident, it has been age and reflection that has helped me
Trees that once were dead now live.
Each year as hope turns to spring my thoughts turn to a place over a field and far away. It has become a paralyzing force. I have many regrets in life. There is one that rears it’s head every year about this time. See A long time ago I turned down an opportunity to appear and be interviewed by Lyndon for his documentary. It was at the time in June 1992 done out of some fear. Not of spoken threats but rather my twisted notion of maintaining to code of silence in aftermath of May 9th. There has always been a great fear in me of publicity. Of a light cast to bright my way. A couple years back I was interviewed by Information Morning in Halifax. The interview didn’t go as planned. It missed the fundamental issue that I have with Westray and the aftermath. I was not allowed to speak. I thought I would be given a chance to tell my story. To defend my honour. Yet the government, whether by incompetence or collusion chose to cast me aside in the rush to judgement and burial of inconvenient facts.
I was called a liar by Trevor Eagles on last day of testimony at Richards Inquiry. He stated for the record that I didn’t send him test results on 6th. The inquiry ended and has as a result always been open ended. There will be no closure. No last shift in this life for me.
It is likely too late to fix this with that interview. I don’t interview well anyways. I am in many ways a very private person when it comes to my thoughts. When Don Connolly interviewed me I shut down. I left there kind of disappointed in myself for not opening the door I was given. I watched the documentary again, two years ago now, and saw that you folks removed to portion where it is stated for the record that tests were done on 6th. I understand the reasons why it was done. I should have taken Robin Benger’s offer of a plane ticket to Toronto. Done the interview . It might to an outsider seem trivial but is in fact very important. So important that Mr. Eagles went out of his way to change the time lime. So important that Ches MacDonald appears to have neglected to tell inquiry about my interview with him in fall of 1992.
I ask the question everyday. It has a special urgency in led up to May 9th
Why wasn’t I allowed to speak at Inquiry?
A couple of years back I tried via FOIA to get a copy of my statement to RCMP on May 29th 1992. After much running around all I could get was a heavily redacted copy. Three hours of my life reduced to a thousand words or less. I gave up a career and to this day I wonder if I made the right choice.
Even the interview conducted by Ches MacDonald no longer exists. Well at least as I have been told. I requested a copy of that as well and was told that none exists. A hinge in my life shoved down a memory hole with extreme prejudice never to be seen again by anyone.
Doing the right thing and trusting the authorities doesn’t pay.
I was played a fool
should have kept head down.
Tell a few white lies.
Let cash be the muse.
That is how it stands for me when it comes to Westray. An honest man cannot succeed in a world run by fools and charlatans.
I have one request.
Could the segment regarding test results be put back in doc. From my interview and a couple of I am now on record publicly stating that tests were done May 6th. If you folks can do that I would be much pleased and rest better. Especially when the spring turns to flowers.
Robert G Thompson
p.s. The following year in July 1993 I ran into Lyndon at Cèilidh Co-op in Judique. Weird one of those days that has been burned in my mind. I didn’t speak to him. He likely didn’t know who I was anyways. I left there feeling ashamed for not having the courage to speak then or the year before. I wonder sometimes how the story would have been written if I had have done that interview. I think it would have changed everything.