Montserrat Memories

Montserrat is a tiny island in the Caribbean. I have never been there but my husband Ian worked there for about 8 months in 1965-66, shortly before we met in Kenya in August 1966. Memories of Montserrat were still fresh and over the years he has told me quite a few. The most dramatic memory that he shared of his time in Montserrat was of climbing up the mountain to the site where a Pan Am flight had crashed, killing all on board – 21 passengers and 9 crew members. Of course this tragedy was big news in September 1965. This happened shortly after Ian’s arrival in Montserrat. This was his first assignment with the Ministry of Overseas Development to develop a Master Plan for Plymouth, the capital.

Incidentally when he had completed his assignment and left Montserrat in February 1966, he stopped in New York for 3 days. This was his first visit to the United States. Little did he know that 6 months later we were to meet and marry in Kenya in February 1968. And another coincidence was that he stayed in the Hotel Lexington in New York – the same hotel where my father stayed in the post war years 1946-1949. (At that time my father had been transferred from the Boston to the New York office of his company. He commuted between Boston and New York.)

Moving forward, years later in the mid-1990’s, the long extinct volcano on Montserrat had a series of eruptions resulting in the obliteration of the town of Plymouth. Around 2005 we happened to be in an outdoor restaurant in London and we overheard 2 men talking about some consulting work they were doing in Montserrat. I was all ears and wanted to speak with them – but Ian was reluctant. So …..