Politics

Comrade of Soldier F says it’s a ‘shame’ ex-British paratrooper could face prosecution

Thirteen unarmed civilians had been shot lifeless by the first Battalion of the British Army’s Parachute Regiment on what turned often called Bloody Sunday in Bogside, Londonderry on January 30, 1972.

Another 15 individuals had been wounded within the shootings, with one of these injured – John Johnston – dying 4 months later. 

Other protesters had been injured by shrapnel or batons, and two had been run down by military autos through the chaos which broke out on William Street.  

The killings, which befell within the house of ten minutes shortly after 4pm, occurred throughout a protest in opposition to internment with out trial organised by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA). 

The parade, which concerned an estimated 15,000 to twenty,000 individuals, had set off from Bishop’s Field within the Creggan space of Londonderry, with plans to finish on the Guildhall.

But when the march reached the town centre, these in cost determined to keep away from Guildhall and as a substitute stroll to Free Derry Corner in Bogside because the route had been blocked by British Army boundaries.

An armed soldier attacks a protestor on Bloody Sunday when British Paratroopers shot dead 13 civilians on a civil rights march in Londonderry

An armed soldier assaults a protestor on Bloody Sunday when British Paratroopers shot lifeless 13 civilians on a civil rights march in Londonderry

However, a number of demonstrators diverted from the principle group at Rossville Street and continued to the place a barricade had been erected on William Street to forestall approaches to Guildhall.  

Those concerned started throwing stones in direction of the troopers at round 3.40pm, and the Regiment responded by firing plastic bullets, CS gasoline and spraying demonstrators with water cannons.

In the Saville Inquiry, which investigated the circumstances of Bloody Sunday, Lord Saville mentioned troopers from the Royal Green Jackets ‘acted with restraint within the face of the rioting at this barrier and deployed not more than correctly proportionate power in searching for to take care of it’. 

At round 3.55pm it’s understood the group noticed paratroopers occupying a derelict three-story constructing overlooking William Street, and started throwing stones on the home windows. 

These troopers then opened fireplace, with Damien Donaghy and John Johnston shot and wounded whereas standing on waste floor reverse the constructing.    

Colonel Derek Wilford, commanding the Regiment, despatched a message to Brigade Headquarters from his position close to a church suggesting troops be despatched by way of the barrier to arrest rioters.

A mural depicting those who lost their lives on Bloody Sunday in Rossville Street, Londonderry

A mural depicting those that lost their lives on Bloody Sunday in Rossville Street, Londonderry

A couple of minutes later, at 4.07pm, Brigadier Pat MacLellan gave orders for the Regiment to mount an arrest operation at William Street – often called Barrier 14 – however to not ‘chase individuals down the road.’

Colonel Wilford deployed one company by way of Barrier 14 as permitted, but in addition deployed a help company in autos from the close by Barrier 12 on Little James Street.

Those from Barrier 12 travelled into Bogside and disembarked, which is when extra rifle photographs had been fired.

Soldiers opened fireplace within the automobile park of the Rossville Flats, capturing teenager Jackie Duddy, 17, within the again as he ran with Father Edward Daly and wounding a number of others. 

Six others had been shot on Rossville Street, as different troopers entered Glenfada Park North, the place William McKinney, 26, and Jim Wray, 22, had been fatally wounded.

Those in Glenfada Park North then went to its south-east entrance, from the place they fired throughout to Rossville Street and killed Bernard McGuigan, 41, and fatally injured Patrick Doherty, 31.

Nearby, in Abbey Park, a British Army solider shot Gerard McKinney, 35. The shot handed by way of his physique and hit Gerald Donaghey, 17.

In whole, 26 unarmed civilians had been shot by paratroopers throughout Bloody Sunday. Thirteen died on the day and one other died of his accidents 4 months later.

At an inquest into the deaths, held in August 1973, coroner Hubert O’Neill, a retired British Army main, mentioned: ‘This Sunday turned often called Bloody Sunday and bloody it was. It was fairly pointless. 

‘It strikes me that the Army ran amok that day and shot with out considering what they had been doing. They had been capturing harmless individuals. 

‘These individuals might have been participating in a march that was banned however that doesn’t justify the troops coming in and firing reside rounds indiscriminately. 

‘I’d say with out hesitation that it was sheer, unadulterated homicide. It was homicide.’

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