Bloody Sunday

30 January 1972

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What happened? - Media bias - The victims
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What happened?

On 30 January 1972, 30,000 people marched in Derry to protest Internment. The march, the biggest ever organized by NICRA (Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association), made is way towards Guildhall Square. British troops blocked the route at William Street so the people assembled at "Free Derry Corner" in the Bogside area. Suddenly, armored cars appeared from behind barriers and headed for Rossville Street. British troops effectively boxed in hundreds of people on waste-ground between the Flats and William Street. Soldiers spilled out of the armored cars, their helmets identifying them as Paratroopers. None of the soldiers carried batons and shields as riot control troops do. All were fully armed with combat rifles. They used their rifle as clubs as the waded through the crowd.

Without warning, the clear and unmistaken sound of shots from British army issue SLRs rang out. More shots, and then people began to fall. The air rang to the sound of rapid gunfire and screams. Causally soldiers fired indiscriminately, often from the hip, into a fleeing and unarmed civil rights marchers. At the end of the day, 13 people lay dead (A fourteenth was to die later as a result of his wounds) and 17 innocent unarmed civilians law wounded, One man who was photographed being arrested and taken into a British army Saracen (Armored troop carrier) was later found shot dead.

Within hours, the British propaganda machine was in full operation claiming that they had shot dead thirteen "gunmen" and bombers, in an attempt to justify the planned, cold-blooded murder of peaceful, unarmed civil rights protesters.

To this day, no evidence that ANY of the people murdered on Bloody Sunday was armed with either a gun or a bomb.

Even today, more then 30 years later, the British media are selective in thier reporting of that brutal incident:

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Selective media interest

BY FERN LANE

After the treatment of Martin McGuinness by Lord Saville at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry last week, it might be interesting to muse a little on the objectivity of both the distinguished Lord in his manner of conducting the inquiry, and on that of the British media, which turned up in vast numbers for the first time at the Guildhall, Derry, on day 390 of the inquiry to pick over in minute detail the evidence given by Martin McGuinness. So, consider the following:

Some of the things about the Bloody Sunday inquiry that the British media has not been interested in:

  • The refusal of Edward Heath to answer questions about Bloody Sunday and Lord Saville's failure to ensure that he did
  • The possibility that one of the most senior serving officers in the British Army, Colonel Mike Jackson, perjured himself to the inquiry
  • The possibility that in 1972 senior MoD legal officials, particularly Colonel Ted Overbury, doctored soldiers' statements in order to cover up or justify the shootings
  • The refusal of the MoD to submit crucial documentary evidence to the inquiry
  • The destruction, by the MoD, of the surviving rifles used by the soldiers on Bloody Sunday, as well as of film and photographic evidence
  • The retraction by the former army forensics officer, Dr John Martin, of all his evidence to the Widgery inquiry
  • the repeated attempts by the current British Secretary of State for Defence to thwart the inquiry.

The media has also not been interested in:

  • The evidence that the 1972 Stormont Regime, personified by John Taylor, wanted the British army to undertake a policy of shooting Catholic civilians in an attempt to maintain control
  • The fact that General Ford also advocated such a policy in Derry shortly before Bloody Sunday
  • The testimony of photographers that they were shot at by British solders on Bloody Sunday to stop them recording what was going on
  • The revelation that one of the British Army soldiers involved in Bloody Sunday, 203, joined the UDA shortly after
  • The testimony of one former British Army major, who wrote in his diary that the Paras were a `dreadful and ghastly' regiment, consisting of `savage, trained terrorists' who took pleasure in `legalised murder' and whose treatment of civilians on Bloody Sunday was `beyond description'
  • That Soldiers F, H and others were accused, during the Saville inquiry, of murder.

Things the British media has been interested in:
  • Martin McGuinness
  • the IRA
  • um, let's see. No, that's it.

Questions that Lord Saville has allowed counsel to the inquiry and lawyers representing British soldiers to ask Martin McGuinness:
  • The identity of members of the IRA on Bloody Sunday
  • The activities of the IRA before and after Bloody Sunday
  • The activities of Martin McGuinness before and after Bloody Sunday
  • His membership or otherwise of organisations other than the IRA (long) before Bloody Sunday
  • The exact locations of safe houses and arms dumps in 1972 and the owners of those houses

Questions that, between them, Lord Saville, the British judiciary and the British government have not allowed lawyers for the families to inquire into:
  • The identity of the members of 1 Para who carried out the killings
  • The identity of British agents and intelligence service personnel on Bloody Sunday;
  • The activities of the members of 1 Para responsible for the shootings whilst on duty elsewhere in the Six Counties before and after Bloody Sunday -- even when this involved the systematic abuse and indeed shooting of civilians
  • The UDA activities of Soldier 203 after Bloody Sunday
  • The evidence of the British agent `Infliction'
  • Anything Edward Heath did not want to answer.

People Lord Saville has threatened with jail for refusing to answer questions to the inquiry:
  • Martin McGuinness
  • Two Channel 4 journalists
  • Ian Paisley
People who will not face the threat of jail:

  • The soldiers who opened fire on unarmed civilians
  • Their commanding officers
  • Their political masters
  • The soldiers, MoD officials and their political masters who are suspected of perjuring themselves to both Widgery and Saville
  • Soldiers who refused to answer questions
  • Former British prime ministers who refused to answer questions
Number of people killed and wounded by the British Army on Bloody Sunday: 28.

Number of people killed and wounded by the IRA on Bloody Sunday: 0

Who, exactly, do you suppose, has got something to hide?

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Bloody Sunday protest

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What happened? - Media bias - The victims
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The Victims; The dead:

Jack Duddy (17)

Jack Duddy - Age 17

Jack Duddy was killed by a single shot that passed through his upper chest from right to left and slightly forward. Four witnesses, including Fr. Edward Daly -- then a Catholic priest, later to become Bishop of Derry -- all stated that Duddy was unarmed at the time he was shot; and that he was running away from soldiers when he was shot. Three of these witnesses stated that they saw a soldier take deliberate aim at Duddy as he fled across the courtyard of Rossville Flats.

Paddy Doherty (31)

Paddy Doherty - Age 31

Pat Doherty was killed as he crawled on his hand and knees, obviously unarmed, to assist a youngster lying wounded in the middle of the street; the fatal bullet entered his buttocks, traveled up his spine, and exited his chest. Photographs taken by Gilles Peress moments before Paddy died clearly showed him to be unarmed.

Benard McGuigan (41)

Bernard McGuigan - Age 41

Bernard McGuigan was shot in the head while trying to aid the fatally injured Doherty. He was waving a white handkerchief and obviously unarmed.

Hugh Gilmore (17)

Hugh Gilmore - Age 17

Hugh Gilmore was shot by a single bullet that passed through his body and through his left forearm as he was running away from soldiers in Rossville Street. The bullet travelled from right to left through his chest travelling horizontally and slightly forward. A photograph of Gilmore, taken seconds after he was hit, showed that he was unarmed a fact confirmed by a number of witnesses. Gilmore was shot close to the rubble barricade but managed to run for several meters before falling to the ground at the side of Rossville Flats. A student nurse tried to treat his wounds. He died shortly after where he had fallen.

Kevin McElhinney (17)

Kevin McElhinney - Age 17

Kevin McElhinney died like Doherty, except that he was crawling towards the safety of a doorway instead of to help a wounded man; the bullet entered his buttocks and went through his body.

Michael McDaid (20)

Michael McDaid - Age 20

Michael McDaid was killed by a single shot to his face at the rubble barricade in front of Rossville Flats. He probably died immediately he had been shot. The book Eyewitness Bloody Sunday: The Truth included a photograph of McDaid moments before he was shot. This photograph shows McDaid walking away from the soldiers and facing towards 'Free Derry Corner'. This evidence, plus the results of post-mortem examinations, which showed the trajectory of the bullet to be from the front to the back and from above to below, plus recent evidence that soldiers on the Derry Walls fired into the bogside, has led the author of the book to conclude that McDaid, Nash and Young could have been shot by one or more soldiers who were on the Derry Walls.

William Nash (19)

William Nash - Age 19

William Nash was killed by a single shot to his chest near the rubble barricade in front of Rossville Flats. The bullet entered his right upper chest from the front and travelled backward and downward exiting from his lower back. He was killed at almost the same time and in the same circumstances as John Young. Eyewitness accounts state that Nash was unarmed and was going to the aid of someone else when he himself was shot.

John Young (17)

John Young - Age 17

John Young was killed by a single shot to the head at the rubble barricade on Rossville Street. The bullet entered close to his left eye and traveled backward and downward before exiting through his ribs on the left side of his back. Two eyewitnesses stated that Young was unarmed when he was shot.

Michael Kelly (17)

Michael Kelly - Age 17

Michael Kelly died from a single shot to his abdomen. The bullet entered from the front and traveled backward and downward. He died within a few minutes of being shot. He was shot near the rubble barricade in front of Rossville Flats.

Jim Wray (22)

Jim Wray - Age 22

James Wray initially was only wounded, and lying face down on the pavement (probably paralyzed), from a shot in the back; then a soldier, noticing that he was still alive, took a few steps closer, and fired another shot into Wray's back, killing him.

Gerard Donaghy (17)

Gerard Donaghy - Age 17

Gerald Donaghy was trying to run to safety between Glenfada Park and Abbey Park when he was shot. He was shot once in the abdomen, and did not die at the scene. Bystanders managed to get him to the house of Raymond Rogan in the hope of getting medical treatment for his wounds. In the house his clothes were searched for identification. He was examined in the house by Doctor Kevin Swords. Dr Swords recommended that Gerald be taken to Altnagelvin Hospital. Raymond Rogan and Leo Young began the drive to the hospital with Gerald in Rogan's car. At a military checkpoint in Barrack Street both Rogan and Young were ordered to leave the vehicle and a soldier drove it to the Regimental Aid Post of 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment where a Medical Officer pronounced that Gerald Donaghy was dead.

Gerard Mckinney (35)

Gerard McKinney - Age 35

Gerald McKinney stood holding his hands above his head in the traditional surrender gesture when a soldier approached and from 9 feet away shot him in the chest.

William McKinney (26)

William McKinney - Age 26

William McKinney was shot dead after he left the safety of cover to try to assist Gerald McKinney (not a relation) who had been shot moments before. He was shot from behind, as he was bent over Gerald McKinney, and the bullet traveled through his chest from right to left and then through his left wrist.

John Johnstone (59)

John Johnston - Age 59

John Johnson was shot and wounded before the fatal shooting started. The soldiers involved claimed that they had come under attack from nailbombs. No other witnesses, civilian or military heard any nailbombs explode at the time of the shooting. John Johnson was hit twice in the incident and he apparently recovered from his wounds when he was re-admitted to hospital suffering from a brain tumour it was suggested at the time this could have resulted from a heavy fall he received on Bloody Sunday. He died on 16th June 1972.

The Victims; The seriously wounded:

Others were also wounded by gunfire. Many other people were assaulted and beaten by the Paras.

Alphabetical list of those injured (from gunfire unless otherwise stated)

Michael Bradley (22) Michael Bridge (25) Alana Burke (18) (ran down by a British Army armoured personnel carrier) Patrick Campbell (53) (ran down by a British Army armoured personnel carrier) Margaret 'Peggy' Deery (37) (the only woman shot and injured on 'Bloody Sunday') Damien Donaghy (15) Joseph 'Joe' Friel (20) Daniel Gillespie (31) (not mentioned in the Widgery's Tribunal Report) Joseph Mahon (xx) Patrick McDaid (24) Daniel McGowan (37) Alexander 'Alex' Nash (52) Patrick 'Paddy' O'Donnell (41) Michael Quinn (17)

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Further reading: Visit the Bloody Sunday Trust website (websites opens in a new window)

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