Massacre at Derry, by Civil Rights Movement (nd, 1972)
|A.||Michael Bridge, 25 years.|
|B.||Margaret Deery, 37 years.|
|C.||Patrick McDaid, 24 years.|
|D.||Michael Bradley, 22 years.|
|E.||Alana Burke, 18 years.|
|F.||Alex Nash, 52 years.|
|G.||Paddy O'Donnell, 40 years.|
|H.||Joseph Friel, 20 years.|
|I.||Patrick Campbell, 53 years.|
Brian Ward, Oakfield, Derry:
"I run up Chamberlain Street going in the direction of the back of the Flats. As I came over there Saracen cars came over Rossville Street. They came on to the back of the Flats and the soldiers jumped out and started to run towards everybody.Statement of Sam Gillespie, Derry:
Next I seen a young boy lying in the middle of the back of the Flats -with a bullet wound in his stomach. We dived behind the wall. People were trying to help the young fella that was shot. Paras opened fire on them ones. Then a fellow called Mickie Bridge - I think his nerves must have got the better of him - he jumped out and he put his hands up and he shouts "Shoot me, shoot me" and they shot him in the leg - the hip - and he was dragged away. And we had to run away from there then. . . "
"I was taking photographs of the Civil Rights March. I was in William Street taking photographs of the confrontation with the British army, when the army charged I ran over Chamberlain Street. I was one of the last to enter. When I got to the Square at Rossville Flats I saw a fellow lying on the ground with about ten people around him. He was dead. I took a picture of this. While I was taking it a young fellow who seemed to be his friend turned and faced the soldier shouting "Shoot me now, you bastard, shoot me". He was waving his hands in the air and as he moved towards the soldier who was taking cover at a Saracen he was shot twice in the leg. I believe his name was Michael Bridge.John Mitchel McLaughlin, Derry:
". . . after about half an hour there were only a handful of stone throwers left and it was at this time the Saracens, at least three of them, and one or two Ferret cars came across Little James' Street into the Bogside. We didn't want to be cut off so we decided to vacate the area and moved straight back along Chamberlain Street towards the Multi-storied Flats and went towards the car park. As we were crossing the Harvey Street / Eden Place Junction we were fired upon by a paratrooper kneeling at the corner at Quinn's Lane. A foreign photographer was the only person left at the William Street end of Chamberlain Street, and we shouted for him to come towards us as we saw the soldiers take up position where Hunter's Bakery used to be. He stepped out with both hands in the air, facing the soldier who had shot at us and this soldier shot at him also. This bullet lifted a chunk out of the masonry surrounding the window at the end house in Harvey Street, (this can be seen and the photographer involved photographed it). This was the first real evidence we had that they were using lead bullets. I have through experience become familiar with the sounds of nail bombs and I can state without any question or doubt that none had been thrown.
We made our way to the car park and all the time I was assisting a man who had been injured in the leg by a rubber bullet. On arriving there the first thing I saw was a young lad, of not more than 18, lying on his back on the ground with people running towards him. He appeared to have been shot in the face as it was covered with blood. I can positively and absolutely say that he had no weapon of any nature on his person as I was among the first to reach him.
As I was running towards this boy I saw Mickey Bridge standing in the middle of the square shouting to the people who were at the gable wall to come over towards him as the paratroopers were taking up position in the waste ground, covering the square. Mickey was shot in the leg by one of these three soldiers. I afterwards recollected that he was waving a white cloth, probably what he had been using to protect himself against the gas.
It was obvious that the above mentioned boy was seriously injured and one of the men asked me to get a priest saying that the nearest phone was at the shop beside the kiosk. At this time no priests were in evidence. When I reached this shop it was closed. Firing was still in progress. A man shouted that a lad had been hit and I helped to pull him in towards the kiosk. He had been shot in the right side, just under the ribs. A first aid man arrived and was able to treat this boy so I continued to try to secure a priest.
I made my way along the maisonettes. I stopped at a house where the door was ajar and in which my friend had taken refuge. As I was talking to him the army opened fire again. I had to dive to the ground as the fire was directed towards these maisonettes. When I got to the corner of St. Columb's Wells I met another friend who was directing people across the open space on Fahan Street. Many panic stricken people were cowering in the alley at the back of the maisonettes and he and I brought them across.
I made my way across Free Derry Corner to Glenfada Park and while I was approaching it I saw a group of about 20 people with their hands in the air, waving white cloths, approaching the soldiers. At first I thought that this group had been arrested but then I saw 2 bodies in the open and realised that they were trying to reach them, when the troops opened fire on them. They fell to the ground for cover but I did not see anyone hit. I went around at least 6 houses in this area to try and contact my family to see if they were safe and in all these houses I found injured people.
This is my statement and it is correct."
Lexie McLaughlin, Creggan, Derry:
"I was in William Street - people panicked - we ran up Chamberlain Street into car park - Saracens there before us. Heard shooting, ran back as soldiers were jumping out of Saracens. Heard shooting. Saw young boy falling - blood over his neck. Went and got First Aid man - more shooting. Started to run. Boy beside me, Mickey Bradley, was shot in the arm. I tied a hankie on his arm. Carried him to a house in Glenfada Park. When in house looked out and saw man lying at the corner of Rossville Flats. Myself and two other men went out and dragged him from the corner. More shooting from the Saracens in Rossville Street. Started to run up, three of us, and got to house and realised there were only two of us - looked back and our companion was lying shot dead."Statement of Gerry McDaid, Derry:
"I was acting as a steward in the parade when the lorry turned into Rossville Street. The army turned the water cannon on the crowd and the crowd dispersed. Ten minutes later approximately I was standing in Chamberlain Street when the paratroopers made a charge. I ran for cover across to the back of the flats. I heard one shot and we all dived to the ground.
When we arose I saw a man aged about thirty or forty lying shot in the middle of the car park at the rear of the flats. We went to give this man assistance when two or three shots rang out and Michael Bradley appeared to be shot in the arm. He was taken into cover. We again attempted to reach the first man who was shot and the Army fired on us. A fellow I know as Michael Bridge reached the shot man and as he ran across shouting he was shot twice by the army. We crawled for cover and as we did so the army fired three times, once at each person as he tried to reach cover. As we reached cover two men were carrying a body of a third man who had been shot, who I knew to he Patrick Campbell.
We proceeded to the front of the Rossville Street flats shops, and we were fired at again by the army. I managed to reach Westland Street by crawling under cover. I then proceeded to the maisonettes facing the high flats where I looked out from the gable end of the house. The crowd were shouting and the Army fired at this crowd. I was led to the safety of a house. At this time I also saw a woman run into the flats for cover and a paratrooper followed her and fired a rubber bullet from blank range at her through the door and they started to fire a mixture of rubber bullets and live bullets at the flats."
"In my own house. Panic in the street. People ran into my house mostly men in their middle age and also a few women. The men in the house at the time I knew most of them.
Mr. Charlie McCarron was assisting Mrs. Deery who was shot badly in the leg with a bullet. My sister ran to the street to see if she could get medical help. She saw a man called Mr. Schlindwein who owns a chemist's to assist. I ran to see if I could get first aid as Mrs. Deery was in the in a bad state. More men entered the house for shelter. While I was in the street a Mr. McCloskey brought in a Mr. Bridge who was also shot in the leg. The Knights of Malta arrived, a boy and girl, they helped the people.
Mrs. Deery was bleeding very bad and my sister ran to phone for an ambulance to a house in High Street. We kept the door closed. Anna, my sister, panicked and went out to the street to ask the army to bring an ambulance. The soldier said he would need to see the woman before sending for the ambulance. Anna brought the soldiers in. I knew they were the paratroopers by the marking on their jackets which was a wine colour. While the soldiers were in the house they wanted to see the man in the yard. After seeing the man in the yard they left. The ambulance still did not arrive. We were in and out all the time. Three soldiers in particular passed remarks. If I was asked to pick out the men I would be able to.
Two different soldiers insisted that they enter the house. I said no, that the other two soldiers had just left. They came in, did not pass any comment, and went out again. This Scots boy was still giving abuse, we did not take them on. Two ambulances arrived at the same time. They took the stretcher into the house. The men in the house made their way out to make room for the ambulance men to attend the people. When the boy was brought to the ambulance I was between the soldier and the ambulance. They were just passing the soldier when he passed comment 'Are you not dead yet mate?' The boy did not take him on. Everyone went back into the house. Two soldiers came into the house and took the men out to the street. They lined them up against the wall. With their hands against the wall they were searched. While the ambulances started to move down the street this soldier, who I thought was of a higher rank by his manner (he seemed to be in charge) told the soldiers to take the men down the street.
We came into the house. The door was still open. Two soldiers came into the house. I followed one and he went to the yard and looked in the bin and lifted hardboard that was in the yard to see if there was anything hidden behind it. I told him there was nothing there and if he was looking for something to ask me. He told me to shut up. He went into the kitchen and lifted a pink sheet that I brought down to tear up for Mrs. Deery. I pulled it out of his hand. He kept looking around the kitchen. I asked him if he wanted I would lift the electric fire out and let him see behind it. He told me he would make me do it if he wanted. Then he told me to lift it out. I did so leaving it at his feet. He then went to the kitchen door and told someone to shut that bitch up. He was in a bad temper. They then left the house.
We closed the door and came in and then decided to go to the police station to make a complaint. My sister saw from the upstairs windoW a soldier with a wine coloured beret. He did not have on any riot gear. He was in the street. My sister went out and I followed. My sister made the complaint and told him about the conduct of his soldiers. He just listened and told us just to go on. We then made our way to the police barracks and met in William St. a soldier with a black beret and a few other soldiers. Anna made her complaint again and told about the woman who was shot. We told him about my mother's poor health and that the conduct of his soldiers annoyed and upset her. Reporters heard us telling the soldiers the complaint and as we moved away asked us what had happened to her. Anna answered. This other soldier with a black beret asked me did the General know about the woman's leg and Anna said she told him but he never took her on.
We just made our way to the barrack. We met police at Littlewood's corner and Anna told a policeman with a white shirt on him, thinking that he was of a higher rank. We said we were going to the police station and he told her to go on and make her complaint.
We went to the police station and met a policeman with red markings on his sleeve. She was beginning to tell me something. I said I was fed up about being passed on and asked to see the head man in the station. This policeman said he would get him and brought him down. Anna told him who she was and told him all that happened. And he asked for the names of my brother and brother-in-law and went to find out about them, and, came back to say they weren't there but were down at the Dock yard. We left and went home. Out of 22 men who were in our house at the time of the trouble 14 have been charged with riotious behaviour. I can witness that most of them came in for safety, or helping the wounded.
This is my statement and is correct. I grant permission for it to be published or used in any investigation."
Statement of Mrs. Veronica Glenn, Derry:
On Sunday I was visiting my parent's house at Mura Place. I arrived there at about 2.30 p.m. and from the front window of the flat I had a view of the march as it proceeded along Lone Moor Road and could see it as it came down past the mouth of Rossville Street. A few minutes after the first demonstrators passed Rossville Street the parade stopped. I took it for granted that they had reached the barricade of the army at the bottom of William Street. Some minutes after I saw the clouds of gas drift toward the flats in Rossville Street.Statement of Mrs. L. Donnelly, Derry:
The crowd started to move up toward the flats along both Chamberlain Street and Rossville Street. At the same time the loudspeaker was calling the people to move towards the Free Derry Corner where the meeting would now be held. The majority of the crowd began to drift in this direction. The lorry was already at the corner. There were still some numbers at the bottom of the flats both on the Courtyard and on Rossville Street. Out of the blue the Saracens raced into the area. I saw one such mount the footpath at the front of the flats - he seemed to be making an effort to knock a member of the crowd. The soldiers then dismounted from the APC's (Armoured Personnel Carriers) and opened fire. I can categorically state that this was the first firing that I had heard apart from gas grenades and rubber bullets. At no time had I heard any explosion that could possibly have been a nail bomb, nor had I seen any petrol bombs being thrown. It was when the soldiers jumped from the Saracens and the people started to run that the shooting started coming from the soldiers who had now taken up firing position in the middle of the streets with SLR's.
There was a crowd of 50 boys and men at the entrance to the Glenfada complex. They dived for cover when the shooting started, but one youth of about seventeen years who did not make it and he was shot in the side. He fell, but the others of the group could not reach him because of the firing. He had no weapon of any kind. Finally, after the shooting of the young man, when the firing subsided, the others of the group were able to drag him to the safety of the enclosure of Glenfada Park. Four of the young men who had tried to reach the wounded youth had to dive for cover behind the barricades. They were all lying on their stomachs with heads buried in the dust. At this time the firing was of such intensity that I took cover and stayed away from the window for some minutes.
When I looked out again some minutes later three of the youths were shot and one man was alive, but wounded. I later came to know that this man was Alexander Nash. None of these people were armed, and all had been shot by the Army. A group of youths were in the middle of Glenfada Square running for cover. Three of them fell flat on their faces. Only one of them was moving and the other two were lying deathly still. A few seconds later the army advanced and saturated the area, arresting those people who had reached cover. One soldier was herding a group of people, women among them.
I clearly saw the soldier lift his rifle and hit one of the men who had his hands on top of his head With the butt of his rifle, striking him repeatedly with force on his back and sides.
As I watched an ambulance arrived and Knights of Malta were loading wounded when firing broke out again. The soldiers were standing in the middle of the street and took no cover but continued firing."
"I was in No. 6 Garvan Place in the front room. I saw the Saracens coming up Rossville Street and stopped below this flat. Two soldiers jumped from the Saracen. They both had guns and they just began to open fire. I saw a boy fall to the ground. A man raised his arm in the air, and .the army fired. A priest tried to get to the boy and a man shouted, "Get an ambulance". The army continued to fire for about 15 minutes.
A Saracen then came up to where the boy was lying and a man was shouting, "That's my son" and the army pushed him out of the way. Then I saw a soldier drag the boy, whom I saw being shot, by the hair and flung him into the back of a Saracen. I then saw a further two boys being thrown into the back of the same Saracen. I was absolutely certain that all three boys were dead. The Saracen went back down Rossville Street and remained there for about 30 minutes. A priest then approached the Saracen and asked the soldiers to take the boys to the hospital. The Saracen then moved off."
Sean McDermott, Derry:
". . . . There was about - I am not really sure - about five or six thousand at Free Derry Corner at that particular time and then there was so many thousands between Rossville Street and the Flats and all over the place over the waste ground - and the Army started shooting then and everybody started really panicking. We were trapped by gunfire. We couldn't get out nor in and I came face to face with a soldier. I run straight into him and I caught him unawares. He levelled his gun and I had to shout: "Don't shoot, I'm a First Aid man."
He didn't drop his gun but he didn't fire and to tell you the truth I really thought I was dead. I never was as near dead in all my life and we were standing there in out of the gunfire and there was this woman up in the Flats in Columcille Court and she shouted down to me: "There's somebody hit over there" and myself and a couple of other fellow members of the Order (of Malta) rushed forward and straight on into the gunfire. We stayed behind a building 'till we seen what was going on and we run over and there was one of our girls of the Order was running to an injured man who we later found out had a heart attack and later died in the Ambulance going to the hospital.
She went over to help him and she waved her hands in the air shouting "first aid, first aid" to the soldiers standing at the end of the Court behind a wooden fence and they fired two rounds of ammunition at her. Everyone seen the dirt rising beside her feet. The girl was that much shocked that she dropped to the ground and she thought she was hit and when some passerby came along and went over and examined her and told her she was all right - she wasn't hit - she got up and rushed forward to the soldiers, who still had their guns ready to shoot, and said: "Don't shoot me, don't shoot me, I'm a First Aid girl." And they started laughing at her and she shouted: "You're a pack of bastards."
And by that time I was behind her. She run right out into the street. We later seen that there was four men shot dead in the matter of about six yards. The bodies were nearly on top of each other. There was one man shot through the head, one through the chest, one through the stomach and two men were shot through the face out at the end of the barricade which was about thirty yards away. Their face was completely destroyed. You couldn't have recognised them whatsoever.
The first body I picked up I looked down at the soldiers just to see the reaction on their face and they started roaring 'n laughing at me. I could do nothing else but take the bodies away. I didn't want to lower myself to their standards."
Several people were arrested after the Army had opened fire. One of them, Hugh O'Boyle of Derry, described his arrest and subsequent treatment:
"I joined the procession at Bishops Field, Creggan, stayed in the procession until it reached William Street. Some youths began stoning the troops. Troops return with rubber bullets, C.S. gas and purple dye. At this point I moved to the car park behind the flats. Shooting started for the first time, I looked towards Chamberlain Street and saw a man being arrested and also one of the Knights of Malta who seemed to be badly hurt crawling on the ground. The army scout cars began moving up Rossville Street, I ran into Rossville Street going towards Free Derry Corner. At this stage more shooting broke out from the soldiers positioned in Rossville Street. I ran for cover to the gable house in Glenfada Park. The shooting was still going on and I saw the first civilian shot in the stomach, he was calling for help and saying "I've been shot". Some youths ran out and dragged him in to the gable of the house, and the shooting continued.
I ran for cover behind a car because I was visible to the soldiers stationed on the Derry walls. There were four other people with me behind the car. I looked to my left towards Abbey Street and saw three men shot in the back as they ran. The fire must have come from the William Street area. I said to the man beside me "how do we get out of this" he replied "we don't, we pray."
The soldiers then came in from the Rossville Street direction and told us to come forward with our hands above our heads. There were about ten people at the gable of the house in Glenfada Park including a woman and they also accompanied us with the soldiers. We were marched for about 50 yards in the Sackville Street direction, when we were told to stand facing a wall with our hands up against the wall. The soldiers then used obscene language such as "you Fenian bastard" "blood will run tonight, Fenian blood." They physically abused us also. A priest, Fr. Denis Bradley arrived at this stage and said to the soldiers. "These people are innocent". We were then marched to the fencing around the post office in Sackville Street where we were told to stand with our hands against the wall again. We were then searched and then thumped on the back with either a baton or a rifle.
At this stage we were taken to an army lorry and shoved in. We were driven to the naval barracks on the Strand Road and ordered one by one out of the lorry. I was batoned and kicked out. There were about eight to ten soldiers waiting and we were batoned and kicked, we had to run a gauntlet. We were taken into a building where we were told to stand against a wall with our hands above our heads. Police took statements after about two hours - details of name, address, etc., we were then made to stand and hold onto barbed wire for a period of time. They gave us a cup of tea after about four hours and chairs to sit on and heaters were brought in.
When we were batoned coming out of the lorries I received a severe injury to my knee for which I received no medical attention until I reached the first aid post at St. Mary's Intermediate School about seven hours later at one o'clock in the morning. When I attended ALtnagalvin hospital today (Tuesday) for treatment I had to have my back and side and knee x-rayed."
This is a statement of what happened to myself and people around me at the front of the High Market Flats in Rossville St. on Sunday, January 30, 1972 at approximately 1600 hours.
The majority of people around had been moving along with myself towards the barri.cade at the flats. I first realised that something was badly wrong when I saw and heard them shooting from the windows as they came past us. At the front of the flats they drove in straight in front of us and straight at some people who were making for the near courtyard of the flats. When I advanced towards the flats I saw the paratroopers leaping from the back of the Saracens and proceed to baton and kick anyone who tried to get out of their way. The man directly in front of me was beaten to the ground so I decided to try and make a run to get past the barricade. It was then that I noticed two paratroopers, one of which was armed with an SLR, and he was firing shots towards the people at the barricade. When these two saw me they ran towards me shouting. At this point I was suffering from the effects of the gas and I could not run very well. I thought the paratroopers then ran towards me and kicked me until I got up off the ground and went with them to a Saracen.
When I arrived there some more paratroopers were there with a youth they were abusing, but when I arrived they stopped and helped my captors to assault me. It was at this point when one of the paras (the one who was shooting towards the barricades earlier) hit me in the face with the foresight of a rifle. They then ran us off towards William Street and pushed us against the wall and an officer from the paras came around and asked us our names. A few people were stood outside the City Cabs taxi stand. The paras started beating one of the men there and when the man protested one of the paras stood behind me and fired a gun. A few seconds later a small priest protested to the paras that they had shot the man in the arm and that he required medical attention. The paras still proceeded to beat the man in question.
At this point I was taken to the barracks at the bottom of the Strand Road. At the barracks I was photographed, questioned and charged by the para who I have mentioned earlier. I learned that his name was Pte. Mulligan of the 1st. Battalion, the Para Regiment.
I was badly treated by the paras all the time I was in their custody and at no time did I see any civilians use guns or bombs on the troops. This Was a completely unprovoked and brutal attack on the civilians who took part in the CRA. march."
"I was walking home along Chamberlain Street. There was a woman in front of me and she fell with a wound in the leg. The shot was fired from behind her from William St. Myself and two other men lifted her into an end house in Chamberlain St. She was given first aid treatment but she was losing too much blood. We opened the door to go and phone for an ambulance and the army came into the house. Everyone was marched out and put up against the wall and searched. We were then taken away in an army truck. There were 18 people in the house. Whilst in the truck we were beaten about the legs and backs with batons. Taken to the dockyard and put into a compound where we were called out two at a time and told to give a statement. I was charged with riotous behaviour."
Des O'Hagan writes from Long Kesh (Irish Times):-
"It is bitterly cold here tonight. Sunday. We have been walking round the cage. Our breath puffs out and hangs momentarily in the sharp piercing air, the tarmac glitters darkly through a light down of snow, one can feel the hard mud ridges break underfoot and in between the cages frozen pools dully reflect the perimeter lights. Tonight is so clean, so pure that the distant sound of cars on the motorway seems like the rumble of the sea falling gently on the sand. The guard dogs bark quickly, then silence; one could be walking up through Gleann Finn enjoying the brilliant moonlight intent upon an evening's drinking and talking with good companions.
Sunday is newspapers, a surfeit of stories, columns of trivia, momentous accounts of world problems, dolly birds with ever briefer swimming trunks and swinging advertisements for swinging people. All the grossness of Western civilisation is compiled for our weekend entertainment. I am not consumed by the puritan ethic but tonight this is my mood and I am sure the predominant emotion in Long Kesh.
Casually today we talked about Derry, in fact there had only been the occasional question about the march, forecasts of attendance were tossed out, someone may have raised the possible tactics of the Army. This was merely hours ago, now I forget. It is not that we were disinterested, we knew, quietly rejoiced that the people would assemble in their thousands on the heights of the Creggan, the women clutching at the weeuns' hands, the men muffled up against the winds blowing down the Foyle, looking stern as they stamped their feet, watching out for the famous. Many here have walked in the proud demonstrations. Coalisland, Enniskillen, Newry, Derry and Armagh. But now we are part of the marchers in a strange uneasy fashion. We should be there feeling the strength of the singing throng, hurrahing the slogans, jostling one another into louder voices and instead we are the objective. In this symbiotic relationship separation is the consuming desire.
The first news of the monstrous actions came as some trouble in Derry. It was only to be expected, we said. Faulkner is intent upon demonstrating that he is as tough as old Brookeborough or any of the hard-liners who bluster into Glengall Street and out of it advocating fire and brimstone solutions. Our interest waned slightly, to stop and talk means to feel one's feet freeze.
Then the first killings, two men had been shot - my mind jumped to Cusack and Beattie and last summer, which now is so many deaths away. Derry is the Bogside and the Creggan: the square blocked Free Derry slogan beckons one down gaily from the old city announcing the vigour of a hardened people. I have never been to Paris but I imagine that I would find an arrondisement, having the same harshness where the communards furiously erected barricades, madly innocent of the deluge which would overwhelm them. There is a quality, drawn from the Foyle and sheltering Donegal, a colour in the people that must be what the English mean when they boast about war-time London. One feels romantically that it could happen here, liberty, equality, fraternity might not be goddesses, but works of human art.
The sombre nuance in the newsreader's voice quells the angry shouts; we listen intently hearing increduously the increasing numbers of slain and wounded. Now a numbness invades .the mind so that even the foulest condemnations fall flat, lifeless on the hut floor. Bleak, bleak is the night as we sit huddled ejaculating nonsense to fill the void: we wake the slaughtered it seems, automatically reverting to hushed tones as men conscious of bereaved wives and coffins in the next room. One's mind is dead but the senses quicken, other men's eyes tighten, strain, surround the tears of pain, of sorrow and state harshly at their own souls.
We then stand behind the cameras watching the swollen streets, the Civil Rights banner raises a muted cheer speedily quietened as the dragon watercannon arcs across the screen. Often the sound of rubber bullets, the billowing gas, the slap of Army boots have sent our hearts thudding madly. Now we flinch at the squealing brakes, twist with the dodging youths: then the welling sickness. A sickness that will remain for days feeding on the horrors, the bitter vicious words, the images of crumpled bodies and a blood-soaked standard. The oaths sound hollow, feeble, useless, the men are dazed, groping for understanding as the twisted bodies disappear from view. The embittered face and repulsing flailing arm of one bearer epitomises all our emotions.
Tonight we do not sit late arguing the demerits of the E.E.C. or recalling the antics of old friends. I watch the quietness. In this crowded hut the isolation, the sudden fresh loneliness, is unbridgeable, bed is a sanctuary, sleep is coveted.
Tomorrow or Tuesday our gesture. It is our custom to honour the dead publicly, we stand facing inward, rows of silent men, hair catching the breezes, frozen faces, young and old. The roll of a drum leads the piper into the wailing keening "Memory of the Dead", then the two minutes hollowed-out peace. We scatter running for the huts cursing the rain, the cold, the time, the camp, anything. To speak words always seems necessary as if the chatter here and now can erase the past few minutes. The Irish are, I am glad to think, embarrassed by displays of military glitter, our parades are more enthusiastic than disciplined, we do not goose-step or boast in hard satisfied tones of crack regiments and hard-hitting front-line troops. Our revolutionaries have been part-timers immersed more in living than in war. And this is right.
On this occasion we will dip a Tricolour. It is camp made, nailed to a broom handle. Some will not even see it for the cages lie at angles cowering from each other. Close by every shoulder are the ghosts of the Bog-side, but for our Derry comrades there is a special heartache, a grief we cannot share. One yearns for an eloquent Pearse at Rossa's grave or better still the passionate angry worker Connolly, a Northern voice, harsh, direct, demanding. From the cells of Crumlin jail one could see bulky Cave Hill, birthplace of the Republic; we have travelled about ten miles from there and the green and orange will remind some of us that no matter what distance others may have fled from the common name of Irishman that what it is all about, why we are here is because at some time, somehow, we believe that the men of no property will inherit this small part of the earth.
Statement of Jack Nash, Derry:
"I was at the front of the march at William Street about 15 yards from the barricade. I was caught in the crowd and could not turn. I saw some stones and sticks being thrown and saw the advance of the water wagon. The dye was fired almost immediately after this and I turned round raising the hood of my anorak to avoid getting soaked. I turned again and saw a cloud of gas coming. The crowd drew back and I went with them. I went through the alleyway on to the waste ground. I hung about and watched events at Rossville corner. I saw a young man being hit in the nose with a gas canister. I heard only rubber bullets and gas explosions. One of these went through a window in William Street. Shortly after this I was walking back towards Free Derry Corner still on the waste ground. I heard the Saracens approach and turning round I saw two Saracens round Moore Street corner.
At that the crowd started to run, some of them towards the flats courtyard. Others, myself included, ran up Rossville Street across the barricade. I was level with the main entrance to Glenfada Park. I stood in the middle of the street and saw a soldier aided by one of his mates arrest a young lad dressed in blue, and I saw him put him in a Saracen car. I then saw two more soldiers take up firing positions beside the ramp into Kells Park, one armed with a rifle and the other with a gas gun. I saw rubber bullets being fired. I saw at least another eight soldiers take position at the same place. They joined forces with the two already there. I then heard firing. I heard a man say that they are firing live rounds. I did not believe them. I got on the ground just in case. I got up and saw a young boy lying wounded in the barricade on the other side of the barricade from the soldiers. I thought that he was faking.
There was a further burst of gunfire and I again dived for the ground and on rising I saw that the young boy was still groaning. He had now been joined by two more, one of whom told me that the lad was hurt. When I reached the lad a priest was with him and I saw blood on his clothing. The priest called for the first aid men. I looked back to my previous position and saw that people there had also been shot, including an elderly man.
"The above mentioned was positioned in the back bedroom of Mura Place. Saracens came along Rossville Street and closed off the main exit from the car park at the back of the High Flats. A large number of soldiers jumped out of the Saracens and commenced to shoot rubber bullets. A few of the soldiers caught a young boy and began to thump him on the head with their batons. At this stage another boy put his hands in the air and a soldier hit him in the leg. By this time I could not take any more and I went into the front sittingroom.
I began to look out the window and saw people diving to the ground, and running in all directions. The soldiers then proceeded up Rossville Street. A boy was making for cover in an alley and a soldier aimed his rifle and fired. The boy fell to the ground. He tried to crawl to cover and the same soldier fired again and hit the boy. The boy didn't move again and though I would have liked to be of help to him I was scared to leave the house as the shooting was fierce. The boy lay for about half an hour before anyone could get to him.
Then Rev. Father Daly came along waving a white handkerchief and reached the boy. After a further twenty or thirty minutes the ambulance arrived. When the ambulance stopped, almost parallel to the telephone kiosk, Father Daly still waving the handkerchief went to the ambulance with the boy. After a few minutes more shots rang out, everyone in the vicinity of the ambulance fell to the ground. Eventually after getting the boy into the ambulance they had to wait another ten minutes before they could get the ambulance out to the hospital."
"While I was on the second floor of the flats treating a man hit in the face with a gas canister, a man came and told me that a man was shot just at the door of the flats. I ran down the stairs to go to his aid. As I got to the bottom stair a youth fell in the doorway, one of his legs was shaking violently, lying on his face with the blood pumping from his side, (left). Along with the help of a photographer we carried him upstairs, we pulled away his jacket and shirt, he had a bullet wound in his side. We applied a gunshot dressing to the hole and we had just tied it when a man told me that there was another man shot in the head on the second floor. Leaving the photographer to look after the wounded man I went upstairs to take a look for the man shot in the head, my colleague had already got the man, I went back to the photographer and the injured youth, the photographer told me that he could not feel a pulse. I tried also in vain and put my ear to his chest, but I could hear nothing. He was dead and an old man lent me his coat to cover the victim.
On the evening of Derry's Bloody Sunday the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Mr. Brian Faulkner stated:
"Today's events illustrate precisely why it was found necessary, with the full support of the Government at Westminster, to impose a general ban on all processions throughout Northern Ireland . . .
"Those who organised this march must bear a terrible responsibility for urging people to lawlessness and for providing the IRA with the opportunity to again bring death on our streets."
Following is the account of Derry distributed in America by the British Information services:
"NORTHERN IRELAND: LONDONDERRY
On January 31 the Defence Department in London provided a detailed account of the events in Londonderry on the previous day, in which army units were involved.
The march in Londonderry on January 30 was held in contravention of the Government's ban on all processions and parades. This ban of course applies to both communities in Northern Ireland.
Of the 13 men killed in the shooting that began after the bulk of the 3,000 marchers had been peacefully dispersed, four were on the security force's wanted list. One man had four nail bombs in his pocket. All were between the ages of 16 and 40.
The shooting started with two high-velocity shots aimed at the troops manning the barriers. No one was hit and the fire was not returned. Four minutes later a further high-velocity shot was aimed at a battalion wire-cutting party. This shot also was not answered.
A few minutes later a member of the machine-gun platoon saw a man about to light a nail bomb. As the man prepared to throw, an order was given to shoot him. He fell and was dragged away.
Throughout the fighting that ensued, the Army fired only at identified targets - at attacking gunmen and bombers. At all times the soldiers obeyed their standing instructions to fire only in self-defence or in defence of others threatened.
The bulk of the marchers dispersed after reaching the barricades, on instructions from the March Stewards. A hard core of hooligans remained behind the attacked three of the barriers. When the attacks reached an unacceptable level, the soldiers were ordered to pass through and arrest as many as possible. They were not, however, to conduct a running battle down the street.
As they went through the barriers the soldiers fired rubber bullets to clear the street in front of them. They made 43 arrests.
The troops then came under indiscriminate firing from apartments and a car park. The following is the army's account of the return fire:
- Nail-bomber hit in the thigh.
- Petrol-bomber, apparently killed in the car park.
- A bomber in the fiats, apparently killed.
- Gunman with pistol behind barricade, shot and hit.
- Nail-bomber shot and hit.
- Another nail-bomber shot and hit.
- Rubber bullet fired at gunman handling pistol.
- Nail-bomber hit.
- Three nail-bombers, all hit.
- Two gunmen with pistols, one hit, one unhurt.
- One sniper in a toilet window fired on and not hit.
- Gunman with pistol in third floor fiat shot and possibly hit.
- Gunman with rifle on ground floor of fiats shot and hit.
- Gunman with rifle at barricade killed and body recovered."
An intercepted letter to the commander of the 1st. Battalion of the British Parachute Regiment, Lt. Colonel Derek Wilford, was printed on the front page of the SUNDAY PRESS on the Sunday following the massacre in Derry. It comes from Brigadier F. P. Barclay, D.S.O., M.C.D.L., Colonel, The Royal Norfolk Regiment and says:
|Little Dunham Lodge, |
|As an ex-parachute Brigade Commander I write just to say how proud it made one feel to see the way, on TV, on which your lads went into action against those blighters last Sunday. They looked splendid and, as usual, bang on the ball.|
|It seems to me and many others that prompt retaliatory action such as this is long overdue. It will have, I've little doubt, a most salutory effect. Should have happened long since.|
|I sincerely trust you successfully weather these thoroughly unjustified but seemingly inevitable brickbats and recriminations emanating mostly from those who either have no sense of law and order, duty or perspective, or who are spineless.|
|With best wishes to you and yours.|
From a tape recording of snatches of conversation on Army radio during the shooting in Derry.
". . . You're mother's been killed by the Armee-e, Doo da, doo da" (voice singing). Static . . . "Return fire . . . Aim pistol lower regions . . Roger, Wilco. Out." . . . Static . . . (sound of shot) . . "Yoo-hoo! Well done! Keep it up." . . . more static . . . "I said shoot for lower regions . . . the balls" . . . "Over" . . .
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