Extracts from 'The Road to Bloody Sunday',
|Introduction - Bloody Sunday 25 Years On |
Foreword To Original Edition
|Chapter 1 - Beginnings|
|Chapter 2 - The Catalyst|
|Chapter 3 - l2 August 1969|
|Chapter 4 - The CS Gas Controversy|
|Chapter 5 - The Scarman Tribunal|
|Chapter 6 - Internment|
|Chapter 7 - Bloody Sunday|
|Chapter 8 - The Widgery Tribunal|
|Chapter 9 - America|
|Appendix A - Letter To Mr Callaghan
Appendix B - Reply from the Home Office
Appendix C - Letter on CS Gas published
..in the British Medical Journal
Appendix D - Inquest on Sammy Devenney
Appendix E - Badge of the Internee Dependants Committee
Appendix F - Postmortem Examinations after Bloody Sunday
Appendix G - Proceeds of American Fund Raising Trip
Over the weekend there was much speculation about the behaviour of the paratroopers at Magilligan. This had been their first introduction to the Derry area, and we had no doubt that their introduction indicated a shift in emphasis by those in authority to a much tougher approach. On the following Sunday, 30 January 1972, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) had planned an anti-internment march for Derry City; the route to be from Creggan, via the Bogside area to the Guildhall Square. Loyalists had announced a counter-demonstration at the Guildhall Square to coincide with the Civil Rights march. As a result our demonstration had been banned, and the authorities had made it very clear that the march would not be allowed to proceed to the Guildhall Square. Rumours were rife that the paratroopers were coming into Derry City for the day. Our experience at Magilligan had left us in no doubt that they would deal with the marchers in the same vicious way that they had demonstrated at Magilligan.
Internment had been in existence then for almost six months, and feelings in the Catholic community were very strongly against the whole principle of imprisonment without trial. Due to the frequency of bombings and shootings in the city, no public demonstration had been possible against internment. From our point of view, we had met with the political representatives of the IRA, and stated our views about the present violence in the city. We had pointed out that ordinary people wanted to march in the city against internment, but we would not be responsible for taking innocent people on the streets in the prevailing violent environment. We were assured that if the people wished to go on the streets to publicly demonstrate their objections to internment, the Provisionals would stay away for that day and leave the public in peace to make their protest.
Meanwhile NICRA had announced their march for 30 January, and I thought that this would be an ideal opportunity for a massive peaceful protest. As the week progressed, my fears grew concerning the action of the paratroopers if they came to Derry - especially if the Provisionals did not honour their previous agreement to stay away for the day. On the Saturday evening before the march, Danny, Micky McGuinness and myself made our way to the Rocking Chair Bar, at that time a great source of information on current activity Over a few drinks and a chat with various customers, we were assured that there was to be no violence the next day. I had a healthy respect for the competence of British Intelligence, so I left the bar in the knowledge that we were to have a peaceful day, as I was certain that British Intelligence, with the resources available to them, would be fully aware of the circumstances, as had been indicated to us.
I arrived home later that evening, worrying in a vaguely disturbed way about the next day. I admitted to myself that I was secretly relieved that I would have no responsibility for crowd control during the march, as the march was being organised and stewarded by NICRA, of which I was not an active member. I could not put my finger on the basic source of my discomfort, other than the fact that apparently the paratroopers were coming to Derry for the day. I couldn't clearly understand the reason behind that decision.
My thoughts went back to my years as a medical officer in the Royal Air Force, and to when I 'looked after' the paratroops for a short spell at Bahrain. I knew that they were the elite corps of the British Army, all hand-picked volunteers, with total discipline and fearsome combat ability.
In Bahrain, my morning surgery started at 7.30am and continued until around 1.00pm, with about fifty assorted airmen and soldiers attending. A large number of soldiers had been evacuated from Kuwait to Bahrain, with varying degrees of heat exhaustion. Marine commandos, Coldstream Guards and ordinary soldiers had been treated at the hospital in Bahrain. I remembered my surprise that there were no paratroopers suffering from heat exhaustion. This was amazing in view of the fact that they had been positioned on a very exposed ridge in Kuwait, apparently unprotected from the fierce heat of the Kuwait sun in late July.
One day I asked a paratrooper attending my surgery about this. I said, "Look, I know you men are supposed to be extra tough, but I just cannot understand why none of your men have suffered from severe heat exhaustion, while the other soldiers are falling like flies?"
"I'll tell you why, sir," he said, "but it's off the record." I said, "OK." He told me what had occurred. "When we arrived in Kuwait, we already knew that we were going up on the ridge, and that heat was going to be a major problem. So we 'commandeered' every portable fridge we could find in Kuwait town, and took them with us up onto the ridge. We operated each fridge on commandeered batteries and kept all our towels in cold storage. We had frequent spells off-duty, when we covered ourselves with frozen towels, and lay in any protected spot we could find."
I wondered at the simple ingenuity of this survival procedure. I also wondered about the plight of the civilians who had 'given up' their fridges.
My respect for the paratroopers as disciplined fighting men was already high. This simple tale increased the already high regard I had for this fighting unit.
I realised then that my concern regarding the next day was that the paratroopers were the top action fighting men of the British Army. In Derry they were being asked to undertake a peace-keeping role, with possibly thousands of innocent civilians involved. Somehow, the pieces of the jigsaw didn't fit properly.
I went to bed, concerned and confused in my thoughts.
On Sunday afternoon, after an early lunch, I put my emergency equipment in the car and drove to Creggan with Micky and Danny McGuinness. Once again Sheila did not come due to her pregnancy. We joined the marchers at the Bishop's Field, and the atmosphere was so relaxed and cheerful that I decided to leave all my equipment in the car at Creggan, as it did not seem as if there would be any casualties to treat. We set off from Creggan, about 8,000 to 10,000 strong, in an almost carnival mood. We spent the time on the march telling yarns and making assessments of the correct numbers on the march. As the march threaded its way through the Bogside area, the crowd gradually increased to about 15,000, in my estimation. My general opinion was that we had no hope at all of getting to the Guildhall Square, and that was the consensus of opinion amongst the cheerful marchers all around me. We all felt that the march would be stopped at the bottom of William Street, that there would inevitably be some minor rioting, and that the bulk of the marchers would proceed across Rossville Street to Free Derry Corner, where we would listen to the speakers. The general feeling was that the anti-internment point had already been made simply by the enormous number of people who had turned out to register their disapproval.
I was with several friends somewhere in the middle of the march and as I walked down William Street, I noticed several soldiers in the waste ground to my left. I noted with some concern that they were not wearing the usual riot gear, and were lying in a prone position, pointing rifles at the crowd. I thought that their attitude was menacing, but felt that this was probably just to intimidate the crowd, and didn't think much more about it at that time. When we arrived at Rossville Street corner on William Street, the front of the march had already arrived at the barricades on Lower William Street. I could not see clearly what happened at this point, but suddenly I saw several clouds of smoke, which I understood to be CS Gas canisters exploding at the front of the crowd. I then saw jets of coloured water spraying the entire front section of the crowd. I also heard the by now familiar sound associated with the discharge of rubber bullets. The time was then around 3.40 in the afternoon. I looked around and saw some soldiers at the Sackville Street/Little James Street corner firing rubber bullets and CS Gas towards the crowd at the Rossville Street/William Street corner. Several teenagers went forwards towards Little James Street firing stones at the soldiers. Just then I was badly affected by a cloud of CS Gas, which made me cough violently and almost made me vomit. This was the average Derry riot and was more or less what we had all expected.
The crowds were then making their way from Lower William Street and across Rossville Street, with tears streaming down their faces, and many with handkerchiefs held to their mouths for protection. There was some minor panic as people walked into pockets of CS Gas in the congestion at Rossville Street corner. Suddenly I heard three or four sharp cracks in rapid succession. These sounds were clearly distinguishable from the sound of rubber bullets or CS Gas being discharged. I said to Danny, "That sounds different, doesn't it?" He replied something like, "I'm afraid it was." I became really concerned for the first time that day. The ominous sharp cracks seemed to have come from the upper William Street area towards the back of the march, and there was also the sound of rubber bullets being fired in that direction. I remembered the soldiers I had noticed when coming down William Street and wondered what was happening back there.
Within a minute, a man, who I think was Francie Brolly, came running down William Street calling my name. I asked what was wrong, and he shouted for me to come with him quickly, as two people had been shot at the back of the march. I went with him and someone showed us to the Shields's house, where I found a teenager and a middle-aged man, both of whom had been shot. The boy had an entry bullet wound on the upper third of the inner surface of his right thigh and a jagged exit wound over the middle third of the outer surface of the same thigh. He was pale and shocked but wasn't losing much blood externally. The boy's name was Damian Donaghy. I then examined the middle-aged man whose name was John Johnson. He had a gunshot wound over his upper inner right thigh, and a peculiar jagged wound over his left shoulder region, which I thought could possibly have been caused by a ricochet.
I was treating these two casualties with some first-aiders for approximately fifteen minutes when I heard the sound of several gun shots in the vicinity, coming in rapid succession. The sounds appeared to be coming from the Glenfada Park direction. I was very familiar with the sound of petrol bombs and nail bombs exploding. I did not hear any sounds which resembled these explosions. After a few minutes the sounds of firing ceased and a man came into the house saying someone had been shot dead just outside. Just then Dr Kevin Swords, an old friend of mine from my Dublin days, came in and asked if there was anything he could do to help. Our two casualties were then almost ready for transfer to hospital, so I asked Kevin to check on the story outside -which I didn't really believe. Kevin came back in a few minutes to confirm the story that someone had been shot dead outside. I went outside and started across the small square. I found a man lying on the steps of the square being tended by two young boys. This man was Gerald McKinney, and on examination I found that he was already dead (Postmortem Findings, Appendix F). I told the boys to continue their efforts at resuscitation. Someone told me that several other people had been shot and were in houses across the square. I continued across the square and met Leo Day of the Knights of Malta. I asked him to contact Altnagelvin Hospital and ask them to send ambulances immediately.
In the first house I found Michael Kelly, who had an entry bullet wound just to the left of his umbilicus. I could not find any exit wound. Michael was already dead when I examined him. Lying beside Michael was Jim Wray. He had two entry gun-shot wounds on the right side of his back. He had an exit wound on the left side of his back and another larger exit wound at his left shoulder. Jim was also dead when I examined him. Again I told the young first-aiders to continue their efforts at resuscitation. I did this mainly to keep them occupied, and in the hope that if they were kept busy they would be less likely to panic in what was an extremely horrific situation. I went next door where I found William McKinney lying on the floor. He had an entry bullet wound over his right chest and a jagged exit wound in his left chest. There was not much external bleeding. He was quite conscious when I examined him. He was pale and shocked, but extremely calm. He said to me very calmly, "I'm going to die, doctor, am I?" I lied a bit and said, "You have been hit badly, but if we can get an ambulance and get you to hospital quickly, I hope you will be all right." I saw Fr Mulvey in the hall and asked him to see William, which he did. I stayed with William until he gradually lost consciousness and died.
Fr Mulvey told me that he had seen the bodies of three young men thrown roughly into the back of an army Saracen at the Rossville Street barricade. He had remonstrated with the soldiers, but they completely ignored his protests. Fr Mulvey was extremely angry.
Later, I learned that the three young men thrown into the Saracen were William Nash, John Young and Micheal McDaid. I wondered why the bodies of these three young men were taken away in an army Saracen, while other bodies and wounded people were left lying on the road. I wondered about it and was vaguely disturbed but did not really know why.
We continued our efforts at resuscitation until the ambulances eventually arrived from Altnagelvin Hospital. I had lost all knowledge of the passage of time, but as William lay dying I had plenty of time to think. I knew the IRA were not firing and I thought to myself, 'My God, these soldiers are going to shoot us all'. I looked around the small room and realised that we were completely trapped with no way out. My first thought was that I wished I had a rifle so that at least I could put up some defence. Then I realised that I didn't know how to fire a rifle, and that we were dealing with professionals who were holding all the aces.
Without conscious guidance, my mind wandered back many years, to the sweat and sawdust of a Trinity College boxing ring, and to the stark recollection that at one stage in my career I had been some way along the path of developing into a ruthless, totally self-centred survivor. Very slowly, I was coming to realise that my experience since that time, of working with the living, the suffering, and the dying, had substantially altered my carefully constructed hard outer shell.
My working environment, aided perhaps by the embryo of a new inner security, had resulted in the development of a more generous, soft-centred approach to life. I was aware of the intrinsic pain associated with the required adjustments, and was secretly pleased with the change.
But that day I faced total confusion.
On many occasions since the onset of the Civil Rights Movement in Derry, I had wondered vaguely whether I might have made a more valuable contribution if I had continued to develop in a more ruthless strain. Once again, the implications surrounding that train of thought returned to haunt me.
My scanty knowledge of Irish history clearly indicated to me that these brave, suffering people would be required to adopt a more ruthless attitude if they were to confront the forces which had now been brought to bear on them. Gradually, the truth of the moment for me began to dawn.
What these people apparently needed, I did not have to give them. I was only equipped to patch their wounds and watch them die.
The bitter knowledge of my own inadequacy almost overwhelmed me. I wondered, if I had developed into a more ruthless person, could I have been of more assistance on that awful day. Cynically I thought that in those circumstances my own inner bitterness would probably have consumed me long before the day of crisis arrived.
I knew only that I was feeling very vulnerable. I was keeping myself busy to avoid being overcome by fear. I was, in fact, lost in a welter of confused emotions.
I spent much of the time passing between the two houses where the dead and the dying were being treated, encouraging the young first-aid workers and others, and wondering at the outward calm they all maintained. A man who I believed to be a Mr Porter told me that he had witnessed Jim Wray being shot in the back while lying on the ground. I asked him to give his statement to Michael Canavan, who was present and assisting the wounded. While I was with William McKinney, a further series of shots rang out from somewhere outside, in the vicinity of the square. There was some panic in the square, with people running to find cover. I noticed while passing between the two houses that a significant number of people were moving apparently aimlessly around the square in what seemed a stunned condition. I did not see any civilians with petrol bombs or nail bombs, or indeed weapons of any description. The people were frightened and looking for sanctuary. They were not behaving aggressively in any way.
Once the ambulances started to arrive we were busy loading the dead and wounded. I heard a news flash on a portable radio saying three people had been shot dead in 'Londonderry'. At that stage I knew of at least seven dead and I wondered vaguely about the accuracy of the news. I met Nell McCafferty beside one of the ambulances and she was crying. I hadn't been talking to her since the night in the City Hotel when Sammy Devenney had been attacked. I tried to be lighthearted, and said, "My God, Nell, every time I see you, you are crying." My crude attempt to bring her back to reality failed miserably. Nell gave me a blistering look mixed with aggression and contempt, and passed on. I was sorry that my attempt at flippancy had failed, because I liked Nell. Later I realised that my outward bravado was to cover the horror and nausea I felt inside myself, in an attempt to ensure that at any cost, my real feelings should not show.
When the ambulances were loaded and away, we stood around the little square in small groups, smoking, subdued and talking in hushed tones. There was an air of unreality hanging over all of us. We had just put the bodies in the ambulances, and yet we couldn't really get to grips with what had just happened. Micky McGuinness, Sean Duffy, John Magee and I were together. We had lost track of Danny and began to wonder if he was all right. We were told that the army had arrested a lot of people, battered them with batons, and had apparently taken them all to Fort George Camp. We wondered how to get home safely and thought we might be arrested or even shot if we were seen coming out of the Bogside area. We took a roundabout route and walked slowly up Westland Street and up to Creggan where I had left my car - such a very long time ago. I thought ironically that I hadn't felt it necessary to bring my emergency bag from Creggan that day.
There was a black cloud of tragedy hanging over the entire area. Everyone we spoke to was shocked and horrified; they could not believe that the soldiers had actually carried out this deed. We picked up the car in Creggan and drove home in a detour to Philip Street, and called with Sheila's mother. Danny was already there and we greeted each other with great relief. Cissie was unusually quiet and sympathetic. Danny and I drove home to see Sheila, who was relieved to see us, as she had spent the afternoon listening to the radio. I slumped into a chair dazed, exhausted and speechless. Eventually Sheila broke, and started shouting at us, "Well, maybe you'll get guns and get trained now!" Danny and I remained in a dazed silence. Gradually Sheila got over her frustrations and sat quietly with the two of us.
The next morning I went to work at Du Pont. The plant had the atmosphere of a giant morgue, with various groups standing around and whispering. I received a phone call saying that Cardinal Conway had requested me to represent him at the postmortems which were being held at Altnagelvin Hospital. I made arrangements for emergency cover at the plant and left immediately for the hospital. When I arrived in the postmortem room the awful task had already begun. I took up my position as an observer and made my own independent hurried notes as the clinical work went on and on and on (Appendix F). I suppose my training and previous experience had helped me to look at death objectively, but that day I had to call on all my personal resources to maintain any semblance of objectivity. Despite the endless litany of precise measurements and details of horrific internal destruction of tissues, I found it difficult to avoid an emotional involvement with the bodies on those slabs. I remember most vividly the contents of several opened young stomachs: partially digested meat, peas and potatoes -the same lunch I had eaten before I went out on that march yesterday. This thought, more than anything, brought it clearly home to me that only for the grace of God, I could have been lying on one of those slabs. My faith in mankind was at a very low ebb that day.
The postmortem examinations continued for almost twelve hours, and I finally arrived home around midnight to find Fr Gallagher from Worcester visiting with his brother from Cork. Once again I wasn't able to take part in much discussion that evening and eventually fell into bed about 3.00am.
During the week that followed, Sheila and I spent several evenings at the City Hotel. Our main purpose was to discuss the details of Sunday with the members of the 'Insight Team' from the Sunday Times, who were carrying out their own detailed investigation into the events of that day. I became particularly friendly with Derek Humphry, a member of the team. At that particular time my estimation of anyone who spoke with an English accent was very low, but I found Derek to be a reporter of outstanding ability, sincere in his attitudes, and absolutely fearless in his quest for that elusive justice. To my amazement he told me that a soldier had been admitted to Altnagelvin Hospital on Sunday suffering from a gunshot wound. I knew that there had been no shooting from civilians on Sunday, but realised the importance of establishing the facts behind this particular incident.
The following evening I called to see Derek with the information he had requested. A soldier had indeed been admitted to hospital on Sunday, with a gunshot wound to his foot, but it had been a self-inflicted injury. I gave Derek the official report, but he looked sad and distant. I asked what the problem was, and Derek said that since the Widgery Enquiry had been set up, the team might not be allowed to publish its detailed story the following Sunday, as details referring to Bloody Sunday would be sub judice. I was astounded by this turn in events, as I knew in what detail the team had prepared the story for Sunday, and once again I thought about Vincent Hanna's statement about the law being about the law. Yet again the true story of events was not to be told. Every member of the team had worked like beavers during the week on the preparation of their story and, quite apart from my own personal disillusionment, I felt genuinely sorry for all of them.
Late into Saturday evening there was a series of telephone calls
between the City Hotel and Mr Evans, the editor of the Sunday
Times in London. At one stage, the entire team threatened
to resign in protest if they were not allowed to publish. But
the news from London was final - no publication. The team were
mollified when it was promised that they could publish a book
on the events, to be put on sale at the termination of the Widgery
Enquiry, but to my sorrow no such book has as yet been published.
I continued a close and genuine friendship with Derek following
our initial meeting, and was delighted to receive from him a personal
copy of his own book Jean's Way which described the death
of his wife from cancer and which included some of the discussions
which we had concerning terminal illness in general and death
from cancer in particular.
John Hume and many others, myself included, were of the firm opinion that any enquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday in Derry could only be truly acceptable to the people of Derry if carried out by an accepted independent authority. I was of the opinion that a senior European or American judge should preside, preferably in a neutral location, for example in nearby Donegal, which would be convenient for witnesses to attend. As for so many previous tragedies in Derry, I was aware that a primary consideration had to be the wishes of the immediate relatives of the dead and injured. There was some reason to believe that if we held out strongly and in a united fashion, we would get an enquiry meeting at least some of our requirements. In the circumstances, I was extremely disappointed to hear that a group of the local clergy, headed by Fr Mulvey, had made a public statement in favour of attendance at Widgery, and that the immediate families were in agreement with their statement. Our case for a truly independent enquiry had been sterilised at birth. Many important witnesses were then in a serious quandary as to what decision they should make as regards attendance at Widgery. In deference to the families, my reluctant decision was to put forward my evidence to the Widgery Enquiry.
I attended the office in Bishop Street set aside for the purpose, with my prepared statement. The officials present were anxious to assure me that I did not have to be precise about my attendance at what was in fact an illegal march. I made it very clear that I wished to be precise, and was stating without reservation that I was present on the march. After much discussion and formal examination of my prepared evidence, the officials informed me that my presence would not be required at the enquiry - this, despite the fact that I was one of only two medically qualified persons on the spot. I had examined and treated the first two casualties shot, had examined four of the dead at the 'scene of the crime', and had been appointed by Cardinal Conway to represent him at the postmortem. Dr Kevin Swords, the only other medically qualified person present who had treated one casualty at the scene, was called to give evidence, and this was only, according to the Widgery Report, to establish whether or not Gerald Donaghy had anything in his pockets. I began to feel distinctly uneasy about the whole purpose of Widgery and the tribunal. I discussed this with Fr Mulvey and gave him my opinion in my usual blunt fashion.
I had known Fr Mulvey for many years and had developed a real respect for him both as a priest and as a man. We had experienced many good times together, interspersed with many interludes of dogged verbal dissension - usually on the political scene.
I had come to know something of the particular personal qualities which Fr Mulvey brought to his priesthood, and we had enjoyed many interesting discussions, particularly in the difficult field of self-awareness. We had many similar problems in this area and we attempted to explore this interesting personal area in depth on many occasions. In politics I had survived a thorough apprenticeship in a political cauldron and my political edges were very clearly defined. Fr Mulvey's political edges were to my mind distinctly blurred, so that we never really saw eye to eye in the political arena.
I was certain that Fr Mulvey and the other priests had accepted the Widgery Enquiry as one of real integrity, and had considered that, at the very worst, at least the story would be told.
In my opinion the clergy had seriously underestimated the devious nature and political manoeuvring skills of the British establishment machine. This was a phenomenon which I had come to recognise very clearly, and on many occasions had enjoyed knocking it in my own insignificant way.
Through my experience in the Civil Rights Movement, and previously in the Royal Air Force, I had developed a very healthy respect for the British 'machine' in operation. I had come to realise that it would react energetically and often extremely politely, if there was any danger of the public conscience being disturbed. It had unlimited ability to make 'civilised' arrangements with individuals who showed signs of rocking its equilibrium, and would use significant judicious pressure if a deal could not be arranged. I had no doubt about the lethal nature of its response, if its mechanisations were disturbed in any significant way.
I had often considered that the sins of the Irishman were multiple and widely acknowledged, very often based on drunkenness and brawling, and frequently an underlying foolhardy generosity. On the other hand, the sin of the Englishman was a complicated, inherent hypocrisy, often unbeknownst to himself.
I was intrigued by the theory that 'the machine' operated in the protection of this inherent hypocrisy, and could only function efficiently due to the existence of this national weakness.
I realised that the machine had been carefully assembled over the centuries, and I was extremely cautious regarding the ruthlessness of the men who made it operate.
The Widgery Tribunal Report was published on 19 April 1972, and I can only say that I was appalled at the contents of this so-called judicial enquiry. At that stage I had come to accept Vincent Hanna's statement about the law being about the law. I had also come to accept the ever-increasing series of enquiries thrust upon us with a grain of salt; but this latest report bordered in some respects on culpable negligence.
Much criticism has been published concerning the Widgery Report, so I confine my remarks to the area in which I had personal knowledge - that is, apart from the general comment that the report contained much discussion regarding paraffin tests disclosing the presence or otherwise of lead particles, and much speculation as to whether or not the deceased persons had been handling firearms when they were shot. Nowhere in the report was there any consideration of the concrete forensic evidence produced by the postmortem examinations, and of whether this concrete evidence was consistent or otherwise with eyewitness accounts of the incidents. In my understanding, this would have been normal procedure in any court of law.
My personal evidence concerned the particular area of Glenfada Park and adjoining areas. Four people died in this area - Jim Wray, Gerald McKinney, Gerald Donaghy and William McKinney. In the report, Lord Widgery stated at Paragraph 83, "I deal with the cases of these four deceased together because I find the evidence too confused and too contradictory to make separate consideration necessary." He then went on to deal with the case of Gerald Donaghy separately and in detail, the primary purpose of this being to establish whether or not Gerald Donaghy had nail bombs in his pockets. Dr Kevin Swords was called to give evidence in this case, but only in the context of whether the deceased had anything in his pockets or not.
In the case of Jim Wray, no reference was made to the very clear forensic evidence produced at postmortem (Appendix F). No reference was made to the fact that the forensic evidence was consistent with several eye-witness accounts which stated that Jim Wray was shot in the back as he lay on the ground. Several eye-witnesses stated that they called to Jim Wray as he lay on the ground. He replied that he was all right, but that he couldn't move his legs. This was consistent with the lower entry and exit wounds, caused by a bullet travelling across the lumbar region superficially. The bullet did not damage the spinal canal, but could have created shock waves sufficient to have caused a temporary paralysis of both legs. The trajectory line of the second upper wound was consistent with his having been shot while lying on the ground with his head raised, apparently talking to others who were in hiding.
In the case of Gerald McKinney, eye-witness accounts stated that he was walking forward with both arms raised when he was shot. Forensic evidence showed that this man was shot through the chest from left to right on the mid axillary line. It was very clear from the trajectory line of this bullet that this man must have had both arms raised, otherwise the fatal bullet must have penetrated one or both arms. No reference to this very clear evidence was made anywhere in the Widgery Report.
When the clear evidence which was available in these two cases is added to the fact, as stated in the Widgery Report (Paragraph 85), that nineteen of the twenty-two shots fired by soldier H in this area "were wholly unaccounted for," and that Lord Widgery stated clearly in his report that the evidence given by soldier H was untrue, I believe I was entitled to question whether I was reading the report of a judicial enquiry at all. I thought it was perhaps little more than a political smoke-screen.
Finally, I noted a definite inconsistency in the Widgery Report. In Paragraph 4 of the summary of conclusions, Lord Widgery stated: "The intention of the senior army officers to use 1 Para as an arrest force, and not for other offensive purposes, was sincere." Yet in Paragraph 102, Lord Widgery stated: "In 1 Para the soldiers are trained to go for the gunmen and make their decisions quickly. In those circumstances it is not remarkable that mistakes were made and some innocent civilians hit."
The two statements made are in direct contradiction of each other; and this demands an answer to the simple question: Why was 1 Para used on this one and only occasion on the streets in Derry?
During the weeks following Bloody Sunday and following the publication of the Widgery Report, I took part in many discussions with groups of local people concerning the intriguing question as to why Bloody Sunday happened at all, and why the British Government decided to use 1 Para on the streets of Derry on that particular occasion.
One body of opinion was that a decision had been taken to teach the Derry people a lesson and to put down large-scale street protests once and for all. The army behaviour on Magilligan Strand the previous week appeared to support this theory. But overall, I felt that although the Government would have considered this a useful fringe benefit, I didn't consider it feasible that they would have risked the resultant adverse world publicity for this aim alone.
Another body of opinion was that a lesson had been planned, but that the soldiers had panicked and the situation had got out of control. I rejected this opinion completely on the grounds that 1 Para were, and are, as fine a disciplined group of professional soldiers as could be gathered together anywhere in the world. To suggest that these well-trained and disciplined men panicked in a normal riot situation was always a non-starter in my opinion. The single exception was the behaviour of soldier H in Glenfada Park. According to Widgery himself (Paragraph 85 of the Report), this soldier apparently did go berserk and then committed perjury at the Tribunal. I have often wondered what became of that unfortunate man, whether he was harshly disciplined, his behaviour was ignored, or did he eventually receive the psychiatric attention which he apparently required.
A third body of opinion was that the operation was planned to
flush out the Provisional IRA into open combat on the streets
and to defeat them by superior numbers, weaponry, discipline and
technique. This theory was supported by the shooting of John Johnston
and Damian Donaghy, at the rear of the march, twenty minutes before
1 Para commenced their serious firing into the marchers at Rossville
Street. The acceptance of this theory would have required the
acceptance of a very serious defect in the basic information held
by British Army Intelligence. If I, as an interested marcher and
in the interest of my own safety, was able to establish the night
before the march that the IRA were not going to take any active
part on the day, I presumed that Army Intelligence, with their
superior techniques, would have been aware of this widely held
A fourth theory, and to my mind the most feasible one, concerned the difficulty that army intelligence were having at that time in obtaining detailed information concerning the IRA on the ground. In my preference for this theory I went back to Pat Johnstone's idea of putting myself in the shoes of 'the man behind the desk in London'. He was looking at the situation in Northern Ireland and was concerned at the lack of detailed information coming out of the small cell system used by the Provisional IRA at that time. To place key people within that relatively tight structure, it would be necessary to create an influx of new blood into the IRA structure. To create this influx it was necessary to precipitate a major emotional calamity in a large centre, prepare adequately for the expected publicity backlash, and ride the situation out.
Many people thought this theory too fantastic to consider. However, the fact that the British Information Service, particularly in the United States, was able to produce a detailed propaganda sheet two days after the event proved to be an interesting development. Added to this was the fact that there was a large increase of volunteers to the Provisional IRA following Bloody Sunday, and that despite the fact that information had been difficult to obtain prior to Bloody Sunday, information apparently flowed much more freely following the event.
In my thoughts about Bloody Sunday, after the event, I have always believed that there must have been some very excellent human beings among the ranks of the soldiers present in Derry on that day. If so, it is likely that one day in the future some of them will find the courage to come forward and tell the truth publicly concerning their instructions and behaviour on that day.
I have always believed that in the end, murder will out.
Postmortem examinations carried out at Altnagelvin Hospital on
31 January 1972. (The first two cases were not attended by myself
CASE 1: GERALD DONAGHY, 27 MEENAN SQUARE
Entry wound: (L) abdomen.
Exit wound: No exit wound. The bullet remained within the posterior chest wall. The bullet penetrated the aorta and the inferior vena cava.
Trajectory line of bullet: From the front backwards in the abdomen.
CASE 2: MICHAEL McDAID, 22 TYRCONNELL STREET
Entry wound: (L) cheek, which fractured the left mandible and shattered several of the cervical vertebrae.
Exit wound: Below the right scapula.
Trajectory line of bullet: From left to right and travelling downward.
CASE 3: JOHN YOUNG, 120 WESTWAY, CREGGAN
Entry wound: At the inner angle of the (L) eye.
Exit wound: Below the (L) scapula at the level of the seventh rib. There was evidence of subarachnoid haemorrhage and petechial areas of bruising throughout the brain. The atlas, axis, and upper cervical vertebrae were all shattered.
Trajectory line of bullet: From the front, travelling backward and downward.
CASE 4: WILLIAM NASH, 62 DUNMORE GARDENS, CREGGAN
Entry wound: 1cm hole in the (R) upper chest between the third and fourth ribs, and 4½cm to the right of the mid line.
Exit wound: 4cm hole, below the (R) twelfth rib at the level of the 2nd lumbar vertebra and 4½cm to the right of the mid line. There was a massive haemorrhage within the thoracic cavity. The bullet penetrated the (R) atrium of the heart and the inferior vena cava. There was a hole in the diaphragm, 3cm in diameter. The liver was penetrated with resultant extensive damage. The (R) psoas muscle was penetrated.
Trajectory line of bullet: From the front, travelling backward and downward
CASE 5: JOHN FRANCIS DUDDY, CENTRAL DRIVE, CREGGAN
Entry wound: Circular hole over the latter aspect of the (R) shoulder near the upper border of the (R) deltoid muscle. A probe is not easily passed into the wound.
Exit wound: A jagged hole 7cm x 4cm at the level of the mid third of the left clavicle. 2¼ pints of blood were withdrawn from the (R) thoracic cavity.
1 pint of blood was withdrawn from the (L) thoracic cavity. The trachea and oesophagus were divided below the cricoid.
One inch above the arch of the aorta, the left carotid and (L) subelavian arteries were divided.
There was a gaping hole in the second (R) rib adjacent to the costal muscle, and the inner border of the (R) scapula was fractured. The bullet would appear to have tracked from the (R) shoulder across the second thoracic vertebra, half severing the vertebral body and was there deflected upwards again towards the exit wound at the (L) clavicle. The angle was not entirely satisfactory in the position that the arm was apparently placed.
Trajectory line of bullet: From right to left across the upper chest, and slightly forward.
CASE 6: JAMES WRAY, 29 DRUMCLIFFE AVENUE
There was a cleanly cut laceration above the outer third of the (L) eyebrow 1 cm in length, and surrounded by an area of abrasion. There were superficial abrasions around the (R) elbow, above the (R) wrist, above the (R) iliac crest and over both knees. There were two entry bullet wounds in the back.
Wound (1): An elliptical hole 7mm x 5mm on the (R) side of the back 4½cm from the mid line and 4cm below the scapula. The angle was upwards and towards the mid line.
Wound (2): A circular hole on the (R) side of the back 7mm in diameter situated 7cm below and 2½cm to the (R) of wound one. The left margin of the hole was undercut. The right margin of the hole was shelved outwards.
Wound (3): There was a gaping hole on the top of the left shoulder about 3cm in length, and just above the left scapula. This would seem to be an exit wound which was associated with wound one and indicated that the bullet tracked upwards and forwards.
Wound (4): This was a ragged circular hole on the (L) side about 11 mm in diameter centred 5½cm below the left scapula and 14 cm from the mid line. This wound was associated with wound two by a track which appeared to pass through the subcutaneous tissues from (R) to (L) and at an angle of about 15 degrees upwards. On exploration of this track it was seen that the bullet penetrated muscle, the spinous processes of thoracic vertebrae, and the rib cage on the (L) side where damaged lung tissue was exposed.
Examination of the rib cage revealed an elongated oval hole associated with the exit wound in the (L) shoulder. Ribs 4-8 on the (L) side showed extensive comminuted fractures.
Lungs: There was patchy bruising of the lower lobe of the (R) lung. There was extensive laceration of the (L) lung which contained many fragments of bone. There was an extensive haemopneumothorax on the (L) side, associated with multiple rib fractures, and extensive laceration of the (L) lung.
Trajectory line of bullets: Wound 1 - Right to left, superficially across the body. Wound 2- Right to left, and from behind, forward travelling upwards towards the left shoulder.
CASE 7: MICHAEL KELLY, 9 DUNREE GARDENS, CREGGAN [ 9 Dunmore Gardens ? ]
Abdomen: There was an oval shaped wound in the (L) paraumbilical region approximately 5cm to the left of the umbilicus and measuring 28mm x 16mm, with the long axis downwards. There was omental tissue showing through the wound.
The abdominal cavity contained about two pints of fluid blood and clot. There was a small amount of fluid in both pleural cavities. There were three lacerations of the upper jejunum, and a laceration of the mesentry of the sigmoid colon. There were lacerations of the (L) common iliac artery and vein. There was a rough hole in the (L) side of the sacro-lumbar cartilage. A copper-coated lead bullet was recovered from the third sacral vertebra. The bullet was deeply lodged in the vertebra. It contained rifling marks, but was not significantly damaged.
Trajectory line of bullet: From the front, travelling backward and downward.
CASE 8: WILLIAM McKINNEY, 62 WESTWAY, CREGGAN
Entry Wound: A circular hole, 6mm in diameter, in the mid dorsal region on the (R) side of the back, 9cm below the (R) scapula and 13cm from the mid line.
Exit Wound: A jagged hole in the (L) mid axillary region. The bullet tracked from (R) to (L) across the body and from behind slightly forward.
There was a further entry bullet wound in the palmar surface of the (L) wrist, and a jagged exit wound on the dorsal surface of the (L) wrist. These wounds could possibly be in a direct line with the chest wounds, if the (L) arm had been flexed at the elbow and the forearm slightly raised, when the bullet struck.
Abdomen: There were lacerations of the liver and spleen.
The bowel was almost completely severed at the splenic flexure. There were gaping holes in both the anterior and posterior walls of the stomach.
Thorax: The pleural cavities each contained about one pint of fluid blood. There was a large tear (about a hand's-breadth in size) through the (L) side of the diaphragm.
Rib Cage: There was a circular hole 1cm in diameter on the posterior surface of the (R) side of the rib cage, corresponding with the entry wound.
There was a ragged gaping hole 7cm x 4cm on the (L) side at the level of the 6th and 7th ribs, about the anterior axillary line, corresponding with the exit hole.
Trajectory line of bullet: From right to (L) across the chest, and from behind slightly forward.
CASE 9: BERNARD McGUIGAN, 20 INISCARN CRESCENT, CREGGAN
Entry Wound: A circular hole 7mm in diameter in the (L) occipital region, approximately 7.5cm posterior to the (L) ear. On probing it could be seen that the wound was tracking upwards and forwards.
Exit Wound: There was a gaping laceration in the (R) orbital space, 5cm x 3cm, centred on the (R) lower eyelid, and which exposed the interior of the skull and the bruised margin of the (R) upper eyelid, below which the remnants of the collapsed eyeball could be seen.
X-ray showed several fragmented pieces of metal (about forty in number) throughout the interior of the skull space, and showing gross pathological damage to the skull structure. There were several gross fractures of the skull vault.
Examination of the brain showed an extensive laceration of brain tissue with a number of bone fragments within the brain tissue. The cerebellum was almost completely disintegrated. The base of the skull showed severe comminuted fractures and the bullet track could be seen through the (L) cerebellar fossa.
Trajectory line of bullet: From behind forward and upward through the skull.
CASE 10: GERALD McKINNEY, 5 KNOCKDARA HOUSE, WATERSIDE.
Entry Wound: A circular hole 7mm in diameter in the (L) side of the chest, approximately on the (L) mid axillary line.
Exit Wound: A jagged laceration on the (R) side of the chest approximately on the posterior axillary line.
The track of the bullet was from left to right across and through the thoracic cavity, travelling slightly upwards and slightly backwards. The pericardial sac was normal. There was extensive laceration of both lungs. There was a transverse fracture of the body of the sternum at the level of the third and fourth ribs, which was probably caused by attempts at resuscitation following death. There was a slight amount of blood in the abdominal cavity.
Trajectory line of bullet: Left to right across the chest, travelling slightly upward and backward.
CASE 11: KEVIN McELHINNEY, 44 PHILIP STREET
Entry Wound: A circular hole 3mm in diameter on the inner side of the (L) buttock, 2cm from the anus. The (L) posterior margin was bordered by abrasions 3mm wide. The wound bled profusely on probing, and was seen to track upwards and forwards into the abdomen, with a forward inclination of approximately 45 degrees and a slight deviation to the left.
Exit Wound: A lacerated oval hole 7cm x 4cm on the (L) flank over the (L) lower ribs, 13cm above the top of the iliac crest. The long axis of the wound was vertical, and exposed lacerated muscle and a fractured rib. 2½cm above this wound there was a circular laceration 4mm in diameter. A further 8cm above this laceration was a further circular laceration 4mm in diameter. A further 3½cm above this laceration was yet another circular laceration 5mm x 4mm.
The (L) pleural cavity contained 2 oz. of blood. The pericardial sac was normal. The diaphragm was intact. The abdominal cavity contained a minimum of one pint of fluid blood and clot. The bullet penetrated the (L) external iliac artery and also penetrated the bladder, the sigmoid colon and ileum.
Trajectory line of bullet: From behind, forward and upward.
CASE 12: PATRICK DOHERTY, 15 HAMILTON STREET
Entry Wound: There was a circular hole 7mm in diameter in the lower back, on the upper surface of the (R) buttock, 13cm from the mid line of the back.
Exit Wound: There was an elliptical wound on the left side of the chest 5cm x 3cm, and located 10cm below and 5cm behind the (L) nipple. The axis of the wound was downwards and forward, and was bordered by an area of abrasion around the anterior axillary line at the level of the 8th and 9th ribs.
The two wounds were connected by a track which passed from right to left and upwards at an angle of 45 degrees, and from back to front at an angle of about 33 degrees to the coronal plane.
The left side of the diaphragm was penetrated by a tear about the size of a hand's-breadth. Two pints of blood were removed from the abdominal cavity. The inferior vena cava and the aorta were severed across at the renal level. There was a ragged hole through the pelvis at the level of the sacrum. There was an area of ragged laceration at the lower outer margin of the (L) lung.
Trajectory line of bullet: From behind, forward and upward.
CASE 13: HUGH GILMOUR, 23 GARVAN PLACE
Left Forearm Entry Wound: There was a circular hole 7mm in diameter on the extensor surface of the (L) forearm.
Exit Wound: There was a jagged exit wound on the flexor surface of the (L) forearm.
Trunk Entry Wound: There was an elliptical wound 20mm x 12mm on the (R) side of the chest, with the long axis of the wound being downward and forward, centred 14cm below, and 7cm behind the (R) nipple, approximately on the mid axillary line.
Exit Wound: There was a gaping wound in the (L) lower chest 6cm x 5cm, and located 13cm below the (L) nipple, approximate to the anterior axillary line. The wound was plugged by protruding bowel and omentum.
Three pints of fluid blood were removed from the pleural cavity. Half a pint of fluid blood was removed from the abdominal cavity. The pericardial sac was normal. There was a laceration on the (R) side of the diaphragm approximately three fingers in size. The stomach was torn wide open. There was some laceration to the lower end of both lungs. There was extensive disruption and laceration of both lobes of the liver.
Trajectory line of bullet: From right to left through the chest, travelling downward, and slightly forward.
30 Castleview Park
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