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Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 1

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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 1

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 10:50

“RESTRICTED

Instructions by the Director of Operations for Opening Fire in Northern Ireland

1. These instructions are for the guidance of Commanders and troops operating collectively or individually. When troops are operating collectively soldiers will only open fire when ordered to do so by the Commander on the spot.

General Rules

2. Never use more force than the minimum necessary to enable you to carry out your duties.

3. Always first try to handle the situation by other means than opening fire. If you have to fire:

a. Fire only aimed shots.

b. Do not fire more rounds than are absolutely necessary to achieve your aim.

4. Your magazine/belt must always be loaded with live ammunition and be fitted to the weapon. Unless you are about to open fire no live round is to be carried in the breech, and the working parts must be forward. Company Commanders and above may, when circumstances in their opinion warrant such action, order weapons to be cocked, with a round in the breech where appropriate, and the safety catch at safe.

5. Automatic fire may be used against identified targets in the same circumstances as single shots if, in the opinion of the Commander on the spot, it is the minimum force required and no other weapon can be employed as effectively. Because automatic fire scatters it is not to be used where persons not using firearms are in, or may be close to, the line of fire.

Warning before firing

6. A warning should be given before you open fire. The only circumstances in which you may open fire without giving warning are described in paras 13 and 14 below.

7. A warning should be as loud as possible, preferably by loud-hailer. It must:

a. Give clear orders to stop attacking or to halt, as appropriate.

b. State that fire will be opened if the orders are not obeyed.

You may fire after due warning

8. Against a person carrying what you can positively identify as a firearm,* but only if you have reason to think that he is about to use it for offensive purposes

and

he refuses to halt when called upon to do so, and there is no other way of stopping him.

9. Against a person throwing a petrol bomb if petrol bomb attacks continue in your area against troops and civilians or against property, if his action is likely to endanger life.

10. Against a person attacking or destroying property or stealing firearms or explosives, if his action is likely to endanger life.

11. Against a person who, though he is not at present attacking has:

a. in your sight killed or seriously injured a member of the security forces or a person whom it is your duty to protect

and

b. not halted when called upon to do so and cannot be arrested by any other means.

12. If there is no other way to protect yourself or those whom it is your duty to protect from the danger of being killed or seriously injured.

You may fire without warning

13. Either when hostile firing is taking place in your area, and a warning is impracticable or when any delay could lead to death or serious injury to people whom it is your duty to protect or to yourself; and then only:

a. against a person using a firearm* against members of the security forces or people whom it is your duty to protect

or

b. against a person carrying a firearm* if you have reason to think he is about to use it for offensive purposes.

14. At a vehicle if the occupants open fire or throw a bomb at you or others whom it is your duty to protect, or are clearly about to do so.

Action by guards and at road blocks/checks

15. Where warnings are called for they should be in the form of specific challenges, as set out in paragraphs 16 and 17.

16. If you have to challenge a person who is acting suspiciously you must do so in a firm, distinct, voice saying ‘HALT – HANDS UP. ’

Then

a. If he halts you are to say ‘STAND STILL AND KEEP YOUR HANDS UP. ’

b. Ask him why he is there, and if not satisfied call your Commander immediately and hand the person over to him.

17. If the person does not halt at once, you are to challenge again saying ‘HALT –HANDS UP ’ and, if the person does not halt on your second challenge, you are to cock your weapon, apply the safety catch and shout: ‘STAND STILL I AM READY TO FIRE. ’

18. The rules covering the circumstances for opening fire are described in paragraphs 8–14. If the circumstances do not justify opening fire, you will do all you can to stop and detain the person without opening fire.

19. At a road block/check, you will NOT fire on a vehicle simply because it refused to stop. If a vehicle does not halt at a road block/check, note its description, make, registration number and direction of travel.

20. In all circumstances where you have challenged and the response is not satisfactory, you will summon your Commander at the first opportunity.

*NOTE: ‘Firearm ’ Includes a grenade, nail bomb or gelignite type bomb.

Revised November 1971
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 1

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 10:50

RESTRICTED ”

1 G28A.220.2 GEN 47 minutes, 11th November 1971;
KH4.4 Written statement to this Inquiry of Edward Heath.
2 ED71.1-2


8.122 The contents of the Yellow Card provided guidelines for soldiers but did not have legal force, in the sense that they “did not define the legal rights and obligations of the forces under statute or common law ”.1This meant, among other things, that a soldier firing contrary to the Yellow Card would not necessarily be breaking the law.

1 R v McLaughton [1975] NI 203 at 206 per Sir Robert Lowry LCJ.

8.123 The GEN 47 Committee approved this version of the Yellow Card on 11th November 1971.1In his written statement to this Inquiry, Edward Heath told us that the main changes were to allow soldiers, when authorised by Company Commanders or officers of higher rank, to have their weapons loaded, cocked and with a bullet in the breech, though with the safety catch on; to allow fire to be opened at terrorists in vehicles; and to allow, in the circumstances stipulated, the use of automatic fire against identified targets.2

1 G28A.220.1-4 2 KH4.4

The GEN 47 meeting on 11th November 1971

8.124 At the same GEN 47 meeting the Home Secretary expressed the view that although Brian Faulkner had put forward a number of far-reaching proposals for reform, they did not go to the root of the problem, the essential feature of which was a system in which, for the foreseeable future, every election would result in a unionist government; so that some means must be found of associating the minority in central government itself. He suggested that in response to the terrorist campaigns in the Province it might be necessary to promote the formation of a “‘government of national defence and reconstruction’ ” comprised of “men of goodwill ” and inevitably including members of the SDLP and the Nationalist Party.1

1 G28A.220.3

8.125 The meeting considered that a course of action along these lines stood a greater chance of success if the Opposition at Westminster could be associated with it, and reference was made to the forthcoming visit of Harold Wilson (the Opposition leader) to Northern Ireland.1 Further, it was felt that recent security force operations had provided “encouraging signs ” that the IRA’s resolution was being broken, and had obviated the danger of a violent Protestant backlash. A dramatic initiative, it was argued, would risk alienating one side or the other, and would make the job of the security forces harder. It was therefore agreed to delay any firm approach to Brian Faulkner until the possibility of an all-party approach had been explored, with the possibility of a re-assessment of the security situation “at the end of the year ” also being raised.2 In the meantime, the committee requested a comprehensive analysis of “every line of action that could be taken to deal with the political problem ”.3 This request resulted in a paper4 produced by Sir Philip Allen, the Permanent Under Secretary at the Home Office. This paper was discussed at the GEN 47 meeting on 1st December, to which we refer below.5

1 G28A.220.3

2 G28A.220.3-4

3 G28A.220.4
4 G32B.233.7-17

5 G35A.240.3


Edward Heath’s Guildhall speech

8.126 On 15th November 1971 Edward Heath made a speech in the City of London Guildhall where he said that Britain had no selfish interest in Northern Ireland and that should the majority of the people there ever wish to join the Republic, they would be free to do so.1

1 KH4.1 Statement to this Inquiry of Edward Heath; G32A.233.4 Note of a meeting between Harold Wilson and United Kingdom Government ministers, 22nd November 1971.

The visit of Harold Wilson to Northern Ireland

8.127 Harold Wilson, then Leader of the Opposition, visited Northern Ireland in the middle of November 1971. While there, he had a meeting with General Tuzo, who expressed a degree of optimism on the security front, but said that in Londonderry substantial forces would be necessary to eradicate terrorism and that the Army’s first priority was Belfast.1

1 G30AA.226.1.1-2

8.128 Harold Wilson also spoke to Brigadier MacLellan. According to our interpretation of Brigadier MacLellan’s notes for the meeting, it appears that he told Harold Wilson that the low military profile agreed with the Committee of 30 in August had failed in its object of winning moderate opinion and avoiding alienation, and that the entire Catholic community was now hostile. He went on to say that an occupation of the Bogside and Creggan, which would require troop increases, would be necessary to restore law and order and that this represented the best option both militarily and politically. Although it would be regarded as punitive and repressive, it would enable moderates – who were then cowed, intimidated and fed up – to speak without fear and when the dust settled the majority would be glad.1

1 G30A.226.001-002

8.129 Brian Faulkner, who met Harold Wilson with members of the Northern Ireland Cabinet, drew attention to the reforms that had been made and stated that a coalition government could not include people who wanted to see a change in the constitutional position. His ministers, like the GOC, expressed some optimism about the security situation in the immediately preceding weeks.1

1 G30AC.226.1.5-7

8.130 Among Harold Wilson’s other engagements was a meeting with representatives of the SDLP. They were highly critical of United Kingdom Government policy and suggested the suspension of Stormont and its replacement with an appointed commission as a prelude to the reunification of Ireland.1Harold Wilson was also told that the SDLP would not be able to “maintain the confidence of their supporters ” if they entered into talks with the Home Secretary while internment lasted.2

1 G30C.226.5-7 2 G30C.226.7
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 1

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 10:51

8.131 On his return to London, Harold Wilson discussed his visit with the United Kingdom Prime Minister, the Home Secretary and the Defence Secretary.

1 G32A.233.1-6

Further GEN 47 Committee meetings

8.132 There was a GEN 47 meeting on 22nd November 1971, at which the CGS, General Carver, reported on the security situation to the effect that the week’s developments continued to give grounds for cautious optimism, that a further large number of men on the wanted list had been arrested and that there were signs that the Provisional IRA were modifying their tactics as a result of successes of the security forces.1

1 G32.232-233

8.133 There were three meetings of GEN 47 over the space of a few days at the end of November 1971. In the first of these, on 26th November, the CGS reported IRA activities as being at a relatively low level, and that across the Province both IRA factions were under pressure and becoming disorganised, to the extent that if the trend continued they would be forced either into a truce or a radical change of tactics, However, in Londonderry the situation was different: “The IRA could still count on the active support of the Roman Catholic population, and a major military operation here could have widespread political consequences. ”1

1 G34.238; G34A.238.1

8.134 In the second meeting, on 29th November 1971, the CGS reported a sharp increase in violence over the weekend, with 30 shootings and 39 explosions in three days.1 During this time two civilians working at a customs post, Jimmy O’Neill and Ian Hankin, and an off-duty soldier, Robert Benner, were killed by republican paramilitaries in border areas, while Paul Nicholls of the Scots Guards was fatally wounded while on foot patrol in West Belfast.2 The CGS said that the attacks appeared to be a reaction by republican paramilitaries to reports that the Army was getting the better of them.3The CGS added that the events of the weekend were a reminder of the virtual impossibility of halting the IRA’s activity by security measures alone.4

1 G35.240; G35AA.240.1.1

2 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, pp120–121.
3 G35.240

4 G35.240


8.135 In the third meeting, on 1st December 1971, the committee discussed Sir Philip Allen’s paper on possible courses of action in Northern Ireland,1which had been requested at the GEN 47 meeting of 11th November 1971. In his paper, Sir Philip listed and briefly discussed 16 possibilities:2

1 G35A.240.3-5
2 G32B.233.7-17


1. Withdrawing the Army

(Withdrawal could either be immediate or after a stated period. It was an option that Sir Philip described as “an abdication of responsibility which might well result in civil war, and an armed intervention from the Republic ”.)

2. No change

(A continuation of the policy of seeking agreement as to ways of ensuring an active, permanent and guaranteed role in government for representatives of the minority community.)

3. Green Paper plus

(The exercise by the United Kingdom Government of pressure on the Northern Ireland Government to implement and then expand upon its Green Paper proposals in order to allow a greater, and guaranteed, role for representatives of the minority community in the administration of Northern Ireland.)

4. Appointment of a Royal Commission

(Sir Philip described this as a “traditional remedy ”, but it was one that he doubted would be successful.)

5. Blocking devices

(The implementation of provisions within the Northern Ireland Parliament to ensure that some or all Bills would require more than a plain majority to pass.)

6. Coalition

(Although the United Kingdom Government could not force the formation of a coalition government in Northern Ireland, it could call for one, and support that call with economic and political pressure.)

7. Transfer of law and order to Westminster

(Sir Philip wrote that this would remove the “most ostensible point of disagreement ” between the communities in Northern Ireland, and thereby possibly create an opportunity for co-operation between them.)

8. Government by commission

(The appointment, presumably by the United Kingdom Government, of a commission to govern Northern Ireland. This was a proposal that, Sir Philip said, had been suggested by both the SDLP and the Government of the Irish Republic, at least as an interim measure. It was similar conceptually to the appointed Londonderry Development Commission, which had taken over administration of that city from Londonderry Corporation in 1968–1969.)

9. County Council for Northern Ireland

(By downgrading the constitutional structures in Northern Ireland to make them akin to a county council it was hoped that bi-partisan administration might be encouraged. This step, which would involve transfer of responsibilities from Stormont to Westminster, would be done on the basis that the population and area of Northern Ireland were approximate to those of county councils elsewhere in the United Kingdom.)

10. Redrawing of the border

(The border would be altered with the intention of transferring some predominantly Catholic areas, such as Londonderry, to the Irish Republic, possibly following local plebiscites.)

11. Reversion to the 1920 Act

(In particular, the revival of the concept of a Council of Ireland, which sought to encourage co-operation between the parliaments and governments of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. The 1920 Act provided for such a council, but it had never been formally constituted.)

12. Negotiations with Dublin for the reunification of Ireland

(“It would theoretically be possible to enter into negotiations with the South for the reunification of Ireland. ”)

13. A condominium

(One possibility envisaged residents of Northern Ireland registering as either British or Irish and voting in elections to Westminster and the Dáil accordingly. They would also be entitled to vote for an executive council that would administer Northern Ireland, under the guidance of one British and one Irish commissioner.)

14. Policy of hostility to the Republic

(This would be pursued on the basis that “Many Protestants in the North ” argued that the IRA campaign would not be defeated until full political and economic pressure was exerted by the United Kingdom on the Republic of Ireland, for example by abrogation of trade agreements, immigration controls and measures restricting the civil liberties of citizens of the Republic within Northern Ireland.)

15. Bringing in the United Nations

(Sir Philip gave no indication as to how this would be done.)

16. Direct rule

(Sir Philip wrote that: “Ministers have already given a good deal of consideration to direct rule and have concluded that it is not a course which they would willingly adopt. It has generally been thought of as an interim measure which would have to be followed sooner or later by some other solution … as a permanent course it really shades off into the solution discussed earlier of combining responsibility at Westminster for the major policies with some kind of county council solution for local issues. ”)

8.136 Sir Philip considered the advantages and the (often insurmountable) disadvantages of each of these courses. He indicated that several of the options, notably those involving the withdrawal of the Army, the involvement of the United Nations and negotiations with Dublin on reunification, had been included for the sake of completeness. He also pointed out that some of the initiatives might be combined, and that several would not be possible without an interim period of direct rule.1

1 G32B.233.7-17

8.137 The GEN 47 meeting, which did not adopt any of the options that Sir Philip had discussed, expressed caution over the possibility that major changes in the fundamental policy of the United Kingdom Government on the unification of Ireland and the alignment of the border, as radical alternatives to the status quo, would have a realistic chance of success for the foreseeable future.1 Ministers considered the respective positions of Brian Faulkner’s government and the SDLP on the question of the representation of the minority in government, and the resulting impasse, and requested that officials prepare a further analysis of the degree to which the present functions of Stormont could be transferred to statutory bodies, on the model of the Housing Authority, which might be so constituted as to embody a formal active role for minority representatives.2The committee also requested, as a secondary requirement, an analysis of the ways in which constitutional assurances could be devised to provide a minority community with a role in government, starting with a study of constitutional devices employed to the same end in other countries with substantial minority populations.3Summing up the meeting, Edward Heath commented that if the military campaign against the IRA proceeded successfully, the right time for pressing forward with plans for political changes could well be very brief. Although ministers had not decided in favour of direct rule, they did recognise that during this crucial period there might come a point where they would have to run the risk of precipitating a situation in which direct rule became inevitable.4

1 G35A.240.3-4; G35B.240.6-8

2 G35A.240.4-5
3 G35A.240.5

4 G35A.240.4


8.138 GEN 47 met again on 13th December 1971.1 The CGS told the committee that there had been an increase in shootings and nail and petrol bomb incidents in the previous week. However, most of these were not prolonged engagements and much of the increase could be attributed to greater Army activity in Londonderry.2 We consider this activity below. There followed discussions about measures that could be taken to protect off-duty members of the UDR and political figures who were being targeted by the IRA.3 The meeting also considered all-party discussions involving the Opposition, and the possibility and desirability of transferring some powers (notably law and order) from Stormont to Westminster.4

1 G38.253-255; G38A.255.1-3

2 G38.254
3 G38.254-255

4 G38A.255.2-3


The end of the containment phase in Londonderry

8.139 The greater Army activity in Londonderry mentioned at this GEN 47 meeting consisted of a series of battalion-strength operations in the Bogside and Creggan areas of the city in early December, with the object of carrying out arrests, searching premises on specific intelligence and clearing barricades.1The number of routine patrols in these areas also increased.2

1 B1279.004-005 Draft statement for the Widgery Inquiry of Brigadier MacLellan; B1279.029 Statement to this Inquiry of Brigadier MacLellan; B1279.003.001 Extract from Desmond Hamill’s notes of an interview with Brigadier MacLellan; G41.264 “Future Military Policy in Londonderry: An Appreciation by the CLF ”, 14th December 1971;
G125B.836.3-4 Memorandum to ADC to CLF, 2nd March 1972; G116.751 “Summary of Events in Londonderry on 30 January 1972 ”, 5th February 1972.

2 G125B.836.5-8 Memorandum to ADC to CLF, 2nd March 1972.


8.140 According to Army reports, the reaction to these operations was extremely violent, the soldiers being confronted by large and apparently well-organised hostile crowds, and met with stones and other missiles, including nail bombs and gunfire.1Two further such operations were carried out at the end of the month.2

1 G37A.252.1 HQNI Intelligence Summary, 9th December 1971; G41.268 “Future Military Policy in Londonderry: An Appreciation by the CLF ”, 14th December 1971; G116.751 “Summary of Events in Londonderry on 30 January 1972 ”, 5th February 1972; G37B.252.5 Joint Intelligence Committee, Special Assessment, 9th December 1971;
B1279.003.001 Extract from Desmond Hamill’s notes of an interview with Brigadier MacLellan; B1279.029 Statement to this Inquiry of Brigadier MacLellan.

2 G125B.836.4 Memorandum to ADC to CLF, 2nd March 1972.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 1

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 10:51

8.141 This more active and confrontational approach, effectively ending the period of passive containment, resulted from the autumn Directives of General Ford and Brigadier MacLellan and the strengthening of 8th Infantry Brigade by the arrival of 1 CG and 22 Lt AD Regt, which allowed for the necessary force levels to be deployed.1 These developments had themselves been presaged by the discussions within GEN 47 and between Edward Heath and Brian Faulkner in early October, to which we have already referred.

1 G41.264 “Future Military Policy in Londonderry: An Appreciation by the CLF ”, 14th December 1971; Day 258/63-64 Oral evidence to this Inquiry of General Ford; B1229, B1225, B1279.4 Written statement for the Widgery Inquiry of General Ford.

Major General Ford’s December 1971 visit to Londonderry

8.142 General Ford visited Londonderry shortly after the operations in early December, and met representatives of the military, the RUC and local community groups.1 Following his visit he wrote a paper entitled “Future Military Policy for Londonderry: An Appreciation of the Situation by CLF ”. This document, which was dated 14th December 1971, examined the recent history of operations in the city, considered different courses of action that could be adopted and the advantages and disadvantages of each, and then made recommendations as to which should be implemented.2

1 B1208.26 Statement to this Inquiry of General Ford;
Day 253/37-38 Oral evidence to this Inquiry of General Ford.
2 G41.263-273


8.143 In terms that echoed those of Brigadier MacClellan’s OP Directive 4/71 of 4th November,1 to which we have already referred, General Ford recounted the change of situation in Londonderry that occurred after the first week of July 1971. Until then, “significant progress towards normality had been made ” in the city, notably with the RUC establishing static posts in the Creggan and Bogside for the first time in 12 years, allowing them to extend their influence gradually from these positions. However, the “local IRA campaign ” that began on 4th July, the “military reaction to the gunmen ”, and the subsequent introduction of internment ended this period of optimism, as “renewed violence on a large scale and the campaign of civil disobedience began ”.2

1 G27.196 2 G41.263

8.144 General Ford recorded that on 20th August 1971, General Tuzo and Howard Smith (the United Kingdom Representative in Northern Ireland) met with the Committee of 30, the group of moderate and prominent Catholics we have mentioned above. This led to the decision to lower the military profile in the city, initially for about a month, in an attempt to “maintain the hitherto successful policy of minimum pressure … in the hope that moderate opinion would win the day ”. This meant that there were no routine military patrols, and no military initiatives other than those demanded in response to aggression or for specific search and arrest operations.1

1 G41.263

8.145 Like Brigadier MacLellan in November 1971, General Ford considered that this policy had not achieved its aims. He wrote that none of the expectations for progress raised at the meeting had materialised, while “neither the RUC nor the military have control of the Bogside and Creggan areas, law and order are not being effectively maintained, and the Security Forces now face an entirely hostile Catholic community numbering 33,000 in these two areas alone ”. During the period of limited military activity an efficient system of alarms, sentries and searchlights had been established by residents of the Bogside and Creggan, meaning that it had become “almost impossible ” for the Army and RUC to achieve surprise in their operations in the area. Meanwhile, in the period between 4th July and 13th December, the security forces had suffered 22 casualties inflicted by gunmen, seven of them fatal, from 380 confirmed shooting incidents. A total of 1,932 rounds had been fired at them, with 364 in reply, and 1,741lb of explosives had been used in 211 explosions, in addition to a further 180 recorded nail bomb incidents. At the time General Ford wrote, there were 29 barricades in existence, 16 of which were impassable to 1 ton armoured vehicles.1

1 G41.263-264

8.146 General Ford also considered that the “containment phase ” had allowed “the extremists to increase their hold on the Catholic community, and to recruit and train more volunteers ”. According to General Ford, the security forces had achieved some successes: 68 men had been arrested when internment was introduced, with a further 84 apprehended subsequently; there were 54 claimed instances where a target had been shot, seven of whom were known to have been killed, but as the casualty or the weapon had only been recovered on five occasions these figures could not be fully substantiated. Bearing such uncertainties in mind, General Ford recorded “our best estimate ” was that there were 1,000 “activists ”, of whom about half could be counted as “the hooligan element ”, half of which again comprised the “hard core ”. IRA strength was thought to be 100, “of whom at least 40 are active gunmen ”. It is not entirely clear whether General Ford counted these as part of the 1,000 “activists ”, although the context of the sentence suggests that this is likely.1

1 G41.264

8.147 General Ford wrote that although the “containment phase ” was originally intended to last only for “the order of one month ”, it was not until 3rd December 1971 that a significant change of approach occurred. On that date, 8th Infantry Brigade’s force level was increased by one battalion, allowing the security forces to pursue a more aggressive policy, carrying out battalion-strength operations in “the hostile areas ”. These included “recce and fighting patrols in depth and arrest, search and barricade clearance operations ”.1

1 G41.263-265

8.148 After considering the recent history of the security situation in Londonderry, General Ford turned to the main purpose of his paper: to recommend the adoption of a course of action to be followed in the city in the future. He prefaced his arguments by noting that it was “very unlikely ” that moderate leaders of the Catholic community would succeed in overcoming the extremists in the existing circumstances, and hence military action was required “to establish control and stability and enable the political situation to evolve ”. He then set out what he saw as the three possible options:1

“Course 1. To revert to the previous policy of containment of the Creggan and Bogside from their periphery but adopt a much more offensive attitude than in previous months.

Course 2. To continue the present policy of undertaking major operations within the Creggan and Bogside but without providing a permanent presence in those areas.

Course 3. To establish, on a permanent basis, a full scale military presence in the Creggan and Bogside. ”


1 G41.265

8.149 Expanding on the first of these, General Ford wrote that he would envisage “that operations in the hostile areas are conducted with the minimum forces compatible with safety and the minimum aggravation of the community ”. Such operations would include sniping from the periphery, recce and fighting patrols, and ambush, arrest and search actions “whenever intelligence justified them ”. Individual operations would be of “short duration and measured in minutes rather than hours ”, but the policy would not prohibit the establishment of static positions and permanent roadblocks if force levels allowed. General Ford also foresaw “constant patrolling in the Bogside and to a lesser extent in the Creggan ”.1

1 G41.265

8.150 General Ford considered that the advantages of this course were that it would reduce the tension and pressure felt by the Catholic community in response to large-scale military operations, and that this might assist in turning anti-extremist feeling against the IRA and the “activists ” instead of towards the Army. The policy would afford some opportunity to the moderate leadership of the community to “wean the people away from the extremists ”, although General Ford noted that there was “little evidence ” that this was likely to happen, and that it had not done so in the period from 20th August to 3rd December. In military terms, the policy would not lead to force-level problems, and if a political solution were achieved, the need for a military occupation in the Bogside and Creggan would be avoided.1

1 G41.265-266
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 1

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8.151 There were, however, numerous disadvantages, according to General Ford’s paper. Course 1 would not restore law and order, and would make it difficult to deal with gunmen in the area. The IRA and “other revolutionary groups ” would be encouraged to increase their influence over the local population, who in turn would be discouraged from submitting to government and providing information to the security forces. Those in the Bogside and Creggan who were “fed up with the IRA, the hooligans, the hardships of their daily existence and conditions of semi siege ” would not be offered much hope of quick relief. The policy represented a retreat from the current military position and would have a negative effect on morale in the security forces, as well as being unsatisfactory to Stormont and the local Protestant community. General Ford concluded his list of disadvantages with the comment: “The stalemate continues .”1

1 G41.266

8.152 In relation to Course 2, General Ford reiterated that this policy was the one then being pursued, consisting of battalion-strength operations of the type listed above in the “hostile areas ”. On average, the operations required a force level of five companies. The advantage of this option was that it had “broken the stalemate ” and demonstrated the military’s ability “to go in and out of the area at will ”. This had led to a “marked improvement in the morale of the Security Forces ”, and had “mollified the local Protestant ‘hard-liners’ ”, who, General Ford wrote, had “behaved responsibly in the face of determined explosive attacks against commercial targets and intimidation of their employees ”. The policy had brought “considerable pressure to bear on the gunmen ”, and had “achieved a limited initiative comparatively cheaply ” in terms of force levels, while also testing the reaction of the local community and the troops to large-scale operations. Finally, it had allowed the “flow of information to restart, albeit with only a trickle at this stage ”.1

1 G41.267

8.153 General Ford then listed considerable disadvantages with the policy then being pursued. It had not restored law and order as there was no permanent presence in the Bogside and Creggan. This meant that when the troops withdrew (which they usually did while under pressure from verbal abuse, rioting, nail bombs and sniper fire), the “hostile areas ” reverted back to “their state of lawlessness ”. Barricades were rebuilt, and when the security forces returned they encountered “well organised opposition ”. Due to the “rapid reaction, numerical strength and aggressive tactics ” of this opposition, baton rounds and CS gas had to be used in large quantities, although the former were ineffective and the latter indiscriminate (causing “havoc amongst large sections of the community who are not involved, nor intend to be involved in the violence ”). General Ford wrote that in the circumstances, the use of live ammunition “becomes more likely, particularly when units of platoon strength are assaulted by organised mobs numbered in hundreds ”. This in turn raised “the question of opening fire on ‘unarmed’ mobs, whose strength lies not in fire-power, but in numbers and brick power ”. The policy had, according to the General, “served only to aggravate and alienate the Catholic community further ”, without providing the protection required for non-violent moderates to further their influence without fear of intimidation; indeed there were “indications that the hate, fear and distrust felt by the Catholic community for the Security Forces is deeper now than at any time during the current campaign ”.1

1 G41.268

8.154 The final course, the establishment of a permanent military presence and full-scale security coverage in the Creggan and Bogside, offered “the best, perhaps the only prospect of a quick restoration of law and order ” that would create the conditions in which a political initiative could be attempted with some chance of success. General Ford acknowledged that the initial response of the local community would be hostile, but he thought that this might subside, and while a military presence would never be welcome it was possible that those disaffected by the existing situation might come to regard the Army as “the lesser of the two evils and cooperate in the destruction of the IRA ”. A permanent presence, he felt, offered the greatest chance of this happening, and would also allow the residents of the Bogside and Creggan “to see for themselves that the opposition’s propaganda on such matters as brutality are untrue ”. A further benefit was that the local Protestant community would be “delighted ” by the initiative and would regain confidence in the security forces, which in turn would discourage unilateral action on their part.1

1 G41.269

8.155 The first disadvantage of Course 3 listed by General Ford was the level of force required. The military presence would have to be sufficient to restore and maintain law and order, and prevent the troops from “being submerged by the sheer weight and numbers of a violently hostile community ”. The presence would also have to remain tenable, as the failure of the policy would have serious repercussions across the Province. General Ford wrote that a detailed assessment had shown that seven battalions would be required, of which five would need to be infantry. There were concerns about how to accommodate the permanent military presence, and about the danger that this initiative would have a detrimental effect on the campaign of the security forces elsewhere in the Province. Beyond these logistical problems, General Ford considered that the policy would be portrayed as “repressive and punitive ” in republican propaganda, and would have a marked effect on what General Ford described as “Catholic opinion throughout the world ”, particularly in the Republic of Ireland. Adverse reactions would be expected from the nationalist areas of Belfast, and General Ford noted in particular the possibility that the operation might lead to a rise in support for IRA active service units in Donegal, which in turn could lead to cross-border battles that were unacceptable to the United Kingdom Government. The risk of casualties was high, and “apart from gunmen or bombers, so called unarmed rioters, possibly teenagers, [are] certain to be shot in the initial phase. Much will be made of the invasion of Derry and the slaughter of the innocent. ”1

1 G41.269-271

8.156 In the conclusions to his paper, General Ford wrote that the policy of containment followed from 20th August to 3rd December 1971 had “produced no apparent beneficial result ”, and had left the Bogside and Creggan “completely dominated by the extremists ”. As a result, a new initiative was required “if the present stalemate is to be broken ”. The General had “no doubt ” that Course 3 was “the best military solution ”, but the difficulty was that “the problem is not entirely a military one ”. The political disadvantages of the policy were considerable, not only in terms of the emotive response to an action that would be presented as the repression of one section of the community, but also in the need for further troops, which amounted to a requirement for three additional infantry battalions to be sent to Northern Ireland. These points, and issues concerning the historical and strategic position of Londonderry, led General Ford to conclude that the decision on whether or not to adopt Course 3 was “entirely a political one ”.1

1 G41.271

8.157 General Ford felt that there was “little military value ” in continuing with the existing Course 2 approach when compared to the antagonism that it created in the community. While some gains could be made, the basic fault of the policy was its temporary nature and its “harmful effect on those who might otherwise be prepared to forsake the IRA cause ”. The wisdom of continuing in this way was “in doubt ” unless its replacement with the implementation of Course 3 was imminent. In contrast, the best that he could say about Course 1 was that it “does not stir the pot unduly in [the] Creggan and the Bogside ”. Although “some 33,000 citizens of the UK will be allowed to remain in a state of anarchy and revolt ”, there was a temptation, especially politically, to adopt this approach until there was a cessation of hostilities elsewhere in the Province. General Ford noted that the containment required “can certainly be achieved ”, and that there would be some limited military benefit accruing from the pressure brought to bear on republican paramilitaries if the offensive aspect of the course was given sufficient emphasis.1

1 G41.272

8.158 In summary, General Ford wrote:

“… although Course 3 is the correct military solution to the problem of restoring law and order in Londonderry, the political drawbacks are so serious that it should not be implemented in the present circumstances, The dangers inherent in persisting with Course 2 are in no way balanced by the limited military gain and the right answer in the present circumstances is to adopt Course 1. In order to avoid comparison with the previous Course 1 which was adopted up to mid November and was too defensive and defeatist in concept, it might be best to call it Course 1½. ”1


1 G41.272

8.159 Accordingly, General Ford’s recommendation was that the “present policy in Londonderry should be abandoned in favour of Course 1 as described in this appreciation ”.1

1 G41.272

8.160 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, General Ford accepted that his recommendation amounted to a reversion to a less provocative approach by 8th Infantry Brigade in the Creggan and Bogside.1

1 Day 253/42

Reginald Maudling’s meeting at Headquarters Northern Ireland
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 1

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8.161 On the same day as General Ford dated this appreciation (14th December 1971), there was a meeting between the United Kingdom Home Secretary, Reginald Maudling, and the GOC and other senior officers at HQNI Lisburn. General Ford was among those present.1

1 G40.259; G40A.262.1-8

8.162 Among other matters this meeting discussed the situation in Londonderry. The GOC told Reginald Maudling that this remained third on the Army’s list of priorities after, respectively, Belfast and the border. However, he said that the position there had reached a point where a choice had to be made between accepting that the Creggan and Bogside were areas where the Army were not able to go, except on specific information, or mounting a major operation requiring a force of six or seven battalions to occupy the area. The Army preferred the first course, but it would entail accepting criticism of allowing “no go ” areas.1The GOC said that the second course would (according to one note of the meeting) “involve, at some stage, shooting at unarmed civilians ”2or (according to another note) “almost certainly ” doing so.3

1 G40.261; G40A.262.5

2 G40.261
3 G40A.262.5


8.163 These phrases could be read, as a matter of language, as meaning that the GOC contemplated that the Army, if undertaking this second course of action, would as part of it fire at unarmed civilians as a matter of deliberate policy in order to clear the Creggan and Bogside. It could equally mean, as a matter of language, that a major operation would be likely to meet with massive resistance where crowds, backed by gunmen, would engage with or try to overrun the soldiers who might have no option but to fire in order to save their lives.

8.164 There is no evidence that the GOC ever had in mind a policy of pre-planned deliberate firing at unarmed civilians as a means of regaining control of the no-go areas, or otherwise. The violence of the previous months had demonstrated the danger to soldiers even during minor operations from gunfire, bombs and hostile crowds, and it was hardly more than common sense to make clear to the politicians that an operation of this kind would be very likely, if not certain, to lead to soldiers firing their weapons and causing casualties among unarmed civilians.

8.165 At this point it is convenient to refer to submissions about the attitude of politicians and the military during the period under discussion.

8.166 Those representing most of the families submitted that in the period preceding Bloody Sunday, “Within both the military and political establishment there was a lack of respect for human life. The use of lethal force against unarmed civilians was an option considered and discussed with increasing frequency as a legitimate method of law enforcement ”1 and that with regard to the period after internment and up to December 1971:2

“While the use of a shoot to kill policy against unarmed civilians was not adopted during this period, it was regarded as a legitimate tactic for discussion and consideration within senior military or political circles. At no stage was the use of lethal force against unarmed civilians rejected as a legitimate tactic whether for legal or moral reasons. It is certainly not the case, as Sir Arthur Hockaday stated in the course of his evidence3 that the prevailing culture was one of ‘respect for the law and the doctrine of minimum force’. ”

1 FS1.631

2 FS1.659
3 Day 271/23


8.167 The submission was made that it was this attitude, among other things, that led to the use of lethal force by the Army on Bloody Sunday.

1 FS1.631

8.168 We have found nothing that indicates to us that during the period in question either the political or the military establishments considered that the use of lethal force against unarmed civilians was a legitimate tactic or could be used as a legitimate method of law enforcement. It was appreciated that there was a risk that in certain circumstances the Army might find it necessary to fire on crowds assailing them, but this was in the context of soldiers having to defend themselves, not the result of the carrying out of any plan to shoot unarmed civilians as a method of law enforcement.1

1 We consider later in this report (paragraphs 9.102–114) a memorandum written by General Ford in January 1972 (G48.299), in which he stated that he was coming to the view that the only way to deal with the hooligan problem in Londonderry was to shoot selected ringleaders, using rifles adapted to use .22in ammunition and after giving a warning. However, as will be seen, this method of riot control was not adopted and General Ford acknowledged in his memorandum that it would have required authorisation before it could be put into effect. There is nothing to suggest that any such authorisation was sought or would have been forthcoming.

8.169 In the course of these submissions representatives of the families referred to and relied upon General Ford’s appreciation dated 14th December 1971, to which we have referred above.1 There is to our minds nothing in that paper that suggests the adoption of a shoot-to-kill policy. Nor is it correct, as another of the submissions put it, that General Ford put forward a “desired ” military solution and that his paper disclosed “the tension between the required military solution and the restraints imposed by the political situation ”.2 What General Ford did was to put forward what he regarded as the best military solution in the circumstances and recognised that political considerations took precedence. We should add that what General Ford was considering was what could be done about the situation then existing in Londonderry. He was not at this time concerned about how best to deal with a civil rights march in the city or any riots that might then ensue, matters that we discuss later in this report.3

1 FS1.657-659

2 FS4.24
3 Chapter 9


8.170 At the meeting of 14th December 1971, the Home Secretary appears to have accepted or decided that there should be no major operation to occupy the Creggan and Bogside, even though this was a tacit acknowledgement that there were areas of Londonderry where the Army was not able to operate normally.1According to one of the notes of the meeting, it had become clear during the discussions that the Army favoured this policy, which was therefore in line with General Ford’s contemporaneous appreciation.2

1 G40.261; G40A.262.5 2 G40.261

General Carver’s visit to Northern Ireland

8.171 The CGS, General Carver, visited Northern Ireland in the middle of December 1971. He went to Londonderry on 17th December and was there briefed by Brigadier MacLellan. According to the Brigadier’s briefing notes,1 the CGS was told that the recent operations in the Creggan and Bogside had worried the IRA, but at the cost of increased violence and the further alienation of the Catholic population, which in turn risked pushing popular opinion away from the moderates in the community and towards the IRA.2 Adopting the terminology employed by General Ford in his paper of 14th December, Brigadier MacLellan expressed the view that this policy, “Course 2 ”, had been successful militarily, but perhaps not politically.3 However, returning to the previous containment policy, “Course 1 ”, would demoralise the troops and Protestants.4 This left what General Ford had called “Course 1½ ” or “Course 3 ”. The former would involve quick arrest operations, intelligence-based searches in the Bogside and possibly the Creggan, and the deployment of reconnaissance platoons, all of which would carry the possibility of small fighting incidents in their aftermath.5 Brigadier MacLellan described such a policy as “difficult ” as it would be hard to avoid harassing the innocent while keeping a “GRIP ROUND [the] THROAT OF [the] GUILTY ”.6“Course 3 ” was a full-scale military operation of the Creggan and Bogside, which would require seven battalions, most of which would be deployed there for “SOME MONTHS ”.7 Brigadier MacLellan felt that this was the only chance for demoralising the IRA and restoring law and order to the area, but it would be regarded as a “PUNITIVE AND REPRESSIVE ” invasion.8 The decision was a matter for political judgement, but delay would mean that the IRA would increase their grip on the area and acquire more arms.9

1 G44A.282.1-3

2 G44A.282.1

3 G44A.282.2

4 G44A.282.2

5 G44A.282.2
6 G44A.282.2

7 G44A.282.2

8 G44A.282.2

9 G44A.282.2-3


8.172 On 20th December 1971, General Carver completed a report on his visit to Northern Ireland for Lord Carrington, the Secretary of State for Defence.1 The central theme of this document was his belief that a window of opportunity was approaching when a political initiative might be put forward with some hope of success. It is notable that his reasoning was based primarily on the situation in Belfast; Londonderry, he wrote, was “totally different ”.2

1 G44.281-282; G44.282.1 2 G44.282.1

8.173 General Carver felt that the sections of the IRA pursuing terrorist activity in Belfast were now under “considerable pressure ” due to the combined effects of internment, the actions of the security forces, and the increasing effectiveness of intelligence operations. He argued that the “time may come very soon when a political move, which the minority could claim as a partial satisfaction of their demands, could tip the scale sufficiently for all those who want an end to tension (which includes a substantial part of the IRA themselves) to put their pressure, also, on the terrorists to call off the campaign ”.1

1 G44.281

8.174 General Carver also felt that the timing of such an initiative was good in relation to the majority community. He wrote of an “apparent acceptance by an increasing element of the Protestants, including an influential number of officers in the RUC, that things cannot just return to the previous state of affairs ”. At least some of the RUC officers were prepared to accept and even advocate that Westminster should take over responsibility for law and order, a move that would have been welcomed by most Catholics, including “the hierarchy and other influential figures ”. However, the period in which a significant section of the majority community would remain conducive to such reforms was likely to be short; if the tension were to come to an end unexpectedly it would not be long before “Protestant opinion ” hardened, dissolving the acceptance that change was necessary.1

1 G44.281

8.175 These observations led General Carver to urge that “swift political action ” should not be delayed beyond mid-February 1972, a date towards which the United Kingdom Government should plan unless it became clear that the right moment to proceed had arrived earlier. The initiative would need to be “effective ”, while not leading to “an unacceptable Protestant backlash ”, and for this to be achieved it would need to be acceptable to the RUC, to Brian Faulkner (“but not necessarily to all of his Party ”), to “the Catholic hierarchy ”, to Gerry Fitt, then leader of the SDLP, and the Taoiseach, Jack Lynch.1

1 G44.281

8.176 General Carver went on to set out the elements that he believed could lead to a successful solution. Law and order would become the responsibility of Westminster, with the GOC assuming control of all security operations, Army and RUC, which were designed to restore the normal processes of law and order. In public administration, as many as possible of the areas in which there were “inter-sectarian problems ” would become the province of public boards on which minority communities would be fully represented. These boards would be responsible to the Northern Ireland Government, but the methods of election and representation at Stormont would be revised by a “further commission ” in light of these wider reforms. General Carver recommended that if such a solution did not emerge from inter-party talks then it should be announced, with maximum publicity, as the United Kingdom Government’s proposal at these talks, and one which it was prepared to implement as soon as the principals agreed.1

1 G44.281-282

8.177 In support of the framework that he had outlined, General Carver made additional suggestions for action in specific fields. He felt that the RUC lacked “leadership and direction ”, and proposed that a Deputy Director of Operations (Police) be selected by the United Kingdom Government as a potential successor to the then Chief Constable, Sir Graham Shillington, adding that if no suitable English, Scottish or Welsh police officer were available, then a general might be appointed. In relation to civil affairs, he drew attention to the practical needs of the civilian population, especially in areas from where the IRA had just been eliminated. He recommended the appointment of Civil Affairs Liaison Officers to each police division of Belfast, whose role it would be to end what General Carver saw as the existing indifference, bureaucracy and even hostility of local and central government to those in the minority community who sought assistance, who would turn to extremists and sectarian organisations if they were not encouraged to deal directly with the proper organs of government. Finally, he warned that a breakdown in the system of internment, perhaps because of a break-out or a riot, could ruin “Our whole policy ”. To avoid this, he was convinced that it was necessary for the Northern Ireland Government to employ an Inspector or Director of Internment.1

1 G44.282-282.1

8.178 In the final three paragraphs of his paper, General Carver addressed the situation outside Belfast. He recommended the continuation of the present policy in relation to the border: “maintaining a non-provocative attitude, but a fairly frequent presence, achieves about the right balance.”1 He wrote that intelligence gathering outside Belfast was “virtually non-existent ”, although he hoped that it could be considerably improved if his proposals on future responsibility for law and order were accepted.2 In relation to Londonderry, his entire paragraph is reproduced below:3

“The situation here is totally different to that in Belfast. The Bogside and Creggan are no-go areas. To change this would need a major military operation which would demand large numbers of troops, incur a high level of casualties and inflame the situation not only in Londonderry itself, but in this whole of Northern Ireland and particularly in the Republic. To attempt such an operation either in the near future or soon after making a proposal on the lines of that [outlined earlier in the paper] would wreck any chance of such a proposal succeeding. It is clear that the only policy we can sensibly pursue in Londonderry is to maintain a level of military activity which maintains the morale of the Protestants and of our own soldiers, without provoking the Catholic population to an extent which causes us severe casualties, further antagonises them and brings no dividends. Our recent increased activity has tended in this direction and I recommend, as does the GOC and the Brigade Commander, that we adopt a policy of rather less provocative activity than of recent weeks, although higher than the ‘low profile’ attitude adopted in September and October. ”

1 G44.282.1

2 G44.282.1
3 G44.282.1


8.179 General Carver’s recommendation, which he said was also that of General Tuzo and Brigadier MacLellan, was effectively the “Course 1½ ” outlined and supported by General Ford in his paper of 14th December on future military policy in Londonderry.1

1 G41.263-273

Meeting of the Ministry of Defence’s Northern Ireland Policy Group

8.180 General Carver’s views on a possible solution were repeated at a meeting of the MoD’s Northern Ireland Policy Group on 22nd December 1971 at which Lord Carrington, the Secretary of State for Defence, was present.1At this meeting the CGS said that he thought that they should aim at some political initiative about February 1972, when he judged that the security situation would be just right for it.

1 G44B.282.4-9; KH9.48-53 2 G44B.282.4; KH9.48

8.181 Lord Carrington considered that there was a choice between an initiative of the kind envisaged by the CGS and waiting in the hope that the Home Secretary’s inter-party talks might produce a likely solution.1The meeting appears to have agreed with the CGS that there would be a window of time when action along the lines envisaged would be opportune, so that it was important that the United Kingdom Government should be ready with appropriate proposals, including a replacement for the existing Stormont system of administration. It was also important to have the support of the RUC and of the senior Northern Ireland civil servants for any imposed solution.2

1 KH9.49 2 KH9.49-50

8.182 The meeting clearly appreciated that, as a matter of departmental responsibilities, it was really for the Home Office rather than the MoD to put forward possible political solutions.1 However, in his summing up, Lord Carrington expressed a desire to raise the matter soon at a GEN 47 meeting and suggested that the department draw up a “general paper ” emphasising the importance of timing.2

1 KH9.49-50 2 KH9.50

8.183 The point was made at the meeting that, whatever solution was reached, it would be necessary to look at the position of Londonderry separately: “the revival of community and commercial life there would only be possible with the support of the Dublin Government and of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. There was no incentive for the IRA to give up its position there since its control of the Bogside and Creggan areas was based not on physical intimidation but on its generally good administration so that it was the Army which was seen as the cause of any trouble. ” It seems clearly to have been common ground that any attempt by the Army to take over control of the remainder of Londonderry would involve a fight against the people and “would set back hopes of a political solution ”.1

1 KH9.49-50

8.184 The contemporary documents1show that at or very soon after this meeting Lord Carrington accepted the advice of the CGS and the GOC that so far as Londonderry was concerned, the Army should adopt a policy rather less provocative than in recent weeks, though higher than the low profile adopted during September and October. This was an acceptance of “Course 1½ ” that General Ford had advocated in his paper of 14th December 19712and which Brigadier MacLellan had outlined to the CGS a few days later.3

1 G45A.285.7 Extract from a brief for the Secretary of State for Defence, 31st December 1971; G45AA.285.19-21 Draft paper for the Secretary of State to present to GEN 47, 23rd December 1971; G46.287 Minutes of the Official Committee on Northern Ireland, 5th January 1972.
2 G41.263-273

3 G44A.282.1-3


Edward Heath’s visit to Londonderry

8.185 On 23rd December 1971 Edward Heath briefly visited Londonderry, and described in his autobiography the situation there as “critical ”.1

1 Edward Heath, The Course of My Life: My Autobiography, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1998, p434; KH4.5 Written statement to this Inquiry of Edward Heath.

Proposals for a political initiative

8.186 Also on the 23rd December 1971, Sir Philip Allen wrote a note on constitutional devices to protect the minority. After studying various arrangements made in other countries, he concluded that the only model suitable for Northern Ireland was the provision of guaranteed places for the representatives of the minority community within the executive body of a reformed government. Sir Philip Allen acknowledged that an arrangement of this kind would not emerge unprompted from discussions between the Northern Irish parties, and that Brian Faulkner had made it clear that such a system was unacceptable to him. However, he believed that there were circumstances in which the scheme might be tolerated as a solution imposed from Westminster.1

1 G44B.282.15-16

8.187 During the closing days of 1971, officials within the MoD sought to take forward the idea of a political initiative. Acting on Lord Carrington’s request at the Northern Ireland Policy Group meeting on 22nd December, Arthur Hockaday, the Assistant Under Secretary (General Staff), and Colonel Henry Dalzell-Payne, head of MO4 (the section of the General Staff dealing with Northern Ireland), prepared a draft paper for presentation at GEN 47.1 Lord Carrington felt that he could not submit this under his name, presumably because he thought that it encroached too much on the territory of the Home Secretary and his department.2 Instead, he decided to rely on the paper as a speaking brief, and as a result it was modified and re-submitted by Arthur Hockaday on 31st December 1971.3

1 G45AA.285.20-24

2 G45AA.285.19
3 G45A.285.1; G45A.285.6-16


8.188 Under the heading “Opportunity for political initiative ”, Arthur Hockaday wrote:1

“Given that the maintenance of pressure in Belfast is having a considerable effect upon the IRA we may, before very long (say within the next two months), reach a point at which, if both the leaders of the Northern Ireland minority (in particular the Roman Catholic hierarchy and Mr Fitt) and the Dublin Government can publicly recognise a political formula as acceptable in providing an active, permanent, and guaranteed role in public life for the minority community, those who want an end to tension (and this may include a substantial part of the IRA itself) will be able to put pressure on the terrorists to call off the campaign. If such a formula included satisfactory reassurances regarding the status of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom, an increasing element of the Protestants (including a number of influential people in the RUC and the Civil Service) might be prepared to accept that there cannot be simply a return to the previous state of affairs. However, the period of time during which both these trends might be propitious for a political initiative could be short – if the level of violence is seen to drop dramatically there must be a risk that Protestant opinion will soon harden again. ”


1 G45A.285.8

8.189 Arthur Hockaday suggested to Lord Carrington that he might wish to urge his colleagues to consider how they might best exploit “any fleeting but uniquely favourable opportunity of this kind ”.1 To this end, he set out a “range of possibilities for a political initiative designed to clear the way forward ”.2 Starting with “the least radical ”, these were:3

“a. The transfer to the GOC of operational control of the RUC for security operations (as in August–October 1969).

b. As at a., plus some modification of the Stormont structure in the direction of proportional representation, ‘community’ or coalition government, and blocking provisions, but no change in the powers of the Northern Ireland Parliament and Government …

c. With greater or less modification of the structure of Stormont, transfer to Westminster of responsibility for the whole apparatus of law and order comprising not only security operations but complete responsibility for the RUC, the prison services, the internment policy, and the administration of justice.

d. Direct rule. ”

1 G45A.285.8

2 G45A.285.9
3 G45A.285.9


8.190 In addition to the speaking brief, Arthur Hockaday also prepared a draft minute for Lord Carrington to consider sending to Edward Heath and other members of GEN 47. This was intended to encourage the Prime Minister to call an early meeting of the committee, as Lord Carrington was due to travel abroad on 7th January 1972.1 It included the following passage:2

“It is, I suggest, important that we should take stock soon of the progress of the Army’s operations against the IRA and of how we expect the situation to develop. There is every reason for satisfaction with the amount of pressure which the Army is now exerting on the terrorists; but it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a distinct limit to how far the terrorists can be rendered ineffective – and, in particular, can be isolated from the Catholic community as a whole, which is crucially important – by military means alone. I am not suggesting that the moment for trying fresh lines of approach has arrived now, but I believe that – at the present rate of attrition on the IRA – it may be reached quite soon: and that, when it is, we shall need to be absolutely ready to take prompt advantage of it if we are to retain the initiative. ”


1 G45A.285.2-4 2 G45A.285.4

8.191 In his written evidence to this Inquiry, Arthur Hockaday gave his recollections about this period:1

“I believe that my feeling at the time was that, whereas the CGS had usefully highlighted the potential for a political initiative, the opportunity was beginning to slip away from us with perhaps insufficient energy being committed to it. There would have been a lot of work to be done on this kind of a political initiative, and all the time we were, to an extent, trespassing on Home Office turf in the sense that they took the lead on political aspects of the situation in Northern Ireland. This submission was an attempt to give added impetus to the move towards the political initiative… ”


1 KH9.83

8.192 Subsequent meetings of GEN 47 and the discussions within Whitehall about the “window of opportunity ” for a political initiative are discussed at relevant points later in this report.1

1 Chapter 9

The resumption of marches

8.193 During early December 1971 a debate was conducted within NICRA which led to the decision to “‘return to the streets’ ” unless the United Kingdom Government acceded to a number of demands.1 Kevin Boyle, then NICRA’s press officer, told this Inquiry that the decision reflected a feeling that the rent and rates strike and other forms of civil disobedience were not having the desired effect, and something more was needed.2 NICRA’s demands were set out at a Belfast press conference in mid-December, where the organisation called for an immediate end to internment, the withdrawal of troops from “anti-Unionist ” areas, the abolition of the Special Powers Act and the introduction of laws showing that the United Kingdom Government would not stand in the way of peaceful constitutional progress towards a united Ireland. NICRA warned that a negative response would result in an escalation of the civil disobedience campaign, including the resumption in the New Year of organised protest marches, which had not taken place for many months.3

1 G42A.277.3 HQNI Intelligence Summary, 16th December 1971; KB2.23 Interview given by Kevin Boyle to John Barry of the Sunday Times, 1972.
2 KB2.12; Day 123/119-120

3 GEN5.24-25


8.194 Other activists did not wait that long and instead organised a march on Christmas Day, starting from the Falls Road–Beechmount Avenue junction in West Belfast. The intention was to walk along the M1 motorway to the Long Kesh Internment Camp, but the procession was halted by security barriers placed across the road after about four miles. Following a sit-down protest, the marchers, who included Bernadette Devlin and at least one other MP, retraced their steps without serious incident.1

1 AM77.45 Extract from McCann, War in an Irish Town; G44C.282.11 HQNI Intelligence Summary, 23rd December 1971; G45AA.285.1.2-3 HQNI Intelligence Summary, 30th December 1971; G47.295, G47.290 Minutes of meeting of the JSC, 6th January 1972; G47A.298.8 Special Branch Assessment for the period 16th December 1971 to 4th January 1972.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 1

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Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry
- Volume I - Chapter 9





The weeks before Bloody Sunday
Chapter 9: The weeks before Bloody Sunday

Contents

Paragraph

The gravity of civil disorder in Londonderry by the end of 1971 and in early 1972 9.1

The Army in Northern Ireland in January 1972 9.39

The role of the Royal Ulster Constabulary 9.64

The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association 9.65

Events during January 1972 9.87

The first Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association marches of 1972 9.88

Changes at the Ministry of Defence and United Kingdom Cabinet Secretariat 9.91

Meeting of the Official Committee on Northern Ireland on 5th January 1972 9.92

The Army paper “Measures to Control Marches” 9.93

Meeting of the Joint Security Committee on 6th January 1972 9.94

Meeting of the Northern Ireland Policy Group 9.98

Major General Ford’s meeting with members of the Strand Traders’
Association on 7th January 1972 9.101

Major General Ford’s memorandum 9.103

The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association’s plan for a march on
16th January 1972 9.115

The Army’s plans for dealing with a march on 16th January 1972 9.124

Meeting of the Director of Operations Intelligence Committee
(Northern Ireland) on 10th January 1972 9.140

Meeting of the GEN 47 Committee on 11th January 1972 9.145

Meeting of the Stormont Cabinet on 11th January 1972 9.151

Meeting of the Joint Security Committee on 13th January 1972 9.152

Information available to the security forces about the proposed 16th January
march and the change of date 9.159

The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association’s plans for the march 9.175

Assessment in mid-January 1972 by the security forces of the risks posed
by the march 9.176

Meeting of the Stormont Cabinet on 18th January 1972 9.182

The Home Secretary’s memorandum 9.184

The Policy Instruction relating to marches 9.188

Meeting of the GEN 47 Committee on 20th January 1972 9.192

The Joint Intelligence Committee meeting on 20th January 1972 9.193

Meeting of the Joint Security Committee on 20th January 1972 9.194

The march to Magilligan Strand 9.202

The civil rights march in Armagh on 22nd January 1972 9.231

Marches on 23rd January 1972 9.232

Ministry of Defence Current Situation Reports 9.233

Brussels meeting between Edward Heath and Jack Lynch on
23rd January 1972 9.235

Visit of the Chief of the Defence Staff on 24th January 1972 9.237

Security forces’ preparations for the march in Londonderry 9.240

Our assessment of the wisdom of Chief Superintendent Lagan’s view 9.262

The Army Warning Orders 9.265

Information obtained by the security forces about the proposed march 9.269

Information obtained from Observer B 9.275

Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association’s statements to the press on
25th January 1972 9.279

The Guardian newspaper article 9.280

The meeting with Jack Lynch on 25th January 1972 9.285

Major General Ford’s telephone conversation with Brigadier MacLellan on
25th January 1972 9.286

Major General Ford’s role 9.297

The differing approaches to dealing with the march 9.313

Meeting at the Ministry of Defence on 26th January 1972 and Anthony Stephens’ submission 9.329

8th Infantry Brigade’s outline plan for 30th January 1972 9.335

The meeting of the Director of Operations Committee 9.339

The meeting between Major General Ford and Brigadier MacLellan on
26th January 1972 9.346

Information received from Observer C on 26th January 1972 9.365

The signal sent by David on 27th January 1972 9.378

Other references to intelligence 9.394

The Brigade Operation Order 9.414

The expectation of 8th Infantry Brigade of paramilitary violence and
hooligan activity 9.417

Did the terms of the Operation Order make an arrest operation inevitable? 9.425

Location and nature of the proposed arrest operation 9.427

Distribution of the Operation Order 9.439

The Photographic Coverage Order 9.443

The RUC Operation Order 9.450

The threat of loyalist action 9.457

The meeting of the GEN 47 Committee on 27th January 1972 9.462

The meeting of the Joint Security Committee on 27th January 1972 9.488

The meeting between Edward Heath and Brian Faulkner on 27th January 1972 9.499

Colonel Dalzell-Payne’s paper on marches 9.503

The deaths of Sergeant Gilgunn and Constable Montgomery 9.516

Other matters relating to 27th January 1972 9.517

The question of assurances given by paramilitaries that the march would
be peaceful 9.519

Lieutenant Colonel Wilford’s reconnaissance on 28th January 1972 9.543

The co-ordinating conference 9.561

The need for separation of marchers and rioters 9.601

Consideration of separation by Brigadier MacLellan 9.612

The adequacy of the arrangements for the monitoring of separation 9.617

Other aspects of the co-ordinating conference 9.621

Lieutenant Colonel Wilford’s interview with Peter Taylor 9.638

The aftermath of the co-ordinating conference 9.645

Receipt of further intelligence on 28th January 1972 9.659

The Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary statement 9.662

Battalion Orders Groups 9.663

1 PARA’s Battalion Orders Group 9.671

The use of vehicles 9.691

The details contained in Lieutenant Colonel Wilford’s orders 9.698

Company Orders Groups 9.700

Platoon Orders Groups 9.709

The allegations of Private 027 9.716

The draft chapter provided by Colin Wallace 9.726

Publicity for the march 9.730

Cancellation of the Democratic Unionist rally 9.734

The Dungannon to Coalisland march 9.747

The night of 29th/30th January 1972 9.749

The issue of ammunition 9.752

The use of the helicopter 9.755

General considerations 9.758

Political debate 9.759

The Army 9.763

A “plan within a plan” 9.764

The Ford memorandum 9.769

General perceptions 9.772

The gravity of civil disorder in Londonderry by the end of 1971 and in early 1972

9.1 The plans made by the Army and by the RUC to deal with the march on 30th January 1972, as well as the acts and decisions of members of the security forces on that day, must be considered in the context of the security situation at that time.

9.2 The Inquiry has had access to Army Intelligence Summaries (IntSums), the minutes of meetings of the Director of Operations Intelligence Committee (Northern Ireland), the assessments compiled by RUC Special Branch and other memoranda compiled by members of the security forces which, taken together, provide a comprehensive picture of the security situation in early 1972, as it was seen from the point of view of the security forces.

9.3 Every week the staff officer at 8th Infantry Brigade responsible for Intelligence and Security, a captain to whom we allocated the Inquiry cipher Captain INQ 1803, compiled an Intelligence Summary (IntSum), which provided brief details of the paramilitary and criminal activity, protests, marches and other events of interest to the security forces that had occurred in the 8th Infantry Brigade area during the preceding week. The Inquiry has seen the IntSums relating to the weeks leading up to 30th January 1972.

9.4 IntSums were also compiled weekly at Headquarters Northern Ireland (HQNI) by Major INQ 2555. These IntSums covered events throughout Northern Ireland and so inevitably recorded incidents in Londonderry in somewhat less depth than did the IntSums compiled at 8th Infantry Brigade.

9.5 The following extracts from IntSums produced for HQNI in December 1971 set out details of the situation in Londonderry during that month:
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HQNI IntSum 48/71, 2nd December 1971:1

“4. In Londonderry there has been an escalation of IRA activity with 13 well executed bomb attacks on shops, offices, a library and a telephone exchange. There have also been a number of shooting incidents but these have caused no casualties and two gunmen are believed to have been shot by the Army. On three days there have been minor disorders caused by young hooligans.”


1 G36AA.247.1

HQNI IntSum 49/71, 9th December 1971:1

“3. In Londonderry there has been an increase in shooting incidents and the reaction to search operations has become more intense, especially in the Creggan, where a vicious and well prepared crowd violently opposed the action of the security forces. On 6 Dec 71 five gunmen were seen among a crowd of 200 who resisted a security force search operation. On the same day three gunmen and a petrol bomber were shot, and five carbines and a rifle were recovered from one house. On 5 Dec 71 a soldier was seriously injured by a nail bomb during rioting in the Rossville Street area. The home of the Lord Lieutenant of Londonderry was badly damaged by a bomb on 3 Dec 71. Hooligans continue to play their part in Londonderry and are active almost every day.”


1 G37A.252.1

HQNI IntSum 50/71, 16th December 1971:1

“5. In Londonderry the terrorist activity has been mainly reaction to search and arrest operations in Republican areas. The shootings have resulted in no Army casualties but 11 gunmen are believed to have been hit by return fire. There has been only one bomb attack, and in this the device did not explode, but people living in the Bogside and Creggan areas have been warned to keep out of the City centre from 18 Dec 71. This date, the traditional Protestant ‘Lundy Day’, is expected to see a renewal of explosive attacks in the City.”


1 G42A.277.1-2

HQNI IntSum 51/71, 23rd December 1971:1

“3. In Londonderry shootings have again been a daily occurrence. No military casualties have been incurred but a woman bystander received serious wounds from terrorist fire on Sat 18 Dec 71, and one gunman is believed to have been hit on the same day. The City had a bomb free week until Tue 21 Dec 71 when six attacks were made in the City causing damage and starting a fire. There were two bomb attacks on the following day. The traditional Lundy Day celebrations were held in a non-controversial area of the City on Sat 18 Dec 71 and passed off uneventfully: only 200 people attended the burning of Lundy’s effigy.”


1 G44C.282.10

HQNI IntSum 52/71, 30th December 1971:1

“3. In Londonderry a search operation on 28 Dec 71 produced violent reaction and there have been two days of shooting and rioting after a fairly quiet start to the week. Five arrests were made on 28 Dec 71 and some nail bombs were found. On 29 Dec 71 a soldier of 22 Lt AD Regt RA was killed by a sniper while on patrol in the City.”


1 G45AA.285.1.1

9.6 The soldier killed was Gunner Ham of 22nd Light Air Defence Regiment, Royal Artillery (22 Lt AD Regt), who was mortally wounded by sniper fire from the roof of a building in Bishop Street while patrolling waste ground near the Foyle Road.1

1 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, p135.

9.7 Despite the optimism of the Chief of the General Staff (CGS) and the Army about the security situation across the Province, December 1971 saw 39 deaths in Northern Ireland linked to the Troubles. Fifteen of these occurred in the bombing of McGurk’s Bar in North Belfast, the biggest single loss of life in the modern Troubles until the Omagh bombing of 1998. The security forces initially ascribed the explosion to the premature detonation of an IRA device, but it later became clear that the bombing had been deliberately carried out by loyalist paramilitaries. Seven other civilians were killed during or shortly after other bombing incidents in Belfast, including four people, two of them infants, who died when a device was detonated without warning in a furniture showroom on the Shankill Road. It is widely believed that the attack was carried out by paramilitary republicans in response to the McGurk bombing. Two further civilians were shot dead by British servicemen in disputed circumstances, and another was killed by republican paramilitaries who had opened fire on Army vehicles. A further civilian, shot on 27th November 1971 when republican paramilitaries fired on a police patrol, died on 1st December 1971. Three members of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), and one former member, were shot dead apparently by paramilitary republicans, as were two Army soldiers in addition to Gunner Ham.

9.8 Five Provisional IRA volunteers were killed during the month: one was shot by the Army, the others were killed in apparent accidents, including three men who died when a bomb exploded prematurely as they drove through Magherafelt, County Londonderry. A unionist senator was killed by the Official IRA in what was described as the first political assassination in Northern Ireland since 1922. Most of these deaths occurred in Belfast, but five took place in Tyrone, and four in the city or county of Londonderry. Another man, described in Lost Lives1 as a veteran IRA man, died as he mixed explosives in Dublin.

1 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, p135.

9.9 The escalation of violence since the introduction of internment was striking. As Professor Paul Arthur (one of the historical experts engaged by the Inquiry) pointed out, in the six months preceding August 1971 there were 288 explosions; in the succeeding six months this increased three-fold. In the same two periods, shooting incidents multiplied six-fold, security forces deaths four-fold and civilian deaths eight-fold respectively.1According to the records in Lost Lives there were 32 deaths related to the Troubles in the period between 1st January and 8th August 1971. Between 9th August and 31st December 1971 there were 148.

1 E6.0045

9.10 Reference has been made earlier in this report1 to the paper entitled “Future Military Policy for Londonderry: an Appreciation of the Situation by CLF”, written by General Ford on 14th December 1971, in which he summarised the security situation at that time.2
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1 Paragraphs 8.142–160 2G41.263-273

9.11 There was an intelligence assessment for the period from 21st December 1971 to 3rd January 1972, which was submitted to the Director of Operations Intelligence Committee (Northern Ireland) and considered at the meeting of that committee on 3rd January 1972. This committee is described in more detail below. The assessment included the following paragraph:1

“Londonderry. The city was very quiet in the week preceding Christmas, apart from a series of five explosions within a 10-minute period on 21 December: three garages were among the targets, but there were no casualties. Security force search and

arrest operations since the holiday have met mixed reactions. On the morning of 28 December troops were harassed and stoned by crowds during a search in the Bogside, and came under fire on 11 occasions during the day: shooting continued on 29 December and a soldier on foot patrol was killed by sniper fire. A search operation, also in the Bogside, on 30 December met with little reaction, although there was rioting in the district, and also on the Brandywell Estate later in the day. On 30/31 December armed and masked men raided the offices of the Northern Ireland Housing Authority, and the local Gas Board, and took files and record cards that were later burnt in the Creggan Estate. Two shops were damaged in explosions on 31 December, and during the weekend 1/2 January there were a number of nail bomb attacks on security forces.”


1 G45B.285.1.8

9.12 A schedule of incidents for the fortnight ending 5th January 1972 was presented to the Joint Intelligence Committee on 6th January 1972. The schedule recorded that in Londonderry in that fortnight there had been eight incidents in which shots were fired by paramilitaries, in one of which a soldier had been killed, 14 incidents involving nail bombs and eight incidents involving other types of bomb or explosions.1

1 G47A.298.10

9.13 On 10th January 1972 a further meeting was held at HQNI of the Director of Operations Intelligence Committee (Northern Ireland). An intelligence assessment for the week ending 10th January was submitted to it. The assessment included the following paragraphs:1

“7. Londonderry. Although the city has had a quiet week the general hardening of the situation there has continued with a continued gradual encroachment of violence from the Bogside into the Waterloo Place/Strand Road area. Both factions of the IRA claimed responsibility for an incident on 5 January in which a soldier was injured by automatic fire, and on 6 January shortly after shots were fired at an armed vigilante, a 14-year-old youth was admitted to hospital suffering from gunshot wounds in the foot. In shooting incidents at the weekend one gunman was seen to fall. On several occasions in the week security forces have been stoned and bottled by small groups of youths, and on 9 January a disused house and a paint store were set on fire by a mob of youths.



14. The Brady [ie Provisional] IRA in Londonderry … have begun a campaign, aimed at destroying the business centre of the city. There have recently been a small number of explosions in shops and other business premises in the Waterloo Place/Strand Road area which may form part of this campaign…”


1 G50A.309.4-6

9.14 8th Infantry Brigade’s IntSum 99,1 which covered the period from 5th to 11th January 1972, recorded that there had been in that time 24 confirmed shooting incidents and 17 unconfirmed shooting incidents in the Brigade area. Four arson attacks had been committed; nail bombs and bomb-making equipment had been found at an address in the Creggan. Weekend rioting was reported; the crowd had reached 120 and the rioting had been accompanied by nail bombing and a series of shooting incidents.

1 G51.310

9.15 Under “Outlook” the IntSum recorded:1

“17. The IRA will continue to strengthen their hold on the Bogside and Creggan, particularly the latter. Security Forces operations in these areas will continue to produce violent reaction, but otherwise terrorist activity is not likely to show any significant change in tactics nor escalation during the coming week. The IRA, the Official group more so than the Provisionals, are likely to continue to think up now [sic] methods of creating good publicity by relatively easy attacks against authority.

18. … Elsewhere in the counties the civil resistance campaign can be expected to be reflected in a series of protest meetings. Similar meetings, possibly accompanied by attempts to defy the ban on marches, are likely in the City.”


1 G51.314

9.16 The Director of Operations Intelligence Committee (Northern Ireland) met again on 17th January 1972. The committee considered an intelligence assessment covering the period from 11th to 17th January. The assessment recorded:1

“8. Londonderry. Six gunmen have been killed or wounded by security forces during the week. In one incident on 12 January shots were fired at a helicopter flying over the city cemetery. Five gunmen carrying Thompson SMGs [sub-machine guns] were seen and engaged by troops on the ground, and four of them were hit: two bodies were dragged away before security forces could follow up. Both factions of the IRA subsequently claimed to have acted jointly in this incident, and denied suffering any

casualties. In the only explosive attack of the week a car showroom in the city centre was demolished. Outbreaks of street unrest have occurred in the usual pattern during the week, and at the weekend a crowd of about 200 that stoned and bottled security forces, was dispersed with the use of CS gas and baton rounds. On 16 January security forces came under fire on eight occasions in the Bogside.”


1 G60B.367.6

9.17 The HQNI IntSum for the week ending 19th January 1972 (3/72) recorded:1

“In Londonderry the traditional hooliganism and rioting have continued and nail and blast bombs have been used by the rioters. Shooting incidents have occurred daily: there have been no military casualties but five gunmen are believed to have been hit. Four bomb attacks have been made, on a transformer and three commercial premises, but there have been no notable terrorist successes. The Goulding faction have tried to make some capital out of their capture of a soldier on leave in the city: the Brady group described his subsequent release, unharmed, as ‘diabolical!’ In five of the nail bomb incidents of the week a grenade launcher of some sort has been used by the rioters – ranges of from 75 to 200 metres have been achieved but three out of the five projectiles exploded harmlessly in mid trajectory.”


1 G67.412

9.18 On 19th January 1972 8th Infantry Brigade’s IntSum 100,1 which dealt with events in the Brigade area from 12th to 18th January, was distributed. It recorded that there had been 28 confirmed and 16 unconfirmed shooting incidents in this period. The information within the IntSum was more detailed than that which appears in the Director of Operations Intelligence Committee’s assessment for the same period. The IntSum contained additional information about the incident on 12th January, reported in the assessment, in which a helicopter came under fire. A gunman was spotted, a military patrol deployed and a gun battle ensued in which the security forces fired 49 rounds and paramilitaries approximately 100. It was recorded that the Army believed that four gunmen were hit and a fifth was shot later the same day. According to the summary, press reports suggested that both the Provisional and the Official IRA were involved in the battle. It was also recorded that the Army believed that up to nine gunmen had been shot by soldiers during the week, five of them on 12th January. None of the civilian casualties was confirmed. There had been two explosions (one destroying premises in the Strand Road) and three arson attacks. Six explosive devices had been fired by some sort of launcher in five separate incidents. Under the heading “Hooliganism/Street disorders” the following appeared:

“During the week, the familiar pattern of rioting continued, mainly along the William Street line, and again the rioting was accompanied by nail bombings and occasionally by shooting incidents…”


1 G61.369

9.19 Under “Outlook” it was recorded that:1

“The basic threat of terrorist activity remains unchanged. However, the longer the period since a noteable terrorist success, such as the shooting of a soldier or policeman, the more danger there is of such an event occurring.”


1 G61.372

9.20 The Special Branch assessment for the period ending 19th January 1972 recorded:1

“Rioting and hooliganism has been a week-end feature in Londonderry where community feeling continues to run high against the Army. Throughout the period the terrorist elements and particularly the gunmen, have been active, shooting at the Army on several occasions. This activity is believed to have been sponsored jointly by both I.R.A. groups in the city. The apparent strategic policy of the I.R.A. in Londonderry is to continue alternating destruction by explosives and arson in a creeping infringement in towards the City Centre. Buildings previously severely damaged are set on fire, so spreading the area of destruction, buildings vacated as a result of these fires are later attacked with explosives.”
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1 G64.383

9.21 The Schedule of Incidents for the week ending 19th January 1972, which accompanied the Special Branch assessment, included reports relating to Londonderry of 11 incidents involving civilian gunmen, six arson attacks (including ones in which bombs or petrol bombs were used) and seven instances in which nail bombs were thrown.1

1 G65.391

9.22 The Joint Security Committee (JSC) met on 20th January 1972 at Stormont Castle. The General Officer Commanding (GOC) Northern Ireland attended that meeting. The committee considered the Special Branch assessment and noted:1

“Hooligan activity in Londonderry was a continuing worry. The GOC said the Army were dealing with the problem as best they could employing a variety of tactics within the constraints of the law. Their operations in the city against the IRA had been very successful of late – 50 gunmen killed or injured during the last 2½ months – and they would aim to maintain this rate of attrition.”


1 G63.377

9.23 On 25th January, 8th Infantry Brigade IntSum 1011 recorded 23 confirmed and four unconfirmed shooting incidents in Londonderry in the period between 19th and 25th January, with automatic weapons being used on eight targets during the period, and 35 blast-type bombs. The following paragraph also appeared in IntSum 101:2

“Hooliganism/Street Disorder. The familiar pattern of street disorders continued during the week, reaching a peak on Saturday afternoon. In the William St area on Saturday afternoon alone, there were eleven incidents in which crowds of about 40 hardcore hooligans had to be dispersed after rioting in the area. These youths were also connected with a number of shooting and gelignite bomb incidents which took place in the same area. Apart from William Street, there was also trouble in the Brandywell area and, on Sunday, an attack was made on the GPO, Abercorn Road.”


1 G72.445 2 G72.446

9.24 A further HQNI IntSum (4/72) was issued on 27th January 1972. It was stated to cover events in the week ending 26th January but in fact also dealt with events on the following day. The IntSum recorded:1

“In Londonderry hooligan activity has continued and nail bombs have been used on most days. Shooting incidents have continued: two policemen were killed and a third injured on 27 Jan 72 when a car containing five officers was fired on by a gunman with an automatic weapon. One gunman is believed to have been hit in an exchange of fire on 22 Jan 72. There have been three bomb attacks during the week on a bar, an office and a BBC television mast.”


1 G80.488

9.25 The police officers who died were Sergeant Peter Gilgunn and Constable David Montgomery, the first a Catholic, the second a Protestant. They were the first police officers to be killed in Londonderry during the Troubles.1 We make further reference below to the deaths of these officers.

1 McKittrick, Kelters, Feeney and Thornton, Lost Lives, p143.

9.26 On 28th January 1972 the Officer Commanding the Official IRA in Londonderry was arrested. He was still in custody on 30th January.1 (He gave evidence to this Inquiry and was given the cipher OIRA 9.2)

1 G112.701 2 AOIRA9.1

9.27 A Ministry of Defence (MoD) Situation Report, covering the period from 0700 hours on 28th January to 0700 hours on 31st January 1972, recorded that there had been 13 shooting incidents in Londonderry between 0700 hours on 28th January and 0700 hours on 30th January. In addition, the report recorded that in the 24 hours before 0700 hours on 30th January:1

“There was an outbreak of rioting in William Street and after a nail bomber had been wounded a crowd of 100 attacked Brandywell Tactical Location. 13 gelignite bombs were thrown.”


1 G99.595

9.28 The Historical Report of 22 Lt AD Regt provides the following account of incidents on 29th January 1971, the day before the civil rights march:1

“29 Jan

The Brandywell Post came under fire several times in the early hours of the morning. Fire was returned at flashes of shots. Shots were also fired at OP Charlie. There was the normal pattern of activity in William Street in the afternoon but 2 rounds were fired at a man seen throwing a bomb. Both shots were claimed to have hit and a man was seen being carried into a car at the back of the Old Tyre Factory. In the late afternoon some groups of hooligans transferred their operations to the Hamilton Street area and a Transformer House was broken into and damaged. The Brandywell Post was attacked by a crowd of over 100. Blast bombs were thrown and several shots were fired. A number of strikes on the buildings in the Post were noted. 15 Bty beat off the rioters and fired several rounds at gunmen and bombers when they could be identified as such.”


1 G133.898

9.29 On the afternoon of Saturday 29th January 1972 two civilians, 33-year-old Peter McLaughlin and 16-year-old Peter Robson, were shot and wounded by soldiers. Both of these civilians provided written statements to this Inquiry. Peter Robson told us1 that he had seen a man just off William Street who was about to throw a nail bomb. He walked away but shortly afterwards heard a shot and saw that a man whom he knew, Peter McLaughlin, had been shot. As he tried to assist Peter McLaughlin, he was himself shot. Peter Robson said that he later sued the Army and that his claim was settled. Peter McLaughlin told us that he was shot as he walked across a waste ground in William Street (known to this Inquiry as the “laundry waste ground”). He told us that he later obtained an apology from a newspaper that had alleged him to be a bomber.2
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1 AR37.1 2AM351

9.30 8th Infantry Brigade’s IntSum 102, which was compiled after the march on 30th January and which covered the period from 26th January to 1st February 1972, contained the observation:1

“Before the march shooting had continued at a higher rate than recently…”


1 G108.653

9.31 The author of this IntSum, Captain INQ 1803, then referred to the deaths of the two police officers on 27th January. In a later passage in the same IntSum, Captain INQ 1803 wrote:1

“In the days before the march, shooting and nailbombing had continued at a high rate (61 shooting incidents and 52 nailbombs in the previous two weeks).”


1 G108.655

9.32 HQNI IntSum 5/72 for the period from 27th January to 2nd February 1972 included the following paragraph:1

“In Londonderry prior to 30 Jan 72 there was an increase in shooting incidents: on 27 Jan 72 two RUC officers were killed and one wounded in the city … and a soldier was wounded on the same day. Gunmen and nail bombers worked behind cover provided by crowds of civilians in many of the incidents. The city had a week free of bomb attacks and the OC of the Goulding IRA unit was arrested.”


1 G110.675

9.33 In a draft statement made for the purposes of the Widgery Inquiry, General Ford recorded:1

“All our previous experiences [have] led me to the conclusion that the hooligan gangs in Londonderry are a special problem and their activities pose a special threat to security in Londonderry. They are contained, but not dispersed without serious risk to our troops, when indulging in their routine attacks in the William Street area. These attacks constitute daily breaches of law and order in the face of the Security Forces, during which the lives of the soldiers are at risk from attendant snipers and nail bombers, but on the whole it is not necessary to open fire except at identified bombers or snipers. On the other hand, when operating in greater numbers in the Bogside and Creggan or in large scale retaliatory rioting on the fringes in conjunction with other sections of the community, the attacking mob endangers the lives of the soldiers by virtue of their aggressive tactics allied to overwhelming numbers.”


1 B1143

9.34 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Brigadier MacLellan provided statistics to illustrate the level of violence in the city between 1st August 1971 and 9th February 1972. According to the Brigadier’s figures, between those two dates 2,656 hostile shots had been fired at the security forces, and 840 shots returned, 456 nail bombs had been thrown and there had been 225 explosions which had destroyed business premises. Brigadier MacLellan, again using figures with which he had been provided, told the Widgery Inquiry that in the fortnight that preceded 30th January 1972, there had been 80 confirmed shooting incidents in which 319 rounds were fired at soldiers. A total of 84 nail bombs had been thrown. In the same period, two members of the security forces (the RUC officers Sergeant Gilgunn and Constable Montgomery) were killed and two were wounded.1

1 WT11.3

9.35 Slightly different figures appeared in 8th Infantry Brigade’s IntSum 102 dated 2nd February 1972. This recorded that there had been 61 shooting incidents and 52 nail bombs thrown in the 8th Infantry Brigade area in the fortnight to 1st February 1972.1

1 G108.653, 655

9.36 The Londonderry Development Commission stated on 29th February 1972 that between 1st August 1971 and 29th February 1972 it had received 2,200 claims in respect of malicious damage to property and that the value of that damage was estimated to exceed £6 million.1

1 G125A.836.1

9.37 Whether or not the statistics provided by Brigadier MacLellan were wholly accurate, the information in the IntSums and the other documents to which we have referred discloses a serious security situation, with bombing and shooting incidents coupled with daily rioting and arson attacks on the fabric of the city. Soldiers had reasonable grounds for believing that they could be the subject of lethal attack at any time and accordingly had to take the greatest possible precautions to avoid making themselves into targets. Londonderry at this time was a very dangerous place for the security forces to carry out their work.

9.38 Although there can be no doubt that there was considerable violence in Londonderry both after internment and in the weeks leading up to Bloody Sunday, it is harder to discern whether the trend was increasing, decreasing or stable in the latter period. The 8th Infantry Brigade IntSum for 5th to 11th January 1972 recorded that there was “little significant terrorist activity”,1while that of 19th to 25th January began with the comment that “Throughout the Brigade area terrorist activity has remained at a level similar to recent weeks”.2However, in the last week before the march on 30th January, the week in which two members of the security forces were killed and two injured, several intelligence documents referred to a marked increase in the number of shooting incidents and attacks on members of the Army and RUC.3

1 G51.310 2 G108.653; G110.673; G112.697

2 G72.445

The Army in Northern Ireland in January 1972

9.39 It is convenient at this stage to describe in more detail the roles of the General Officer Commanding (GOC) and Commander Land Forces (CLF) and also to provide an outline of the Army structure in Northern Ireland in January 1972. To some degree the following paragraphs duplicate information we have provided earlier in this report, but we provide it again here for the convenience of the reader.

9.40 The senior military officer in Northern Ireland in January 1972 was the GOC and Director of Operations, General Sir Harry Tuzo. General Tuzo’s deputy, the CLF, was General Robert Ford, who had held the post since 29th July 1971.
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9.41 The GOC’s responsibilities at the relevant time are set out in a Directive that came into effect on 4th February 1971.1 He had overall responsibility for security operations and was required to exercise operational control over all land, naval and air forces in Northern Ireland. He was also required to “co-ordinate the tasking of the Royal Ulster Constabulary for security operations with other security forces”.2

1 G1AAB.19.1.1.8 2G1AAB.19.1.1.8

9.42 The Directive identified those to whom the GOC was to report. It provided:1

“4. You are responsible to the Chief of the Defence Staff as Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, but will work in the closest co-operation with the Northern Ireland Government. You will be a member of the Northern Ireland Government Joint Security Committee. In the event of any disagreement with the Northern Ireland Government you are at once to refer the matter to the Ministry of Defence.

5. You are to keep the Chief of the General Staff, on behalf of the Chief of the Defence Staff, informed on all major issues. You will also, unless urgent operational considerations make this impossible, obtain guidance from the Ministry of Defence on any matters which, in your opinion or that of Her Majesty’s Government’s representatives in Northern Ireland, have political implications of concern to HMG or which concern any major redeployment of your forces.”


1 G1AAB.19.1.1.8-9

9.43 In January 1972 the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) was Admiral Sir Peter Hill-Norton and the Chief of the General Staff was General Sir Michael Carver. Both were based in London.

9.44 General Ford was a member of the 4th and 7th Dragoon Guards Regiment. Immediately before his appointment as CLF, he had been the Principal Staff Officer to the Chief of the Defence Staff at the MoD in London. He had expected to go from the MoD to take command of an armoured division of the British Army of the Rhine. However, it was decided in 1970 that Major General Anthony Farrar-Hockley, then CLF in Northern Ireland, lacked experience of command in West Germany and so should take up a posting there, being replaced in Northern Ireland by the then Brigadier Ford, who on 2nd August 1971 was granted the substantive rank of Major General. General Ford told this Inquiry that his appointment as CLF did not indicate, as far as he was aware, any change of approach to the task of the CLF in Northern Ireland but arose because of the perceived need for General Farrar-Hockley to hold a command in Germany.1 It was suggested to us that the appointment of General Ford might have been part of a policy to deal with civil unrest in a more aggressive manner,2 but we reject that suggestion and we accept General Ford’s evidence about the circumstances of his appointment.

1 B1208.88-92; Day 253/2 2 Day 50/20

9.45 Although General Tuzo was a member of the JSC (described earlier in this report1), General Ford was not. However, General Tuzo and General Ford held private discussions on at least three days a week. According to General Ford, General Tuzo on these occasions informed him of everything that was going on above General Tuzo’s level, reporting not only what was happening in Stormont but also what General Tuzo had heard on his private line from General Carver about events in Whitehall and what he had heard from the Chief Constable of the RUC. General Ford had no contact of his own with Stormont, Westminster or the Chief Constable. At these meetings, General Ford told General Tuzo of what was being done or planned operationally and, if necessary, sought his agreement.2

1 Paragraphs 8.16–18 2Day 253/13

9.46 General Tuzo and General Ford were based at HQNI in Lisburn, outside Belfast. Reference will be made in this report to a number of other officers also based at HQNI. A diagram showing the ranks and roles of some of these officers appears below.

Figure 9.1: Headquarters Northern Ireland staff on 30th January 1972



9.47 There were three Army brigades in Northern Ireland, and a Province Reserve. The military structure in Northern Ireland at the time is summarised in the diagram below.

Figure 9.2: Army command in Northern Ireland in January 1972



9.48 The Province Reserve, 1st Battalion, The King’s Own Royal Border Regiment (1 KOB) arrived in Northern Ireland on or about 13th January 1972.1

1 C1253.5

9.49 One of the battalions under the command of Brigadier Frank Kitson in Belfast was 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (1 PARA). This battalion had been in Northern Ireland since September 1970.1 It was based at Palace Barracks, Holywood, just outside Belfast, and was the reserve force of 39th Infantry Brigade. The commanding officer of 1 PARA in January 1972 was Lieutenant Colonel Derek Wilford.

1 WT11.7

9.50 Colonel Wilford had gained experience of internal security operations while serving with the Royal Leicestershire Regiment in Malaya and with the Lincolnshire Regiment in Aden. From 1959 to 1963 he served with the SAS. He joined the 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment as a Company Commander in 1969 and went to Belfast on a four-month tour with that battalion in 1970. Thereafter he taught infantry tactics, including those relating to internal security, at the School of Infantry in Warminster. On 21st July 1971 he took command of 1 PARA, which was at that time on a two-year tour of Northern Ireland.1
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9.51 The officer in command of 8th Infantry Brigade in Londonderry was Brigadier Patrick MacLellan, who had taken up his command on 27th October 1971. 8th Infantry Brigade Headquarters was located within Ebrington Barracks on the east side of the River Foyle. We make reference in this report to various officers who were under Brigadier MacLellan’s command. The rank and role of relevant officers at 8th Infantry Brigade Headquarters are summarised in the diagram below.

Figure 9.3: Officers at 8th Infantry Brigade Headquarters



9.52 Lieutenant Colonel Michael Steele was a Royal Artillery officer.1 In July 1970, when he held the rank of Major, he was appointed to the post of Brigade Major of 8th Infantry Brigade.2 He became a Lieutenant Colonel on 1st January 19723 but remained as Brigade Major, awaiting a posting appropriate to his new rank.4 As Brigade Major, he was the senior staff officer of the Brigade and was responsible for all its operational work. His duties included drafting brigade orders and running the brigade radio net during operations.5

1 B1296

2 B1315.001

3 Day 266/6
4 Day 268/141

5 Day 266/4


9.53 There were four resident battalions (or regiments) within 8th Infantry Brigade. In addition the Brigadier could call, if necessary, upon the Province Reserve. The structure of 8th Infantry Brigade is shown in the diagram below.

Figure 9.4: 8th Infantry Brigade on 30th January 1972



9.54 The duties of the Londonderry battalions or regiments at the relevant time are set out in 8th Infantry Brigade Operational Directive 4/71, which was distributed on 10th November 1971.1 The Directive refers to battalions and regiments as alternatives; this is simply because the relevant unit might be either an infantry battalion or an artillery regiment. For simplicity, we generally use “battalion” in this part of the report to refer to both types of unit.

1 G27.196 2 Day 268/143

9.55 The 8th Infantry Brigade area was divided into three parts: the Creggan, the City and the County. The County covered the same area as RUC Divisions N, O and P.

9.56 The City battalion was responsible for the Bogside, Foyleside and Waterside areas within the city boundaries. The Creggan battalion was responsible for the Creggan, North Ward and Shantallow areas and for the “enclave” between the western city boundary and the border with the Republic of Ireland.1

1 G27.208

9.57 The map below shows the boundary between the areas of responsibility of the Creggan and City battalions. The Creggan battalion was responsible for the area to the west of the blue line running from the north to the south-west. The City battalion was responsible for the area to the east of the line.1

1 Day 268/146-147



9.58 The County battalion was responsible for RUC Division N, east of the River Foyle, and excluding the Waterside, and for RUC Divisions O and P. From 21st December 1971 one battalion was responsible for RUC Division N and another for RUC Divisions O and P.1 The map below2 shows the areas covered by these police divisions.

1 G27.209 2 G20.153



9.59 The task of patrolling the Bogside and Creggan was, according to the Directive, to begin on 2nd December 1971. The task was to be undertaken by either one or both of the resident battalions.1 The Directive envisaged that the patrols would, at the outset, swamp the Bogside and Creggan with troops.2 However, although, as we have described, there were a number of operations in December 1971, none of them was intended to or did “swamp” the Bogside and Creggan with troops.

1 G27.210 2 G27.204

9.60 8th Infantry Brigade was supported by a Royal Military Police (RMP) unit, a squadron of Royal Engineers, an aviation squadron and an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit. In addition, units of the UDR were attached to 8th Infantry Brigade. These units were normally used for operations within the County area, to the east of the River Foyle.1
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9.61 On arrival under 8th Infantry Brigade’s command on 24th November 1971, 22 Lt AD Regt took over the County task from its predecessor, which left the command of 8th Infantry Brigade.

9.62 On 21st December 1971 22 Lt AD Regt moved to undertake the City task. 22 Lt AD Regt was responsible for the city at the time of Bloody Sunday. The regiment was based at Drumahoe but had its tactical headquarters (Tac HQ) in Victoria Barracks, attached to Strand Road RUC station in Londonderry.1 22 Lt AD Regt, although an artillery regiment, undertook infantry tasks in Londonderry.

1 Day 268/144

9.63 On 30th January 1972 1st Battalion, The Coldstream Guards (1 CG) was the Creggan battalion. The two resident battalions were deployed on the County task. 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment (1 R ANGLIAN), the battalion with the longest service in Londonderry, was responsible for RUC Division N. 2nd Battalion, The Royal Green Jackets (2 RGJ) was responsible for RUC Divisions O and P. According to Colonel Steele, one company of 1 R ANGLIAN was based in Strabane and another was elsewhere in the Division N area, leaving two companies available for duty on the day of the march. One company of 2 RGJ was based at Magherafelt and two were at Magilligan, leaving one available for deployment in the city of Londonderry.1

1 Day 268/150-151

The role of the Royal Ulster Constabulary

9.64 As we have discussed earlier in this report,1 in August 1969 the GOC was given full control of the deployment and tasks of the RUC for all security operations, and though in October of that year this was changed to responsibility for the co-ordination of the tasking of the RUC in relation to security operations, in effect the Army continued to play a leading role as far as security was concerned. Subject to this the RUC remained a separate force with its own organisational structure. In January 1972 the Chief Constable of the RUC was Sir Graham Shillington. Northern Ireland was divided into ten police divisions, each of which was identified by a letter. As mentioned above, Londonderry came within RUC Division N. The RUC Divisions are seen in the map reproduced above.

1 Paragraphs 8.29–34

The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association

9.65 Earlier in this report1 we gave some details of the formation of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) and its declared aims and objectives. We also noted that in his report on the riots and disturbances in 19682Lord Cameron, while he referred to infiltration of NICRA by subversive elements, found no evidence that the IRA was in any sense dominant or in a position to control or direct the policy of NICRA. He also observed that many supported this association who were neither Catholic nor interested in constitutional changes, violent or otherwise, and that these and other moderates had been able, during the period with which he was concerned, to keep NICRA on its originally designed and published course.

1 Paragraphs 7.30–32
2 Disturbances in Northern Ireland: Report of the Commission Appointed by the Governor of Northern Ireland (the Cameron Report), Belfast: HMSO, 1969 Cmnd 532.


9.66 In his report Lord Cameron made the following observations about NICRA:1

“12. It was members of this Catholic middle-class which in 1964 founded the Campaign for Social Justice in Northern Ireland, inspired in particular by resentment against what they regarded as the sectarian bias of Unionist Councils in the Dungannon area. The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association, itself modelled on the National Council for Civil Liberties and founded in 1967 has from the outset received very strong Catholic backing and support. These organisations concern themselves with immediate social reforms, such as opposition to job and housing discrimination by Unionists, support for universal adult franchise in local government elections and fairer electoral boundaries in local government. They are not concerned, as organisations, with altering the constitutional structure of Northern Ireland, and in this sense represent a quite new development among Catholic activists.

It was in the circumstances inevitable that the Civil Rights movement should be mainly (though not exclusively) supported by Catholics and also attract support from many who had been prominent in Nationalist and Republican politics. Officially, the Association campaigned only on civil rights issues, but in practice its activities tended to polarise the Northern Ireland community in traditional directions. It was bound to attract opposition from many Protestant Unionists who saw or professed to see its success as a threat to their supremacy, indeed, to their survival as a community. The movement also attracted the attention and support of certain left-wing extremists, some of whom by infiltration gained positions of influence within the movement, and their readiness to provoke and profit by violence was crucial at various stages in the disturbances, although their activities and influence were condemned and opposed by many of the movement’s leaders and supporters.”


1 Cameron Report, para 12.

9.67 Under the heading “Irish Republican Army and minor Republican organisations” Lord Cameron observed:1

“212. The I.R.A., whose campaign of violence between 1956 and 1962 had failed, subsequently adopted a marked change of tactics, although its overall strategy and objectives remained and remain profoundly the same. No secret has been made of this or of the consequent adoption of a policy which included permeation or infiltration of bodies or organisations which might operate in opposition to the current Government of Northern Ireland. Because the Civil Rights movement and its published objects were (at the time) wholly rejected by the Government it was to be expected that the I.R.A. or members of it in Northern Ireland would seek to turn that situation to their advantage. In this they were assisted by the declared policy of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association to accept support from any person who could subscribe to their objects, without regard to their political affiliations or opinions. This was in accordance with the principle on which the organisation was based – that it should be non-sectarian and non-party-political. From the very nature of things the Association could not – of course – avoid being political in a very real sense: only the most naïve could believe otherwise. Consequently it was easy for persons, identifiable as members of the I.R.A., either to join the Association itself or to take a greater or less part in its activities.”


1 Cameron Report, para 212.

9.68 Lord Cameron was describing the situation in 1968. In the context of the present Inquiry it was submitted on behalf of represented soldiers that, in respect of NICRA, by January 1972 “the involvement of members of the Official IRA, the Official Republican Movement and other proscribed Republican groups, was on an upward rather than downward curve after 1969”.1 These representatives also submitted that this was the reason why NICRA was an organisation that was sometimes referred to critically by Army, security and intelligence organisations at the time:2

“2. Central to an understanding of such criticisms is the fact that, by 30 January 1972, the Official IRA, and to an extent other Republican groups, had infiltrated NICRA. The Tribunal has before it substantial evidence to support the contention that armed republicans from the Official IRA, or those likely to have been closely associated with such paramilitary gunmen, were members of NICRA both locally in Derry and at

executive level. Other members of the executive, some of whom were no doubt genuinely opposed to military resistance, appear to have been unaware that they shared membership of the executive with paramilitaries or have denied the same.”


1 FS8.172 2 FS8.171

9.69 To our minds the expression “infiltrated” in its ordinary meaning suggests that those joining an organisation did so in order to overthrow it or at least to change or subvert its aims and objectives, while concealing that that was their purpose. Thus paramilitary groups “infiltrating” an organisation would ordinarily be understood to be intending to destroy it or at least to bend it towards the use of paramilitary force, in order to achieve their political ambitions.

9.70 It was acknowledged by the representatives in question, in our view correctly, that there was no evidence to suggest that “infiltrators” had by 1972 succeeded in any such endeavour, as shown in the following extract:1
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“We have never suggested that NICRA was a ‘front organisation for subversive groups’ which is how NICRA chooses to portray the issue of infiltration.2 The suggestion that NICRA was a ‘front organisation’ would imply that, as an organisation, its true aims could not be said to be securing civil rights, rather that NICRA had a more sinister and undisclosed agenda.

NICRA was not a ‘front organisation’ – we recognise that many members of NICRA and its executive were genuinely committed to a non-violent campaign for the furtherance of civil rights. But the concern that we have raised in our own closing submissions is that, at the other end of the spectrum, the membership of NICRA (including its executive committee) comprised some who were actively involved in, and even directing, acts of terrorism.”


1 FR8.12 2FS10.48

9.71 After the interested parties to the Inquiry had delivered their written submissions there was a short oral hearing in the course of which we invited answers to questions in respect of which we sought assistance or clarification. So far as “infiltration” was concerned, we posed the following two questions:

“IRA and NICRA

It has been said that NICRA was ‘infiltrated’ by the IRA. Even if it is right that there were members of the IRA who were also members of NICRA, the Tribunal wishes to know (1) what exactly is meant by the use of the word ‘infiltrated’ and (2) to what extent, and on what evidential basis, is it said that any such infiltration had any bearing on the events of the day?”


9.72 Counsel on behalf of represented soldiers answered the first of these questions by submitting that members of the Official IRA had infiltrated NICRA in the sense of joining this organisation and gaining places in it of real influence; and had done so secretly.1 He went on to tell us:2

“We do not say there is evidence that the purposes of NICRA had been subverted such that they were espousing violence or any party political agenda. NICRA’s statements, though politically charged, in the non-party political sense, continued to espouse non-violence and democratic means. So no, we do not say that those members of the IRA who had gained positions of influence within NICRA had managed to subvert it.

But this does not mean, and we submit it would be naive to conclude, that those involved in the Official IRA had secretly entered NICRA with wholly benign motives, or with only a genuine concern for civil rights in mind.

Had their motive been only to seek the furtherance of civil rights, they would surely not have become involved at all on the executive or indeed locally, because their presence there could be damaging to NICRA and its aims if their paramilitary connections were known, or became known.

So in summary, the answer to the Tribunal’s first set of questions on this topic, we say this: the Official IRA had secured representation by its members within NICRA, without other members of NICRA or its executive knowing that they had terrorists in their ranks.

Two, the Official IRA have not thereby succeeded in subverting the principles of NICRA – NICRA continued publicly (and, we accept, as a movement, genuinely) to espouse non-violence and democratic means.

Thirdly, the precise motives of the Official IRA in secretly gaining positions of influence within NICRA may not be clear, but such motives, we submit, are unlikely to have been benign.”


1 Day 430/61 2 Day 430/65-66

9.73 With regard to the second of the questions posed by the Tribunal, one of the counsel for represented soldiers made five points.1 These were firstly, that this infiltration justified the suspicions of NICRA in security forces and government circles; secondly, that the security forces and government were rightly concerned about NICRA’s decision to return to the tactic of large scale public marches, when they were illegal and likely to lead to rioting and violence; thirdly, that the willingness of the Official IRA to secure positions of influence within NICRA for some of its senior members “effectively by deception” told the Tribunal “much about the duplicity of the Official IRA”; fourthly, that the influence of the Official IRA in NICRA would have meant that it was privy to NICRA’s plans for the march that took place on Bloody Sunday; and fifthly, that the infiltration made “unworldly” the suggestion that the Army should have worked with NICRA on how this march was to be policed and controlled, since the Army would have known of the presence of Official IRA members within NICRA.

1 Day 430/67-71

9.74 For these reasons counsel submitted that “the fact that IRA terrorists had gained positions of influence within NICRA is relevant, and in a number of different ways, to the background issues which the Tribunal must consider”.1

1 Day 430/71

9.75 We accept that the fact that members of NICRA included members of the Official IRA (and other republican organisations) did to a degree attract the suspicions of some of those in government and the security services. There is also no doubt that both government and the security services were concerned about the resumption of large-scale marches, by reason of their illegality and the violence that was likely to follow them. However, as counsel acknowledged in answering the questions that we posed, it would be wrong to suggest that the only or even the dominant thinking in NICRA’s decision to resume marches was to assist the Official IRA’s campaign by, for example, bringing about incidents of confrontation between the civilian Catholic population and the Army in the hope of further alienating the former from the latter and thus securing support for the Official IRA.1 It might well be the case that some members of the Official IRA took the view that marches would be likely to bring about such advantages for their cause, but we have found nothing to suggest that, had they not been members, there would have been no renewed campaign of marches.

1 Day 430/68

9.76 As to the suggested evidence of duplicity, we are not persuaded that this point assists us on either the question of what the Official IRA did on Bloody Sunday, or on the weight to be given to the evidence that former members of the Official IRA gave us about their activities, which are both matters that we consider in detail in the course of this report.

9.77 We do not know whether Official IRA members used their membership of NICRA to gain knowledge of NICRA’s plans for the march that took place on Bloody Sunday. What we do know, as appears below, is that the security forces were aware of the original date planned for the march (16th January 1972), of the change to 30th January 1972, and of the likely routes for the march. For obvious reasons the planned march was widely publicised.

9.78 It appears to be suggested that the Official IRA might have gained knowledge through their members in NICRA that the march would go to the Guildhall via William Street and, using that knowledge, was able to place a sniper near that street, who on the day itself fired at soldiers who were on the other side of the street. We deal in detail with that incident later in this report,1 but suffice to say at this stage that there is no evidence to suggest that this incident occurred because the Official IRA was privy to plans for the march that were not general knowledge or which could not be gleaned from the fact that William Street was an obvious route for the march.

1 Chapter 19

9.79 We now turn to consider briefly the degree of involvement in NICRA of those who espoused the republican cause. In the course of the evidence witnesses were asked about the degree of involvement in NICRA of those in or connected with what was described as “the Official Republican Movement”. This was not a single organisation but comprised a variety of associations and groupings, including entities known as Republican Clubs,1 whose only common factor was adherence to the movement’s political policy. While members of the Official IRA could loosely be described as members of the Official Republican Movement, the converse was by no means the case, for many republicans did not support the campaign of violence.

1 At the time Republican Clubs were proscribed organisations under The Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Acts (Amending) (No 1) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1967.

9.80 Using the expression “the Official Republican Movement” in this general sense, there is no doubt that many members of NICRA and indeed of the Executive Committee at the time could accurately be described as adherents of this movement. This appears from the evidence given by, among others, Jimmy Doris, Hugh Logue, Kevin Boyle, Margo Collins and Edwina Stewart.1 Furthermore there is no doubt, as Aidan Hegarty told us, that those associated with the Official Republican Movement were encouraged to get involved.2, 3 In short, as Kevin Boyle accepted, NICRA was heavily dominated by the Official Republican Movement, but as he also observed, there was no secret about this.4
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1 Day 124/71; Day 126/6; Day 123/101; Day 124/143;
Day 124/181

2 AH59.1-3; Day 413/39
3 Aidan Hegarty in his written evidence used the word “infiltration” but in his oral evidence told us that this did not mean by subterfuge and that it was common knowledge that he was a member of the Official Republican Movement (Day 413/209-211).

4 Day 123/100


9.81 What did appear to be unknown to at least some members of NICRA was that in early 1972, among NICRA members who fell within the general description of Official Republicans were active members of the Official IRA, which was involved in the campaign of violence. Among these were Liam McMillen, the officer commanding the Official IRA in Belfast, who was a member of the NICRA Executive Committee1and Reg Tester, a member of the Command Staff of the Official IRA in Londonderry.2

1 Day 412/259 2 Day 125/180

9.82 Hugh Logue told us that there were no signs that members of the IRA were members of NICRA.1Kevin Boyle told us, and we accept, that he did not know that Liam McMillen was a senior officer of the Official IRA, though he did know that Liam McMillen was a republican.2It does not surprise us that members of NICRA who were also members of the Official IRA would not, for obvious reasons, incriminate themselves by advertising the latter fact.

1 Day 126/70 2 Day 123/103

9.83 Finally, as to the suspicions of NICRA among government and security forces, it will be seen later in this part of the report that NICRA was described in one Army report as “the active ally of the IRA”.1John Taylor who was at the time Minister of State at the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Northern Ireland Government2told us that NICRA “of course ... was used as a cover by terrorists”.3 Asked if there were any documents to support these assertions, John Taylor said that he thought there was reference in a file of papers provided to him by the Tribunal and that he would check to see why he reached his conclusions regarding there being two places on the executive for the Official IRA. Although the Inquiry wrote to John Taylor more than once to ask whether he had found anything to support his assertions, there was no reply.

1 G70.437 3 Day 197/24

2 KK3.1

9.84 As will have been noted, soldiers’ representatives did not suggest to us that the evidence established either that NICRA was allied with the IRA (Provisional or Official) in the sense of assisting, promoting or sympathising with the campaign of armed violence pursued by the latter or that it was a cover or front for paramilitary activities. Indeed, these representatives expressly disassociated their clients from any such suggestion. In our view they were right to do so.

9.85 At the same time, apart from those who believed that NICRA was allied with the IRA in the sense described above, it is understandable that some of those in government and the security forces viewed NICRA with a degree of suspicion, since they knew of the involvement of members of the Official Republican Movement and of active IRA members in that organisation and could not be sure of the nature or degree of influence that these members were having. From their point of view the activities of NICRA could be seen as part and parcel of a campaign with the ultimate aim of bringing about the end of partition.

9.86 Although some members of the Official IRA acted as stewards for the NICRA civil rights march on 30th January 1972, we have found no evidence to suggest that the involvement in NICRA of Official Republican Movement members, or indeed of members of the Official IRA, led to any abandonment or dilution of NICRA’s objective, which was to conduct a peaceful protest march against internment on that day.

Events during January 1972

9.87 We now turn to consider the course of relevant events during the first weeks of January 1972.

The first Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association marches of 1972

9.88 We have referred earlier in this report1 to the decision of NICRA to resume marches in 1972 if their demands for, among other things, the end of internment were met with a negative response. NICRA’s demands were not met and on 2nd January 1972 NICRA organised a number of marches starting at different points in the predominantly Catholic Falls Road and Andersonstown areas of West Belfast, and culminating in a rally in Falls Park. Although the various processions were stopped by the security forces from marching in the road, the participants reformed on footpaths and pavements and continued to march to Falls Park (in one case even returning to the road once the roadblock had been bypassed). As with the Christmas Day march, to which we have referred earlier in this report,2 the security forces did not make arrests, but instead identified various marchers with a view to later prosecution. Such trouble as occurred seems to have been limited to some minor missile-throwing.3

1 Paragraph 8.193

2 Paragraph 8.194
3 G47A.298.8; G63.378


9.89 The resumption of the marches led predictably to strong criticism of Brian Faulkner and the security forces from many unionists who felt that insufficient action had been taken to enforce the ban on marches. Critics, including the heads of two of the (Protestant) Loyal Orders (one of whom, James Molyneaux, would later lead the Ulster Unionist Party), called for the abolition of the “now totally discredited” ban on the grounds that it was unenforceable in nationalist areas and thus was “blatantly discriminatory” against unionists.1Even before 2nd January 1972 Dr Ian Paisley was reported as announcing that he intended to raise the issue in meetings with General Tuzo and Commander Anderson, the latter being the Senior Parliamentary Secretary at the Home Affairs Ministry.2

1 G46AA.288.1.3; G82.517-518 2 OS4.106; Day 205/141-142

9.90 The marches also led to counter-demonstrations by loyalists during the course of January.
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9.91 On 3rd January 1972 Derek Stephen succeeded Arthur Hockaday as Assistant Under Secretary (General Staff) (AUS (GS)) at the MoD, and ten days later Arthur Hockaday took up the post of Deputy Head of the Defence and Oversea Division of the Cabinet Secretariat.

Meeting of the Official Committee on Northern Ireland on 5th January 1972

9.92 On 5th January 1972, there was a meeting of the Official Committee on Northern Ireland.1 This committee was made up of senior civil servants from departments concerned with Northern Ireland. Derek Stephen was now attending as AUS (GS), but on this occasion neither Anthony Stephens (head of Defence Secretariat 10 (DS10) in the MoD) nor Arthur Hockaday was present. Kelvin White of the Foreign Office was at the meeting. The minutes recorded that:2

“The Ministry of Defence reported that in Belfast the Irish Republican Army (IRA) continued to suffer severely from the pressure of the security forces on its personnel … and arms supplies. It seemed, however, that there was a limit in the extent to which terrorism could be reduced by military means alone. In Londonderry the situation was more serious than in Belfast. The Defence Secretary had agreed that the Bogside and Creggan areas should only be entered by troops on specific information and for a minimum of routine patrolling. … If continued attrition achieved a lull in terrorist activity, the need for a political initiative would become more urgent. At that point, the assessment of the risk of a Protestant backlash – whose potential we could not measure accurately at present – would be crucial. The security forces would be in serious difficulty in fighting 2 fronts.”


1 G46.286 2G46.287-288

The Army paper “Measures to Control Marches”

9.93 On the same day the Army in Northern Ireland produced a paper entitled “Measures to Control Marches”. The identity of the author is not known. However, the paper was created for submission to the JSC and was in the following terms:1

“MEASURES TO CONTROL MARCHES (for consideration by JSC)

Extension of the Ban

1. The current ban on marching expires on 8 Feb 72 and an early decision is required on whether it should be lifted, modified or extended.

2. Although the continuance of the ban has undoubted drawbacks, including problems of enforcement, the consequences of lifting or modifying it are far more serious. Such a move, resulting in a plethora of marches, would place an intolerable burden on the security forces, involving endless security commitments, probable escalation of violence, and a diversion of effort from the main task of defeating the IRA. Enforcement problems are not eliminated by lifting the ban since some types of march would in any case need to be ruled out.

3. It is proposed therefore that the ban should be extended for a period of one year until 8 Feb 73. An early announcement should be made to this effect, thus giving the maximum notice to march organisers and the general public and at the same time demonstrating the Governments firmness on this issue. The subsequent lifting of the ban could of course be considered should the situation improve.

Modification of Existing Procedures

4. On the assumption that the extension of the ban is authorised, some of the existing enforcement procedures require strengthening and this involves departure from previous practice. Certain consequences which follow must also be recognised. These are set out below:-

a. The security forces will normally exercise the option of closing a march route entirely and will not normally permit marchers to continue on the pavements as has been done recently.

b. On the spot arrests of ringleaders, including perhaps well known citizens, and other marchers may be made; this would normally be done by the RUC under the Public Order Act, but the Army would participate if any violence were offered.

c. The route closing policy described above may result, particularly in the case of multiple converging marches, in the closing of all routes leading to the place of assembly, thus in effect cordoning it off and preventing the assembly from taking place at all.

5. Although a certain degree of discretion must be retained by the Commander on the spot, particularly where women and children are to the fore, these measures indicate a generally firmer line to be adopted by the security forces. As a consequence violence may be precipitated in an otherwise non-violent situation. For example the complete closure of a route or on-the-spot arrests may cause rioting in which case the normal anti riot measures would be required.

6. A public announcement should be made to the effect that all those marching in defiance of the ban are liable to immediate arrest and subsequent prosecution. Steps should also be taken to ensure swift prosecution of offenders, without automatic reference to the Attorney General which is the current practice.

7. It is proposed that the current RUC Force Order on this subject should be amended to include the change of emphasis in control measures and define the military powers of arrest. It should be reissued as a joint RUC/Army instruction.

Recommendations

8. The Committee is invited to agree:-

a. That the ban on marches should continue until 8 Feb 73 with the understanding that it might be lifted earlier if conditions greatly improve.

b. To accept the firmer measures proposed in this paper and acknowledge the possible consequences.

c. To make an early announcement of the continuance of the ban and the intention to adopt firmer measures including the liability of all those defying the ban to arrest and prosecution.”


1 G53.318-319

Meeting of the Joint Security Committee on 6th January 1972

9.94 On 6th January 1972 there was a meeting of the JSC.1 After receiving a report from the Chief Constable regarding the marches on 25th December 1971 and 2nd January 1972, the meeting resolved that those who had been identified as having taken part, including two Westminster MPs (Bernadette Devlin and Frank McManus), should be prosecuted as a matter of urgency for breach of the ban. This decision was taken subject to the directions of the Attorney General, and in the knowledge that any successful prosecutions would lead (as noted above) to a mandatory sentence of six months’ imprisonment for adults.2

1 G47.289-298 2G47.290

9.95 Either at this meeting, or on the margins of it, Brian Faulkner raised the issue of the possible extension of the ban on marches, which would otherwise lapse on 8th February 1972.1 He told General Tuzo (but seemingly not the committee as a whole, as it was not recorded in the minutes) that he was in favour of retaining the ban either for another year or at least until the end of 1972. This news was greeted favourably within the MoD, although it was noted that Brian Faulkner would have to persuade his Cabinet colleagues to agree. Although General Tuzo was confident that he would succeed, the Permanent Secretary commented in a memorandum to Lord Carrington that this could not be guaranteed, and if the Northern Ireland Cabinet were to refuse, “intervention from London might yet become necessary”.2

1 G47.289; G46A.288.1 2 G46A.288.1

9.96 The Permanent Secretary’s memo also recorded that the JSC agreed in principle with proposals put forward by the GOC for taking a more positive line in future to prevent unauthorised marches from taking place. The GOC appears to have informed this meeting that action was in hand, in conjunction with the RUC, to draft detailed orders for the implementation of agreed measures to deal with illegal marches, and to formulate a public statement designed to make it clear to both communities that attempts to organise illegal marches would not be tolerated.1Although the Army had already prepared the paper entitled “Measures to Control Marches” for consideration by the JSC, to which we have referred above, it seems that the paper was not tabled at this meeting, but at the next, held on 13th January.2

1 G46A.288.2 2G53.318-319

9.97 The minutes of the JSC meeting on 6th January 1972 recorded that Brian Faulkner had mentioned that the Strand Traders’ Association, a collection of Londonderry businessmen, had asked him to meet a deputation about the spread of violent activity into the William Street area of the city. Commander Anderson (the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the (Unionist) Stormont MP for Londonderry City) stressed the harm that this was doing to business interests in the area and the danger of further spread. According to the minutes, General Tuzo undertook to discuss the situation on the spot with the Strand Traders’ Association.1In the event he requested General Ford to go to Londonderry for this purpose.2

1 G47.291 2Day 253/45

Meeting of the Northern Ireland Policy Group

9.98 In London on 7th January 1972 there was a meeting of the MoD’s Northern Ireland Policy Group attended by Lord Carrington, at which those attending discussed the brief prepared for him in December 1971 by Arthur Hockaday. The view expressed at the meeting was that a “window in time” might be opening up for a political initiative, though Lord Carrington said that he was not yet wholly convinced that the time was now right for the sort of political initiative discussed in the brief.1

1 KH9.28-29

9.99 At the same meeting, the CGS explained that the policy adopted for the marches on 25th December 1971 and 2nd January 1972 had been to break up the columns of marchers systematically by the use of barriers, which had also facilitated the identification of organisers. He reported General Tuzo’s conversation with Brian Faulkner regarding the extension of the ban, and Lord Carrington, for whom Sir James Dunnett (the Permanent Secretary) had already produced the memorandum referred to above,1 expressed himself to be in favour of its continuation.2 The CGS had earlier told the meeting that there was evidence that the Official IRA (referred to as the “Goulding faction”) was concentrating on Londonderry and would become more militant there in the next few weeks.3 There are similar reports of this development in other security force documents at this time.4

1 G46A.288.1 3 KH9.27

2 KH9.30 4 G50A.309.7; G55.338

9.100 On the same day Edward Heath’s Private Secretary, Peter Gregson, wrote to Graham Angel in the Home Office in these terms:1

“The Prime Minister has noted in paragraph 7 of the Northern Ireland Current Situation Report No. 48 of 5 January that steps are to be taken to ensure that prosecutions are brought against the identified ring leaders of the recent anti-internment marches.

The Prime Minister considers it very important that this should be done, and be seen to be done as speedily as possible. He would be grateful for a report on progress.”
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1 OS4.176

Major General Ford’s meeting with members of the Strand Traders’ Association on 7th January 1972

9.101 The Strand Traders’ Association was an association of businessmen whose premises were located in or around the Strand Road in Londonderry. This was a shopping area, part of which lay close to the no-go area of the Bogside. By early January 1972, shops in this area had suffered damage and destruction from arson and bomb attacks.



9.102 The meeting between General Ford and representatives of the Strand Traders’ Association took place in Londonderry on Friday 7th January 1972. General Ford was accompanied by the Assistant Chief Constable (Operations), David Corbett. In addition to meeting members of the Association, General Ford held discussions with Brigadier MacLellan, Lieutenant Colonel Ferguson, the Commanding Officer of 22 Lt AD Regt, and Chief Superintendent Lagan, the RUC Divisional Commander responsible for RUC N Division, which included the Londonderry area.

Major General Ford’s memorandum

9.103 General Ford, in his evidence to this Inquiry, was unable to recall this visit to Londonderry. However, we had available a memorandum which General Ford produced following his visit. The memorandum was addressed to the GOC and was headed “Personal and Confidential”.1 It was written on or about 10th January 1972.2 In it, General Ford reported to General Tuzo the impression that he had gained of the security situation in Londonderry.

1 G48.299 2 Day 253/64; B1208.075

9.104 The memorandum was in the following terms:1

“THE SITUATION IN LONDONDERRY AS AT 7TH JANUARY 1972

1. I visited Londonderry on Friday 7th January with ACC (Ops) and held discussions with Commander 8 Brigade, Commanding Officer the City Battalion (22 Lt AD Regt), and the Police Divisional Commander. I also visited the area of Waterloo Place and William Street and the OPs [observation posts] on top of the Embassy Ballroom in the Strand. I was disturbed by the attitude of both the Brigade Commander and the Battalion Commander, and also, of course, by Chief Superintendent Lagan. All admitted that ‘The Front’ was gradually moving Northwards and, in their view, not only would Great James Street go up in time but also Clarendon Street unless there was a change of policy. This admission meant that this major shopping centre would, in their opinion, become extinct during the next few months.

2. In the last two weeks there has been the usual daily yobbo activity in the William Street area and this has been combined with bombers making sorties into Great James Street and the Waterloo Place area. Neither foot nor mounted patrols now operate beyond the bend in William Street to the West of Waterloo Place as a regular feature of life. They claim that all foot patrols are put at risk from snipers from the Rossville Flats area (the ground all around here dominates the William Street area) and that if mounted patrols move in pigs, the pigs are surrounded by yobbos and this means that dismounted men must go with them with the consequential sniper reaction. They claim that the bombers (and of course there are only one or two every day) are mostly teenagers carrying small 5-10 pound devices who operate in the thickness of the shopping crowds and cannot be detected by the considerable number of three-man infantry patrols. Because of the number of ruined buildings and back alleys which lead into the general area from the Bogside they claim it is impossible to either confine public movement or control it. In addition the vast majority of the people in the shopping area not only give no help to our patrols but, if they saw a youth with a very small bag which might contain a bomb, they would be likely to shield the youths movements from the view of our patrols. We now have 52 men patrolling in this very small area constantly – a very large number of patrols as I saw myself.

3. I met Mr Ferris and three of his colleagues who represent the traders of Strand Road, who produced the usual pessimistic message. We discussed what could be done to inhibit or deter the bombers operating in this area and I stressed the following:

a. All owners of premises must impose restrictions on their doors. I visited Littlewoods myself (in Waterloo Place) and there was no restriction of movement at all and hundreds of people moving in and out all the time.

b. I agreed to the construction of two gates in an alley which runs up the West rear of Strand Road. This meets one of their requirements. The gates will be in position this week.

c. I said I would examine the practicability of having more OPs and a possible position established at the West end of William Street.

d. I gave them the usual encouraging talk about the Province as a whole.

They were reasonably satisfied because they had got more than they had expected – although they stressed that it is not enough. For instance they want at a minimum the Rossville Flats cleared (5,000 people live in them and a soldier has never entered them in the history of Londonderry) and ideally the Creggan and Bogside occupied. They also wanted curfews and shooting on sight.

4. The IS situation in Londonderry is one of armed gunmen dominating the Creggan and Bogside backed and protected by the vast majority of the population in these two areas, and of bombers and gunmen making occasional sorties out of these hard core areas to cause incidents, mainly in the shopping areas of the Strand, William Street (only two shopsnow operating) and Great James Street. This situation is difficult enough but is not beyond our capacity to deal with using normal IS methods and equipment, although I feel it probably needs the establishment of a further military base at the West end of William Street (This is now being examined as a matter of urgency, the Stardust Club being the likely choice).

5. However, the Londonderry situation is further complicated by one additional ingredient. This is the Derry Young Hooligans (DYH). Gangs of tough, teenaged youths permanently unemployed, have developed sophisticated tactics of brick and stone throwing, destruction and arson. Under cover of snipers in nearby buildings, they operate just beyond the hard core areas and extend the radius of anarchy by degrees into additional streets and areas. Against the DYH – described by the People’s Democracy as ‘Brave fighters in the Republican cause’ – the Army in Londonderry is for the moment virtually incapable. This incapacity undermines our ability to deal with the gunmen and bombers and threatens what is left of law and order on the West bank of the River Foyle.

6. The weapons at our disposal – CS gas and baton rounds – are ineffective. This is because the DYH operate mainly in open areas where they can avoid the gas (and some have respirators, many other make-shift wet rag masks) and in open order beyond the accurate range of baton rounds. Alternatively, they operate in built up areas where, because of their tactics and the personal protection they have, CS gas has to be used in vast quantities and to such an extent that it seeps into nearby buildings and affects innocent people, often women and children. Attempts to close with the DYH bring the troops into the killing zones of the snipers. As I understand it, the commander of a body of troops called out to restore law and order has a duty to use minimum force but he also has a duty to restore law and order. We have fulfilled the first duty but are failing in the second. I am coming to the conclusion that the minimum force necessary to achieve a restoration of law and order is to shoot selected ring leaders amongst the DYH, after clear warnings have been issued. I believe we would be justified in using 7.62mm but in view of the devastating effects of this weapon and the danger of rounds killing more than the person aimed at, I believe we must consider issuing rifles adapted to fire HV .22 inch ammunition to sufficient members of the unit dealing with this problem, to enable ring leaders to be engaged with this less lethal ammunition. Thirty of these weapons have already been sent to 8 Infantry Brigade this weekend for zeroing and familiarization training. They, of course, will not be used operationally without authorisation.

7. If this course is implemented, as I believe it may have to be, we would have to accept the possibility that .22 rounds may be lethal. In other words, we would be reverting to the methods of IS found successful on many occasions overseas, but would merely be trying to minimize the lethal effects by using the .22 round. I am convinced that our duty to restore law and order requires us to consider this step.

8. We have also to face the possibility of a NICRA march from the Creggan to the Guildhall Square at 1400 hours on Sunday 16th January 1972. This would be followed by a rally which will be addressed by Members of Parliament and leading members of NICRA. I told Commander 8 Brigade that he was to prepare a plan over this weekend based on the assumption that the march was to be stopped as near to its starting point as was practical and taking into account the likelihood of some form of battle (therefore he must choose a place of tactical advantage) and also the fact that the minimum damage must be done to the shopping centre. This plan is due to be with me at 1400 hours on Monday and will also forecast the force levels required for it.

I have issued a warning order to 1 Kings Own Border (who become operational on the 13th as Province Reserve) and 1 Para. I have asked D Int to get the best possible intelligence of the possible strengths of the march and its real intentions. As a result D Int went to Londonderry yesterday and will report today. I understand that the SB warnings I had about the march may well prove to be unfounded. It is the opinion of the senior commanders in Londonderry, that if the march takes place, however good the intentions of NICRA may be, the DYH backed up by the gunmen will undoubtedly take over control at an early stage.

9. In the meantime I have issued very firm directions to the Brigade Commander that he is to take all possible steps within his capability to inhibit and deter the operations of the bombers.”
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1 G48.299–301

9.105 It is clear to us from the first two paragraphs of General Ford’s memorandum that he regarded the response of the security forces in Londonderry as unsatisfactory.

9.106 That General Ford had this impression was evident to Captain INQ 406, the Operations Officer for 22 Lt AD Regt. He discussed General Ford’s visit with Colonel Ferguson and gained the impression that General Ford “felt that we were taking too soft a line”1 and “felt [the Army] were not doing very well” in that “up until then we had had little success in either suppressing the rioting or either preventing bombings or capturing [the bombers]”.2

1 C406.3 2 Day 274/4

9.107 Doubtless General Ford’s view of the situation was reinforced by the views expressed by representatives of the Strand Traders’ Association; however, it was already acknowledged in military circles that the security situation in Londonderry differed from that in Belfast in that the great majority of the population on the west bank of the Foyle was hostile to the security forces. Even though these differences were recognised, dissatisfaction about the situation in Londonderry had been expressed in political and military circles in Stormont and at HQNI. Brigadier Frank Kitson, the Officer Commanding 39th Infantry Brigade, for example, commented to General Ford, “… no-one seems to sort out Londonderry”.1 Later in January 1972, Lieutenant Colonel INQ 1873, an Information Policy officer at HQNI, noted in his diary that “8 Bde seem incapable of getting any operation right”.2 When he gave oral evidence to this Inquiry he was asked about this comment and he replied that “it was a sort of general comment in the headquarters”.3 Captain Mike Jackson, the Adjutant of 1 PARA, told the Sunday Times in 1972 that there were no no-go areas in Belfast and that 1 PARA held “a certain contempt” for the fact that no-go areas existed elsewhere.4

1 Day 253/27 3Day 242/37

2 C1873.12 4CJ1.16

9.108 Robert Ferris, the Secretary of the Strand Traders’ Association in 1972, gave evidence to this Inquiry and denied that the proposals to clear the Rossville Flats, establish curfews and shoot on sight were made at the meeting by any of the traders’ representatives. He said that the traders never expressed views on the management of security issues but would leave it to the security forces to make proposals.1 Perhaps Robert Ferris’s memory is faulty or the remarks were made on the margins of the meeting, but we are sure that one or other of the members of the Association made those remarks to General Ford at some time before, during or after the meeting. The reason why we are sure is that, although General Ford could not, in evidence to this Inquiry, remember those measures being proposed, we have seen manuscript notes, which we are sure are copies of notes he made while returning from Londonderry, and which do record these proposals. This note of the proposals is followed by the words, “Said this was impossible”.2

1 AF44.2; Day 200/17-18 2 Day 253/45-46; B1208.063

9.109 Colonel Ferguson and Chief Superintendent Lagan met General Ford after his meeting with the representatives of the Association. Although Colonel Ferguson, in his written evidence to this Inquiry, did remember General Ford repeating “some of the points made” by the traders’ representatives,1 he did not recall the proposals to clear the Rossville Flats or to shoot on sight, and thought that he “would have recalled these sort of measures”2 had General Ford raised them. Colonel Ferguson’s evidence, which we accept, indicates, as do the manuscript notes, that General Ford did not take seriously these proposals voiced on the occasion of the meeting with the Strand Traders’ Association.

1 B1122.6 2 Day 281/36

9.110 We cannot say that the representations of the Strand Traders’ Association caused General Ford to write in paragraph 6 of his memorandum that he was coming to the conclusion that the minimum force necessary to restore law and order was the shooting of ringleaders. At most, the representations made by the traders confirmed General Ford’s belief that firmer measures had to be adopted. We are satisfied that General Ford was not prepared to countenance the measures put forward by the traders; however, the traders’ insistence that the security forces needed to take much stronger steps may have reinforced his own view that that was the case.

9.111 In paragraphs 4–7 of the memorandum, General Ford expressed the view that the security situation as he described and understood it could, with the exception of the problems caused by the “Derry Young Hooligans”, be dealt with using normal internal security methods and equipment. He considered that the problems presented by the “Derry Young Hooligans” could not be solved by any means currently in use. The only suggestion he made to solve these problems was to shoot selected ringleaders and though it is clear that he appreciated that this would need authorisation, he had taken the preliminary step of obtaining weapons able to fire the less lethal .22in ammunition. There is no indication in the memorandum that General Ford had the Yellow Card in mind when he drafted this paper. However, he accepted, in his oral evidence to this Inquiry, that the shooting of ringleaders was contrary to the Yellow Card as it then existed and that his idea could not be implemented without alteration of the Card.1

1 Day 253/56-57

9.112 General Ford seemed at one stage in his oral evidence to this Inquiry to be suggesting that weapons firing bullets of .22in calibre would be used to wound rather than kill, but, as the memorandum itself acknowledged, such bullets may be lethal. In our view the chief so-called “advantage” of using .22in ammunition was to avoid or reduce the risk of the bullet killing not only the target but also, by passing through with sufficient momentum (a “shoot through”), hitting and perhaps even killing someone behind the target.1

1 Day 253/56-57; Day 260/119-120

9.113 In paragraph 8 of the memorandum, General Ford referred to having given Warning Orders to 1 KOB and to 1 PARA. In his written evidence to this Inquiry, General Ford described the purpose and effect of a Warning Order:1

“A ‘Warning Order’ is a standing operational procedure. If a commander thinks it likely, for example, that a subordinate will need reinforcements to carry out a plan, then it is good policy to give that person maximum time to prepare, hence the Warning Order … The type of thing that it would have said would be that the Battalion should be ready to move to Londonderry on day X for an operation and might be deployed for Y days. This then enables the Brigade HQ to adjust its plans and for the Battalion Commander to start thinking of the logistics of making his men available, such as provision of vehicles, petrol, rations and so on.”


1 B1208.036

9.114 We deal below with the question whether this memorandum was distributed to or discussed with others apart from General Tuzo.

The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association’s plan for a march on 16th January 1972

9.115 General Ford’s memorandum contains a reference to a proposed NICRA march in Londonderry on Saturday 16th January.1

1 G48.301

9.116 The minutes of the meeting of the NICRA Executive Committee on 7th January 1972 include the following entry:1

“K. McCorry reported that Derry CRA put in a request for a march on 16th Jan. It was recommended that this date should be put back to 30th Jan to allow adequate organisation. L. Stewart, M. Davidson, F. O’Kane, F. Gogarty and K. McCorry agreed to meet the Derry Committee.”


1 GEN5.27

9.117 We heard evidence from members of the NICRA Executive Committee and members of the Derry Civil Rights Association (Derry CRA) about the reason for the change of date. Many of these witnesses could no longer recall the change of date, or the reason for it. However, the evidence of those who remembered the change1 indicated that the march had been put back solely so that NICRA could assure itself that all arrangements necessary for a safe march were made. In her statement to this Inquiry Brid Ruddy, a member of the NICRA Executive Committee, told us:2

“The [minute of] the meeting [of 7th January 1972] shows that the date of the Derry march was changed to give people time to organise themselves. I remember this happening and it shows that our whole concern all the time was proper organisation, protection, dignity and safety.”

1 Finbar O’Kane, a member of the NICRA Executive Committee and Chairman of North Derry Civil Rights Association, thought that the Derry march may have been postponed because of the recent opening of Magilligan Internment Camp (and, by implication, because in mid-January 1972 NICRA was focusing its efforts on a protest at Magilligan) (AO47.10). However, there is no indication in the NICRA Executive Committee
minutes, either of the meeting on 7th January 1972 or of the meeting on 14th January 1972 (GEN5.29), that Magilligan was a factor; the Magilligan march was not even mentioned in the minutes of either of these meetings. See also the evidence of Jimmy Doris (AD189.7).

2 AR39.11


9.118 Another member of the NICRA Executive Committee, Rory McShane, told this Inquiry that “people wanted to satisfy themselves that the Derry CRA could organise the march adequately”.1

1 Day 128/9

9.119 In his written evidence to this Inquiry, Chief Superintendent Lagan recorded that he understood that the 30th January march had initially been planned to take place on an earlier date but that there had been a clash with another event so the date was changed.1 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Chief Superintendent Lagan said: “There had been mention of another organisation having a meeting on a previous day.”2 He did not identify that organisation and it seems to us that he was wrong in his belief that the date was changed because of a clash of events.
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1 JL1.6 2 JL1.34

9.120 No clear evidence emerged about the time at which a march in Londonderry was first proposed. The recollection of Kevin Boyle (a member of the NICRA Executive Committee from 1969) was that NICRA had first discussed such a march in early or mid December 1971 and had decided at that time that there should be three marches, one in each of Belfast, Londonderry and Newry.1 While the NICRA Executive Committee may have taken this decision in principle, the minutes of NICRA’s meeting on 7th January 1972 suggest that the proposal for the 16th January march came not from NICRA but from the Derry CRA.

1 KB2.1-3; KB2.7

9.121 It is clear from General Ford’s memorandum that by 7th January 1972 the security forces were aware of the proposal for a march on 16th January. The NICRA minutes indicate that, by the end of the meeting of the NICRA Executive Committee on 7th January, the decision had been taken to hold the march on 30th January. We heard no evidence from any member of the Derry CRA or NICRA to indicate how the security forces came to learn of a march planned for 16th January. In his written evidence to this Inquiry, Chief Superintendent Lagan told us:1

“I first became aware that NICRA was intending to hold a march on 30.1.72 (‘the march’) about 1 week to 10 days before the march. The march was originally planned for an earlier date but it clashed with another event so the date was changed. NICRA would not have given the RUC formal notice of the march. Information about it would probably have come to me via RUC channels having originated possibly from an officer on the ground or from the press.”


1 JL1.6

9.122 There was, however, evidence from the organisers of the march to suggest that NICRA or the Derry CRA would have informed the police of their plans. Johnny Bond, the chairman of the Derry CRA at the time of Bloody Sunday, and husband of Brigid Bond, one of the principal organisers of the march, told this Inquiry that his wife might have told Chief Superintendent Lagan of the route of the march (and therefore, presumably, of its date).1 There was other evidence that there was a good working relationship and mutual respect between Brigid Bond and Chief Superintendent Lagan2 and evidence that, once the march on 30th January had been announced, detailed discussions took place between the two of them.3

1 AB115.3

2 For example, from Michael Havord, one of the Derry CRA’s press officers (Day 125/31, 81-82) and from Edwina Stewart, Honorary Secretary of NICRA (KS5.5).
3 Statement of Kevin McCorry to this Inquiry (KM2.17) and of Edwina Stewart to this Inquiry (KS5.5).


9.123 It seems possible that at some time before the NICRA Executive Committee meeting on 7th January Chief Superintendent Lagan came to learn of the proposed 16th January march through RUC channels, or perhaps through Brigid Bond, and that he passed this information on to the Army. However, this can be little more than speculation.

The Army’s plans for dealing with a march on
16th January 1972

9.124 General Ford, according to his memorandum, ordered Brigadier MacLellan to prepare a plan that would involve stopping the march (then planned for 16th January) close to its starting point. It is also apparent from the memorandum that General Ford had in mind from this early stage the deployment of additional forces to assist in dealing with the march, namely 1 KOB (the Province Reserve) and 1 PARA (39 Inf Bde Reserve). He appeared, though, willing to wait for Brigadier MacLellan to determine the force levels that 8th Infantry Brigade would need to contain the march.

9.125 In his memorandum General Ford predicted that the “DYH backed up by the gunmen will undoubtedly take over control at an early stage”. It is difficult to know whether this was a suggestion that gunmen would use the march as an opportunity to snipe at soldiers or that paramilitaries would use the opportunities created by the riots that might attend the march. In our view there would have been no basis for the former. If General Ford meant that there would be riots after the march and that there was a strong prospect that gunmen would use the cover of rioters to fire at soldiers, there was much to support this view. The evidence available to this Inquiry indicates that, in the months leading to the march on 30th January 1972, republican paramilitaries had sheltered behind rioters and hooligans; it does not indicate that they had ever used the cover of marchers.1

1 G45B.285.1.7; G71E.444.12

9.126 We also received evidence from a number of members of the Official and Provisional IRA, who distinguished between a march – which paramilitaries would not use as cover to engage the security forces – and the rioting that might follow a march – which might be used as cover by snipers. See, for example, the evidence of PIRA 8,1 PIRA 192 and PIRA 243 and the anonymous Official IRA member who spoke to Praxis Films Ltd.4 We accept the evidence of Brigadier MacLellan to this Inquiry that he did not expect the IRA on 30th January to shoot from behind the marchers; he thought that they might shelter behind hooligans or nearby buildings.5

1 Day 418/7

2 Day 416/140

3 APIRA24.3
4 O17A.1

5 B1279.034; Day 261/81


9.127 In his memorandum General Ford appeared only to envisage that the march was to be stopped at an early stage. He put forward no alternative strategy. He acknowledged that a “battle” might ensue. Even so, he did not invite Brigadier MacLellan to put forward any alternative plan, such as one that would allow the march to continue but would make provision for the subsequent arrest of ringleaders.

9.128 We do not criticise General Ford’s approach in this regard. In the circumstances it seems to us that he had no choice but to order that arrangements be made to stop the march. He had to ensure that the ban on marches was enforced. He believed the planned march to be unlawful. The Army paper of 5th January 1972 (“Measures to Control Marches”), to which reference has been made above, had proposed that the ban on marches be continued and firmly enforced, the author recognising that violence might result.1 It was also recognised that not implementing the ban might lead to even greater violence. It was clearly realistic for General Ford to acknowledge that violence might follow the stopping of the march and to order the Brigadier to make plans accordingly.

1 G53.318

9.129 General Ford later recalled, in conversation with a journalist named Desmond Hamill, that there was pressure from Stormont at that time for tough action to be taken against the hooligans; he told the journalist that he had had the impression that the way of life of the local people was being destroyed and that he had believed that something had to be done to prevent the situation in Londonderry from becoming out of control.1 In his evidence to this Inquiry, he insisted that it had been for General Tuzo to deal with the pressure from Stormont. He said that he and General Tuzo had dealt purely with the situation as they saw it and had acted in accordance with the “Course 1½” suggested by General Ford2 which they had recommended in December 1971 and which the Government had by that time adopted.3 However, it seems to us that that pressure from Stormont must have influenced General Ford’s thinking; just as did his impression that the lives of local people were being destroyed.

1 B1208.003.015

2 G41.272
3 Day 256/6


9.130 General Ford ordered that a paper outlining the Brigadier’s plans be provided to him by 10th January 1972. There is evidence that 8th Infantry Brigade was aware, before General Ford wrote his memorandum, of the march proposed for 16th January in Londonderry. Colonel Ferguson, the Commanding Officer of 22 Lt AD Regt, told the Inquiry that during the preceding week he had been required, probably by the Brigade Major, Colonel Steele, to produce a plan to deal with the march.1 His recollection was that he was not asked to consider stopping the march at or close to its source; he drafted a plan to deal with a march that was going to be stopped at a later stage. His plan envisaged that a barrier would be set up at the eastern end of William Street; and that the ringleaders at the head of the march would be trapped and arrested in a pincer movement. The aim of his plan was to prevent the marchers from meeting at the Guildhall and to arrest the ringleaders.2
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1 Day 281/18-30; B1122.5-6 2 Day 281/29-30

9.131 Colonel Ferguson’s plan has not survived. However, on 10th January 1972 Colonel Steele submitted a paper in which he put forward two alternative proposals for dealing with the march.1 He wrote:

“The march is to be dealt with in one of two ways:-

CASE A The march is halted on ground of our own choosing, and none of the marchers are allowed to proceed to the meeting place. Arrests of ringleaders are made.

CASE B The march is halted on ground of our own choosing. Marchers are then allowed to trickle through the check points, being channelled on an accepted route to the meeting place. Arrests of ringleaders are made at a later stage.”


1 G49.302:306; FS8.732

9.132 The paper also recommended that the march be allowed to proceed if it stayed entirely within the Bogside and the Creggan areas and that the propaganda penalties of allowing it to do so be accepted.

9.133 The first of these proposals was very similar to that apparently put forward by Colonel Ferguson. It is not known whether Colonel Steele in fact based this proposal on Colonel Ferguson’s plan.

9.134 In his paper, Colonel Steele noted that the local RUC had no information either about the likely route or about the numbers of marchers likely to attend. He heeded the RUC’s warning that the Army’s response to the march might have an effect on those numbers, and estimated that 1,000 might march if left alone but that 2,000–3,000 might turn out if the Army’s intention to stop the march were publicised in advance.

9.135 Colonel Steele noted in the “Discussion” part of the paper:1

“b. The hooligan element will be present from the start; if not in the van of the march they will certainly be on the flanks and in the rear. Some gunmen are certain to be sheltering behind the hooligan ranks.



e. Although no guidance has yet been issued on RUC channels, it is clear that the RUC must play a big part in attempting to dissuade the Organisers from holding an illegal parade. Subsequently, if the Prohibition is defied, the RUC should be in the van of the Security Forces, attempting to halt the march by means of a linked-arm cordon. Massive RUC reinforcements will be required by Comd N Div [Chief Superintendent Lagan] if he is to conduct such an operation.

f. Only in the event of the RUC cordon being broken will Army action follow. This RUC cordon technique will not be used if there is a threat from gunmen. In this event Army action will be necessary from the time the entire parade has got under way.”


1 G49.302-303

9.136 Colonel Steele concluded:1

“13. Whichever way this event is to be handled the following assumptions can be made:-

a. The march will have to be halted at some stage on ground of our own choosing.

b. Hooligan violence is inevitable, probably during the event itself, and definitely during the withdrawal phase after the meeting.

c. Bombing attacks and shooting incidents may intensify during the event.

14. The Force levels required to cover the event itself can be met from the available troops within the Brigade. However, all troops will be deployed and there will be the Brigade reserve to cover the unexpected eg a violent Catholic reaction in the City to other incidents throughout the Brigade Area.”


1 G49.305

9.137 It is clear that at this stage the security forces predicted that the march would be relatively small. The Army intended that the RUC should handle the march and that police officers would be replaced or reinforced by troops only if the RUC cordon were breached or if the security forces were threatened by gunmen. There was no role for 1 PARA. The plan required two companies of the Province Reserve to be held at Drumahoe in readiness either to deal with a very large and angry reaction to the stopping of the march, should one occur, or to cover any incidents that occurred that day in the Waterside or Strabane.1 No unit was given the task of acting as an arrest force. While the plan contemplated the arrest of ringleaders, either at the time of the march or subsequently, there was no proposal for the large-scale arrest of rioters or hooligans.

1 G49.305

9.138 It was submitted to us on behalf of some of the families that General Ford decided to stop the march, not in order to enforce law and order, but “in order to demonstrate that the army was able to police the ban on marches and the army was able to police Derry, regardless of the consequences”.1

1 FS1.716

9.139 It was undoubtedly true that General Ford wished to demonstrate that the Army could prevent the marchers from reaching the Guildhall and could arrest rioters. This wish was not inconsistent with a desire to enforce law and order, which General Ford clearly had. We are of the view that he decided to stop the march for a number of reasons, including those set out in the previous paragraphs. He wished to preserve the security of the city and to prevent further damage from being done to its centre. He believed that if the march were not stopped there might be further riots in William Street with consequent damage to the buildings in that area. We consider his concern about further damage to have been a legitimate one. There was no evidence before us to suggest that General Ford wished to demonstrate the Army’s ability to police the march “regardless of the consequences”.

Meeting of the Director of Operations Intelligence Committee (Northern Ireland) on 10th January 1972

9.140 The Director of Operations Intelligence Committee (Northern Ireland), chaired by the Director of Intelligence, met on 10th January 1972. The holder of this post in January 1972 was a witness to this Inquiry and was granted anonymity by the Tribunal. He was identified publicly by the Inquiry only as David
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9.141 In 1972 David was a senior member of the Security Service whose rank was equivalent to that of a Major General. His role was to co-ordinate the intelligence-gathering work of the security forces in Northern Ireland. He headed a department staffed by Security Service and military officers. He and his staff liaised with the RUC and, in particular, with Special Branch.1

1 KD2.1

9.142 On 10th January 1972 the committee considered and approved an assessment in which it was noted that the anti-internment campaign was gaining momentum. The author of the assessment reported that anti-internment marches were planned that month in Lurgan and Armagh and that:1

“… A further march which may be contemplated is in Londonderry on 16 January sponsored by NICRA and the James Connolly Republican Club; but there remains some doubt as to whether the organisers will pursue the idea.”


1 G50A.309.5

9.143 The author went on to observe that that Londonderry march, should it proceed, would present “a very serious security problem”.1 The James Connolly Republican Club was recognised to represent the political side of the Official Republican Movement; many members of the Official IRA in Londonderry were also members of this club.

1 G50A.309.8

9.144 The identity of the author and the source of his information are unknown. Colonel INQ 2241, a member of the Director of Operations Intelligence Committee (Northern Ireland) and the Colonel in charge of the military intelligence staff at HQNI, described the assessments provided to this committee as having been “produced” by the Director of Intelligence.1 It was not clear from Colonel INQ 2241’s evidence whether the Director of Intelligence was the author or simply responsible for the production of assessments compiled by one of his staff. David himself, in his oral evidence to this Inquiry, said that he could not recall the identity of the author of the assessments.2

1 C2241.3 2Day 330/14-15

Meeting of the GEN 47 Committee on 11th January 1972

9.145 There was a meeting of the GEN 47 Committee (the United Kingdom Cabinet Committee on Northern Ireland) on 11th January 1972. In the brief that he prepared for the Prime Minister in anticipation of this meeting, the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Burke Trend, addressed the prospects for political progress. He expressed pessimism as to whether there was any long-term future for the inter-party talks, especially considering that the SDLP would not enter these discussions until internment was ended, something that was unacceptable at that time to the United Kingdom government and public opinion. This being the case, there would, eventually, be a need for a different approach.

9.146 Sir Burke Trend commented that the problems of whether this should involve an end to the Stormont system or an alteration of the borders remained, as did the desire among United Kingdom ministers to avoid direct rule. He also felt that the Catholic population did not believe that any reforms would be pursued after the IRA had been defeated. In an attempt to resolve these concerns, he drew on Sir Philip Allen’s December paper on constitutional devices to protect the minority1 and suggested that detailed proposals be drawn up for legislation that would allow the minority community a reasonable share of representation in both Parliament and, crucially, in government. This could be augmented by blocking devices that would ensure that the majority party or parties could not frustrate the proposal, and the provision of similar arrangements for other public authorities. If such legislation was prepared at Westminster, rather than in Northern Ireland, the Catholic population might accept that it would be implemented when – but not until – the IRA was defeated. Although many unionists would be opposed to the diminution of the authority of the Stormont Government, Sir Burke Trend hoped that there might be sufficient support to carry the initiative, with moderate opinion accepting that this was the price of retaining their separate Parliament and some autonomy. In any event, Sir Burke Trend advised that this avenue would be “no less unpromising” in the medium term than the inter-party talks, and suggested that it might be worth preparing a draft Bill for ministers to discuss. If they did decide to pursue this course, thought would then need to be given to how and when to launch the initiative.2

1 G44B.282.15 2 G49B.306.4-9

9.147 The brief also drew attention to the fact that a decision was needed on the renewal of the ban on marches. Sir Burke Trend’s advice was that:1

”This should surely be renewed – and enforced? The relatively gentle handling of the anti-internment march on Christmas Day was perhaps to be excused by the nature of the occasion. But, if we are putting our money on Mr. Faulkner’s survival, we cannot afford to expose him indefinitely to the accusation that he is using kid gloves to deal with provocation and intimidation. As you have yourself observed, the ringleaders of such marches ought to be prosecuted with the minimum of delay. (In this connection the dissidents’ latest tactic of using children as decoys and shields could prove a serious obstacle to an attempt to deal resolutely with protest and obstruction. How does the CGS advise that the soldiers should react?).”


1 G49B.306.8

9.148 This Inquiry has found no evidence to substantiate the reference to the use of children as decoys and shields.

9.149 The GEN 47 Committee meeting of 11th January 1972 was the first of the New Year. There was a report by the CGS on the security situation, to the effect that since Christmas, shooting and bombing incidents had been relatively limited in terms of number and that the attrition of the Provisional IRA was continuing.1The Prime Minister summed up the discussion in this part of the meeting in the following terms:2

“… the relative quietness of the security situation in Belfast underlined the importance of the search for a political initiative which the Meeting would discuss as the next item on its agenda. A military operation to reimpose law and order in Londonderry might in time become inevitable, but should not be undertaken while there still remained some prospect of a successful political initiative. Meanwhile the Home Secretary should endeavour to secure that the Northern Ireland authorities hastened the initiation of prosecutions in respect of the NICRA march on 2 January.”


1 G50.308 2 G50.309

9.150 There followed a discussion of the political situation, including the proposed inter-party talks, and other matters including a proposed visit by Brian Faulkner to the United States and internment.1
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1 CS2.135

Meeting of the Stormont Cabinet on 11th January 1972

9.151 The Stormont Cabinet met on 11th January 1972. According to the minutes the Government Security Adviser, William Stout, supplied details of certain measures under discussion. It was suggested to us on behalf of some of the families1that this was a reference to the memorandum prepared by General Ford after his visit to Londonderry but in our view the reference was to the Army paper on measures to control marches,2which was due to be tabled at the JSC later in the week.

1 FS4.43 2 G53.318-319

Meeting of the Joint Security Committee on 13th January 1972

9.152 The Army paper on measures to control marches1was tabled and discussed by the JSC on 13th January 1972.

1 G53.318

9.153 The JSC agreed that the ban should be renewed for another year and that operational plans to prevent breaches of the ban should be worked out in detail as soon as possible. It was clear that by this time Brian Faulkner had concluded that it was necessary to continue the ban, and the emphasis was now on enforcement. During the meeting, the issue of opposition from the Orange Order was raised in the context of unionist dissatisfaction about the ability of nationalists to flout the law without apparent sanction. The minutes of the meeting reflected the fact that, in order to secure the renewal of the ban, the military were under pressure from unionists to implement it fully in the context of civil rights marches, by stopping the marches completely and arresting those who broke the law. It was recorded that opposition from the Orange Order “could be met to some extent by ensuring that there was no defiance of the ban by anyone”, and that “Loyalist opinion had been disturbed by the failure to stop completely the CRA march on 2 January”. In response, the GOC told the meeting that “no absolute guarantee to this effect could be given, but assurance could be given that measures will be adopted which will make it very difficult to carry out a march without incurring prosecutions and without being stopped at some stage on route, depending on tactical assessment”.1

1 G52.315

9.154 Moving on from the discussion of the ban on marches, the GOC gave the committee a situation report and a summary of recent incidents. In the course of this he is recorded as having said that “following a meeting with businessmen in Londonderry certain measures were in mind with a view to putting down the troublesome hooligan element there. It was a very difficult problem to solve within the law.”1

1 G52.316

9.155 The meeting to which the GOC referred must have been General Ford’s meeting with the Strand Traders’ Association on 7th January 1972. There is no indication that the GOC expanded upon any details of the measures that were “in mind”, and this phrase, together with the observation that the problem was a very difficult one to solve within the law, implies that the meeting was neither given nor asked to approve any particular proposals. None of those who attended the meeting and gave evidence to this Inquiry could recall exactly what the GOC had said. These witnesses were: John Taylor, then Minister of State at the Ministry of Home Affairs;1Sir Graham Shillington, then RUC Chief Constable;2Kenneth Bloomfield, then Deputy Cabinet Secretary;3David Gilliland, then a Government Press Officer;4Brian Cummings, then the Security Secretary to Brian Faulkner;5and Thomas Cromey, then Secretary to the JSC.6However, Kenneth Bloomfield told us and we accept, that until he was interviewed for the purposes of this Inquiry, he had not seen General Ford’s memorandum and was wholly unaware of any proposal to shoot ringleaders on sight.7

1 Day 197/9-10

2 JS8.14

3 Day 216/105-110

4 Day 215/154
5 Day 389/20-25

6 KC13.1-4

7 Day 216/49


9.156 By the time of this meeting, General Tuzo had undoubtedly seen the memorandum in which General Ford suggested that the shooting of ringleaders might have to be considered. There is no indication that General Tuzo had any intention of adopting the suggestion; he might well, though, have had the memorandum (and the almost certain illegality of the suggested course) in mind when he referred to the difficulty of solving the problem “within the law”.

9.157 This meeting of the JSC was attended by the United Kingdom Representative in Northern Ireland, Howard Smith. Kelvin White, who was Head of the Republic of Ireland Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, when asked whether the measures mentioned in General Ford’s memorandum would have been relayed to Whitehall, said:1

“I will happily say that Mr Smith would never have let such an idea get any further. But his first move would be to take Tuzo outside and say, ‘Have you gone mad?’”


1 Day 269/132

9.158 Howard Smith is deceased and did not give evidence to this Inquiry. We do not know for sure whether General Tuzo did discuss with him General Ford’s suggestion concerning the shooting of ringleaders, but since there is nothing to suggest that General Tuzo regarded this suggestion as a viable course of action, this seems unlikely. However, we are satisfied that the JSC did not, at this meeting, consider General Ford’s memorandum or the proposals set out in that document. There is no evidence that General Ford’s memorandum went beyond General Tuzo.

Information available to the security forces about the proposed 16th January march and the change of date

The Director of Operations Intelligence Committee’s assessment

9.159 As we have noted above, the assessment presented to the Director of Operations Intelligence Committee (Northern Ireland) at its meeting on 10th January 1972 included the observation that the Londonderry march, should it proceed, would present “a very serious security problem”.1

1 G50A.309.8

9.160 The HQNI IntSum of 13th January 1972 (2/72) contained the following paragraph:1

“24. The anti-internment campaign is gathering momentum and the marches planned, particularly that in Londonderry, will present serious security problems.”
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1 G55.339

9.161 It appears from the similarity of wording in the two documents that at least some of the material contained in the assessment for the Director of Operations Intelligence Committee was also made available to Major INQ 2555, the officer who compiled the HQNI IntSums.

9.162 An annex to the 13th January 1972 HQNI IntSum recorded: “Sun 30 Jan. Londonderry. Proposed CRA march from Creggan to Guildhall Square at 1400 hrs. This march was originally planned for 16 Jan 72.”1 It is clear from this annex that HQNI was aware on 13th January 1972 of the postponement of the march. This information had not reached the JSC when it met at 10.30am on that day. The minutes of the JSC meeting of 13th January 1972 recorded:2

“A Rally in Lurgan on 15 January and a March in Londonderry on 16 January, both under CRA auspices, gave cause for concern, but latest information was that they might not take place. A proposed March in Armagh on 22 January will require firm action.”


1 G52.316 2G55.34

Intelligence sought by the Security Service

9.163 In paragraph 8 of his memorandum relating to his visit to Londonderry on 7th January 1972 General Ford noted that he had asked “D Int” to obtain the best possible intelligence about the proposed march; he observed that “D Int” had visited Londonderry on the previous day. He also noted that “the SB [Special Branch] warnings I had about the march may well prove to be unfounded”.1

1 G48.301

9.164 “D Int” is an abbreviation for the Director of Intelligence, David. In his evidence David told us that he did not recall having gone to Londonderry in order to obtain such intelligence.1 However, a telegram sent by David on 10th January 1972 to a Security Service officer, again granted anonymity by this Tribunal and known publicly only as Julian, indicated that David had in fact gone to Londonderry on 9th January 1972. In the telegram David wrote:2

“I was over there [in Londonderry] yesterday and was told by Special Branch that there is some doubt whether the march will in fact take place. The organisations primarly [sic] concerned are the James Connolly Republican Club, Derry CRA with which are associated the SRG and kindred soulds [sic] of the lunatic left. Sam Donnelly [the Head of Special Branch in Londonderry] had some coverage but anything that you can do to let us know whether a march is intended, its forming up place and route, the intentions of the organisers in the event of security forces counter action etc. will be very welcome. We are anxious to take no action that might stimulate a march where none is intended but any action that you can take to secure the information we need without this side effect deserves I think a high priority.”


1 Day 330/6 2 KJ4.61

9.165 When shown this document, David still did not recall having gone to Londonderry.1 His recollection was that he invariably reported to the GOC and not to General Ford, but he could not remember making any report to the GOC about the proposed march.2 No documentary evidence of such a report survives; it might never have existed.

1 Day 330/70 2 Day 330/7

9.166 In any event the telegram suggests that on 10th January 1972 David might have had little, if anything, of use to report to the GOC or to General Ford.

9.167 We have no evidence to indicate what the Special Branch warnings were to which General Ford referred in his memorandum.

9.168 The Security Service officer, Julian, was based in London but made visits to Northern Ireland. Together with another officer, who was identified publicly by the Inquiry only as James, he was involved in running agents in Northern Ireland.1 In the week beginning 10th January 1972 Julian sought information about the march from a Security Service agent who was based in Londonderry. This agent was known to the Inquiry as “Observer C”. Observer C was the Security Service’s principal agent in Londonderry at that time. He usually reported to the Security Service through an intermediary, known to the Inquiry as “Observer D”.2

1 KJ4.1 2KJ4.31-32; KJ4.63; Day 325/125

9.169 On 14th January 1972 Julian wrote a report in which he recorded information that had been provided to him by Observer D over the course of two telephone calls. Observer D had reported that Observer C had been able to discover nothing about a march planned for 16 January.1 However, Observer D had also reported that a large meeting of “the Officials from Magherafelt and other areas”, which had taken place in Magherafelt on the evening of 12th January, “might possibly have some bearing on the matter.”2 (By this time, of course, HQNI was aware that the march was to take place on 30th January.) Observer D had also reported that the gun battle in Londonderry on 12th January had been controlled and organised by the IRA HQ in Arran Court off Central Drive. Julian’s evidence to this Inquiry was that he thought that all of the information recorded in the file note, although provided to him by Observer D, had come from Observer C.3

1 KJ4.65 3 KJ4.36

2 KJ4.65

9.170 On 19th January 1972 Julian made a file note in which he recorded:1
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“Source rang on the morning of 19th January to say that the march which was to have taken place in Londonderry on 16th January would now definitely take place on Sunday, 30th January from Bishopsfield to the Bogside/Creggan. It was being organised by those members of the I.R.A. who had attended the meeting in Magherafelt to which he had previously referred. He hoped to be able to obtain details of the route, time and speakers in due course and would pass them on.

2. He also said that there would be a meeting on Saturday, 22nd January in Bishopsfield probably in the afternoon of fairly high powered people. Further details of this meeting he will obtain if possible and let us have them. Source also said that he thought that Bishopsfield might well be being used as an active base for the I.R.A.”


1 KJ4.67

9.171 Julian’s evidence to the Inquiry was that the “source” was Observer D. Julian told us that he believed that the information had almost certainly come from Observer C, although the note does not reveal this. He said that he had passed the information on to a junior staff officer in the Intelligence Branch at HQNI.1

1 KJ4.37; Day 326/66

9.172 This is the only reference in the material available to this Inquiry of the march being organised by republican paramilitaries. On 10th January 1972, in his telegram to Julian, David identified the James Connolly Republican Club as being involved in the march. The source of this information is not known. The assessment presented to the Director of Operations Intelligence Committee (Northern Ireland) on 10th January also identified the James Connolly Republican Club as a sponsor of the march.1 It is likely that David and the author of that assessment (if a different person) relied on the same source.

1 G50A.309.5

9.173 This Inquiry made efforts to obtain further information about the alleged meeting of Official Republicans in Magherafelt but was unable to discover anything further about it. Solicitors acting on behalf of Charles Morrison, Michael Havord and Anthony Martin, who were members of the Derry CRA, informed the Inquiry that their clients said that they had not attended any such meeting. Solicitors acting for the NICRA officers Ivan Barr, Jimmy Doris, Ann Hope, Edwina Stewart and Hugh Logue said that their clients knew nothing of any such meeting and that, according to their clients, Magherafelt was not a place at which the Executive of NICRA ever met. No reply was received to a request for information about the Magherafelt meeting, which the Inquiry made to the solicitors acting on behalf of the Command Staff of the Official IRA.

9.174 Kevin McCorry told us that he was in effect the Chief Executive Officer of NICRA at the time.1 He was in Londonderry during the week before the march and oversaw the arrangements for the stewarding of the march. He told us that recruitment of stewards for the day was left in the hands of Gerry “The Bird” Doherty, a well-known local Official Republican.2 It also appears that members of the Official IRA were recruited and acted as stewards on the march.3 However, we have found no evidence to suggest that any involvement by the Official Republican Movement (or by members of the Official or indeed the Provisional IRA) in the organising or conduct of the march, was or might have been for the purpose of subverting NICRA’s genuine desire to conduct a peaceful, non-violent protest against internment.

1 Day 129/128

2 Day 129/35-36; Day 129/45-55
3 Paragraph 13.3


The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association’s plans for the march

9.175 We deal elsewhere1in this report with the planning by NICRA for the march that eventually took place on 30th January 1972.

1 Chapter 13

Assessment in mid-January 1972 by the security forces of the risks posed by the march

9.176 The List of Forthcoming Events attached to the Special Branch assessment for the period ending 19th January 1972 recorded:1

“Sunday, 30th January … Londonderry. NICRA sponsored anti-internment march from Creggan to Guildhall Square at 2.30 p.m. No trouble anticipated.”


1 G66.410-411

9.177 This assessment is, of course, inconsistent with earlier assessments, including that contained within the HQNI IntSum dated 13th January 1972, to which we have already referred. The information on which the author based the assertion that no trouble was anticipated is not known. It is also inconsistent with the views expressed in later documents.

9.178 Under the heading “Civil Protest” the author of 8th Infantry Brigade’s IntSum 100,1 which was distributed on 19th January 1972 and which dealt with events in the 8th Infantry Brigade area from 12th to 18th January 1972, noted:

“The projected NICRA march from the Creggan to the Guildhall Square, Derry, planned for 16 Jan, has now been re-scheduled for Sunday 30 Jan. The JCRC has also announced that it intends to hold a protest meeting in Bishops Field, Creggan on 22 Jan. In addition to this, the opening of Magilligan Camp as a second internment centre has produced a threat of marches and demonstrations there. The predictable outcry about Magilligan was led by Ivan Cooper MP, who has declared that ‘There is no change in the initial mood of angry determination to cause the greatest possible trouble for the British Army at Magilligan. I can tell you that the Civil Rights Association in North Derry, with my full backing, have plans to cause them plenty of trouble and make them sorry they ever opened a second camp.’

Comment. The meeting in Creggan on 22 Jan is not likely to be the direct cause of any trouble nor is it likely that the ban on marches will be defied on this occasion. However, the normal rioting and hooliganism of a Saturday afternoon will probably be exacerbated as a result of the meeting. The march on 30 Jan from the Creggan to the Guildhall has, on the other hand, been planned in direct defiance of the ban on marches.”


1 G61.372

9.179 HQNI IntSum 3/72 for the week ending 19th January 1972 included the following paragraph:1

“Outlook

28. Despite the continuing attrition of men and material, and the consequent effect on morale, both factions of the IRA must be expected to attempt to maintain at least their present level of operations. As in previous weeks, spectacular or dramatic operations, aimed at securing maximum publicity, and boosting morale, may be expected to occur. As security force search and arrest activity continues to affect the IRA’s freedom to act in pursuit of these objectives, the assassination of off-duty security force personnel and selected civilians is likely to become a terrorist tactic. The anti-internment campaign has been given new momentum by the opening of Magilligan Internment Camp. The planned march in Londonderry on 30 Jan 1972 will present a serious security problem.”


1 G67.416

9.180 General Ford told the Widgery Inquiry that the march was first proposed for 16th January 1972 and that he had therefore considered it for a fortnight or more before it actually took place. He continued:1

“It was the view of the senior Commanders on the spot, and I supported this view, that it was inevitable that at an early stage the IRA and the hooligans would take over control of this illegal march, no matter what the NICRA organisers wished.”


1 WT10.5

9.181 He said to the Widgery Inquiry that he had anticipated shooting by the IRA. He had also expected some form of violence, “certainly by the hooligans”, when the march was halted. He had envisaged that emotional speeches at Free Derry Corner might incite members of the crowd to join the hooligans and that rioters would pour down towards the commercial centre.1

1 WT10.5

Meeting of the Stormont Cabinet on 18th January 1972

9.182 On 18th January 1972 the Stormont Cabinet approved the renewal of the ban on marches.1William Stout, the Government Security Adviser, in what appears to be a note prepared for Brian Faulkner’s use, referred to “what could well be the beginning of a series of processions organised by Civil Rights and other ‘front’ organisations of the IRA”.2The note recommended the continuation of the ban on the grounds that without it an intolerable burden would be placed on the security services by the multiplicity of security commitments and the consequent escalation of violence. However, William Stout went on to argue that while accepting the continuation of the ban, the Government had to be assured that it would be effectively imposed. To this end, he referred to the firmer measures proposed in the Army paper on the control of marches, commenting that it should be recognised that such measures might at times precipitate violence in situations that might otherwise have been non-violent, and that this would require anti-riot measures to be employed.3
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