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Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:12

19.131 John Porter gave a similar account in his evidence to the Widgery Inquiry.1

1 WT8.44

19.132 There is a Sunday Times map attributed to John Porter.1 This shows where a bullet hit the building, but we have no interview notes accompanying the map, so its precise provenance is unclear.

1 AP11.22

19.133 John Porter’s description of where the bullet struck something metal at the side of Columbcille Court differs from that given by Cyril Cave, which was that the bullet hit a wall (in his evidence to us Cyril Cave recalled a “garden wall ”) close by them in the area of Kells Walk.

19.134 John Porter is dead and gave no evidence to this Inquiry. As will be seen later in this report, we are of the view that when he described events that occurred later in the day in Sector 4, he got the order of events wrong. To our minds he also did so when describing this shot, and what he observed was far more likely to have been one of the shots fired by soldiers shooting at Damien Donaghey, which ricocheted up into Columbcille Court.

19.135 There is also the evidence of Sean Barr (who was 16 at the time) and Charles James McGill. The former in his NICRA statement stated that just after he had helped John Johnston to “cover ” another shot rang out and hit the wall behind.1 In his written evidence to this Inquiry2 Sean Barr stated that he no longer remembered this shot. In his written evidence to this Inquiry, Charles McGill told us he recalled shots from one of the soldiers on “the flat church roof ” as he was helping John Johnston,3 but in his NICRA statement,4 though he recalled hearing shots and then going to the aid of John Johnston, he made no mention of another shot shortly afterwards. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Charles McGill resiled from his suggestion that there was a shot after he had gone to the aid of John Johnston.5 Michael McGuinness, in his written evidence to this Inquiry,6 told us that he did not recall hearing any further shooting as he and Charles McGill helped John Johnston towards Ma Shiels’ house.

1 AB19.8

2 AB19.5

3 AM230.3
4 AM230.8

5 Day 69/92

6 AM283.3


19.136 In our view Charles McGill was correct in having second thoughts about his initial recollection of Army shots as he was helping John Johnston. It seems to us possible that Sean Barr may have confused the order of events and that the shot he described in his NICRA statement was one that had been fired at Damien Donaghey; but equally what Sean Barr recalled at the time could be said to support the account given by Cyril Cave of a later shot.

19.137 The source of the shot witnessed by Cyril Cave is unclear. There is no Army evidence of a shot or shots being fired across William Street at this stage. It is possible that a soldier did fire but did not admit to doing so, but to our minds this is unlikely, as he would have run the risk that other soldiers (including commissioned and non-commissioned officers) would have witnessed what he had done. It is also possible (and to our minds somewhat more likely) that the shot was fired by a civilian, not to hit but perhaps to frighten off the BBC crew who, as observed above, had met a very hostile reception when taken to the house in Columbcille Court.

19.138 It seems most unlikely that what the witnesses heard was the shot fired by OIRA 1, since this was fired from Columbcille Court and directed towards the Presbyterian church.1

1 Day 141/131-132

19.139 We now consider the accounts of other civilian witnesses who have stated that they heard a single shot fired.

19.140 Charles Gallagher in his NICRA statement1 recorded that he was standing with a group of people at Abbey Street when he heard one shot ring out which “seemed to come from the derelict building to the right of Stevenson Bakery ”. He heard no other shooting as he went down the street “to the right of Colmcille Court ” on his way to Free Derry Corner. In his written evidence to this Inquiry,2 he told us that he was on the march and about 100–200m behind the lorry, though it is not clear whether this was still the case when he got to Abbey Street. In his oral evidence he said that at the time he heard the shot, William Street was fairly crowded, but also described his recollection of this as “vague ”.3 He stated that he was surprised that there appeared to be no reaction by the crowd to the shot. He also stated he did not see anyone in the William Street area throwing stones or shouting at soldiers.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:13

19.141 Sheila McLoughlin (now Sheila Ingram) also gave similar evidence in her written statement to this Inquiry.1 She recalled being somewhere near the middle of the march (“nearer to the back end of the middle ”) and that when she was about midway down William Street she heard a high velocity shot which she thought had come from a height and from the north side of William Street. She recalled that those around her also looked in this direction. For a few seconds there was a feeling of anxiety among the crowd, but “as the shot was not followed by any further shots, people soon carried on walking and the march proceeded along William Street ”. Sheila McLoughlin said that she had not seen anyone throwing stones or anything else in William Street. Sheila McLoughlin does not appear to have given a 1972 account.

1 AI1.7

19.142 Martin Hegarty, in his written statement to this Inquiry, estimated that he was quite close to the back of the march and thought that it was as he was walking along William Street and opposite Abbey Street that he heard a single high velocity shot which he recognised “as much as one can ” as being from an Army weapon. He said he thought that it was some time after 3.30pm when he heard this shot. He said that he could see soldiers on buildings on the north side of William Street. He added that although he did not make any connection between the shot he heard and the soldier he saw, “the people around me certainly seemed to think that the shot had come from the direction of the old factory to our left ”. Martin Hegarty told us that there was no panic when the shot rang out and people did not run, “albeit that they probably could not have done so because there were so many people packing the street ”. He went on down to the junction of William Street and Rossville Street. He said he could not remember if there were people on the waste grounds to either side of William Street, but heard no reports that anyone had been hit by the shot that he had heard.1 Martin Hegarty also does not appear to have given a 1972 account.

1 AH62.2

19.143 Charles Gallagher, Sheila McLoughlin and Martin Hegarty all thought that the shot had come from the north side of William Street. They could be wrong about this, because of the difficulty in an urban environment of telling where firing had come from. In the case of Charles Gallagher, it is difficult to tell where the march had got to at this time, though he had a vague memory of William Street being fairly crowded. Sheila McLoughlin described herself as being somewhere near the back of the middle of the march. Martin Hegarty described William Street as being packed with people.

19.144 In our consideration of the wounding of Damien Donaghey and John Johnston, we concluded that by the time of that event, there were few marchers still coming down William Street. If the recollection of these witnesses as to the state of the crowd is accurate, it seems unlikely that what they recalled hearing was one of the shots fired by Machine Gun Platoon at this time. Their evidence could be said to support the proposition that what they heard was the shot fired by OIRA 1, before the wounding of Damien Donaghey and John Johnston; or indeed that they heard another shot altogether. However, Charles Gallagher was the only one of these three who appears to have given a 1972 account, and this account does not describe the state of the crowd in William Street at this time. To our minds it is equally possible that the recollections of these witnesses of the numbers of people in William Street, given so long afterwards, are faulty and that what these witnesses heard was either one of the shots fired by Machine Gun Platoon, or OIRA 1’s shot after that event, or the shot heard by Cyril Cave and (possibly) by Sean Barr, or another shot altogether.

19.145 John Brown told us in his written statement to this Inquiry that while he was in the Kells Walk area of Rossville Street he heard a sharp crack, which he thought was a rifle shot.1 According to his NICRA statement, “The sound seemed to come from Upper William Street over Kell’s Walk ”.2 For us, he marked on a map the area from which he thought it had come, which included the laundry waste ground to the south and the buildings on the north-west side of Aggro Corner,3 although he added that he could not say “exactly where it was fired from, or in which direction it might have been fired ”. He said that, a few minutes after hearing the shot, he heard a girl call out from Kells Walk or the Rossville Flats that someone had been shot.4 John Brown said he heard no other shots that day.5 He thought that the march was still in progress when he heard the single shot.6

1 AB93.2

2 AB93.6

3 AB93.5
4 AB93.2

5 Day 54/59

6 Day 54/67


19.146 John Brown’s evidence is that he heard only one shot. It is possible that this was one of the shots fired by soldiers from Abbey Taxis since, as with other witnesses, he may not have heard all the shots fired from there. It is equally possible that what he heard was the shot fired by OIRA 1, or indeed another shot altogether. Although he recalled hearing this shot when he thought that the march was still in progress, he was not in William Street and thus would not have known of the state of the crowd there when he heard the shot.

19.147 Kathleen Turner1 and William Martin Hegarty2 also gave evidence of hearing a single shot, but associated this with the wounding of Damien Donaghey. It seems to us that what these witnesses heard was probably one of the shots fired by soldiers from Abbey Taxis. Eileen Doherty3 also recalled hearing a single shot that had come from William Street while she was at the junction of this street and Rossville Street, but we formed the view when listening to her that after so many years her testimony, though undoubtedly given in good faith, was such that we could place no reliance on it.

1 AT19.2; Day 54/23

2 AH65.1
3 AD64.1; Day 113/101-102


19.148 Professor McCormack (to whom we have referred when considering the shooting of Damien Donaghey and John Johnston) said that he thought he was in the middle of the march.1 He said that a soldier on the GPO roof fired a shot at a time at which the march was static in William Street. He accepted in his oral evidence that the soldier may just have pointed his rifle, not fired.2 There are others who recall a soldier in this position pointing but not firing his rifle. In view of Professor McCormack’s uncertainty over whether he actually saw the soldier fire, it seems to us that his evidence on this point does not take the matter much further.

1 Day 113/122 2 Day 113/101-2

Other evidence from journalists

19.149 Nigel Wade of the Daily Telegraph, Simon Winchester of the Guardian and David Tereshchuk of Thames Television all gave evidence to the Widgery Inquiry to the effect that at about 4.00pm they were together at or near the doorway of City Cabs in William Street. All three of these journalists said that at this time they heard a single shot. City Cabs is indicated by an arrow on the following photograph.


19.150 Nigel Wade said in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry that at the time he did not know where the shot had come from and that just after the shot was fired a woman said to him: “Go on, do your duty, there’s a boy shot up there. ”1 He also said that he believed that the shot had come from the GPO sorting office, but only because he had since heard that the Army fired a shot at this point. In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry he said that it was the very first shot he had heard that day.2
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:13

19.151 Simon Winchester recorded in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry that he thought this was a high velocity shot that had come from the direction of Little Diamond and he remarked to his colleagues “Provos ”, thinking it was from an IRA sniper. He said that this shot was fired between 4.00pm and 4.05pm and that he had noted it in his notebook.1 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry he recalled a woman reacting by saying to him “Be sure and get it right who fired that shot ”, but that this was the only reaction from the three or four people who were near him.2 In his book In Holy Terror he said that this shot had been fired at an Army wire cutting party, but in his oral evidence to this Inquiry he said that this information had come from IRA people to whom he had spoken in Belfast much later.3

1 M83.16

2 WT3.11
3 Day 116/147-148


19.152 In his written evidence to this Inquiry,1 Simon Winchester said that the shot was a low velocity one and that it came from the direction of Glenfada Park or the Rossville Flats, but we had the impression from his oral evidence that he was not certain whether the shot he heard was high or low velocity, but merely different from the sounds of baton guns he had heard earlier in the afternoon.2 As to the direction of the shot, he could really say no more than that it came from behind him and “the arc of what could be behind me would … include the Little Diamond and Rossville and Glenfada ”.3

1 M83.3

2 Day 116/30-31
3 Day 116/31


19.153 David Tereshchuk recorded in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry that he heard a single rifle shot that seemed to come from further up William Street.1 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry he said that it was the first shot that he had heard that afternoon.2

1 M77.1 2WT3.82

19.154 None of these journalists appears to have heard more than one shot. As we have already pointed out, it does not follow that what they heard must have been something other than one of the shots fired by soldiers from Abbey Taxis, since other witnesses also recall hearing only one shot from that location. In the end, we formed the view that the evidence of these journalists did not enable us to determine whether the shot they heard was the shot fired by OIRA 1, one of the shots fired by soldiers in Abbey Taxis, or another shot altogether.

19.155 The Observer newspaper had intended to publish a substantial article about Bloody Sunday in its edition of 6th February 1972, but did not proceed because of a concern that publication might be regarded as contempt of the Widgery Tribunal. The following appears in the galley proofs of that article, attributed to the acting Commanding Officer of the Official wing of the IRA in Derry, Johnny White (OIRA 3):1

“‘On Sunday, most of our members were taking part in the march and were unarmed. We had two marksmen on duty, but with strict instructions not to use their weapons until the area was clear of civilians. One was covering Rossville Street from the corner of William Street and Rossville Street. Another was in the Little Diamond covering William Street … We fired only one shot in the area, and that was after the Army had finished shooting. A soldier went into the street by himself and our man covering Rossville Street thought he could get him.

He fired one shot and then realised it would be dangerous to go on because, although the immediate street was clear, people were huddled in doorways and running to safety whenever the firing stopped.

Two shots were fired by our volunteer covering Bishops [sic] Street. Those were the only shots we fired.’”


1 ED24.9

19.156 Bishop Street lies to the south-east of the Rossville Flats, starting at the Diamond in the walled part of the city, and is nowhere near William Street.

19.157 We have no reason to doubt that the account in the Observer galley proofs came from Johnny White (OIRA 3) and was accurately reported, but it is clearly an inaccurate and incomplete account, since apart from anything else, it does not refer to the shot undoubtedly fired by OIRA 1 from Columbcille Court. The reference to a gunman “covering Rossville Street ” and firing a shot at a soldier on the street may be a reference to an incident concerning Reg Tester in the area of Free Derry Corner, which occurred after soldiers had gone into the Bogside. We consider this incident later in this report.1 However, the article does provide evidence that at some time there were two Official IRA gunmen in the area of William Street.

1 Chapter 148

19.158 We have referred above to the article in the Sunday Press of 6th February 1972 by Vincent Browne. Earlier in the same article he wrote:1

“The Officials had an active service unit of four men on duty. They were all either to be armed during the parade or to have immediate access to arms should they become necessary. In addition, a number of other volunteers in the parade were armed for their personal protection.

It is important to emphasize that at no stage during the initial part of the parade did any IRA men open fire. By the time that some of them did so one man was dead and three people were injured. ”


1 M8.2

19.159 Although Vincent Browne could not recall his sources, it seems to us that this account provides further evidence that in addition to OIRA 1, there were other members of the Official IRA in the area under discussion, who were armed or who had ready access to arms.

Other evidence of paramilitary activity

19.160 Teresa Bradley told us that while she was on the laundry waste ground, with her eyes streaming from gas, she saw a boy on the ground wearing a white jerkin, denim jeans and motorbike goggles, who appeared to have been shot in the leg. She had heard shooting but thought it was rubber bullets.1, 2 Her recollection was that her husband went with those carrying the boy to Dr Raymond McClean, who was standing nearby. She started to walk after them, but then stopped and waited. She recalled that at this time she saw a gunman on the first floor of Kells Walk: “He was not right to the north end of the Walk, where there were stairs; he was a short way back and may have come out of a slatted area where the tenants dried their washing. ”3 The gunman was standing completely alone and was firing a handgun to the north. He shot several times. “It was not a heavy gun and the firing sounded like ‘pops’. ” Teresa Bradley said that the crowd around her who had also seen the gunman fire got very irate and were shouting at the man to stop shooting. The man when she next looked had disappeared.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:14

19.161 Teresa Bradley had made a NICRA statement1 in which there is no reference to this gunman, nor to another later incident where she recalled seeing men with guns in a car, though in her evidence to us she was sure that she had mentioned these incidents to the person writing her statement.2 That person was William Smyth, who denied that Teresa Bradley had mentioned these matters, on the basis that if she had done so, he would have included them in her statement.3 It seemed to us that William Smyth did not in fact remember taking this particular statement. We preferred the evidence of Teresa Bradley on this point. In our view she probably did give this information to William Smyth, though we do not know why he did not record it.

1 AB70.9

2 AB70.5; Day 64/48-49, 71-73
3 AS27.2; Day 83/154


19.162 Teresa Bradley is almost certainly wrong about the presence of Dr McClean, as there is convincing evidence that he was fetched to Ma Shiels’ house after Damien Donaghey had been taken there.1 Apart from this, however, we believe that this witness did see a gunman as she described, though it is possible that, with the passage of years, her memory of some of the other details of what she saw may have become distorted. The fact that she did not appear to recall hearing the shot fired by OIRA 1 or the altercation with him does not in our view undermine her testimony, nor the fact that there is no other evidence of this gunman, though in this connection it is possible that the shots heard by William Burke, whose evidence we discuss above, were from this source. It is also possible that David Capper saw the gunman described by Teresa Bradley, but this seems unlikely if he is right in his recollection that this gunman was at ground level.

1 AM105.4-5; H3.13

19.163 According to Teresa Bradley’s account, the gunman was on the same balcony as Anthony Martin, whose evidence we have considered earlier. He made no mention of seeing a gunman there, but this may be explicable on the basis that these two witnesses were describing events at different times.

19.164 Although we are sure that Teresa Bradley saw the gunman she described to us fire a number of shots, none of these in our view could have been the shot that hit the drainpipe. In our view the soldiers who heard this shot were correct in describing it as a high velocity shot and so it could hardly have come from a handgun, which, according to Teresa Bradley, made (unlike a high velocity weapon) little noise when it was discharged and was “not … heavy ”.

19.165 Ann O’Donnell made a NICRA statement dated 1st February 1972 in which she described hearing a shot fired from the Presbyterian church wall in Great James Street where at least two British soldiers were positioned:1

“This shot injured a youth in the legs. This was the first shot fired, and it definitely came from the British army. A man appeared with an old rifle behind the taxi office in William Street and fired one shot hitting nothing. Other bystanders advised him to put the gun away as it would only draw fire, which he did immediately. ”


1 AO20.1

19.166 Ann O’Donnell is dead and gave no evidence to this Inquiry. On the basis of her account, it would seem that she was in the area of William Street near Columbcille Court and was describing a gunman somewhere south of City Cabs in William Street. Though in our view she was mistaken in attributing the shot that injured a youth in the legs to soldiers on the Presbyterian church wall, we have no reason to doubt that she saw a gunman fire from somewhere near where Damien Donaghey and John Johnston were shot, as she recounted to her daughter Grainne O’Donnell.1 According to Grainne O’Donnell’s written statement to this Inquiry, her mother said that she had seen a young man shot and taken to Ma Shiels’ house; after that, she had seen a man with an “old style gun ” come out of a house in the block on the south side of William Street between the laundry waste ground and the Abbey Street waste ground. The gunman fired a shot into the air.2 In her oral evidence, Grainne O’Donnell told us that her recollection was that her mother had said that the gunman was in William Street, in a derelict building near a taxi office. Grainne O’Donnell said that she was aware that there was a taxi office in William Street but, on being shown photographs of the area, could not recall the location of the office.3 It is possible that this was a shot heard by some of the witnesses discussed above. It is also possible, though to our minds unlikely in view of the evidence as a whole, that this was the shot that hit the Presbyterian church drainpipe.

1 AO30.5

2 AO30.5
3 Day 105/139


19.167 We should mention at this point that in his written evidence to us, Stephen McGonagle recalled that after Damien Donaghey and John Johnston had been shot he saw a young man with a revolver in Rossville Street just south of the junction with William Street, followed by two “IRA activists ” who quickly disarmed him.1

1 AM253.1

19.168 Stephen McGonagle did not mention this in his NICRA statement, nor in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry.1 He was too ill to give oral evidence to this Inquiry and died during its course. His written evidence to this Inquiry contains some matters that raise doubts as to the accuracy of his recollection. It is possible, however, that he did see one of the Official IRA gunmen who, according to Johnny White’s (OIRA 3’s) account to the Observer, was stationed in the area.

1 AM253.1; AM253.2

Conclusions on shooting in the area of William Street

19.169 It can be seen from the foregoing that the evidence of shooting in the William Street area is in large measure confusing and conflicting; and we have not found it possible to be certain on many of the points that arose.

19.170 As far as the shot fired by OIRA 1 is concerned, however, we consider that on the evidence we have considered this probably did follow the wounding of Damien Donaghey and John Johnston.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:15

19.171 It does not follow that because OIRA 1’s shot probably followed this event, OIRA 1 fired by way of reprisal, as he and OIRA 2 have said. Apart from the unreliable accounts given by OIRA 1 and OIRA 2, the only evidence from other sources that this was the case comes from PIRA 1 and Anthony Martin.

19.172 PIRA 1’s evidence does to a degree support the claim that OIRA 1’s shot was by way of reprisal, but if OIRA 1 was claiming immediately after the event that he fired by way of reprisal, it is odd that neither RM 1 nor Sean Keenan Junior recalled that OIRA 1 had made this claim.

19.173 Anthony Martin, in his account to the Sunday Times, described it as a “racing cert.” that the shot was a reply to the Army shots.1 This was said in the context of also saying that the gunman shot a few seconds after the Army shots. Were this the case then it could be inferred that the shot was by way of immediate reprisal and that OIRA 1 and OIRA 2 had believed that their target was the soldier who had wounded Damien Donaghey and John Johnston. However, it seems to us that it was very soon after OIRA 1’s shot that there was the altercation with members of the Provisional IRA and RM 1, and that this altercation took place a considerably longer period than a few seconds (perhaps as long as some minutes) after Damien Donaghey and John Johnston had been wounded. On this basis it is difficult to see how Anthony Martin could be sure that the shot was by way of immediate reprisal. As already noted, he was unsure in his evidence to us how much time had passed between the soldiers’ shots and that of the gunman.

1 AM24.3

19.174 In these circumstances, since we are sure that OIRA 1 and OIRA 2 had gone to a pre-arranged sniping position, it remains in doubt whether they fired by way of reprisal for the shooting of Damien Donaghey and John Johnston, or simply because a target presented itself at the time in question. On balance we consider that the latter was more likely to be the case. It was to our minds obviously in the interests of OIRA 1 and OIRA 2 to seek to give what they thought might be an acceptable reason for their conduct. In our view a matter of minutes rather than seconds passed between the wounding of Damien Donaghey and John Johnston, and the shot fired by OIRA 1. In those circumstances, and in view of the unreliability of the evidence given by OIRA 1 and OIRA 2, we are unpersuaded that, even if they knew of the shooting of Damien Donaghey and John Johnston, they had any belief that the soldier they fired at was the one responsible.

19.175 As far as the evidence of other shots is concerned, there is the evidence of Teresa Bradley and Ciaran Donnelly of a gunman firing a handgun in the direction of the soldiers to the north of William Street, though they appeared to be describing different shooting incidents, one before and one after the shooting of Damien Donaghey and John Johnston. It also seems to us likely that Ann O’Donnell saw a rifleman fire.

19.176 As to Thomas Mullarkey, he may have heard the shot fired by OIRA 1, though if his timing is right, ie that the shot he heard was before anyone went to help Damien Donaghey, then what he heard is unlikely to have been this shot and may indeed have been a shot from a revolver.

19.177 As to Bernard Gillespie, it seems to us that it is likely that the second shot he heard was the shot fired by OIRA 1. As to Joe Carlin’s account of hearing a high velocity shot before seeing Damien Donaghey fall, we cannot say more than it is possible either that this was one of the shots fired by the soldiers from Abbey Taxis, or that it was another shot altogether. As to David Capper, again it seems to us that while it is possible he that he heard the shot fired by OIRA 1, but mistakenly thought that this was fired at ground level, it is at least equally possible that he did hear a shot from a gunman in the crowd at ground level. As to Charles Gallagher, Sheila McLoughlin and Martin Hegarty, it seems to us that though they probably heard a shot, their evidence does not assist in determining who might have fired it.

19.178 We should note at this point that it was reported at 1549 hours that two shots had been directed at the Mex Garage from Kildrum Gardens.1 This was about a mile from the area of the Presbyterian church and Columbcille Court. In our view it is unlikely that these shots (which we describe in more detail elsewhere in this report2) were those that the witnesses we have been considering say that they heard.


19.179 As to the evidence of Cyril Cave, we have already observed that the source of the shot he recalled remains unclear, though in our view it appears unlikely that this was fired by a soldier. It is possible that John Porter and Sean Barr also observed this shot, though in their cases it is more likely that they got the order of events wrong and were describing one of the shots fired at Damien Donaghey.

19.180 As we have stated, the evidence of paramilitary gunfire in Sector 1 is confusing. However, we have no doubt that OIRA 1 fired the shot that hit the drainpipe on the side of the Presbyterian church; and we equally have no doubt that there was other paramilitary gunfire in this sector before soldiers of 1 PARA went into the Bogside. The evidence suggests to us that this was probably firing by members of the Official IRA. We have found nothing to suggest that any member of the Provisional IRA fired at this stage. Elsewhere in this report1 we consider in more detail the organisation of the Official and Provisional IRA and their activities on Bloody Sunday.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:15

The effect of the drainpipe shot

19.181 With the possible exception of Lance Corporal 010, the only shot that soldiers seem to have heard was the shot that hit the drainpipe on the eastern side of the Presbyterian church. Some soldiers gave evidence that this shot brought home to them that there were snipers about and that it changed a riot control situation into a gun battle, as, for example, did Private 0131 and Sergeant K.2 Others, for example Private INQ 748,3 said that they were not concerned, as they were used to sniper fire in Belfast. Since some of the soldiers thought that the shot had come from the Rossville Flats, this probably reinforced their belief that these flats were a likely place for snipers. Sergeant O told us in his written and oral evidence to this Inquiry, which we accept on this point, that the drainpipe shot caused more soldiers to carry SLRs instead of baton guns when they went into the Bogside than would otherwise have been the case, though he denied that the drainpipe shot had caused any change in the plan to go in to make arrests.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:17

Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry
- Volume II - Chapter 20


Army orders relating to the arrest operation
Chapter 20: Army orders relating to the arrest operation

Contents

Paragraph

Ebrington Barracks and radio communications 20.1

The arrest order 20.32

The nature of the first part of the order to 1 PARA 20.51

Conclusions on the first part of the arrest order 20.151

The prohibition on conducting a running battle down Rossville Street 20.156

The appropriateness of Brigadier MacLellan’s arrest order 20.178

1 PARA dispositions and orders 20.207

The situation on the ground at the time of the Brigade order 20.270

Was any arrest or scoop-up order appropriate? 20.272

Ebrington Barracks and radio communications

20.1 As described above, by about 1530 hours the barriers were manned and in place, A, C and Support Companies of 1 PARA started to move to their “assault ” positions and the civil rights march reached William Street.

20.2 Brigadier MacLellan was in his Brigade Headquarters at Ebrington Barracks. He had announced his intention of exercising command from there at the co-ordinating conference on Friday 28th January.1

1 B1232

20.3 Ebrington Barracks was on the east side of the Foyle about a mile and a half by road from the junction of William Street and Rossville Street.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:17

20.4 Brigade Headquarters at Ebrington Barracks was a two-storey structure with the radio room and communication centre on the ground floor and the Operations Room above. Loudspeakers in the Operations Room and the Brigade Commander’s office relayed radio transmissions on the Ulsternet. Radio messages on the Ulsternet could be sent from the Operations Room.1 Colonel Michael Steele, who was the Brigade Major (the senior staff officer at Brigade Headquarters), told us that he thought that the BID 150 secure net equipment was in a Land Rover at the back of the building with a line up to his office leading to a handset on his desk.2 He drew the following diagram of the layout of the first floor.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

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20.5 Other witnesses had slightly different recollections of the arrangement of rooms. Lieutenant INQ 2086, a watchkeeper at Brigade HQ, thought that the offices of the Brigadier and Brigade Major were next to one another and across the hallway from the Ops Room,1 while Captain INQ 1903, second in command of 8 Brigade’s Signal Squadron, thought that Colonel Steele’s office was adjacent to the Ops Room.2 These differences in recollection might be explained by the fact that Ebrington Barracks was renovated shortly after Bloody Sunday.3 On the whole, we place more reliance on Colonel Steele’s evidence on this point. Although his diagram of the layout was given to this Inquiry and not to the Widgery Inquiry, his testimony in 1972 was consistent with his later explanation and might have served to fix an accurate memory in his mind. Further, Chief Superintendent Frank Lagan’s recollection was compatible with Colonel Steele’s account, but not that of Lieutenant INQ 2086.4

1 C2086.8

2 Day 253/87
3 C2086.3

4 JL1.24; JL1.13


20.6 It appears that in addition to radio communications, Colonel Steele also had a telephone link to the Tactical Headquarters of the battalions in the city, including a link with 1 PARA in the Foyle College car park.1

1 Day 267/24; W40

20.7 Colonel Roy Jackson, the Commanding Officer of 1 R ANGLIAN at the time of Bloody Sunday, criticised Brigadier MacLellan’s decision to remain at Ebrington Barracks in his evidence to this Inquiry. Colonel Jackson felt that it would have been better for the Brigadier to have been on the City Walls where he would have been “involved ” in the action.1

1 CJ2.49

20.8 We are not persuaded that this criticism is justified. Brigadier MacLellan explained to us that he had considered being in a helicopter or on the City Walls. He said that he envisaged an operation that was essentially one of static containment, albeit with the possibility of one unit having to move to do an arrest operation, and since he concluded that there was no one place on the ground from where he could see everything, he considered that he would be best positioned at Ebrington Barracks, where all the communications were coming in. He said that he was also conscious that the IRA might use the march as a diversion and be active elsewhere.1

1 Day 262/17-18; Day 264/33

20.9 In our view, this was a reasonable decision to take. At Ebrington Barracks Brigadier MacLellan could communicate with Headquarters Northern Ireland (HQNI), as well as with the battalions in the city and elsewhere and with Colonel Welsh in the helicopter. He could also listen to the communications between the battalions in the city on the Ulsternet. The BID 150 secure link was also available at this location.1 We deal below with the question of separation between rioters and others taking part in the march and whether proper means were employed to monitor this.

1 We consider Army communications in detail elsewhere in this report (Chapters 180–191).

20.10 The Inquiry prepared a transcription of the radio traffic on the Ulsternet taken from the Porter tapes. We are satisfied that the timings given in the transcription are reasonably accurate. The references to the Porter tapes describe the item number as the serial number, as was done during the hearing.1 We set out below the relevant communications, which are (as indicated) taken from the Porter tapes and the Brigade and other military logs.

1 In paragraph 187.2 we give a list of the relevant call signs in use and to whom they referred.

20.11 At about 1533 hours Colonel Welsh reported from the helicopter that the march was approaching Aggro Corner.1Some three minutes later, 22 Lt AD Regt, the battalion in overall charge of Barriers 12 to 17, reported that the head of the crowd had reached Barrier 14 and that “Currently all is peaceful ”.2,3 However, two minutes after that 22 Lt AD Regt informed Brigade HQ that there were initial reports of the crowd becoming hostile at Barrier 14 and a certain amount of stoning.4,5

1 W122 serial 268 on the Porter tapes, which corresponds with serial 123 on the Brigade log (W45)

2 W123 serial 282
3 W45 serial 125

4 W123 serial 284

5 W45 serial 126


20.12 At this point 1 PARA sent the following message to 22 Lt AD Regt, “Can you be prepared to lift your barriers 12 and 14 should we require to push through them to disperse these crowds ”, and shortly afterwards passed on to 22 Lt AD Regt a message from Colonel Wilford to be prepared for movement through Barriers 12, 14 and 16.1,2,3 It is not clear whether at this stage Colonel Wilford was in fact contemplating sending soldiers through Barrier 16 (at Castle Gate), though he thought he might have been,4 or whether the 1 PARA signallers made a mistake in including this barrier in their message, as only Barriers 12 and 14 are mentioned in the 1 PARA log.5 However, the messages do show that Colonel Wilford was by this time contemplating the possibility of sending at least some of his troops through Barriers 12 and 14, though the reference to dispersing crowds seems inconsistent with the idea of a scoop-up operation, as the Brigade Major (Colonel Steele) pointed out in the course of his oral evidence to us.6

1 W123 serial 286

2 W124 serial 294

3 W90 serial 28 on the 1 PARA Battalion log
4 Day 315/56; Day 321/59-62

5 W90

6 Day 267/36-37


20.13 At about 1541 hours 22 Lt AD Regt informed Brigade that there was some stoning at Barrier 15.1,2 About a minute later, Colonel Welsh reported from the helicopter that there was “a general drift ” of around 100 people away from Aggro Corner and into the “waste ground by the Flats in Chamberlain Street ”.3,4 At this time, the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) told Brigade that they estimated that the march as a whole numbered about 10,000 people.5 Colonel Welsh disagreed and thought that there were only 2,000, putting the RUC’s figure down to the fact that the crowd were “very spread out ”.6 As already observed, we are of the view that the RUC estimate was the more accurate. At about 1544 hours, 1 CG, manning Barriers 1 to 7, 9 and 11, reported that the tail of the column was now at “Lone Moor Road/Creggan Terrace ”.7,8

1 W124 serial 298

2 W45 serial 129

3 W124 serial 304

4 W45 serial 130
5 W124 serial 302

6 W124 serials 305-306

7 W124 serial 308

8 W45 serial 132


20.14 At the same time (about 1544 hours) Colonel Welsh reported: “Your large water pistol seems to have removed all the crowd now onto Aggro Corner. There seems to be a general move down, er, down Rossville street. ”1,2 The “large water pistol ” was a reference to the water cannon used at about this time at Barrier 14. 22 Lt AD Regt reported a certain amount of stoning at Barriers 14 and 15, and referring to the water cannon as “Neptune ” also described it as having considerable effect.3
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20.15 Between about 1547 hours and 1549 hours there was a radio exchange between Colonel Welsh, 22 Lt AD Regt and Brigade HQ about the state of the crowd:

Colonel Welsh to Brigade1,2

“Zero, this is 61Y. Reference the state of the crowd, apart from the hooligan fringe, the vast majority of the people now in the area of the waste ground by the Flats and on the ... on Aggro Corner look as though they’re not quite sure what they’re going to do next. Over. ”


1 W125 serial 315 2W45 serial 133

Brigade to Colonel Welsh3

“Zero, roger. Can you estimate the numbers of this group now? Over. ”


3 W125 serial 316

Colonel Welsh to Brigade4

“61 Yankee. We still reckon that it’s about … it’s in the region of 2,000 people. Over. ”


4 W125 serial 317

22 Lt AD Regt to Brigade5,6

“Hello, Zero, this is 90 Alpha. Our call signs confirm that general movement of crowd, although there is a hooligan fringe at serials 14 and 15. Some CS [gas] has been used, but this was used by them. I repeat: used by them. Over. ”


5 W125 serial 320 6 W125 serial 134

Brigade to 22 Lt AD Regt7

“Zero. Roger. Out.”


7 W125 serial 321

22 Lt AD Regt to Brigade8,9

“Hello Zero, this is 90 Alpha. Serials [barriers] 12 and 13 also under heavy bombardment from normal hooligans. ”


8 W125 serial 322 9W45 serial 135

20.16 At about 1549 hours1 1 R ANGLIAN reported to Brigade: “We’ve just had two shots fired at call sign Hotel 3 from the area of Kildrum Gardens. Strikes seen on the ground in front of their location. No casualties and no fire returned. ”1,2

1 W125 serial 324 2W45 serial 136

20.17 The following map shows the area in which this shooting took place, which was about a mile from the junction of William Street and Rossville Street. This was the first live round gunfire to be reported on Bloody Sunday. We deal elsewhere in this report1with this shooting incident.


20.18 Between about 1550 hours and 1554 hours there were then the following communications about the rioters and the marchers:

22 Lt AD Regt to Brigade1,2

“Hello, Zero, this is 90 Alpha. Our sub units at call ... serials 12 and 13 have had to disperse the hooligans with rubber bullets and gas. They have been dispersed now into the general area of waste ground Rossville Street/William Street. Little James Street is completely clear. They report that some of the hooligans were wearing respirators, though not of similar pattern to ours. Over. ”


1 W126 serial 326 2W46 serial 137

Brigade to 22 Lt AD Regt3

“Zero. Roger to all that. What is the current situation at your 14 and 15? Over. ”


3 W126 serial 327

Colonel Welsh to Brigade4,5

“Zero, 61 Yankee. The general movement of the main body of the crowd seems to be down Rossville Street towards the area of the Flats. There is a flat-top lorry down behind the flats. Whether or not this is going to be used as a speakers’ platform I wouldn’t like to say just yet. Over. ”


4 W126 serial 329 5W46 serial 141

Brigade to Colonel Welsh6

“Zero. Roger. Out. ”


6 W126 serial 330

22 Lt AD Regt to Brigade7,8

“Zero, this is 90A. Reference your query regarding serials 14 and 15. 15 is clear, but serial 14 is suffering from a certain amount of stoning from the same hard core of hooligans on the Rossville Street/William Street corner. Over. ”


7 W126 serial 332 8W46 serial 143

22 Lt AD Regt to Brigade9,10

“Hello, Zero, this is 90A. Our call signs estimate numbers on Aggro Corner at the moment about 200. Over. ”


9 W126 serial 334 10W46 serial 145

Brigade to 22 Lt AD Regt11

“Zero. Roger. Out.”


11 W126 serial 335

20.19 At about 1555 hours 1 PARA radioed Brigade with the following message:1,2

“Hello, hello Zero, this is 65. My Sunray has deployed his units slightly forward from their original positions in preparation for any orders which you may have for him. ” [“Sunray ” was a reference to Colonel Wilford.]


1 W126 serial 336 2 W46 serial 148

20.20 The reference to units being slightly forward of their original positions relates either to A, C and Support Companies moving to their positions as described above (though this is hardly “slightly forward ”) or (and in our view more likely) to sending Machine Gun Platoon forward to Abbey Taxis and Mortar Platoon forward to cut the wire beside the Presbyterian church. Colonel Wilford could not remember which it was when he gave evidence to us.1 Captain INQ 2033, who was Battalion Signals Officer for 1 PARA, agreed with the suggestion that this message was a diplomatic attempt to get Brigade to give orders.2 The Porter tapes record Brigade simply acknowledging receipt of this message: “Zero. Roger. Out. ”3
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

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20.21 As appears from the sequence on the Porter tapes, Colonel Welsh then sent another report from the helicopter:1,2

“General state of the crowd. It now stretches between Aggro Corner, which has just had some more gas put on it, down to about 100 yards beyond the Flats. People are generally spreading out and the drift of people is definitely down to beyond the Flats and back the way they came… ”


1 W126 serial 338 2W46 serial 146

20.22 Shortly afterwards (again at about 1555 hours) the Porter tapes recorded 1 PARA radioing Brigade with another message from Colonel Wilford:1

“65, from my Sunray. He would like to deploy one of his sub units through barrier 14 around the back into the area William Street/Little James Street. He reckons if he does this he will be able to pick up quite a number of yobbos. ”


1 W127 serial 343

20.23 The relevant entry in the Brigade log, “[1 PARA] Would like to deploy sub unit through barricade 14 to pick up yobbos, in William St/Little James St. ”, gave an accurate summary of the message with the additional note that it was passed to HQNI.1

1 W46 serial 147

20.24 Again, the Porter tapes recorded Brigade simply acknowledging receipt of this message without further comment at this time: “Zero. Roger. Out. ”1 However, in his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, it seems clear that Colonel Steele was saying that he had used the secure radio means (the BID 150, which would not have been recorded on the Porter tapes)2 to reply to this request.3 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Colonel Steele said that “the Brigade Commander decided that … he did not have the necessary separation [between the rioters and the non-rioting crowd] and so I, using the BID 150, told 1 Para that they could not mount it then. My problem is that I cannot actually remember doing all this today, but I am sure I did and certainly at Widgery, six weeks after the event, I said that I did. ”4 In our view Colonel Steele may have told 1 PARA on the secure means that their request was, at least for the time being, declined.5 Although this does not appear in the 1 PARA Log,6 this seems to be of no significance as the request does not appear there either, and there are other indications (eg from the Porter tapes) that the log was not as comprehensive as it might have been.

1 W127 serial 344

2 We provide details of the BID 150 equipment in Chapter 183.

3 B1303; WT16.69
4 Day 267/18-19; B1313.008; Day 267/50

5 We deal below and in Chapter 189 with the submission that the BID 150 was not used on the day.

6 W90


20.25 The request from Colonel Wilford referred to deploying one of his sub-units (ie a company) through Barrier 14 “around the back ” into the area of William Street/Little James Street. It was not clear from the evidence what this phrase meant, but it may be that the idea was to send at least some of the company down Chamberlain Street and then across Eden Place towards the junction of William Street and Rossville Street or (or also) through Macari’s Lane and towards that junction. The following map indicates those means of reaching the junction, which could in our view be described as going “around the back ”.


20.26 At about 1559 hours Colonel Welsh radioed another report from the helicopter:1,2

“Zero, this is Kilo 61 Yankee. General crowd movement now is down into the Lecky Road from the area of the Flats. It seems as though a lot of people feel they’ve made their protest and are now returning back to their homes. ”


1 W127 serial 348 2W46 serial 150

20.27 About two minutes later 1 CG reported that someone was addressing about 200 people with a loudspeaker at Free Derry Corner.1,2

1 W127 serial 351 2W46 serial 152

20.28 At about 1602 hours there was an exchange on the radio between 1 PARA and 22 Lt AD Regt:1

1 W47 logged as serial 153 by the Brigade watchkeepers

1 PARA to 22 Lt AD Regt2

“Hello, 90, this is 65. Is there still a hooligan element in the area above barrier 14? Over. ”


2 W127 serial 353

1 PARA to 22 Lt AD Regt3

“Hello, 90, this is 65. Over. ”


3 W127 serial 354

22 Lt AD Regt to 1 PARA4

“90 Alpha. Send. Over. ”


4 W127 serial 355

1 PARA to 22 Lt AD Regt5

“65. Is there still a hooligan element in the area William Street/Little James Street and around barrier 14? Over. ”


5 W127 serial 356

22 Lt AD Regt to 1 PARA6

“90 Alpha. Yes. Over. ”


6 W127 serial 357

1 PARA to 22 Lt AD Regt7

“65, roger. Would you mind informing Zero of this, as they don’t appear to believe us on this point. Over. ”


7 W127 serial 358

22 Lt AD Regt to 1 PARA8

“90 Alpha. Wait. Out. ”


8 W127 serial 359

20.29 Colonel Steele described serial 358 as “a bit cheeky ”, and said he felt it showed that 1 PARA was “raring to go ”.1 In his evidence to this Inquiry, Captain INQ 2033, the Communications Officer of 1 PARA then positioned in the Gin Palace relaying the battalion’s communications, told us that he thought these signals arose from his initiative or that of a fellow signaller (and probably not Colonel Wilford). He believed that they were designed to put pressure on Brigade by supporting the earlier request made by Colonel Wilford to deploy an arrest force.2 As this discussion took place on the Brigade net, Brigadier MacLellan, Colonel Steele and the rest of Brigade HQ in the Operations Room at Ebrington Barracks would have been able to hear the exchange.

1 Day 267/60 2Day 352/154

20.30 At about the same time (1602 hours) 1 CG reported to Brigade that the “People in the Creggan Road seem to be dispersing in a northerly direction suffering from the effects of CS gas, which was not thrown by us ”.1,2 Some two minutes later 22 Lt AD Regt reported, “There is now a crowd of about 500 on Fox’s Corner [Free Derry Corner] being addressed from a loudspeaker van. These appear to be normal civil rights people. There’s still a crowd of about 150 hooligans at junction Rossville Street/William Street. ”3,4
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:21

20.31 We return below to consider these communications further.

The arrest order

20.32 The Brigade log contains the following entry, timed at 1609 hours and attributed to “BM ” (ie the Brigade Major, Colonel Steele):1

“Orders given to 1 PARA at 1607 hrs for 1 sub unit of 1 PARA to do scoop up OP through barrier 14. Not to conduct running battle down Rossville St. ”


1 W47 serial 159

20.33 We consider in turn the two parts of this order.

20.34 The 1 PARA log seemingly records this order as part of an entry timed at 1610 hours, the timing and precise terms of which are discussed below:1

“Move 3 now through K14. Also C/S 1 No running battles ”


1 W90 serial 31

20.35 The Porter tapes do not record the order.1The legal representatives of some of the families have relied upon the absence of such a record as evidence that no order was in fact given.2The evidence of Brigadier MacLellan, Colonel Steele and Colonel Wilford to both this Inquiry and that of Lord Widgery was that this suggestion is erroneous, as 1 PARA did not deploy until it had received orders from Brigade.3

1 W128-129

2 FS1.885-904
3 WT11.27; B1279.037; Day 262/76; WT16.70;
B1315.009-010; WT11.40; B1110.32; Day 313/29-30


20.36 These families also relied on the 1972 evidence of Chief Superintendent Lagan who was at Brigade Headquarters during that afternoon, from about 1315 hours until about 1700 hours.1 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry he stated that shortly before 1400 hours he went to the Brigadier’s office, where there was a radio link from the Operations Room so that he and the Brigadier could overhear all radio messages.2Chief Superintendent Lagan heard reports of the confrontations at various barriers, and that the main body of marchers had made their way to Free Derry Corner.3 He then stated that the Brigadier:4

“... who had presumably gone to his Operations Room, came into the office and said ‘The Paratroops want to go in’. I said ‘For heaven’s sake hold them until we are absolutely certain the marchers and the rioters are well separated’. He left me again. After an interval he returned and said ‘I’m sorry, the paras have gone in’. I did not hear the order to the paras to move, over the radio. ”

1 JL1.1

2 JL1.2
3 JL1.2

4 JL1.2-3


20.37 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry Chief Superintendent Lagan repeated this exchange between himself and Brigadier MacLellan.1He said that when he had urged the Brigadier to be sure that the marchers and the rioters were well separated before the Paras were sent in, he had got the impression that the Brigadier was in agreement with him that the moment to mount an arrest operation had not arrived.2He also said that he was sure that the Brigadier had said “sorry ” when he came back to say that the Paras had gone in3and that he (Chief Superintendent Lagan) had “interpreted the meaning from the tone he [the Brigadier] used that he was not personally responsible for them going in ”.4As a result, Chief Superintendent Lagan read the situation as one where the Paras going in was not the result of an order given by the Brigadier.5When questioned by counsel acting for the Army, he agreed with the suggestion that the Brigadier had never indicated to him that the order for the paratroopers to go in was anything but his order.6However, in answer to Lord Widgery, Chief Superintendent Lagan said, “When the Brigadier said to me ‘Sorry, the Paras have gone in ’ my immediate reaction to it was that they had gone in on somebody else’s instructions and not on his. ”7

1 WT17.20-21

2 WT17.26

3 WT17.21

4 WT17.22
5 WT17.27

6 WT17.37

7 WT17.37


20.38 The upshot of Chief Superintendent Lagan’s 1972 evidence is that while Brigadier MacLellan did not say in specific terms that he had given no order to the Paras to go in, Chief Superintendent Lagan gained the impression that this was the case.

20.39 Brigadier MacLellan had given evidence to the Widgery Inquiry before Chief Superintendent Lagan, and had not been asked about these exchanges. The day after Chief Superintendent Lagan had given this evidence, Brigadier MacLellan wrote to General Ford to deny, among other things, that he had shared Chief Superintendent Lagan’s view that the arrest operation had been launched without his authority and that he had expressed his sorrow that the operation had been launched. He wrote:1

“I may well have told him at 1555 hrs (Brigade Log Signal 147) that ‘The Paras want to go in’ or he may have heard it on the Ulsternet in my office. I certainly went into the Operations Room at this stage and gave orders that 1 PARA were not to go in, as I considered that although the separation of the rioters from the non-violent marchers had started to take place, it was not yet wide enough. I then remained in the Operations Room while Lagan continued to sit in my office. Twelve minutes later at 1607 hrs when I was satisfied that there was absolute separation between those attending the meeting at Foxes Corner [Free Derry Corner] and the rioters in William St, I gave the order for the arrest operation to take place. I then returned to my office and told Lagan that the arrest operation had started. I cannot remember the exact words which were used but as far as I can recall Lagan then said ‘Well I hope they are separated enough’. I replied ‘I am assured that they are, but anyway it is too late to stop them now’. I suppose I may have said ‘… anyway I’m sorry but it is too late to stop them now’, but I do not remember using the word ‘sorry’, and if I did it was in this context and certainly not because I regretted having just given the orders for the arrest operation to start.

I regard Lagan’s evidence on this point as a deliberate distortion of the truth. ”


1 G128.849-50

20.40 In his written evidence to this Inquiry Chief Superintendent Lagan (who was unfortunately too unwell to give oral evidence) stated: “When Brigadier MacLellan said ‘Sorry ’, I thought he was saying sorry to me (as distinct from being personally aggrieved that 1 Para had gone in).
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:24

20.31 We return below to consider these communications further.

The arrest order

20.32 The Brigade log contains the following entry, timed at 1609 hours and attributed to “BM ” (ie the Brigade Major, Colonel Steele):1

“Orders given to 1 PARA at 1607 hrs for 1 sub unit of 1 PARA to do scoop up OP through barrier 14. Not to conduct running battle down Rossville St. ”


1 W47 serial 159

20.33 We consider in turn the two parts of this order.

20.34 The 1 PARA log seemingly records this order as part of an entry timed at 1610 hours, the timing and precise terms of which are discussed below:1

“Move 3 now through K14. Also C/S 1 No running battles ”


1 W90 serial 31

20.35 The Porter tapes do not record the order.1The legal representatives of some of the families have relied upon the absence of such a record as evidence that no order was in fact given.2The evidence of Brigadier MacLellan, Colonel Steele and Colonel Wilford to both this Inquiry and that of Lord Widgery was that this suggestion is erroneous, as 1 PARA did not deploy until it had received orders from Brigade.3

1 W128-129

2 FS1.885-904
3 WT11.27; B1279.037; Day 262/76; WT16.70;
B1315.009-010; WT11.40; B1110.32; Day 313/29-30


20.36 These families also relied on the 1972 evidence of Chief Superintendent Lagan who was at Brigade Headquarters during that afternoon, from about 1315 hours until about 1700 hours.1 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry he stated that shortly before 1400 hours he went to the Brigadier’s office, where there was a radio link from the Operations Room so that he and the Brigadier could overhear all radio messages.2Chief Superintendent Lagan heard reports of the confrontations at various barriers, and that the main body of marchers had made their way to Free Derry Corner.3 He then stated that the Brigadier:4

“... who had presumably gone to his Operations Room, came into the office and said ‘The Paratroops want to go in’. I said ‘For heaven’s sake hold them until we are absolutely certain the marchers and the rioters are well separated’. He left me again. After an interval he returned and said ‘I’m sorry, the paras have gone in’. I did not hear the order to the paras to move, over the radio. ”

1 JL1.1

2 JL1.2
3 JL1.2

4 JL1.2-3


20.37 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry Chief Superintendent Lagan repeated this exchange between himself and Brigadier MacLellan.1He said that when he had urged the Brigadier to be sure that the marchers and the rioters were well separated before the Paras were sent in, he had got the impression that the Brigadier was in agreement with him that the moment to mount an arrest operation had not arrived.2He also said that he was sure that the Brigadier had said “sorry ” when he came back to say that the Paras had gone in3and that he (Chief Superintendent Lagan) had “interpreted the meaning from the tone he [the Brigadier] used that he was not personally responsible for them going in ”.4As a result, Chief Superintendent Lagan read the situation as one where the Paras going in was not the result of an order given by the Brigadier.5When questioned by counsel acting for the Army, he agreed with the suggestion that the Brigadier had never indicated to him that the order for the paratroopers to go in was anything but his order.6However, in answer to Lord Widgery, Chief Superintendent Lagan said, “When the Brigadier said to me ‘Sorry, the Paras have gone in ’ my immediate reaction to it was that they had gone in on somebody else’s instructions and not on his. ”7

1 WT17.20-21

2 WT17.26

3 WT17.21

4 WT17.22
5 WT17.27

6 WT17.37

7 WT17.37


20.38 The upshot of Chief Superintendent Lagan’s 1972 evidence is that while Brigadier MacLellan did not say in specific terms that he had given no order to the Paras to go in, Chief Superintendent Lagan gained the impression that this was the case.

20.39 Brigadier MacLellan had given evidence to the Widgery Inquiry before Chief Superintendent Lagan, and had not been asked about these exchanges. The day after Chief Superintendent Lagan had given this evidence, Brigadier MacLellan wrote to General Ford to deny, among other things, that he had shared Chief Superintendent Lagan’s view that the arrest operation had been launched without his authority and that he had expressed his sorrow that the operation had been launched. He wrote:1

“I may well have told him at 1555 hrs (Brigade Log Signal 147) that ‘The Paras want to go in’ or he may have heard it on the Ulsternet in my office. I certainly went into the Operations Room at this stage and gave orders that 1 PARA were not to go in, as I considered that although the separation of the rioters from the non-violent marchers had started to take place, it was not yet wide enough. I then remained in the Operations Room while Lagan continued to sit in my office. Twelve minutes later at 1607 hrs when I was satisfied that there was absolute separation between those attending the meeting at Foxes Corner [Free Derry Corner] and the rioters in William St, I gave the order for the arrest operation to take place. I then returned to my office and told Lagan that the arrest operation had started. I cannot remember the exact words which were used but as far as I can recall Lagan then said ‘Well I hope they are separated enough’. I replied ‘I am assured that they are, but anyway it is too late to stop them now’. I suppose I may have said ‘… anyway I’m sorry but it is too late to stop them now’, but I do not remember using the word ‘sorry’, and if I did it was in this context and certainly not because I regretted having just given the orders for the arrest operation to start.

I regard Lagan’s evidence on this point as a deliberate distortion of the truth. ”


1 G128.849-50

20.40 In his written evidence to this Inquiry Chief Superintendent Lagan (who was unfortunately too unwell to give oral evidence) stated: “When Brigadier MacLellan said ‘Sorry ’, I thought he was saying sorry to me (as distinct from being personally aggrieved that 1 Para had gone in). ”1

1 JL1.18

20.41 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Brigadier MacLellan confirmed that he may have said sorry, not meaning that it should not have happened, but that he was sorry because Chief Superintendent Lagan had wanted it otherwise.1

1 Day 262/74-75

20.42 We are satisfied that at 1607 hours Colonel Steele passed on an order given by Brigadier MacLellan to 1 PARA over the BID 150 secure link and shortly afterwards went into the Operations Room to get the order recorded in the Brigade log.1The BID 150 was a secure link that could not be intercepted by James Porter’s radio system, and was operated from Colonel Steele’s office. This explains why the order does not appear on the Porter tapes, and why the Brigade log records that it was given by the Brigade Major.2

1 WT16.69; B1315.010; WT11.27; B1279.037; Day 262/76; WT16.70; B1315.009-010; WT11.40; B1110.32;
Day 313/29-30
2 WT11.23-24; WT16.69


20.43 There are several reasons why we are certain that an order was given, in addition to the evidence to this effect from Brigadier MacLellan, Colonel Steele and Colonel Wilford. There is no suggestion in later transmissions that 1 PARA had mounted a scoop-up operation without any order from the Brigade Commander, something that would have been contrary to the Brigade order for Operation Forecast.1 Further, those transmissions (which we describe below) are to our minds explicable only on the basis that an order had been given. As to Chief Superintendent Lagan, we consider that the impression he seems to have formed is likely to have arisen from the fact that he did not hear the order, as it was given on the BID 150 secure link. Chief Superintendent Lagan was in the Brigadier’s office when Colonel Steele sent out the relevant message from his own office across the hallway. As the BID 150 was used, the serial was not relayed over the loudspeakers set up in Brigadier MacLellan’s office. So far as Chief Superintendent Lagan was concerned therefore, he had urged waiting until there was separation between marchers and rioters, thought that Brigadier MacLellan agreed with him, heard no order to mount an arrest operation, but then was told by the Brigadier that he was sorry but the Paras had gone in. It is understandable in those circumstances that he should have misinterpreted the Brigadier’s apology, as in our view he did. His written evidence to this Inquiry, that he thought Brigadier MacLellan was apologising to him as distinct from being personally aggrieved, is hardly consistent with 1 PARA going in without orders, something which in our view would undoubtedly have aggrieved the Brigadier.

1 G95.570

20.44 For these reasons, although we find that Chief Superintendent Lagan was mistaken as to whether or not an order was given, we consider that Brigadier MacLellan was wrong to accuse him of a deliberate distortion of the truth, as the Brigadier did in his letter to General Ford.1

1 G128.850

20.45 Colonel Steele’s order was received by the 1 PARA watchkeeper manning the BID 150 secure link in the Gin Palace, the Battalion’s Tactical HQ, and it was then relayed to Colonel Wilford over the battalion net. This is reflected in the 1 PARA log entry timed at 1610 hours: “Move 3 now through K14. Also C/S 1 No running battles ”1 There is no doubt that “K14 ” is a reference to Barrier 14,2 and the phrase “No running battles ” clearly reflects the fuller but similar limitation appearing in the order as recorded in the Brigade log.3 The fact that the entry was listed at 1610 hours is not, in our minds, significant, as most of the timings in the 1 PARA log are given at five-minute intervals and hence are only approximate. The reference to “C/S 1 ” is discussed below.

1 W90 serial 31 3 W47 serial 159

2 WT11.48

20.46 The suggestion that no order was given necessarily involved an allegation that false entries were made after the event in the Brigade log, and that Brigadier MacLellan and Colonel Steele knew of this.1 It would also mean that a false entry was made in the 1 PARA log. In addition it entails that those in the Gin Palace (Captain INQ 2033 and Captain INQ 1853) as well as Colonel Wilford were involved in the plot to pretend that an order had been given on the secure net. Yet the supposedly fabricated entries were themselves in terms that Brigadier MacLellan, Colonel Steele and Colonel Wilford afterwards suggested did not fully or accurately record the order that they said was given, a matter that we consider in detail below. The suggestion must therefore be that the plot was both widespread and highly incompetent. We are satisfied from the evidence and the submissions that we have considered that there is no substance in this allegation, that no false entries were made in the logs and that there was no plot to pretend that an order had been given.

1 FS1.904

20.47 Although we are sure that Brigade did give an order to 1 PARA, three further questions remain and were hotly debated during the course of both the Widgery Inquiry and this Inquiry.

20.48 The first of these questions relates to what the order was, ie whether the order limited 1 PARA to using one sub-unit (a company) for a “scoop-up ” operation through Barrier 14, or whether the order was, or could reasonably be read as being, wider in scope, allowing Colonel Wilford if he wished also to deploy another company or companies as part of the scoop-up operation.

20.49 The second question, which is, of course, closely related to the first, concerned the intended meaning of the instruction contained in the order “Not to conduct running battle down Rossville St.”.1

1 W47 serial 159

20.50 The third question is whether an order to mount an arrest operation at all was appropriate, given the state and position of the crowd and the rioters at the time.

The nature of the first part of the order to 1 PARA

Was the first part of the order responsive to 1 PARA’s request at 1555 hours?
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

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20.51 In assessing the nature of the order the first issue to be considered is whether or not it was responsive to the request made by 1 PARA to Brigade at 1555 hours. It is convenient to set out side by side the request and the order:

Serial 3431 timed at 1555 hours from 1 PARA to Brigade:

“65, from my Sunray. He would like to deploy one his sub units through barrier 14 around the back into the area William Street/Little James Street. He reckons if he does this he will be able to pick up quite a number of yobbos. ”


1 W127

Serial 1591 timed at 1609 from Brigade Major to 1 PARA:

“Orders given to 1 PARA at 1607 hrs for 1 sub unit of 1 PARA to do scoop up OP through barrier 14. Not to conduct running battle down Rossville St. ”


1 W47

20.52 Colonel Steele told us, and we accept, that the reason why the request was declined initially was because Brigadier MacLellan was not satisfied that there was at that stage sufficient separation between the crowd and the rioters.1 As will be seen below, the order was in our view given when Brigadier MacLellan was satisfied that there was sufficient separation.

1 Day 267/18-19

20.53 It is important at this stage to set out again the directions contained in the Brigade order regarding the role of 1 PARA and its use as an arrest force:1

“1 PARA

(1) Maintain a Brigade Arrest Force, to conduct a ‘scoop-up’ operation of as many hooligans and rioters as possible.

(a) This operation will only be launched, either in whole or in part, on the orders of the Bde [Brigade] Comd [Commander].

(b) The Force will be deployed initially to Foyle College Car Park … where it will be held at immediate notice throughout the event.

(c) The Scoop-Up operation is likely to be launched on two axis, one directed towards hooligan activity in the area of William St/Little Diamond, and one towards the area of William St/Little James St.

(d) It is expected that the arrest operation will be conducted on foot. ”


20.54 The Brigade order therefore made clear that the “scoop-up ” operation was only to be mounted “in whole or in part ” on the orders of the Brigade Commander. Thus Colonel Wilford had to obtain or be given Brigadier MacLellan’s permission to launch an arrest operation, be it one that was in line with the expectation set out in the Brigade order, one that was a partial implementation of such an operation, or indeed one that was significantly different due to the events of the day developing in a way that had not been considered likely when the order was compiled.1

1 Day 264/13-16; Day 266/66; Day 314/50

20.55 Brigadier MacLellan was at pains to explain, and we accept, that he did not know the exact details of how Colonel Wilford envisaged he would conduct any arrest operation. This, he argued, was inevitable as the execution of the plan and the tactics employed depended on how the situation on the ground evolved.1

1 WT11.35

20.56 Colonel Steele and Colonel Wilford made the same point in their evidence. The latter could and did deploy his forces initially in line with the outline set out in the Brigade order, but had to be in a position to react to what was actually happening.1

1 B1315.005; Day 267/94-96; Day 267/101; Day 312/64

20.57 We accept that it was necessary for the commander on the ground to retain flexibility in his planning for the arrest operation, in order to ensure that his eventual deployment was appropriate to the circumstances as they developed. This is reflected in the Brigade order, which stated that it was only “likely ” that the scoop-up would take place along the two named axes.1 But this does not mean that Colonel Wilford, as commander on the ground, was free to implement any plan that he had decided was appropriate. The Brigade order retained for the Brigadier not only the decision as to whether to launch the arrest operation at all, but also the choice of whether to do so “in whole or in part ”.2 In order to decide what to do, taking into consideration issues such as separation, it was vital that the Brigadier knew what was involved in any proposed plan, and if the situation on the ground changed, any consequent alterations to that plan. Thus, as the events of the day progressed, it became increasingly important for Colonel Wilford to communicate his evolving concept of the arrest operation to Brigadier MacLellan.

1 G95.570 2 G95.570

20.58 In these circumstances, on the basis of the request and the order as recorded on the Porter tapes and in the Brigade log, it is in our view beyond doubt that the latter was responsive to the former. The order that was given was not to mount the whole of the operation contemplated as likely in the Brigade order, which was “on two axis, one directed towards hooligan activity in the area of William St/Little Diamond, and one towards the area of William St/Little James St. ”,1 but only one directed at the second of these axes. According to the recorded wording of the request on the Brigade log and Porter tapes,2,3 this was to be done by sending one sub-unit through Barrier 14; no other company and no other position from which to deploy were mentioned. According to the recorded wording of the order on the Brigade log,4 one sub-unit was to conduct a scoop-up through Barrier 14; again no other company and no other position from which to deploy were mentioned.

1 G95.570

2 W46 serial 147
3 W127 serial 343

4 W47 serial 159


20.59 In the event, and as is described more fully below, the operation launched by Colonel Wilford shortly after receipt of this order involved the deployment of two companies. One sub-unit, C Company, did move through Barrier 14. In addition, however, Support Company, a second sub-unit, went in vehicles through Barrier 12. This company moved across William Street and down Rossville Street, with one vehicle going as far as the car park of the Rossville Flats, some 230 yards from Barrier 12.

20.60 It is also probable that shortly after Colonel Wilford had ordered C Company and Support Company forward, A Company deployed through Barrier 11 in Lower Road into William Street. The Commander of A Company, Major INQ 10, recorded in his 1972 Diary of Operations that he received orders to this effect at 1612 hours, two minutes after he heard firing from “apparently ” the area of the Rossville Flats.1 Colonel Wilford stated to the Widgery Inquiry that he had simply told A Company to stand by at the barrier at that time,2 and that he did not order them forward until significantly later.3 He told this Inquiry that he was sure that his 1972 evidence was accurate on this point.4
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

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20.61 In our view it is likely that A Company did deploy forward as recorded in Major INQ 10’s Diary of Operations. We consider that although this order may well have been given after the orders to C Company and Support Company, there was not the lapse of time suggested by Colonel Wilford. Major INQ 10 stated in his Diary of Operations that his company deployed in this way “to assist Sp Coy [Support Company] in their task of arresting rioters at the William St/Rossville St junction ”.1 Their movement “caused the rioters to my front to run in the direction of Sp Coy, where some of them were arrested ”.2 Major INQ 10 stated that no arrests were made by A Company.3 In fact, as appears elsewhere in this report,4 soldiers of A Company did make some arrests in William Street, though in the main this company was used as a means of blocking off a possible escape route.

1 B1341

2 B1341
3 B1341

4 Chapter 158


The use of Support Company

20.62 Before the Widgery Inquiry and before this Inquiry, the senior Army officers directly involved gave evidence that Brigadier MacLellan’s order either did not preclude Colonel Wilford from deploying Support Company through Barrier 12 as well as C Company through Barrier 14, or that the order explicitly authorised such an operation but was erroneously recorded in log records.

20.63 It is convenient to consider their evidence, and the submissions made on their behalf, in three stages: first, by looking at Colonel Wilford’s request to deploy at 1555 hours; second, by turning to the order itself; and third, by considering some of the messages sent between 1 PARA and Brigade after the operation had been launched. It should, however, be remembered that these are divisions made to assist analysis and comprehension, and they do not necessarily reflect the structure of the evidence given by relevant witnesses, some of whom have said that, throughout the planning and execution of the operation, both 1 PARA and Brigade were aware that more than one unit would be involved in scooping up rioters.

The terms of Colonel Wilford’s request to deploy at 1555 hours

20.64 Colonel Wilford was not asked specifically about his request to mount an arrest operation when he gave evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, but he did reply affirmatively to the question, “Did you request permission from Brigade Headquarters to put Support Company and Admin. Company [Guinness Force] and ‘C’ Company through the two barriers? ”1

1 WT11.78

20.65 In his written evidence to this Inquiry, Colonel Wilford stated that he made his request as he felt that the proximity of the rioters to his men at that time meant that he had the opportunity to carry out a successful arrest operation. He wrote that he could not now recall the terms in which he sought permission to deploy, but added “what was in my mind at the time was the use of two companies. I never intended to use only one company for the operation, and to the extent the log gives that impression it is misleading and incorrect. ”1 In fact, as already observed, the Brigade log does contain an accurate summary of the request, as is demonstrated by the Porter tapes.2,3

1 B1110.032

2 W46 serial 147
3 W127 serial 343


20.66 During his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Colonel Wilford repeated that he could not recall the terms of his request, but he was “clearly… thinking ” that he would use two companies in a pincer movement, one through Barrier 14 and the other through Barrier 12.1 When asked why the message referred only to Barrier 14, he replied that the words recorded on the Porter tapes and transcript were not his, but those of the signallers in the Gin Palace. Although he felt that they would have tried to relay his request accurately, they might have placed their own interpretation on it, perhaps particularising Barrier 14 as they knew that this was where the most significant rioting was taking place.2 He stated that:3

“... this is my main headquarters passing a message, which is an interpretation obviously of something which I have said and it unfortunately appears here to be particularising barrier 14, and there is no mention in fact of barrier 12, which in fact was going to be the source of my pincer movement, or the second half of my pincer movement and perhaps it, therefore, gives perhaps a false picture to any outsider looking at it, but to me the situation is quite clear and I think it was quite clear to my company commanders. ”

1 Day 313/18

2 Day 31/16; Day 313/24
3 Day 313/22


20.67 He suggested at another point in his evidence that the reference to Barrier 14 alone in his request was “I think, an error and an omission or a misinterpretation by the people who were passing on my information ”.1

1 Day 313/41

20.68 Colonel Wilford also stated that Brigade knew perfectly well that his plan was for a two-company “pincer ” operation.1 Indeed, at one stage in his evidence he said that Brigade was aware that he was going to put one company through Barrier 14 and another through Barrier 12, and that the reference in his request to Barrier 14 was not intended (and should not be read) to exclude a simultaneous movement through Barrier 12.2 He thought that Barrier 14 had been “particularised ” because that was the position of the largest number of rioters,3 and warned against taking what he described as a “mechanical ” view of the proposed operation and the geographical area in which it would take place.4

1 Day 313/37-38

2 Day 315/62
3 Day 313/24; Day 313/37

4 Day 313/22


20.69 We have considered the possibility that a mistake was made by a signaller when conveying Colonel Wilford’s request to deploy, and that this resulted in his reference to Barrier 12 being omitted from the message. This could have been done either by Colonel Wilford’s own signaller, who sent the message from the Colonel to the Gin Palace for onward transmission, or by the signaller in the Gin Palace when communicating with Brigade. The former seems unlikely, and was not suggested by Colonel Wilford, who was probably close by the signaller in question as the latter passed his request to the Gin Palace. Although we had evidence from the signallers who attended (or might have attended) Colonel Wilford1(who were Corporal INQ 1027,2 Corporal INQ 691,3 Corporal INQ 11714 and Lance Corporal INQ 11525) they were of no assistance on whether a mistake was or might have been made at this stage.

1 C2006.26

2 C1027.1

3 C691.1; Day 358/185
4 C1171.1

5 C1152.1; Day 334/94


20.70 To our minds it is also unlikely that the Gin Palace signallers made an error when passing on the request. It is probable that the message was transmitted by Captain INQ 2033, who was the 1 PARA Signals Officer on the day and who was in the Gin Palace1 but it was not suggested to him, nor to any of the other signallers there, that they had made a mistake. If Colonel Wilford had indeed asked for authorisation for a two-company operation, it is difficult to see how Captain INQ 2033 or any other signaller so misunderstood or misinterpreted his intention that they ended up relaying such a distorted version of his intended request. Further, and as will have been observed from the oral evidence given by Colonel Wilford to this Inquiry, he did not altogether rule out the possibility that the message may have accurately reflected the terms he had used when asking permission to launch the arrest operation, even though, by his account, he and Brigade both knew that he wished to use more than one sub-unit.
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20.71 There is another consideration to bear in mind. As is discussed elsewhere in this report,1 it was not until about 1600 hours that Support Company was given a Warning Order to deploy through Barrier 12. It would, on the face of it, be somewhat strange if Colonel Wilford had asked Brigade for permission to deploy through Barrier 12, without having previously given a Warning Order to Support Company to that effect. In contrast, Colonel Wilford had given a Warning Order to C Company to deploy through Barrier 14 at 1530 hours.2

1 Paragraph 12.68 2B2166

20.72 In these circumstances it is our view that the request to deploy sent by the Gin Palace to Brigade at 1555 hours1 was in the terms given by Colonel Wilford.

1 W127 serial 343

20.73 Colonel Wilford’s legal representatives argued that there were dangers in reading the transcript of the transmission at “face value ”.1 It was, they submitted, hard to see how using Barrier 14 alone would result in soldiers moving “around the back ” into the area of William Street/Little James Street.2 Citing the evidence of Colonel Steele to this Inquiry,3 they suggested that if the message was interpreted as requesting the movement of only one sub-unit then it did not make sense to military witnesses and did not reflect the situation on the ground at the time when the request was made.4 The proposition was advanced that the request referred to Barrier 14 as C Company would have required this barrier to have been lifted in order to deploy, but it was submitted that the message did not exclude the movement of other sub-units, and it was also envisaged that members of Support Company would move forward through the Presbyterian church and/or Abbey Taxis as part of the same operation. This would not require Barrier 12 to be opened, which might explain why that barrier was not mentioned. Support Company deploying in this way would “satisfy both the military view that more than one company was required if the operation was to be of any effect and the apparent intention of going ‘around the back’ ”.5

1 FS7.856

2 FS7.856

3 Day 267/51-53
4 FS7.856-858

5 FS7.858


20.74 We do not accept these submissions. In general terms we cannot see how a message that referred only to the use of one company through Barrier 14 on a scoop-up operation could be read or understood as a request to send in other companies as well from other locations.

20.75 As to the first of the specific points, soldiers coming through Barrier 14 to scoop up rioters in the Little James Street/William Street area could be described, as we have said above, as going “around the back ” if they went through Macari’s Lane or across Eden Place to get to the south of this area.

20.76 As to the second point, we are not convinced that the use of one company to seek to effect arrests in the limited area of Little James Street/William Street would necessarily have been military nonsense, as such an operation might not have been wholly ineffective. Furthermore, so far as the Brigade officers were concerned, they were reliant on Colonel Wilford’s assessment, as the officer on the ground, of what he considered would be an effective operation, and were not themselves in a position to judge the likely efficacy of that which was requested. In any event, the fact remains that this was the request that was made; and in our view it cannot reasonably be understood as a request to use more than one company.

20.77 As to the third point, that the request referred only to Barrier 14 because at the time that was the only barrier that had to be lifted, this not only ignores the fact that the request was not about lifting barriers, but about deploying soldiers to effect arrests, but also would lead logically to the untenable proposition that Colonel Wilford had to seek permission from Brigade only if he wished to launch an arrest operation through one or more of the Army barriers, but not otherwise.

20.78 In our view Colonel Wilford must be wrong in suggesting that Brigade knew perfectly well at the time that his plan was to put one scoop-up company through Barrier 14 and another through Barrier 12. There is nothing to indicate that he informed Brigade at any stage that his original scheme of putting Support Company through the Presbyterian church route had been abandoned in favour of the use of Barrier 12. Colonel Wilford had asked 22 Lt AD Regt to be prepared to move Barriers 12 and 14 “should we require to push through them ” at about 1538 hours,1 and as this message was sent on the Brigade net, it would have been heard by those at Ebrington. However, to our minds this communication does no more than indicate that at that time 1 PARA considered both the barriers as possible points of deployment for any future movement forward. Approximately 17 minutes later, when Colonel Wilford made a direct request to Brigadier MacLellan to launch the arrest operation, he did so by referring only to sending soldiers through Barrier 14 and made no reference to deploying soldiers through other locations.

1 W123 serial 286

20.79 More generally, we are not persuaded that Brigade was aware that Colonel Wilford’s proposed operation would inevitably use more than one sub-unit, regardless of the position or positions from where the initial deployment occurred. As is discussed above, it was essential that Brigadier MacLellan knew the latest variation on 1 PARA’s plan in order to be informed in his decisions as to whether to launch the operation at all, and whether to do so in whole or in part. At 1555 hours he was specifically asked to allow one sub-unit to pass through Barrier 14, and in our view there is no good reason to suppose that he took this request other than at face value. Colonel Wilford’s evidence about the expectation that he said that Brigade had as to the number of companies to be used in the operation does not, and cannot, explain why his request referred only to one.

The terms of Brigadier MacLellan’s order

20.80 Colonel Wilford stated to the Widgery Inquiry that he did not deploy his men until after he had been ordered to launch the arrest operation by Brigadier MacLellan.1 During his oral evidence he was asked by Mr McSparran QC, counsel for the families, about the terms of Brigadier MacLellan’s order to launch the arrest operation. Mr McSparran pointed out that the Brigade log only referred to one company going through Barrier 14, adding that “There is nothing, as I understand the Brigade log …, relating to any orders relating to any other sub-unit to go through on other operators [sic] ”. In reply, Colonel Wilford said: “No, but Brigade were perfectly aware that I had two Companies to go through and that I intended to put them through. ”2
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20.81 Colonel Wilford was also asked about the entry in the 1 PARA log, “Move 3 now through K14. Also C/S 1 No running battles ”.1He said that this was a message that had come from Brigade “to say that I could move ” and when it was pointed out that there was only mention of C Company going through he replied, “No, there is an aberration here, because support Company were told, and it would have been part of the same message. The log obviously missed it out. ”2

1 W90 2 WT11.48B

20.82 In his written evidence to this Inquiry, Colonel Wilford stated that he had no memory of the terms of the order that he received from Brigade despite having considered the relevant log entries. However, he wrote that he also had no recollection of being surprised by the terms that he was given, adding: “If I had received an order to deploy only one company through Barrier 14, then this would definitely have registered with me. I would have been surprised to hear that I was being limited to using one company. I may well have gone back to Brigade and disagreed. ”1

1 B1110.032

20.83 In his oral evidence to the present Inquiry, Colonel Wilford again said that he had no independent recollection of the terms of the order, but continued to express his belief that it permitted him to deploy more than one company in the scoop-up operation.1

1 Day 313/29-39; Day 313/47

20.84 Colonel Wilford described the arrest Operation Order as “long delayed ”1 and commented that “perhaps this signal here [ie his request to deploy] suggests that at that particular time I thought that that was the best area, or was the likely area where in fact I would make the majority of arrests. But this was a changing situation. It was changing every second, and that is why in fact the situation did change, and the arrest operation became what it was ”.2A little later he agreed that the situation from the time of his request had changed significantly and why his troops had concentrated on an area substantially to the south of the Little James Street/William Street area was because “that is where the rioters were followed ”.3He told us that originally he had planned for his soldiers to go through Barrier 12 on foot, had waited for the order to go, and with changing circumstances had decided he would have to send them through in vehicles to obtain any success.4

1 Day 314/23

2 Day 314/28
3 Day 314/34

4 Day 314/56-59


20.85 We have no reason to doubt that it was only after his request to Brigade that Colonel Wilford decided to send Support Company through Barrier 12 in vehicles. However, he did not communicate to Brigade the fact that the situation had changed from the time of his request, nor did he seek to vary his request to Brigade in order to adapt to the change.

20.86 Brigadier MacLellan, in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry, recorded that at 1555 hours Colonel Wilford had:1

“... requested permission to deploy a sub-unit through the barricade in William Street to arrest hooligans in the waste ground in the area William Street/Little James Street. At this time I was anxious to confirm that there was absolute separation of the hooligans from the main bulk of the marchers, as this was, as already described, a pre-requisite of the arrest plan. I therefore did not give permission at this stage for the arrest operation to be launched. ”


1 B1234

20.87 Brigadier MacLellan went on to state that at 1604 hours he was told that the separation of the hooligans from the marchers was complete – 150 of the former were in William Street, while the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association was 300m away at Free Derry Corner.1

1 B1234-1235

20.88 He continued:1

“I therefore gave orders at 1607 that the 1 PARA arrest operation should be launched. My Brigade Major conveyed those orders in my presence to 1 PARA on the secure radio – the orders were that;

a. The operation was to be launched forthwith to arrest as many rioters as possible in the area of the junction William Street/Rossville Street.

b. 1 PARA were not to conduct a running battle down Rossville Street and not to get involved with the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association marchers. ”


1 B1235

20.89 In the next paragraph of his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry, Brigadier MacLellan recorded:1

“The purpose of my order was to ensure that the arresting force only ‘scooped up’ those actively engaged in riotous behaviour in the William Street/Rossville Street area, and NOT those other persons engaged in a non-violent meeting which had already started at Foxes Corner [Free Derry Corner]. To achieve this ‘scoop up’ it was necessary for the troops to get beyond the rioters and place themselves between the rioters and those already at the meeting place at Foxes Corner. The company therefore that moved rapidly in their vehicles to the area North of the Rossville Flats, acted in accordance with my instructions, in that such action would effectively place the troops between the rioters and the marchers. ”


1 B1235

20.90 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Brigadier MacLellan was referred to the fact that his order recorded in the Brigade log was for one sub-unit of 1 PARA to go through Barrier 14. In response the Brigadier stated:1

“Yes. That in fact was not the order. What I said was ‘You are to arrest rioters on the William Street-Rossville Street junction. You are not to conduct a running battle down Rossville Street and not to get involved with the NICRA marchers’. One sub-unit wanted to go through barrier 14, but it was an arrest operation mounted by Colonel Wilford’s battalion. ”
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20.91 There was then the following exchange:1

“Q. Did you know that in fact two sub-units were going to be used?

A. I knew three were going to be used.

Q. And you knew they would be going not only through barrier 14 but also through the Great James Street barrier as well?

A. Yes.

Q. Had Colonel Wilford discussed his plan with you or not?

A. Not in detail, because we did not know (a) whether there would be any hooligans on the day for sure, or rioters; or (b) where they would be. We could merely make an outline plan. ”


1 WT11.35

20.92 During the course of his oral evidence to the present Inquiry, Brigadier MacLellan was taken in great detail through the sequence of events as they appeared in the logs and on the Porter tapes, and from photographs and other material showing what had happened. He first said that his recollection was that he had authorised the arrest operation to start, that the plan for how it was conducted was that of the Commanding Officer of 1 PARA, that he did not know the detailed plan and that in effect he told 1 PARA to carry out their plan without knowing what it was.1However, the Chairman then pointed out to Brigadier MacLellan that if, as he had maintained throughout, he wanted the rioters and marchers to be separated before any arrest operation was launched, he could not have simply given an order to 1 PARA to carry out whatever arrest operation they had in mind unless he knew what it was, and the only plan that he knew about was the one he had been requested to order at 1555 hours.2He agreed that it was very difficult to rebut the inference that what happened was that 1 PARA asked for an order that they could send one company through Barrier 14, and about 15 minutes after they had asked for that order to be given, it was given.3He also agreed that if this was so, the order reduced the risk of interfering with anybody further down Rossville Street and thus fitted in with his desire for separation.4

1 Day 262/76-77

2 Day 262/78-79
3 Day 262/79-80

4 Day 262/80-81


20.93 Brigadier MacLellan returned to the point that Colonel Wilford had been ordered to arrest as many rioters as possible, and that as the man on the ground he was in a position to judge how best to do this.1 However, later on the same day Counsel to the Inquiry, referring to the earlier observation of the Chairman, suggested to Brigadier MacLellan that this:2

“... all tends to confirm, does it not, that this order that you gave was in fact the one set out in the log; because, if that was the order, you would know what they were going to do; and you would also know that, if your orders were carried out, it was likely that the operation would take place in circumstances where there were unlikely to be any non-hooligans? ”

1 Day 262/89
2 Day 262/89-90


20.94 The answer Brigadier MacLellan gave was “Correct ”.

20.95 A little later in his evidence he was asked this question:1

“So there were two limits on what Colonel Wilford could do: one is that he must fulfil, so far as he could, the general aim of the operation, which was to arrest as many as possible; but, secondly, he was bound to act – and act only – in accordance with whatever your orders were, and if they were that C Company was to go through William Street and pick up rioters and arrest them around the junction, that is something quite different from driving through barrier 12 down into Rossville Street and the wasteground to the side of it? ”


1 Day 262/92-93

20.96 The answer Brigadier MacLellan gave to this question was “Yes ”.

20.97 Towards the end of his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Brigadier MacLellan agreed that the likelihood was that the order that was given by Colonel Steele to 1 PARA was as stated in the Brigade log.1It was suggested to him that if this was so, then the order was disobeyed in two respects: firstly because more than one company went into the Bogside; and secondly because 1 PARA did conduct a running battle down Rossville Street.2Brigadier MacLellan at first agreed with both suggestions.3However, he went on to qualify his answer by saying that although he accepted that 1 PARA exceeded his order by advancing to the Rossville Flats (if they had not been fired upon at that time), he did not think that the deployment of Support Company through Barrier 12 was surprising or necessarily a breach of his orders. If, for example, they had advanced to the front of a barrier in order to form a wall against which the unit coming up from William Street would press the rioters, then this would have been acceptable.4

1 Day 265/51

2 Day 265/51-53
3 Day 265/53

4 Day 265/53-58; Day265/67


20.98 Brigadier MacLellan was asked to explain how he had come to give what appeared to be different evidence to the Widgery Inquiry.

20.99 The Brigadier replied that at the time he did not realise that his order had been broken; indeed, it was not until his questioning by Counsel to this Inquiry that he came to realise that it had been.1 He told us that after the event, he had assumed that the reason one company had got “sucked down ” to the Rossville Flats was because they had been shot at.2 He also stated that if, as he now accepted was likely, the order to 1 PARA had been conveyed in the terms recorded in the Brigade log, then he would not have known at the time he gave it that 1 PARA would be deploying through Barrier 12.3 This is inconsistent with his evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, which was that he “knew ” that three companies would be used, going through Barrier 12 as well as Barrier 14.4

1 Day 265/49-50

2 Day 265/53-54
3 Day 265/67-68

4 WT11.35


20.100 At this point it is to be noted that an attempt was made at the present Inquiry to demonstrate from the logs that 1 PARA had not in fact broken the order.1Our attention was drawn to the fact that before the arrest operation was launched, Brigade was aware from radio messages that Colonel Wilford had it in mind that he might require to go through Barriers 12 and 14 and perhaps 16.2As we observed above, it does not follow from this that the order permitted him to do so. Reliance was also placed on later messages (which we describe below), which showed that more than one company of 1 PARA had moved, but which did not result in any protest from Brigade that the order had been disobeyed.3,4 However, as will be seen, the first information given to Brigade did not reveal that Support Company had gone deep into the Bogside but had merely advanced a few yards to the area of William Street directly south of the Presbyterian church. It was not until much later that Brigade gained a clear idea of what had been going on. Furthermore, as already noted, Brigadier MacLellan told this Inquiry that at the time he believed that the reason 1 PARA went as far as they did down Rossville Street was because they had been fired at.5This belief was, as will be seen hereafter, erroneous, but it would have meant that Brigadier MacLellan thought that the battalion was no longer engaged simply in a scoop-up operation, so the limitations imposed by the order no longer applied.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:27

20.101 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry (dated 7th March 1972), the Brigade Major, Colonel Steele, recorded that on Brigadier MacLellan’s instructions he gave the order to 1 PARA to mount the arrest operation over the secure wireless link:1

“I told them to launch the arrest force to arrest as many hooligans and rioters in the area of the junction William Street/Rossville Street. That they were to launch this operation, with one of their callsigns moving through Barrier 14. That the arrest force was not to conduct a running battle down Rossville Street. I did not say that they were to use only one C/S (ie one coy), but that they were to launch the entire arrest force (using Barrier 14 as one of the routes). Serial 159 in the Bde Log does not therefore quite accurate [sic] reflect the actual orders that I gave. ”


1 B1296

20.102 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Colonel Steele agreed that his order was to launch the arrest operation envisaged by the Brigade order, which consisted of three sub-units.1 He stated that after he had given the order he went into the Operations Room to have it entered on the Brigade log.2 On being shown the relevant entry3 and asked to explain the reference to one sub-unit he said, “This in the log here is a gist of the orders that I gave. I did say in the orders that I gave over the secure means that 1 sub unit was to use barrier 14; thus that is in the log here, but it is only a gist of what I actually said. ” The next question was, “So one went through barrier 14, the others through barrier 12? ”, to which he replied, “Yes, and another one down Lower Road ”.4

1 WT16.65

2 WT16.70
3 W47 serial 159

4 WT16.65


20.103 Later in his oral evidence Colonel Steele was asked again about the order as recorded in the Brigade log, and specifically about why he had not said two sub-units instead of providing for one sub-unit. He replied:1

“When I gave the orders, I gave the orders for the whole arrest operation to be used and I particularly said one sub-unit to go through barrier 14 and the reason I said that was because I know [sic] that they had wanted a sub-unit to go through barrier 14 before. ”


1 WT16.71

20.104 The next question was, “When you say one sub-unit there, in fact, you say now you knew at the time that two sub-units were going to be involved? ”. Colonel Steele replied, “I knew that three were going to be involved ”, adding that he knew that they were going through three different barriers.1

1 WT16.71

20.105 Colonel Steele was asked to explain how the order came to be recorded in the form that it was, since it seemed to apply to one sub-unit only. He said, “That is definitely incorrect in the log, because the orders that I gave to 1 Para. were for the entire scoop-up operation. ”1

1 WT16.77

20.106 Lord Widgery later asked him why it was necessary to give Colonel Wilford specific instructions with regard to passing somebody through Barrier 14: “Why could he not please himself about that? ” Colonel Steele replied, “He could have done, sir, but in this particular instance I knew he was going to use Bravo 3 through barrier 14 because he had asked earlier to do it. ” He said that upon reflection it was unnecessary to make the point that Colonel Wilford could use Barrier 14, since it was open to Colonel Wilford to do so anyway.1

1 WT16.79-80

20.107 Colonel Steele told the Widgery Inquiry that he was quite sure that Support Company was intended to be in the operation as it was mounted and it did not go forward without authority from the Brigade Commander.1

1 WT16.80

20.108 In his written evidence to this Inquiry, Colonel Steele said that he did not remember the exact words he used to give the order, which he gave with the Brigadier standing beside him. However, he did remember the two important elements – that 1 PARA should mount the arrest operation straight away and that they were not to conduct a running battle down Rossville Street. He continued:1

“I must then have walked through to the operations room and repeated the order to the watch-keepers for them to write down in the brigade log. As the order had been given over the secure net, the watch-keepers would not have heard it, but it was important that it was entered in the brigade log. When I repeated the order for the watchkeepers I must have expressed the order in terms which included one sub unit going through Barrier 14, because that was where the main body of hooligans was and I knew from the request at 15.55 hours that 1 PARA had a sub unit ready to deploy through that barrier. My order is recorded in this log but the entry has missed the order for 1 PARA to mount the whole arrest operation. I can only assume that the logkeeper’s note was incomplete, or a mistake was made during the compilation stage of the final Brigade Log. I am absolutely clear that in the discussions between Brigadier MacLellan and myself and in the order I gave to 1 PARA no limitation was placed on the number of companies to be used in the arrest operation. When the arrest operation was ordered I knew it could involve up to three companies entering the Bogside at the same time. ”


1 B1315.009-010

20.109 Colonel Steele suggested in his written evidence to this Inquiry that some “clarification ” of the point was to be found in the 1 PARA log in the message from the Gin Palace to Colonel Wilford,1“Move 3 now through K14. Also C/S1 No running battles ”:

“This means that call sign 3 (C Company) was to be sent through barrier 14 and call sign 1 (A Company) was also to be sent in. The 1 PARA log does not mention Support Company, but it was always clear to me that they could be used in the arrest operation. ”


1 W90 serial 31 2 B1315.10

20.110 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Colonel Steele agreed that he had not named C Company or A Company in the order, because he did not then know which company was going through which barrier.1 He accordingly accepted that the record in the 1 PARA log was not a faithful summary of the gist of his order.2 The reason for this is that the 1 PARA log entry was not just a record of the order from Brigade, but was an amalgamation of this message and subsequent orders given within 1 PARA, the existing draft of which was typed up after the event from contemporaneous notes.3 Our interpretation of this entry is set out below, but it is relevant to note here that we do not accept that it clarifies or supports Colonel Steele’s evidence as to the number of sub-units authorised for use in the order to 1 PARA.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:28

20.111 Colonel Steele insisted in his evidence to this Inquiry that the order that he gave allowed Colonel Wilford to use all three companies if he so wished.1 In this part of his oral evidence he said that the order did specify that one of the sub-units was to go through Barrier 14, but left it to Colonel Wilford to decide whether and how to deploy either or both of his remaining companies. Colonel Steele himself thought at the time that two companies would probably be used.2 In this regard, he accepted that the evidence that he gave to the Widgery Inquiry, that the order was for all three sub-units to deploy, was incorrect.3 It also follows that his evidence to us is inconsistent with his assertion to the Widgery Inquiry that he “knew ” that the three companies were going to go through three different barriers. Colonel Steele told the present Inquiry that he did not know at the time that Support Company had gone through Barrier 12, “all I knew is that they had come down through the church ”.4 We consider in detail below the state of knowledge of the officers at Brigade after the operation had been launched.

1 Day 267/92-93

2 Day 267/107
3 WT16.71; Day 267/111

4 Day 268/177


20.112 Colonel Steele also agreed that it was “not wholly accurate ” of him to have said to the Widgery Inquiry that the order was to launch the arrest operation which was envisaged by the Brigade order, as that order had envisaged not only arrests in the area of the waste ground at the junction of Rossville Street and William Street but also arrests in the area of Little Diamond, some hundreds of yards to the west of this junction.1

1 Day 267/89-90

20.113 Despite these admissions, Colonel Steele continued to insist that he was absolutely clear in his mind “that I gave the order for the full arrest operation to take place, which meant three sub-units ”.1 He rejected the suggestion that the operation he had ordered was the one that Colonel Wilford had requested at 1555 hours.2 His explanation for mentioning one sub-unit going through Barrier 14 was because he knew there were rioters in that location, and because Colonel Wilford had mentioned the sub-unit in his request and so Colonel Steele knew it was available to go through that barrier.3 He agreed with the suggestion that if he was right about this, then the log keeper had got the order badly wrong, as he had said to the Widgery Inquiry, even though it was very shortly after giving the order that he went into the Operations Room to ensure that it was recorded.4

1 Day 267/94

2 Day 267/95-98
3 Day 267/98-100

4 Day 267/100; Day 267/110-111


20.114 Colonel Steele wrote in his statement to this Inquiry that he could not remember the words he used to give the order.1 However, during his oral evidence he told us that he “was the one who added in the addition of, ‘one of, the sub-units going through barrier 14’ ”2 and that “what I actually said when I went into the operations room and passed the message to the watchkeeper for it to be put into the log, was that at 1607 hours the 1 Para arrest operation had been mounted, with one of their sub-units to go through barrier 14 ”.3

1 B1315.009

2 Day 267/97-98
3 Day 267/100-101; Day 267/110-111


20.115 Major INQ 1900 was at the time the Deputy Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General of 8th Infantry Brigade. He did not give evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, but he told this Inquiry that he was in the Operations Room and recalled the Brigade Major coming in and instructing Major INQ 1901 (a staff officer) to record in the log that the scoop-up order had been given. Major INQ 1901 then told the assistant watchkeeper to make the appropriate record.1 Major INQ 1900 was asked about his memory of that event:2

“Q. You say:

‘I do not recall the specific words used when the order was reported to the watchkeeper, but the words were either those which are recorded in the Brigade log at serial 159 or words of a similar meaning. The entry in the Brigade log also sums up my understanding from the OPs order of how the arrest operation was to be carried out.’

Can you tell us, General, please: what is your actual recollection as you sit here today of the gist of that order as you heard it communicated by the Brigade Major to INQ1901?

A. I will turn to my statement and ... the gist was that 1 Para were to carry out the arrest operation; they had previously asked, and I had read this because I had been in the Ops Room reading the log, they had previously asked for a sub-unit, 1 Company, to be allowed to go through barrier 14 and that, I think – and I am really having to search my memory now – had been referred either to the Brigade Major, I even think it might have been referred to Northern Ireland, but I am not sure about that and the entry 159 said something like, ‘The arrest operation would be carried out, 1 Company to go through barrier 14,’ which I assume therefore was responding to the earlier request for it to happen and no infiltration into Rossville Street. ”


1 Day 241/32-35 2Day 241/36-37

20.116 Major INQ 1900 was then asked if he had understood the order to be confining 1 PARA to sending in one company only.1He replied: “No, because that was not what was within the operational order and certainly would not have been the way that such an operation would have been carried out. ” He then said that to read the Brigade log entries as a request only to send one sub-unit through Barrier 14 and an order to that effect, was in military terms “nonsense ”, and agreed that this was because “to do an arrest operation or scoop-up operation you want to get round behind the hooligans and if you just go through one barrier, you are not going to get behind them ”.2Asked why in that case there was a request only to deploy one sub-unit through Barrier 14, Major INQ 1900 said he could not help “because of course I was not at the scene and I was not part of 1 Para, but I have given you my personal view and I can say no more than that and my personal view is then linked to what I believe actually happened, and I am pretty certain did happen, and that was more than one sub-unit, more than one company of 1 Para carried out the arrest operation, as was intended and envisaged in the operation order ”.3

1 Day 241/37

2 Day 241/41-42
3 Day 241/43


20.117 There was then the following exchange with the Chairman:1

“LORD SAVILLE: I do follow that. So far as this particular log is concerned, I repeat, it appears on its face –

A. I agree.

LORD SAVILLE: – to be a request by 1 Para to send one company through barrier 14 to pick up yobbos in William Street and Little James Street and an order being given to that effect, together with a rider not to conduct a running battle down Rossville Street, which would incidentally make sense in relation to the request, because the request was to pick up yobbos in William Street/Little James Street, in other words you would turn away from Rossville Street in order to carry out that operation.

Of course, if the request at 1555 hours – ‘Would like to employ sub-unit through barrier 14 to pick up yobbos in William Street/Little James Street’ – you do in one sense have an encircling position, do you not, because you have a barrier in Little James Street?

A. Yes.

LORD SAVILLE: As I understand your evidence, it is that words, or similar words to those we see at serial 159 were said, but as a professional soldier you take the view that that cannot upon its face have been the sole order given, because it simply does not make sense in the context of an arrest operation; have I understood you correctly?

A. You have, sir, thank you. ”


1 Day 241/43-44

20.118 Major INQ 1900 reiterated that he was not present when Colonel Steele gave his order to 1 PARA; instead, he only heard the Brigade Major subsequently telling the watchkeeper to make a record of what he had said.1 A little later in his evidence Major INQ 1900 indicated that he did not remember the Brigade Major saying anything to the effect that one sub-unit was to go through Barrier 14, though he did recall him saying “and they are not to conduct a running battle down Rossville Street ”. He was asked if it was “nevertheless possible that [the Brigade Major] did make a specific reference to one sub-unit to go through barrier 14 and that you have forgotten it or is your evidence now really that he did not say that? ”. His answer was, “It is possible for him to have said anything ”.2

1 Day 241/44-45 2 Day 241/44-45

20.119 We gained little assistance from the evidence of Major INQ 1900 on whether the order permitted Colonel Wilford to do what he did. Major INQ 1900 accepted that he was giving a personal view linked to what in fact happened. In our opinion he begged the question by assuming that what happened was in accordance with the order given by the Brigadier.

20.120 Major INQ 1901 (the staff officer responsible for the day-to-day running of the Brigade Operations Room) gave written and oral evidence to this Inquiry, but was unable to assist on the point under discussion.1 He did not recall telling the watchkeeper to record the order in the log, though he agreed that it was perfectly possible that this had happened as it was normal practice.2
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:28

20.121 On the basis of the record of the orders and radio messages that we have considered above, we consider that not only was the order to carry out the scoop-up operation requested by Colonel Wilford, but also that that order was in the terms set out in the Brigade log. It seems highly unlikely that the watchkeeper would have made an error in recording what was, even without hindsight, the most important order of the day, especially when Colonel Steele went into the Operations Room shortly after giving the order on the secure net, to ensure that it was recorded in the log. We also consider that it is unlikely that those writing up the fair log afterwards would have got it so wrong. Colonel Steele did not suggest that it was he himself who had made a mistake in dictating the order to be recorded in the Brigade log.

Relevant radio communications after the launch of the arrest operation

20.122 The issue of whether Brigadier MacLellan had authorised the use of more than one company for the scoop-up operation, and the related matter of what Brigade knew of the developing situation in the aftermath of the order being given, can also be considered through an examination of the material contained in the radio logs and the Porter tapes in the period directly after Colonel Wilford deployed his soldiers forward. This exercise is conducted below, where the evidence of the relevant witnesses and the submissions made on their behalf are also considered. It is important to note that the following paragraphs do not contain a comprehensive survey of all radio communications at this time, and instead refer only to those that are useful in the present context.

20.123 Colonel Wilford said that he could not remember the order that he gave to his companies, but that it was something like “hello 3 [C Company], hello 5 [Support Company], go, go, go ”.1We have no reason to doubt that the order given by Colonel Wilford was along these lines, though as discussed above we consider that shortly afterwards he also ordered A Company to move through Barrier 11.

1 B1110.033; Day 313/47

20.124 According to the Porter tapes, at about 1609 hours 1 PARA requested that 22 Lt AD Regt lift Barrier 14, “where our call sign will be coming through ”. Soon after the latter informed 1 PARA that Barrier 14 was now being lifted.1 It will be noted that there is no record in the Porter tapes of a similar request made at this time for Barrier 12 to be lifted. Colonel Wilford said he was unable to account for this.2 It should be kept in mind that Brigade would have heard the message requesting the opening of Barrier 14.

1 W128 serials 370 and 371 2 Day 313/49-50

20.125 At about 1612 hours there is a record on the Porter tapes and in the Brigade log of a message from Colonel Welsh that, “the appearance of the pigs and four tonners in Rossville Street has now effectively moved all the crowd out of Chamberlain Street and they are now forming behind the Flats ”.1,2 This message informed Brigade that Army vehicles were in Rossville Street but does not indicate where precisely they were or to which company they belonged. The entry was wrongly attributed to 22 Lt AD Regt in the Brigade log.3

1 W47 serial 162 3 W342; Day 283/18

2 W129 serial 381

20.126 Possibly no more than a minute later there was a message from the Gin Palace to Brigade. This does not appear in the Brigade log but the record on the Porter tapes shows that it was sent twice, as it was not initially received or received properly:1

“Our call sign Bravo 3 has moved south down Strand Road into William Street past barrier 14 and is at the junction Rossville Street/William Street. Our call sign Bravo 59 has moved down south through the church to the area of William Street, directly south of the church. ”


1 W129 serials 383-387

20.127 The reference to “our call sign Bravo 59 ” was a reference to one of the call signs of Support Company. We find it impossible to see how the information in this message could be reconciled with the movement of Support Company in vehicles into Rossville Street. However, it was suggested on behalf of the majority of the represented soldiers that the report was not inaccurate, although it was not comprehensive. This argument is based on the premise that at the time it was sent Support Company was still waiting for Barrier 12 to be lifted; thus the message correctly told Brigade that C Company had moved through Barrier 14, and its reference to Support Company was intended to refer only to the deployment of that company’s Anti-Tank Platoon to Abbey Taxis.1

1 FS7.900-902

20.128 The premise of this suggestion is misconceived. As is noted above, the earlier message at 1612 hours from Colonel Welsh noted the presence of “pigs and four tonners ” on Rossville Street.1,2 We have no doubt that these were the vehicles of Support Company, which had, therefore, already moved through Barrier 12 by the time that the Gin Palace reported to Brigade on the movement of C Company and Support Company.

1 W47 serial 162 2 W129 serial 381

20.129 It follows that the message sent by 1 PARA was factually and significantly inaccurate. Most of Support Company had deployed in vehicles through Barrier 12, not the Presbyterian church, and were already in Rossville Street, not in the area of William Street directly to the south of the church. Meanwhile Machine Gun Platoon remained at Abbey Taxis. As we discuss in more detail later in this report,1two platoons of C Company had gone along William Street towards the junction with Rossville Street,2but another platoon of that company had gone down Chamberlain Street.

1 Chapter 65 2WT11.41

20.130 The message did, of course, tell Brigade that Support Company had moved, but only the short distance from the Presbyterian church to the area of William Street directly south of the church. It appears from the evidence of Brigadier MacLellan to this Inquiry,1 which we have referred to above, that he would not have considered such a limited movement to have been a breach of an order to deploy one sub-unit through Barrier 14, as Support Company effectively would have been forming a wall against which the rioters could be pressed during the scoop-up operation being conducted by C Company.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:29

20.131 It is not clear how Brigade came to be misinformed of the position, particularly with regard to Support Company, and those manning the Gin Palace at the time were not able to provide an explanation.1 There is nothing to suggest that Brigade was deliberately misinformed. It seems to us that the likely explanation is that the signaller sending the message was not made aware that Colonel Wilford had ultimately decided to go through Barrier 12 rather than the Presbyterian church, and thus assumed that the original plan was being put into operation. Captain INQ 2033, the 1 PARA signaller who was manning the Brigade net, accepted that this was possible.2 Colonel Wilford disagreed with this, but was unable to offer any other explanation.3 If this was what occurred, it would to our minds be a further indication that Colonel Wilford had only decided on or announced his change of plan at a very late stage.

1 Day 352/164-165; Day 255/125-128; C2006.24

2 Day 352/164-165
3 Day 320/23-25; Day 321/99-100


20.132 The message is, on any view, evidence of a breakdown of communications within 1 PARA and meant that Brigade was misinformed of the true position. This was a highly unsatisfactory state of affairs, though in view of the speed at which events were unfolding, it seems to us unlikely that an accurate report would have led to a different outcome.

20.133 The Porter tapes record Brigade replying to this message (probably almost straight away, and therefore at approximately 1613 hours) in the following terms: “Well now, Roger to all that. Ah, during that move to serial 14 did you in fact conduct any sort of scoop-up at all? ”1The Gin Palace replied that they would get information.2Brigade continued by saying, “If you have not conducted any scoop-up then you should withdraw your call sign Bravo 3 back to its original position, ah, for any further operation. ”3Bravo 3 was the call sign for C Company. The Gin Palace acknowledged, “Wilco. Wait. Out. ”4“Wilco ” means that the message has been received and understood and will be acted upon.

1 W129 serial 388

2 W129 serial 389

3 W129 serial 390
4 W130 serial 391

5 Day 267/54


20.134 The Brigade log records the message from Brigade as “B3 at aggro corner ordered to return to initial location ”, wrongly attributing it as a message from rather than to 1 PARA.1This record does not include the proviso that C Company was only to withdraw if they had not conducted a scoop-up operation, but it does describe what was said as an order. In his evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Colonel Steele had insisted that the message from Brigade was only a “suggestion ”.2However, at this Inquiry he agreed that this was not so, and that the communication was a conditional order.3

1 W47 serial 164; B1296

2 WT16.67-68; WT16.71-72
3 B1296; Day 267/116-119


20.135 In our view it is his more recent evidence on this point that is accurate.

20.136 Colonel Steele made the following comments on the Brigade log record of this message in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry:1

“Serial 164 is also inaccurate. This was a message from me to 1 Para and not from 1 Para to Brigade. The text of the message as nearly as I can remember it was ‘Did you manage to make a scoop up? If not you should consider withdrawing B3 to your original location in case we wish to mount the operation again.’ At about 1620 I checked again with 1 Para about the deployment of B3. I then received a SITREP from them at 1626 which confirmed that there had been a fire fight, and that sub units were secure in the area. I therefore did not follow up the question of the deployment of B3. ”


1 B1296

20.137 Colonel Steele was asked during his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry why, if it was his view that Support Company had moved forward, he had not given a similar instruction to withdraw that company. Colonel Steele’s reply to this was: “Well, I knew that Bravo 3 was moving through barrier 14 and it had always been in my mind that it would be they who would conduct the scoop. It had always been in my mind that it would be C Company moving through barrier 14 that would conduct the scoop – thus the question. ”1There was then the following exchange:2

“Q. What was the function of Support Company?

A. The function of Support Company was also to get behind, also to conduct the scoop.

Q. That is why I asked you the question a moment ago. In that case if you are instructing that company that if they had not conducted the scoop they may go back in case they are going to be used again, why is it not equally appropriate to give the same instruction to Support Company?

A. It seems illogical, sir, but I did not.

Q. You are quite sure that you appreciated not only that C Company, but Support and A as well, had gone in?

A. I was quite clear, sir. ”


1 WT16.79 2 WT16.79

20.138 Colonel Steele said in his oral evidence to us that he used the expression “Bravo 3 ” when he should have said “Bravo call signs ”.1We consider this suggestion further below.

1 Day 267/119-120

20.139 Timed at 1615 hours, the 1 PARA log contains a record of a message from the Gin Palace to C Company and Support Company asking, “Have we made any arrests ”. The entry “Yes a number ” is written in the adjoining “Action ” column of the log.1 Since, as we have already observed, timings in the 1 PARA log were generally at five-minute intervals, it would seem that the message was following up Brigade’s inquiry. The information that a number of arrests had been made does not seem to have been passed back by the Gin Palace to Brigade at this time, as there is nothing to that effect on the Porter tapes or in the Brigade log.

1 W90 serial 32

20.140 This Inquiry has obtained the radio log maintained at HQNI for 30th January 1972. This contains a message from 8th Infantry Brigade timed at 1617 hours, which informed HQNI that “Crowd at Foxes Corner [Free Derry Corner] went rapidly SW when 1 PARA went in on lift op. No lift. Abortive. ”1 The first part of this message may well have emanated from similar information radioed by 22 Lt AD Regt to Brigade at about 1614 hours;2 the Brigade log wrongly attributes this message to 1 CG,3 but there is nothing either on the Porter tapes or in the Brigade log to indicate that Brigade was expressly informed by anyone involved on the ground that no-one had been lifted and that the operation had been abortive. No-one was able to explain how this information came to be given to HQNI, but in our view it seems likely that the “Wilco ” in reply to Colonel Steele’s conditional order to withdraw (discussed above) was understood by Brigade as acknowledging that there had been no arrests and that the withdrawal would take place. This explanation is supported by the fact that the Brigade log recorded Colonel Steele’s order in unconditional terms (ie C Company was to withdraw, with no qualification as to whether they had made any arrests)4 and also by a later message about instructions to withdraw that we discuss below.5
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:29

20.141 At 1615 hours, 1 CG sent Brigade the first report of shots in the Rossville Street area: “Ah, two high velocity shots heard in the area of Free … er, the Rossville Flats. People are lying on the ground now there. ”1,2 It is relevant to note that this message was sent, according to the times given in the Brigade log, approximately two minutes after 1 PARA had reported (inaccurately) its deployment and had been told to withdraw C Company if it had not conducted any scoop-up operation.

1 W130 serial 394 2W47 serial 166

20.142 At about 1618 hours 22 Lt AD Regt reported to Brigade:1,2

“Sitrep at 16:15 on William Street. Seven pigs of call sign Hotel – wrong, call sign 65, are in the area of Rossville Street in the Rossville Flats. William Street and Rossville Street are clear and relatively quiet. We just had two shots at one of our patrols on the City Walls at 16:14 hours. ”


1 W130 serial 407 2 W48 serials 169 and 170

20.143 This was the first indication to Brigade that Army vehicles had deployed as far down Rossville Street as the Rossville Flats, though the message did not indicate the company or companies to which these vehicles belonged or where they had come from.

20.144 About a minute after receiving this information Brigade (perhaps not surprisingly in the light of the information that they had previously been given) asked 1 PARA, “What is the current deployment of your Bravo 3? ”. 1 PARA initially replied, “Wait ”,1 but they then told Brigade, “Our call sign Bravo 3 … wait. William Street/Rossville Street. Await confirmation ”.2 Again, it is to be noted that the request for information only referred to Bravo 3, ie the company that Brigade had been told had gone through Barrier 14.

1 W130-131 serials 411 and 412 2W131 serial 413

20.145 At about 1626 hours, the Porter tapes recorded the following exchange of messages between Brigade and 1 PARA:1

Serial 441 (Brigade to 1 PARA)

“Hello, 65, this is Zero. Ah, you were given instructions some time ago to move Bravo 3 from the area of William Street/Rossville Street back to its original location. Is this now complete? Over. ”


Serial 442 (1 PARA to Brigade)

“Ah, 65. We’ve been telling you on the other means, ah the secure means. In fact we have just given you a sitrep as to exactly what we are doing. ”


Serial 443 (Brigade to 1 PARA)

“Zero. Roger. Out. ”


Serial 444 (1 PARA to Brigade)

“Hello, Zero, this is 65. Sitrep boils down to the fact that the two sub units moved in, ah, got involved in a fire fight, the, ah, shots appearing to have come from the area of Rossville flats. The two sub units have now gone secure in that area. Ah, two civilians are lying wounded or dead, we are not sure yet, in the area of Chamberlain Street. Who shot them we don’t know. ”


1 W132-133 serials 441-444

20.146 The first part of this exchange, which again only mentions Bravo 3, refers to the previous instruction to withdraw without suggesting that it was conditional upon there having been no arrests. As observed above, this seems to support the view that Brigade had probably understood “Wilco ” as meaning that there had been no arrests and that therefore C Company would withdraw. In his written evidence to this Inquiry, Colonel Steele said that this was another “poor message – again I should have been referring to all Bravo call signs, rather than just C Company ”.1

1 B1315.012

20.147 This exchange is also significant for its reference to the fact that two sub-units had moved in. It could be suggested that as Brigade made no complaint about this they must have known that this was always going to be the case.

20.148 We would not agree that such an interpretation would be valid. The reference to a firefight would, in our view, have correctly diverted the attention of Brigade away from the scoop-up operation.

20.149 We should say at this stage that we reject Colonel Steele’s suggestions that he should have said “Bravo call signs ” instead of referring exclusively to “Bravo 3 ”.1He said he thought he might have been “under a bit of pressure ” in the Operations Room, but even accepting that he was, we cannot see how such pressure could have led him to refer to only one company. In short, we cannot reconcile his insistence that 1 PARA was authorised to use up to three companies for the scoop-up operation either with the order as recorded in the Brigade log, or with the fact that on three subsequent occasions his radio communications about the arrest operation only referred to the company that had gone through Barrier 14.2

1 B1315.012; Day 267/120 2 W129-132 serials 390, 411 and 441

20.150 The exchange of messages between 1 PARA and Brigade to our minds demonstrates that Brigade thought that the unit conducting the scoop-up was Bravo 3, C Company, and that the operation had proved abortive. On three occasions Brigade requested information or ordered the withdrawal of Bravo 3, but they did not mention Bravo 5 (Support Company) once in this period. 1 PARA’s request to 22 Lt AD Regt on the Brigade net was only for Barrier 14 to be moved. Before the first reported shots on Rossville Street, the only indication that Brigade had that another company had also deployed came from the message that incorrectly informed it that Support Company had moved through the Presbyterian church, but only as far as the area of William Street directly to the south. In our view Brigade did not know, and was not informed, either that Support Company was going to drive through Barrier 12 in vehicles and go down Rossville Street as part of the scoop-up operation, or (until long after the event) that this is what had happened.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:30

20.151 In our view the first part of the order was not couched in terms that permitted the deployment of Support Company down Rossville Street in vehicles as part of the scoop-up operation. On the contrary, we consider that the order, responsive to the request, was sanctioning a scoop-up operation to be conducted by sending one company through Barrier 14 to try and trap rioters in the William Street/Little James Street area. Brigadier MacLellan said in the course of his evidence to us that he would not have regarded it as a breach of his order for Support Company to have come through Barrier 12 so as to provide a wall against which the scoop-up force could trap the rioters.1 The same would logically follow if Support Company had remained at and eventually come south from the Presbyterian church to William Street, or (as in fact did happen) A Company had come through Barrier 11 to William Street.

1 Day 265/57-58

20.152 On the strict wording of the order, however, it could be said with some force that it permitted only the deployment of one company through Barrier 14 and that even the deployment of Support Company and A Company a short distance forward to close off escape routes up William Street would have required the permission of Brigade. Be that as it may, the question raised in this Inquiry is not whether Colonel Wilford required permission to deploy Support Company or A Company in this way, but whether he was entitled without an order to deploy Support Company as he did. We are sure that he was not. In our view there is a world of difference between deploying companies to move forward a short distance to cut off those fleeing from the authorised scoop-up company, and sending one of the companies as a scoop-up force going well down Rossville Street in vehicles, in addition to the authorised scoop-up company coming through Barrier 14.

20.153 It is convenient at this point to return to the order as recorded in the 1 PARA log, “Move 3 now through K14. Also C/S 1 No running battles ”.1“Also C/S 1 ” is not easily understood. As is noted above, we are of the view that the log entry was an amalgamation of the message from Brigade launching the arrest operation, and various subsequent orders that were given within 1 PARA over the battalion net. The absence of a reference to Support Company (C/S 5) may have resulted from a failure to record Colonel Wilford’s order to this company to move forward. Alternatively a mistake might have been made in referring to “C/S 1 ” instead of the call sign for Support company, although if (as we consider was the case) A Company deployed shortly after C Company and Support Company, then it follows that the log would contain a further error in that the order to A Company was omitted.

1 W90 serial 31

20.154 Another explanation might be that when the initial order came in from Brigade this was recorded as “Move 3 now through K14 ”, itself a further indication that Colonel Steele referred to only one sub-unit and one barrier. Colonel Wilford’s orders to C Company and Support Company to deploy, which would have been given immediately after he had been informed of Brigade’s decision to launch the arrest operation, might not have been recorded separately. This could have resulted from an assumption by the log keeper that these internal orders were simply responsive to the message from Brigade, and hence they did not need to be written down, as it was inherent in the first entry that such instructions would have followed. However, when A Company was also told to deploy forward a few minutes later this was recorded (as “Also C/S 1 ”), perhaps because this seemed to be a separate development. The qualification to the original order, “No running battles ”, might have been taken to apply to all three sub-units, and hence was included at the end of the entry when it came to be typed up on the fair copy of the log.

20.155 On balance we consider that the second of these two possible explanations is the more likely to be correct, but without any assistance from those responsible for compiling the log, any conclusion on this matter must remain little more than conjecture.

The prohibition on conducting a running battle down Rossville Street

20.156 It is of importance to bear in mind that the prohibition on conducting a running battle down Rossville Street was part and parcel of the Brigade order as a whole and must be read in that context; and indeed in the context of the request that led to the order.

20.157 Our conclusion that the first part of the order did not permit Support Company to deploy as it did is in our view reinforced by the limitation put upon the operation, “Not to conduct running battle down Rossville St. ”.1

1 W47 serial 159

20.158 We set out below a map marking the points of particular importance to the matter under consideration.

20.159 Brigadier MacLellan told the Widgery Inquiry that what he meant by this part of his order was that:1

“… they should not get tied up with the crowd. The situation as I saw it was this: at the junction of William Street and Rossville Street there was a mob of 150 or so rioting. 300 metres or more way past the Rossville Flats there was a large crowd of non-violent people. The scoop up, the arrest, was being launched at the hooligans. ”


1 WT11.15

20.160 During the course of his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Brigadier MacLellan was asked:1

“Q. Did you yourself know that the plan involved or might involve the Parachutists going sufficiently far down into the Bogside as to be at the north end of the Rossville flats?
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 21:31

20.161 His answer to this question was:

“A. I knew that they would have to get behind to cut off; I did not know they would go that far. ”


20.162 Brigadier MacLellan told this Inquiry that he agreed with the suggestion that his limitation “did not mean simply: do not go down to Free Derry Corner, which was 2 or 300 yards away, but meant what it said: stay in the area where you contemplated the arrest taking place; do not go haring off down Rossville Street ”.1 The area contemplated in Colonel Wilford’s request was “the area William Street/Little James Street ”.2

1 Day 262/97-98 2W127 serial 343

20.163 Later in his oral evidence Brigadier MacLellan agreed with the proposition that it appeared that instead of 1 PARA doing what he wanted them to do, which was to conduct a limited operation in the Little James Street/William Street area and not to conduct a running battle down Rossville Street, they instead went in vehicles through Barrier 12, deep into the Bogside, and on one view at least, by doing so started a running battle down Rossville Street, precisely contrary to his instructions.1

1 Day 263/31-32; Day 263/87-88; Day 265/53-54

20.164 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Colonel Steele said that the phrase was “exactly what the Commander had said to him ” and what he understood by the phrase was that the Brigade Commander did not want the arrest operation to go on down Rossville Street in such a way that they would start a running battle with the main group of demonstrators who were back at Free Derry Corner, but that the instruction would not prevent them from going as far as the Rossville Flats; and he thought that it might be necessary for the soldiers to go that far.1

1 WT16.78

20.165 In his written evidence to the present Inquiry, Colonel Steele said that it was perfectly appropriate for C Company to deploy down Chamberlain Street on the left flank, and for Support Company to move into a position on the Eden Place waste ground as far forward as the northern end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats:1

“In this way they could trap the rioters and put the arrestees in their Pigs. This is actually what happened. There was no running battle down Rossville Street involving Paras chasing rioters over the Rubble Barricade towards Free Derry Corner. ”


1 B1315.011

20.166 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Colonel Steele repeated that what Brigadier MacLellan was looking for was separation between the hooligans on the one hand and the marchers at Free Derry Corner on the other.1 At one stage in his evidence Colonel Steele seemed to accept that the limitation imposed by Brigadier MacLellan was that there would be no hot pursuit of rioters down Rossville Street,2 that 1 PARA was not to go, either at all, or any significant distance, down Rossville Street,3 and that there should not be a running battle down Rossville Street towards the rubble barricade opposite the centre of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, which was a significant way down Rossville Street.4 However, elsewhere in his evidence he said that it would have been better had he put a geographical limit on where 1 PARA could go, for example no further than Pilot Row or Eden Place5 and that he thought that the limitation as actually expressed did not prohibit 1 PARA from conducting a scoop-up operation over the whole of the waste ground to the north of the Rossville Flats.6

1 Day 267/64; Day 267/141

2 Day 267/142

3 Day 267/169-170
4 Day 268/52

5 Day 267/171

6 Day 267/163-164; Day/267/175


20.167 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Colonel Wilford agreed that he had been told that there were to be no running battles down Rossville Street. He told the Widgery Inquiry that he understood this perfectly: “If you have a running battle and if the enemy resistance becomes very strong, you could run into a great deal of trouble. So we know that we chew off not more than 200 or 250 yards at any one go. This was perfectly understood, and this is what happened. ”1 Later he said that it meant to him that he was “not to exploit into a situation where the enemy could take advantage of that exploitation ”.2 Asked what he thought would have been a breach of the limitation, Colonel Wilford said that that would have happened if he had allowed his troops to go and exploit a situation of which they had no control, off down to Free Derry Corner and out into the Bogside and beyond, that would have been a running battle: “A running battle requires the enemy to conduct a series of movements backwards so that you can go after him. ”3 Colonel Steele observed when giving his oral evidence to the present Inquiry that language of this kind sounded “like a military operation in the field. This is not what we were on about. We were conducting an arrest operation without any firing. ”4

1 WT11.48

2 WT11.66
3 WT11.66-67

4 Day 267/177


20.168 In his written evidence to this Inquiry, Colonel Wilford said that he did not have to pass on this instruction to his Company Commanders, as they were well aware of how dangerous a running battle could be: “I would have interpreted those words as a prohibition against chasing rioters wherever they went e.g. down to Free Derry Corner and way beyond that. ”1

1 B1110.032

20.169 Colonel Wilford did not pass the “no running battles ” limitation on to the Company Commander of Support Company (Major Loden)1 or indeed any instruction on how far they should go.2 He said that it was not necessary, as it was almost standard operational procedure for them to operate in an area about 200 yards square.3

1 B2283.011; B1110.032

2 Day 312/62
3 Day 312/62-63


20.170 In the course of his oral evidence Colonel Wilford rejected the suggestion that, in the context of the request to conduct an arrest operation and the order to do so, the limitation under discussion meant that soldiers should not chase rioters down Rossville Street in the direction of Free Derry Corner.1 He continued to insist that his understanding of the limitation was that it was a piece of advice that his soldiers should not get sucked into a dangerous situation.2 He also rejected the suggestion that in the context of the order, “no running battles ” meant no running arrest operation down Rossville Street.3
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