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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 - 17:19

The initial deployment of 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment

12.45 1 PARA travelled by road from its Holywood barracks, just outside Belfast, during the morning of 30th January 1972, stopping initially at the BSR factory at Drumahoe, the base for 22 Lt AD Regt. The battalion moved into the city, taking up position in the Foyle College car park, between 1200 hours and about 1250 hours.

12.46 The battalion’s companies then took up their Forming Up Positions (FUPs). The companies with which this Inquiry is principally concerned were A Company, which moved to Springham Street (which leads from Lawrence Hill into Clarence Avenue); C Company, which remained in the Foyle College car park; and Support Company, which moved in vehicles to Clarence Avenue.

12.47 D Company was under command of 22 Lt AD Regt and was positioned as a reserve at Victoria Barracks until it was returned to the command of 1 PARA later in the day.

12.48 1 PARA also had B Company, which was sometimes described as a (or the) Command Company, composed in part of drivers and signallers, some of whom travelled to Londonderry and were deployed as part of Support and other companies. There was also a company called variously Administrative Company or HQ Company, responsible for the management and administration of the battalion. This company was composed of trained soldiers, some of whom were on the day attached to Support Company.1

1 Day 342/3-5; B1978; B1984; B2022.1

12.49 1 PARA had a mobile Tac HQ, in the form of a converted Commer van known as the Gin Palace.1 This contained the means of communicating by radio with both 8th Infantry Brigade (on the Ulsternet and through the secure BID 150 encryption unit) and the battalion companies. Elsewhere in this report2we provide a detailed description of the radio communications available to the Army.

1 C2006.4 2Chapters 180–191

12.50 The Gin Palace initially took up position with the rest of the battalion in the Foyle College car park. Although neither the battalion Signals Officer (Captain INQ 2033) present on the day nor one of the watchkeepers in the Gin Palace (Captain INQ 1853) had any recollection of the vehicle moving from this position,1 it seems likely from other evidence that, at some stage before shooting broke out, it did move to Great James Street.2

1 Day 352/138; Day 255/109
2 Day 312/70; Day 318/25; Day 321/147; W141 serial 581
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:20

12.51 Two officers who acted as watchkeepers, together with two signals sergeants, two lance corporals and the driver, manned the Gin Palace.1Recollections differed as to the exact layout of the Gin Palace. It would seem, however, that the van was divided into two areas, one containing a map pinned to the wall and a table at which the watchkeepers sat with log sheets and pencils listening to the Brigade and battalion nets through handsets and headsets (and possibly through loudspeakers), while the other area contained the radios and the other personnel. The BID 150 secure net radio had a special headset and microphone to prevent the overhearing of transmissions, and for this reason did not broadcast on loudspeakers.

1 Captain INQ 2033, Captain INQ 1853, Sergeant INQ 2006, Sergeant INQ 270, Lance Corporal UNK 1086, Lance Corporal INQ 2576 and Private INQ 1930 (driver).

12.52 According to Colonel Wilford, A and C Companies each had a strength of 73 men, and D Company had a strength of 74.1 Major Loden, who had become the Commander of Support Company on 6th December 1971, put the total strength of Support Company at 103, of whom 97 eventually went into the Bogside.2 We have no reason to doubt the accuracy of these figures.

1 B954
2 WT12.4; WT12.20; B2217


12.53 Support Company operated on the day with four platoons. These were Mortar Platoon, Machine Gun Platoon, Anti-Tank Platoon and Composite Platoon. The last of these was sometimes referred to as “Administrative Platoon”. This platoon was composed of various members of Administration (HQ) Company, augmented (as were the other platoons) by members of B Company. When Composite Platoon was deployed on operations, it was often known as “Guinness Force”.

12.54 Despite the names of these platoons, most of the soldiers in Support Company on the day were armed with standard issue self-loading rifles (SLRs) that delivered high velocity bullets of the standard NATO calibre of 7.62mm, with a range of over two miles. The typical allotment of ammunition was 50 rounds, of which 20 were in the magazine, 20 in a spare magazine carried in a webbing pouch, and ten in a bandolier in a pocket. Three of the soldiers in Composite Platoon (Guinness Force) had sub-machine guns instead of SLRs because there were not enough of the latter to go round.1

1 WT12.45; B2217

12.55 These three also carried riot guns, as did 12 of the other soldiers in Support Company armed with SLRs.1 Riot guns, also known as baton guns, rubber bullet guns or RUC guns, fired baton rounds and were designed for use in dispersing rioters. They were significantly shorter weapons than SLRs, as can be seen from the following photographs taken on Bloody Sunday.

1 WT12.4



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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:21

12.56 The soldiers of 1 PARA were issued with gas masks, but did not carry riot shields or, with the exception of Composite Platoon, use visors, because visors tended to become scratched or steamed up and thus difficult to see through.1

1 WT12.2-3; WT12.19

Reconnaissance

12.57 On arrival at the Foyle College car park, Colonel Wilford ordered his Company Commanders to reconnoitre Barriers 7 and 9 and 11–17, and he and the 1 PARA Intelligence Officer, Captain INQ 7, did the same. Major Loden, the Officer Commanding Support Company, began his reconnaissance at about 1220 hours.1 He worked his way, he thought, from Barriers 15, 14, 13 and 12 until he reached the Presbyterian church in Great James Street.2 The following photograph and map show the position of the Presbyterian church.


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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:23

The plan for Support Company

12.58 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1 Major Loden recorded that he looked in particular at the wall to the east of the Presbyterian church, as Colonel Wilford had warned him that Support Company might have to deploy over this wall. Major Loden explained that, although this was the pre-arranged route for his company to get into William Street, he had also been warned that his soldiers might have to enter the area through any of the Army barriers.2 According to Major Loden, the wall route seemed attractive for a number of reasons. First, it might enable soldiers to surprise rioters. Second, there was a substantial gap between Barriers 12 and 11, and hence the wall, which lay between the two barriers, could provide a useful additional way to move into William Street in the event of disturbances there. Finally, it provided a means of outflanking rioters at Aggro Corner, the junction of William Street and Rossville Street.3

1 B2217

2 B2218
3 B2218; WT12.6


12.59 Major Loden met Colonel Wilford at the Presbyterian church during his reconnaissance. Major Loden’s Diary of Operations and his evidence to the Widgery Inquiry recorded that this meeting occurred between 1220 hours and 1245 hours; Colonel Wilford’s written evidence in 1972 was that it happened at “about 1300 hours”.1 By this stage it had become apparent to Major Loden that the initial plan to go over the wall next to the Presbyterian church had drawbacks. There was wire on the top of the wall that would need cutting, and the route was narrow and exposed.2 Other soldiers noticed that there was a large drop on the far (southern) side of the wall, while an oil tank on the northern side rendered impossible the use of a vehicle to breach the structure.3 It is unclear whether either of these factors was in Major Loden’s mind at the time, but when he met Colonel Wilford he told him that it would be a difficult place to get soldiers through quickly.4

1 B2218; B972

2 B2218
3 C1318.2; B1377.3; Day 334/3-5

4 WT12.6


12.60 Colonel Wilford agreed with this assessment and asked Major Loden to reconnoitre a route over the wall to the west of the church with a view to getting a platoon forward to a derelict building on William Street.1This building, which is shown in the photograph and map below, was, as we have noted earlier, generally known as Abbey Taxis, since a firm of that name had been based on the premises. The nine east-facing windows looked out onto an area of waste ground, formerly the site of Richardson’s factory (or Richies), which extended to William Street to the south, the Presbyterian church to the north, and the GPO sorting office to the east.

1 B947



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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:24

12.61 Major Loden then met his Platoon Commanders at about 1245 hours (on his timing) at the junction of Queen Street and Great James Street. He warned the acting Commander of Machine Gun Platoon, Sergeant INQ 441, that his platoon might be required to deploy forward to Abbey Taxis.1 In his written statement to the Widgery Inquiry, Major Loden recorded that he had by then decided “that the disused building would provide a second route into William Street, in addition to the one over the wall on the East side of the church”, so that he would be able to deploy two platoons simultaneously in an arrest operation.2

1 B2212; B2218
2 B2218


12.62 If this evidence is an accurate reflection of Major Loden’s thinking at the time, it is clear that at this stage he continued to envisage using the wall to the east of the Presbyterian church as a deployment point for at least some of his company. However, when the arrest operation was subsequently launched, Support Company (with the exception of Machine Gun Platoon, which could not extricate itself from the positions that it had taken up in Abbey Taxis) moved along Little James Street and through Barrier 12. There is conflicting evidence as to when the decision was taken to abandon the (eastern) wall route in favour of the use of the Little James Street barrier, and when this decision was communicated to Major Loden.

12.63 Colonel Wilford gave two written statements to the Widgery Inquiry. In the first he stated:1

“Major Loden Commanding Support Company met me at the Presbyterian Church and informed me that he thought it too difficult to pass a large number of troops through the wire. I agreed with him but asked him to recce a route forward over the wall to the West of the Church. This he did and found it was possible with difficulty to get forward to the derelict house … I told him to be prepared to filter up one platoon this way and made up my mind that I would have to use the Little James Street approach if I was to get any number through in time to catch the rioters.

All reconnaissance was now complete and we settled down to wait.”


1 B947

12.64 This statement refers to Major Loden making a reconnaissance of the west wall route before Colonel Wilford decided that he would have to use the Little James Street route. Major Loden’s evidence is that a reconnaissance of this area was conducted at about 1515 hours,1 but it is not entirely clear whether this is the reconnaissance to which Colonel Wilford was referring.

1 B2218

12.65 Colonel Wilford sought to clarify his evidence on the change of plan in a supplemental written statement for the Widgery Inquiry:1

“The wire referred to was a wire fence across the wall at the side of the Presbyterian Church. This happened about 13.00. I told OC Support Company that if we were ordered to move to effect arrests we should probably have to use the Little James Street route. After making our reconnaissance of the barriers in the morning we had discussed the use of vehicles by that route.”


1 B972

12.66 The two statements do not expressly record when Colonel Wilford came to these conclusions about the deployment of Support Company, nor when he informed Major Loden of his thinking in this regard. However, they can be read as suggesting that his preferences were established at 1300 hours, and it might be that Colonel Wilford came to give his oral evidence to this Inquiry on the basis of such a reading. His final oral evidence was to this effect,1 although he had earlier stressed that he could not recall the precise timings involved.2

1 Day 314/34-35; Day 314/63-75
2 Day 312/49-56


12.67 Despite Colonel Wilford’s evidence on this point, there is a substantial body of material to suggest that it was not until much later in the day that Major Loden learnt that Support Company would be ordered to move through Barrier 12, with the Presbyterian church wall route being abandoned. If correct, this would mean either that Colonel Wilford did not change the preferred plan as early as he thought, or that he failed to communicate this change to Support Company.

12.68 First, there seems little doubt that, until about 1600 hours at the earliest, so far as Major Loden was concerned, the working plan remained to put Support Company soldiers into William Street through the Presbyterian church routes, the only change being to use the wall to the west of the church as well as the wall to the east. Major Loden said that he had explained this to his Platoon Commanders at about 1245 hours, after talking to Colonel Wilford.1 According to his evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, at 1516 hours Major Loden sent platoon reconnaissance parties to “look at the obstacles over which they might have to assault ”.2 It is clear from Major Loden’s written evidence for the Widgery Inquiry3 that the obstacles included the wall to the east of the Presbyterian church. Then, at about 1540 hours, he moved Machine Gun Platoon to the derelict building, ordered Mortar Platoon to cut the wire on top of the wall to the east of the church, and gave Composite Platoon a Warning Order to deploy forward to the open ground to the south of the church.4 There is no mention, either in Major Loden’s Diary of Operations (a record compiled on 31st January 1972)5 or in his evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,6 of any alternative plan to move (in whole or in part) via Barrier 12 until 1600 hours. At that time he received a Warning Order from battalion headquarters to be prepared to assault the rioters in William Street through the barrier (Barrier 12) in Little James Street.7 He told us that this was when he was first informed that the Presbyterian church route was being abandoned in favour of deployment through Barrier 12.8

1 B2218

2 B2218

3 B2218

4 B2212; B2218-2219
5 B2212

6 B2218-2220

7 B2212; B2220

8 Day 344/50
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:24

12.69 Second, on receiving the order, Major Loden sought to recall Machine Gun Platoon from Abbey Taxis.1 This was a further change to the earlier plan – as discussed with Colonel Wilford during the reconnaissance – which envisaged one platoon entering William Street from the west of the Presbyterian church. Major Loden clearly interpreted his new orders as being to deploy his whole company through Barrier 12.2 In fact, Machine Gun Platoon was unable to comply because high walls blocked their route back from Abbey Taxis, as we describe later in this report.3

1 B2220

2 B947; B2212; B2218
3 Paragraph 18.154


12.70 Third, there is evidence from a number of Support Company soldiers (including Lieutenant N, the Commander of Mortar Platoon, and Sergeant O, his Platoon Sergeant) that the order to be prepared to deploy over or through the wall was changed only after an incoming shot had struck a drainpipe on the east side of the church. This event, which is discussed later in this report,1occurred only a few minutes before 1600 hours.2

1 Chapter 19
2 Day 322/118-119; B397-398; WT12.61-63; WT13.10; B801; B466; WT13.24; WT13.35


12.71 For these reasons, we are satisfied that, although Major Loden was aware from the outset that the pre-arranged plan to use the Presbyterian church route might be changed to going through one of the Army barriers, he was not informed by Colonel Wilford until the Warning Order, at about 1600 hours, that he had to be prepared to carry out the arrest operation through Barrier 12.

12.72 Colonel Wilford suggested, during his oral evidence to this Inquiry, that the actions of Major Loden and Support Company at and around the Presbyterian church were examples of contingency planning;1 in other words, although Major Loden knew that he would probably deploy through Barrier 12, he was ensuring that he had properly prepared other routes. The weight of the evidence set out above is such that we are not persuaded by this suggestion. If Major Loden had been aware from an early stage that he would probably deploy through Barrier 12, then he would have put his company’s primary efforts into that objective, rather than seemingly ignoring it until 1600 hours while exposing his men to considerable risk – such as cutting wire on a high wall in view of the Bogside, or asking a platoon to deploy forward over difficult ground – in an effort to examine possible alternatives. Colonel Wilford and those representing him were correct to stress that it was important for commanders to retain flexibility in the execution of the arrest operation,2 but the point at issue is not the nature and efficacy of the different tactics contemplated by Colonel Wilford in order to meet shifting circumstances, but when the change in the preferred plan regarding the deployment of Support Company was made, and when this was communicated to Major Loden.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:24

12.73 In this respect, we are satisfied that, though Colonel Wilford had never closed his mind to sending Support Company through a different route from the Presbyterian church, it was probably not until about 1530 hours at the earliest that he started seriously to consider Barrier 12 as his principal option. As described hereafter, it was at this time that 1 PARA sent a message to 22 Lt AD Regt to be prepared to open Barrier 12 (and Barrier 14) “should we require to push through them to disperse these crowds”.1 Had Colonel Wilford come to this conclusion earlier, he would surely have informed Major Loden, as he easily could have done either in person or via the battalion radio net.

1 W123 serial 286

12.74 The question of when Colonel Wilford chose to deploy Support Company in vehicles rather than on foot is relevant in this connection. In his evidence to this Inquiry, Colonel Wilford stated that even after he had decided that Support Company would probably move through Barrier 12, he still envisaged that it would do so on foot. It was only later in the day, although he could not remember precisely when, that he changed his mind, believing that vehicles would be required to ensure that Support Company got behind the rioters.1 Colonel Wilford agreed that Major Loden might not have known until just before 1600 hours that he would be ordered to deploy through the barrier in Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs).2 Although he felt that Major Loden had been informed earlier that Little James Street would be used whatever the means of deployment, in our view the time at which Colonel Wilford decided to use vehicles might well also have been the time at which he chose to alter the planned route.

1 Day 314/58-67
2 Day 314/65


12.75 It follows that, in our view, Colonel Wilford was mistaken in his evidence to us on the question of when the Presbyterian church route was abandoned in favour of going through Barrier 12 and when that change of plan was communicated to Major Loden.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:25

The move to Assault Positions

12.76 At about 1516 hours, Colonel Wilford ordered A, C and Support Companies to move from their Forming Up Positions (FUPs) into Assault Positions in 15 minutes.1A and C Company were to move from Springham Street and the Foyle College car park respectively to Princes Street; and Support Company from Clarence Avenue to Queen’s Street. As shown on the following map, Princes Street and Queen’s Street led into Great James Street.

1 B2212; W90 serial 23


12.77 These companies duly started to move at 1530 hours, and at this time Colonel Wilford ordered C Company to be prepared to move through Barrier 14 (the barrier in William Street) on the left (east) flank of Support Company.1 In consequence, at 1545 hours, C Company was concentrated (in vehicles) at Waterloo Place, close to the eastern end of William Street.2

1 ED49.9 2 ED49.9
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:28

Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry
- Volume II - Chapter 13





The organisation of the civil rights march
Chapter 13: The organisation of the civil rights march

13.1 Although the civil rights march was held under the auspices of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA), the Derry Civil Rights Association was principally responsible for organising the march.1 However, Kevin McCorry, who told us that he was in effect the chief executive officer of NICRA at the time,2 was in Londonderry during the week before the march, oversaw the arrangements for stewarding the march and was made Chief Steward. As we have already mentioned, he told us that recruitment of stewards for the day was left entirely in the hands of Gerry “the Bird” Doherty, a local man from Londonderry and a well-known local Official Republican. Kevin McCorry also told us that he thought between about 200 and 250 stewards were recruited and supplied with white armbands, though he agreed that he had not “in specific terms” put his mind to the question of how many stewards would be needed for the size of crowd that was anticipated. Asked about the instructions that were given to the stewards, Kevin McCorry said:3

“A. Well, the instructions were that they were to maintain – first of all – that the demonstration was led by the lorry and we laid great stress on the fact that the people who were taking part in the demonstration would be marched behind the lorry, that we would ensure that they marched in a sort of disciplined fashion. For example, we would line them up in, you know, six abreast or whatever; those sort of considerations and those sort of things were what we all understood were necessary for the march.

Q. What about blocking off roads along the route?

A. What they did was, if you like, it was sort of like a rolling operation. Some of the stewards would have ran forward and blocked off a road to ensure that the march – until the march went past and then gone to another, another location and did the same.

Q. Is that something you discussed with them before the march, or just something that happened?

A. That would have been really, I think would have been Gerry’s sort of thing. I mean, I do not recall specifically remembering that discussed as something that had to be done. I just remember that that was the way it was working, but certainly the emphasis – I mean, we all understood the necessity for a peaceful demonstration and a non-confrontational demonstration and we were doing all we could to ensure that that was

the case, and in the circumstances the stewards acquitted themselves, I am convinced, extremely well and, you know, and very, very creditably.”

1 KB2.13

2 Day 129/128
3 Day 129/51-54


13.2 Kevin McCorry agreed that he had reported to the NICRA executive before the march that, in broad terms, the organisation and arrangements were satisfactory.1 Jimmy Doris, another member of the NICRA executive, told us that the executive was “fairly satisfied ” with the stewarding arrangements.2

1 Day 129/54-55
2 Day 124/22


13.3 The 1972 interview notes of the Sunday Times journalist John Barry paint a somewhat different picture. According to these, Kevin McCorry described himself as being “fairly appalled at the state of unpreparedness ” when he arrived in Londonderry on 27th January; and that he had to rely, among others, upon the Official IRA to provide stewards.1 Kevin McCorry told us that these notes were inaccurate and that John Barry had put words into his mouth,2 but in our view they do represent a reasonably accurate record of what he told John Barry.3

1 KM2.3

2 KM2.21; Day 129/97; Day 129/102-103
3 Day 129/182-185


13.4 It was submitted on behalf of some of the soldiers that: “The Tribunal will need to consider whether it was appropriate that known members of terrorist organisations should have been asked or permitted to act as stewards on what was intended to be a peaceful civil rights march.”1

1 FS8.918

13.5 It is clear that NICRA executive member Jimmy Doris would not have been happy for anyone who was involved with violence to take part in stewarding the march.1 However, to our minds the relevant question in the context of this Inquiry is not the general appropriateness of employing such people as stewards, but whether any of them with paramilitary connections used – or sought to use – their position to frustrate NICRA’s intention to hold a peaceful civil rights march. As we have previously observed, we have found no evidence to suggest that this was, or might have been, the case.

1 Day 124/63
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:29

Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry
- Volume II - Chapter 14




The beginning of the march
Chapter 14: The beginning of the march

14.1 The civil rights march began at Bishop’s Field, where people began to gather from about 2.00pm onwards.

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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:30

14.2 The march set off at about 2.45pm, taking a roundabout route through the Creggan, down Central Drive, to the east along Linsfort Drive, into Iniscarn Road and Rathlin Drive, then into Southway and along into Lone Moor Road. The march turned at the Brandywell Recreation Ground into Brandywell Road and then up Lecky Road, turning left up Westland Street, into Lone Moor Road and then past St Eugene’s Cathedral and down William Street to the junction with Rossville Street. The route of the march to this point is depicted on the following map and photograph.

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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:31

14.3 The day was cold but bright and sunny. Many witnesses described the march as having a carnival atmosphere, though some were apprehensive and many regarded it as a serious matter because of the importance of its political message.1A lot of people were well dressed (many having previously been to church) and there was singing of “We shall overcome” and the like. Several witnesses said that they had no qualms about participating despite the risk of a mandatory sentence of imprisonment for doing so, believing, as they did, that the Government had no right to ban them from marching in their own city, and sensing that this would be an historic day in which popular protest against perceived injustice could make its point by sheer weight of numbers. Many of those who attended were seasoned marchers; others attended for the first time because they saw it as important to stand up and be counted. In some cases their willingness to take part was strengthened by the fact that respected community figures were going on the march and that Lord Brockway, a life peer and civil rights campaigner, was to speak. The majority of people on the march were intent on making a peaceful protest. They came from all walks of life, including people with no political persuasion and those accompanied by their children. As well as Londonderry residents, marchers came from Belfast and elsewhere. Kevin McCorry, the chief organiser, came from Belfast.

1 In his first written statement to this Inquiry, Charles McDaid said that an anonymous female caller had telephoned his wife on the morning of 30th January 1972, leaving a warning that he should not attend the march because “the paras are coming in and coming in shooting” (AM161.1). In his oral evidence, he said that he knew the identity of the caller; she was Jean Manning who, he said, was in January 1972 a telephonist employed by the RUC at Strand Road Barracks (Day 60/126-128). Subsequently, the Inquiry obtained evidence that indicated that Jean Manning (who is now deceased) had not commenced employment as a police telephonist until March 1973. Jean Manning’s sister confirmed that Ms Manning had not been in any form of employment in January 1972 (AS47.1; Day 422/75). We are accordingly of the view that there was no such conversation and consider that Charles McDaid’s memory must have been playing tricks on him. We are sure that Jean Manning made no such telephone call.

14.4 At the same time there were a substantial number of people on the fringes of the march who saw it not as a means of protesting for civil rights, but as an opportunity to engage in rioting against the troops. As one witness put it:1 “My attitude to the march was ‘fuck civil rights, fuck the British army we are going to the Guildhall’.” Others said that they had “no intention of poncing about on a march”,2 for example, and were intent on rioting because they wanted revenge for what had happened at Magilligan Strand the previous weekend. So they marched with clubs and similar weapons, concealed under coats, because had the weapons been seen by other people on the march “we would have been lynched ”.3 According to a note in the Sunday Times newspaper archive,4 Bernadette Devlin (now Bernadette McAliskey) expressed the view that it was obvious from the word go at Bishop’s Field that half the people on the march were aiming on violence. In her evidence to us, Bernadette McAliskey denied that she had said any such thing, but in our view she may well have done so.5

1 AM97.1

2 AM37.6

3 AM421.1
4 KD4.5

5 Day 112/41-43


14.5 A flatbed coal lorry initially led the march. This was driven by Thomas McGlinchey, from a well-known republican family and at the time also a member of the Provisional IRA.1 It seems that the lorry had originally belonged to his brother, who had been interned in August 1971; the lorry had then been acquired or used by Thomas McGlinchey for the family coal business.2 There were several people on the lorry, some holding up a Civil Rights Association banner. The marchers increased in number as the march proceeded, particularly when it got to the Brandywell area of the city, where it met with a large crowd. There is no doubt that those organising the march wanted the lorry to continue to lead, but despite efforts by stewards to achieve this, at about this stage many joined the march in front of the lorry, as can be seen in the following photograph.3

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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:32

14.6 Many witnesses were surprised by the size of the turnout, though the estimates of the numbers who marched varied. Daniel McGuinness, who was on the march, told us1 that he had made an estimate based on the fact that when he reached the bottom of Westland Street, the banner at the head of the march was turning right along Lone Moor Road, and that when he got to the top of Westland Street and looked back, the end of the column of people was just entering the bottom of Westland Street. Judging the distance from the bottom to the top of Westland Street to be about 500 yards, and taking the marchers to be about 15 across the street, and at intervals of a yard, he reached a figure of about 15,000 marchers. Others gave a similar figure, and the RUC put the number at 10,000,2 though a report from Colonel Welsh in the helicopter at 1542 hours described the crowd as very spread out and in his view numbering only in the region of 2,000.3 In the light of all the evidence, we are satisfied that well over 10,000, and possibly as many as 15,000, marched in Londonderry on that day, many joining the march along its route.

1 Day 96/36

2 W124 serials 302 and 305
3 W124 serial 326


14.7 As the march reached the end of Lone Moor Road, turned right into Creggan Street and approached William Street, it got close to Army Barriers 7, 9 and 11. Here stewards lined up along the side of William Street to prevent the crowd from approaching these barriers, and though the soldiers there were subjected to jeers and insults from the crowd, there were no reported incidents of violence.1

1 Day 298/64; W121 serial 251; W122 serials 257-259 and 262

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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:37

14.8 The following photograph, taken from William Street, shows the marchers passing the end of Francis Street. Barrier 9 can be seen in the background.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:38

14.9 The march entered William Street from Creggan Street at about 3.15pm. Among the famous photographs of the march coming down William Street is the following.



14.10 The soldiers closed the barriers as the march approached. Barriers 7, 9 and 11 were closed at about 1526 hours and Barriers 12 and 13 at about 1531 hours.1 Barriers 14, 15, 16 and 17 seem to have been closed a short time earlier.2

1 W121 serials 248 and 253
2 W120 serial 229
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:39

Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry
- Volume II - Chapter 15



15.1 As already noted,1the organisers had advertised the march as going to Guildhall Square (Shipquay Place), where speakers would address the marchers. However, on the morning of the day (and probably not until about noon) the organisers took the final decision not to seek to go to Guildhall Square, as this would inevitably lead to a confrontation with the security forces.2Instead, they decided that the marchers would be turned right at the junction of William Street and Rossville Street and would go along Rossville Street to Free Derry Corner to hear the speakers there. However, there was some evidence that it was also planned that two of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) Executive members should go on down William Street to make a formal protest to the security forces barring the way to Guildhall Square.

1 Paragraphs 9.730–733 2 Day 125/27; Day 125/30

15.2 Kevin McCorry told this Inquiry that the organisers decided not to make a public announcement of the change of route because “we were not prepared for the authorities to define what we could do”, but that they did pass the message about the change to the stewards “by word of mouth”.1In his oral evidence Kevin McCorry agreed that this meant that it was “on the cards” that some of the crowd would think that the march was still going to its advertised destination.2

1 KM2.17
2 Day 129/72


15.3 It was submitted to this Inquiry on behalf of NICRA that in addition to the political reason for not announcing the change of route at the outset, there was a safety reason, namely “the danger that elements of the crowd would leave the field and proceed in an unorganised manner in the direction of Guildhall Square”.1However, we have found nothing in the evidence that indicates to us that this was or might have been a reason for the decision not to announce the change of route at the outset.

1 FS10.102; FR10.48

15.4 In the course of Kevin McCorry's oral evidence, there was this exchange:1

“Q. I take it from all that you have been telling us so far that you realised, by ‘you’ I mean you and other members of the Executive Committee, that the route of the march might be blocked so that you would not be able to reach the Guildhall?

A. Yes, that is correct.

Q. Did you also appreciate, given that Derry was somewhere where there was pretty regular rioting and this was likely to be a huge march, that there was a risk that there would be a violent confrontation between some of the marchers and the army at whatever place the march was stopped at?

A. Certainly there was always that, that was always in the – a factor taken into consideration, yes.

Q. Did you have any plans to prevent that confrontation?

A. Yeah, well the plans involved the, what we hoped – the way that the stewards would control the situation at that particular time, yes.

Q. What are you referring to?

A. Well, specifically, as it worked out, it was the question of the role of the stewards (a) at the William Street/Rossville Street junction, and then, if necessary, what did subsequently happen in terms of the stewards going down and interposing themselves between the youths and the barrier and try and push them back to the main demonstration.

Q. Can I understand it: if you were barred from going to the Guildhall, the lorry would turn to its right down Rossville Street at the junction with William Street; is that right?

A. That is correct, yeah.

Q. And what about the east end of William Street, that is to say from the junction with Rossville Street towards the Guildhall, were people to be allowed to go down that end?

A. No, the object of the exercise would be to ensure that the body of the march followed the lorry to the destination – to the Free Derry Corner, where the meeting was to be held.

Q. How were people to be stopped from going down the east end of William Street?

A. By placing the stewards there, would be the – probably the – yes.

Q. That was something that was thought about, was it, before?

A. No, I am not, I mean I am speculating on that, I mean, but that would have been – what would have been – we would have wanted to do was to make sure that the vast bulk, obviously the optimum scenario would be that the entire march followed the lorry to the meeting at Free Derry Corner and that the stewards would ensure this.

Q. Forgive me, you were the chief steward; I do not quite know why you need to speculate. Was it or was it not the plan that stewards would prevent people from going down to the east end of William Street from the junction?

A. It would have been it, yes, it would have.

Q. We have heard from Edwina Stewart that there may have been a plan for two people, herself and Jimmy Doris, who in the event did not make it to the march, to go and make a formal protest at the barrier if the march was stopped from going to the Guildhall; were you aware of that?

A. I have seen that in the sort of the references to it, but I do not recall that, but certainly that would have – that would be the sort of thing to take the heat out of the situation, that would have made sense.”


1 Day 129/48-51

15.5 Thomas McGlinchey (the lorry driver) told us in his evidence that he believed that he had been told to go to Free Derry Corner from the outset.1 This may well be so, but it is clear that many, if not most, marchers (and a number of the stewards) were unaware of the change of plan. There was no public announcement of the change when the march began, though the word was passed to some stewards. Even when the march got to William Street, there were stewards who remained unaware that the route had been changed.2

1 AM249.1
2 Day 153/122; Day 176/53-54; Day 176/58
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:40

The junction of William Street and Rossville Street

15.6 As the march approached Abbey Taxis in William Street (ie the derelict building to which Machine Gun Platoon of Support Company was sent a few minutes later), the photographs below show that there was a line of stewards (identifiable by their white armbands) facing the marchers.


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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:41

15.7 The march reached the junction of William Street and Rossville Street at or shortly before 3.35pm.1 By this time, the line of stewards seems to have dispersed or been outflanked, for the following photographs taken by Colonel Tugwell from the Embassy Ballroom OP show no body, line or cordon of stewards awaiting the arrival of the marchers.

1 W158; W169





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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:43

15.8 Patrick McCallion, who was on the march, told us that he saw about five stewards at the junction who were linked arm-in-arm trying to stop people going to Barrier 14, but that there were not enough of them to hold back all the marchers trying to get past them. However, Patrick McCallion also told us that he was about 100–200 yards behind the lorry as it went along William Street, and that by the time he got to the junction the lorry had already turned into Rossville Street.1 It seems therefore that he was not describing the scene at the time the lorry arrived at the junction. We can see no stewards in Colonel Tugwell's photographs standing arm-in-arm or otherwise. Even if there were some stewards there at this time, they clearly had had little success in diverting people into Rossville Street. The organisers intended the marchers to follow the lorry, which did turn into Rossville Street despite shouts and screams from some marchers for it to continue down William Street, but the youths who had been in front of the lorry lost no time in running on towards Barrier 14, which was some 120 yards further along William Street. Many marchers followed them, as can be seen in the following photographs.

1 AM74.1; Day 71/140



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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:43

15.9 Those running on towards Barrier 14 included seasoned rioters who were holding sticks and stones and were clearly intent on engaging the soldiers at Barrier 14. Someone shouted “charge!” at this time.1

1 AM97.1; AM146.1-2; AP18.1-2; M79.1

15.10 In our view what happened was that by the time the lorry had reached the junction of William Street and Rossville Street many people were in front of the lorry. Despite appeals through the loudspeaker on the lorry for people to turn right and go along Rossville Street to Free Derry Corner, a sizeable body of people, marchers as well as those intent on rioting, continued down William Street. The result was that soon afterwards that part of William Street between the junction with Rossville Street and Barrier 14 became full of people. Kevin McCorry, who was on the lorry, told us that this happened because the lorry did not stop at the junction, but turned right before stopping in Rossville Street. However, though this may have been a contributory cause, it seems to us that the failure to inform the marchers that the destination had been changed to Free Derry Corner, and the absence of any, or any sufficient number, of stewards at the junction or in William Street, were at least equal causes of marchers (as opposed to those intent on rioting) continuing along William Street. Kevin McCorry told John Barry of the Sunday Times that “the problem was that no stewards had been taken and given the specific responsibility of being on that corner”.1 Kevin McCorry acknowledged to us that there was a “momentary” loss of control of the march at that point.2

1 KM2.6; Day 129/117-118
2 Day 129/61-62


15.11 As to those intent on rioting, it was submitted on behalf of some of the soldiers that if it had been the intention of the march organisers to prevent the occurrence of rioting at the Army barriers, it was self-evident from the rioting at Barrier 14 (which we discuss in detail below) that either the number of stewards was inadequate, or the available stewards were inappropriately positioned.1

1 FS8.919

15.12 In our view there is no doubt that the organisers of the march wanted to have a large and peaceful procession. It also appears from the evidence given by Kevin McCorry that it was appreciated that if the march were stopped from going to Guildhall Square, the occasion was likely to lead to rioters accompanying the march and seeking to attack soldiers at the barriers. Kevin McCorry’s evidence was to the effect that the plan was to have stewards at the junction of William Street and Rossville Street to prevent people going further along William Street; but, assuming this to be so, it seems that none of the stewards was given specific instructions in advance to this effect, with the result that when the front of the march reached the junction there were few if any stewards there and no means of seeking to prevent people from continuing along William Street.

15.13 We consider, therefore, that there were shortcomings in the organisation of the march. However, it seems to us that even if stewards had been stationed at the junction, in view of the wide-open spaces there it would have been difficult if not impossible for them to have stopped all those intent on confronting the soldiers who were blocking access to Guildhall Square. The organisers of the march wanted to make a peaceful protest, but must have known that whatever they did there was likely to be trouble from elements intent on rioting.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:44

Barrier 14

15.14 The people who led the way along William Street stopped short of Barrier 14 at the junction with Chamberlain Street, as can be seen from the following photographs.

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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:45

15.15 There was at this time some stone-throwing from this group, aimed at the soldiers and police behind Barrier 14, but soon some stewards managed to get in front and tried to prevent the people moving further forward towards Barrier 14, as shown in the photograph below.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:46

15.16 Meanwhile many marchers had either stopped at the junction of William Street and Rossville Street, or continued down William Street, rather than turning right into Rossville Street, as can be seen from the photograph below.

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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:46

15.17 Some of these marchers brought with them the NICRA civil rights banner that had previously been on the lorry. This can be seen in the following photograph.

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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry volume 2

Post  Guest on Wed 16 Jun - 17:48

15.18 There was a loudspeaker on the lorry. Kevin McCorry told this Inquiry that the plan had been for the lorry to stop briefly at the corner of William Street and Rossville Street and for an announcement to be made from the lorry that the march was going to Free Derry Corner, but this did not happen.1Thomas McGlinchey (the driver) told this Inquiry that he had received no such instructions.2 The lorry (according to what Kevin McCorry told John Barry of the Sunday Times) went round the corner “much too fast”3 and it may be that no announcement was made from it until it had gone some way down Rossville Street. Although Thomas McGlinchey told us that he turned and then went on down to Free Derry Corner without stopping,4 we believe his recollection on this point is likely to be incorrect. There is other 1972 evidence that the lorry, having started down Rossville Street, reversed back towards the junction between William Street and Rossville Street and later went backwards and forwards on Rossville Street with the loudspeaker continuing to be used to appeal to the crowd to go to Free Derry Corner.5

1 Day 129/59-60

2 Day 53/17

3 KM2.6
4 AM249.5; Day 53/18

5 KM2.6; JC4.4-6; WT3.35; JM19.4-5; JH10.2


15.19 Despite these efforts William Street rapidly became blocked with people. This had the effect of pushing the crowd up to Barrier 14, notwithstanding attempts by stewards to hold it back, while further back the marchers coming down William Street towards the junction with Rossville Street came to a halt. There was thus at this stage very considerable confusion and a loss of control of the march, though stewards at the junction continued to try to turn the marchers down Rossville Street by telling people that the meeting was at Free Derry Corner.1The fact that the organisers had chosen not to announce publicly that the march would be going to Free Derry Corner and not Guildhall Square undoubtedly contributed significantly to the confusion at the junction.

1 H1.3; KM2.6

15.20 It was now some time between 3.35pm and 3.40pm. The stewards in front of the crowd at Barrier 14 continued to try to keep control. Some were facing the crowd, but others were insisting to the security forces that the Derry people had the right to march to the Guildhall.1 There was a lull in the stone-throwing but the crowd was hostile. People were shouting abuse at the security forces and spitting across the barrier. One person made an attempt to dismantle the barrier. There were chants of “IRA, IRA”.2 There are photographs (reproduced below) and film footage that show the scene at this time.3


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