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Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 3

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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 3

Post  Guest on Tue 22 Jun - 11:20



51.51 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Private S said that he had no recollection of how this photograph came to be prepared.1

1 Day 332/113

51.52 As can be seen, on this photograph the position of Private S is marked as further away from the southern corner of the Chamberlain Street houses than it was on his RMP map, though in his first RMP statement Private S described being in the position shown on his trajectory photograph. The position marked on the RMP statement seems therefore to have been incorrect.1

1 B695

51.53 It was, as noted above, in his written account for the Widgery Inquiry that Private S retracted what he had recorded in his RMP statements about seeing nail bombs.

51.54 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Private S said that when he had reached his position at the back of one of the houses in Chamberlain Street, he stayed there all the time.1He told the Widgery Inquiry that after he saw a man kneeling in the gap between Blocks 1 and 2 of the Rossville Flats, he heard and counted four shots:2

“Q. Did you know where those shots struck?

A. The shots passed me, the rounds passed me and went on past me, must have struck somewhere to my rear.

Q. How far to your rear do you think they landed?

A. Could have been –

Q. Did you hear them land actually?

A. Not really; I just heard the shots coming past me closely.

Q. Could you tell or form any view about what sort of weapon was firing?

A. I would say a medium calibre, an M.1; it could have been an M.16.

Q. Could you see any muzzle flashes at that stage?

A. Not at that stage.

Q. At that stage could you tell for sure from whom the shots were coming?

A. I knew the direction the shots were coming.

Q. Did you keep watching towards that kneeling man?

A. I did. ”


1 WT12.102 2WT12.103

51.55 Private S continued by telling the Widgery Inquiry that the man stood up and he could see his rifle at his shoulder: “As soon as I saw him, as soon as I identified him as the gunman, I fired three aimed shots at him. ” Private S said that he did not think that he had hit the man. He also said that some people then came between him and the gunman but he caught sight of him again about 30 or 40 seconds later. The man was roughly in the same position. He heard the man fire and saw his muzzle flashes: “He was still in a sort of kneeling crouched position ... I fired three aimed shots at him. ”1

1 WT12.104

51.56 Private S said that he thought he had hit the man this time, but that he could not fire any more shots then because his line of sight was obstructed. Asked how many people were in the car park at this time he said: “There were quite a few … They were milling about; they were more or less going through the gaps of the flats. ”1

1 WT12.105

51.57 Private S told the Widgery Inquiry that he then saw a gunman in the same position twice more. The gunman fired several rounds in his direction, and he fired three shots back. Private S said that he did not think that he had hit the gunman, who fired three or four more shots, which passed by to his right and landed in the region of his APC. From the transcript it appears that Private S was referring to the APC parked by Pilot Row, ie Lieutenant N’s APC.1

1 WT13.2

51.58 Private S said that he fired three more shots and this time thought he had hit the gunman as “His body jerked backwards ”, but he could not see the man after that as people obstructed his view. He told the Widgery Inquiry that he could not be sure whether it was the same man he had shot at on each occasion that he fired.1

1 WT13.3

51.59 Private S also said that during the period in which he was firing Sergeant O was on the forward left side of Sergeant O’s APC, and that he shouted to Sergeant O that Sergeant O was under fire because some shots fell in front of Sergeant O that Sergeant O had not seen. “I could not see what he was engaging. ”1

1 WT13.4

51.60 Asked whether he could see any other hostile activity towards the troops while he was firing, Private S replied that there was a hail of bottles, he guessed 40 to 50 in number, thrown down from the flats.1

1 WT13.4

51.61 Later in his oral evidence Private S said that he saw one person lying on the ground to his front before he had discharged all his shots, when there were still people milling about in the car park. Asked whether he had fired any shots before he saw the body, Private S replied: “I may have, sir, but I don’t think so. ”1

1 WT13.7-8

51.62 Private S said that Sergeant O was the only other soldier he saw fire.1

1 WT13.9

The absence of reference to Private S’s firing in the Loden List of Engagements

51.63 There is no reference to any of Private S’s claimed shots in the Loden List of Engagements.1 It is not clear why this is so. There is no evidence to suggest that Private S was one of the soldiers tasked, alongside Sergeant O and Corporal P, with taking the bodies of those killed at the rubble barricade to Altnagelvin Hospital. Nor is there any other obvious explanation as to why Private S either was not interviewed by Major Loden, or was interviewed without the relevant information being recorded. Private S told this Inquiry that he did not recall speaking to Major Loden, after Support Company’s withdrawal from the Bogside, about his firing.2 There is no evidence from Major Loden on this point. It might be that Private S was occupied on other duties. It is also possible that at this stage Private S was not claiming to have hit anyone, and thus his shots did not appear on the list for the same reason as the first three fired by Lieutenant N. These possibilities are, however, no more than speculation.

1 ED49.12 2Day 332/75

Private S’s evidence to this Inquiry about his and Sergeant O’s firing

51.64 In his written evidence to this Inquiry, Private S stated:1

“18. I moved forward and I have a general recollection of my platoon sergeant, soldier O being to my right and beside his Pig and I was looking for gunmen. I remember at some stage focusing on the alleyway between two blocks of the flats, this was a good place for a gunman as it offered cover and an escape route. I was then engaged in exchanges of fire with a gunman or gunmen. My only recollection now is that the exchange was over quickly, I do not recall how many rounds I fired, or were fired at me or whether or not I hit any of the men who were firing at me – I use the term in the plural as it was possibly more than one person who fired at me from the same position.

19. The only other memory I have of the time I was in this area is that I was near to a wall, soldier O was to my right and at the front left hand side of his vehicle, I think near the passenger door. I recall that he appeared to be engaging a target, although I cannot now remember any more than that. ”


1 B724.003

51.65 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Private S told us that he now had no recollection of what had caused him to fire the first time.1He then made the following comment about his RMP statements:2

“Now, I would ask the Tribunal to bear with me for a moment, that when I actually made the first statement, which I believe was quite late at night, I mean, that was made to the RMPs, which – making a statement to the RMP is, is – can be quite a frightening affair in itself and, basically, there is a lot of things in there that I concede, even though I have signed the statement – yes, I have signed it, but I am not actually condoning some of the inaccuracies in the statement and in the statement that I made on the 4th.

Now, having said that, I would reiterate, I know I signed them, but I am basically – I regret the fact that I have signed a statement in 1972 that is basically inaccurate; it is not wholly inaccurate, but there are bits in there that – that have been added by the RMPs that are not wholly accurate, that I want to say that. ”


1 Day 331/60 2Day 331/61-62

51.66 Counsel to the Inquiry accordingly took Private S through these statements in some detail. The first material inaccuracy identified by Private S related to his account of nail bombs being thrown from the Rossville Flats, which we have considered earlier in this report.1He told us that the account in his first RMP statement of his firing was the truth,2though a little later in his evidence there was the following exchange:3

“Q. It is correct, is it, that you have now no actual recollection at all of the rather dramatic incident which is described in this statement, of firing twelve shots in all, four bursts of three at 30-second intervals, injuring one man twice or two men once?

A. No, I have no recollection of it now, no. ”

1 Paragraphs 47.8–9 and 49.15–16

2 Day 331/69-70
3 Day 331/73


51.67 Private S then told us that his account in his second RMP statement of seeing a gunman firing from a ground floor window should not be relied upon as an accurate statement, though he did not withdraw his account of seeing the bullets hit the ground about 10m short of the APC or his account of seeing Sergeant O fired at and returning fire.1

1 Day 331/75-76

51.68 Private S was unable to explain why in his first RMP statement he had described shots fired at him that had struck the walls of derelict houses about 50m behind him, in his written account for the Widgery Inquiry he had described them hitting the back wall of Chamberlain Street between 5m and 10m behind him and in his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry he had said that he had not really heard them land.1

1 Day 331/84-85; Day 332/45-46

51.69 Later in his oral evidence Private S was asked to explain how he knew that parts of his RMP statements were inaccurate, having just told this Inquiry that at the time he made them, he believed them to be true.1There was then the following exchange:2

“A. I do not remember making, I have said that on several occasions, sir – I do not remember making these statements, I do not even remember the people that interviewed me in the statements, I do not.

Q. You do not remember anything about the way in which the statements were taken?

A. I do not remember, sir. If I did, I would tell you so.

Q. If you do not remember anything about the way the statements were taken, how could you possibly, in fairness, place any blame on the RMPs who took the statements?

A. Because when you make a statement to the RMP, they are, shall we say, they are intimidating, to say the least and –

Q. Were they intimidating on this occasion?

A. Well, they can –

Q. On these two occasions when you made your statements to them?

A. They can be intimidating to an 18-year-old.

Q. Were they in fact intimidating on the two occasions you made your statements to them in respect of Bloody Sunday?

A. You are asking me now to commute the – I can see what you are doing. You are asking me now to commute the whole blame of the responsibility, to shift it over to the RMP. I am not going to say that they were intimidating in that way. I am sorry, sir, I am not going to say that.

LORD SAVILLE: I interrupt, it is the chairman, Soldier S. I do not think Mr Macdonald is doing that. What Mr Macdonald is doing, and he will correct me if I am wrong, is trying to get your assistance as to why you are now saying that parts of these statements are wrong; am I right in that, Mr Macdonald?

MR MACDONALD: Yes, sir.

LORD SAVILLE: Perhaps you could put the question again.

You have told us that some parts of these statements are unreliable. An example you took was that you could not have been facing northwest?

A. That is right, sir.

LORD SAVILLE: That is actually a minor example which I do not think anyone is going to blame anyone about, subject to correction from Mr Macdonald, but there are other parts of these statements that you told us yesterday you regarded as unreliable.

What Mr Macdonald is seeking to do is to discover why you take that view of those parts of the statement that are unreliable and in order to do that he is exploring with you the circumstances in which the statements were made. You have told us more than once that you cannot remember the details of the statement-taking process. You have made the point more than once that, in the ordinary course of things, an 18-year-old soldier is likely to be intimidated by the RMP, in general terms.

But concentrate, please, on what Mr Macdonald is trying to get from you, which is why certain parts of these statements you now say are unreliable; that is the point we are getting at.

Mr Macdonald.

MR MACDONALD: Do you remember, in fact, being intimidated by these RMPs who took these statements?

A. No, I do not, sir.

Q. Do you remember in fact them putting words into your statements that you did not give to them?

A. No, I do not remember them putting words into my statements that I gave to them.

Q. You cannot say that anything that appears in these statements came from the RMPs as opposed to from yourself?

A. No, I cannot remember that.

Q. So you cannot properly say that you signed statements that were effectively written by other people, can you?

A. Well, by the logic that I follow you, yes, no, I cannot.

Q. In fact what you are doing is trying to transfer the blame for the inaccuracies to the RMPs?

A. I am sorry, I have said that, no –

Q. Why do you persist in saying that there were things in the statement that were not really written by you and that you regret signing them and you must have been intimidated? Where does the intimidation come into it?

A. The statements are inaccurate in the respect that they do not accurately reflect probably what I actually quoted to the RMPs on the day.

Q. Why are you suggesting that the RMPs put things into your statement that you did not give to them? The sort of terms that you used were that they may have collated material that may have come from a number of people?

A. Well, I think they, they would have collated some of this, I mean, that would have been common sense for them to do that at the time, would it not?

Q. No, it would not, Soldier S, because these statements purport to be an account of your recollection of the events. Now, to get to the point very simply: I am suggesting to you that the reason why you are now – the reason, first of all, why the account appears in your statement in the way that it does, is that you were telling lies about your account?

A. No, I was not, sir.

Q. The inaccuracies are attributable to you trying to tell lies and not to the RMPs telling lies for you?

A. No.

Q. Or could it be that it is a combination of you telling lies and the RMPs helping you to tell lies?

A. No.

Q. How do you know?

A. No.

Q. How do you know?

A. I would not do that.

Q. But you do not remember doing that or not doing that, do you?

A. No, I do not.

Q. You claim to have no recollection of this at all?

A. I do not, that is correct, that is correct, but I would not do that. ”

1 Day 332/14
2 Day 332/16-21


51.70 Private S was asked much the same later in his oral evidence, when he was asked to explain how he had come to change the account given in his second RMP statement1of Sergeant O firing at a gunman at a ground floor window at the south-east corner of Block 1 to the account given in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry2of Sergeant O firing into “the other corner of the car park ”:3

“LORD SAVILLE: Your second statement, the first page.

MR MACDONALD: B724.016.

LORD SAVILLE: Look at that paragraph. It describes you saying that you saw a gunman open fire from a ground floor window, about three windows in from the southeast corner of Block 1, he fired about six shots direct at members of the company, who were: ‘... employed around one of our APCs, positioned about 15 metres west of my position. I saw the gunman’s bullets strike the ground about 10 metres short of the APC. [Sergeant] O, who was positioned at the side of the APC nearest my position engaged the gunman and fired, I believe, two shots in return.’

You have told this Tribunal and in reply to Mr Macdonald’s questions, you have repeated, that that is inaccurate?

A. Yes.

LORD SAVILLE: What Mr Macdonald has been trying to ascertain from you is: how are you able to say that that paragraph is inaccurate? You tell us you do not remember the incident, so how do you know that that paragraph is inaccurate?

A. Because it was probably inserted there for me, probably.

MR MACDONALD: By the RMP who took the statement?

A. Probably, yes, sir.

Q. And you went along with it?

A. Yes.

Q. And you could only say that that probably happened because you have a recollection to that effect; is that not right?

A. I have very, very little recollections of the incidents and the statements I have made, as I have said I have – I wish I had more.

Q. Do you have some vague recollection to that effect, that that is what happened: that this was put in your statement by an RMP and you went along with it because you were only 18 and felt intimidated?

A. Yes, that is probably more to the truth. I am not proud of that.

LORD SAVILLE: Is there another possibility, that some of your colleagues suggested to you that you should tell that to the RMP; is that a possibility?

A. I, I would not think that that would have been a possibility, because that would have been sort of – it would amount to sort of colluding and – I think every man on the day would have had to make his own – would have had to account for his own actions, really. I think that by the time we made these statements, I think everybody, I think, fully realised the gravity of the situation, I would say.

No, I would not, I would not go along with that, sir, with respect.

LORD SAVILLE: Tell me if I am wrong in summarising it this way, but your evidence to the Tribunal is that this paragraph is untrue and you witnessed no such event as is described in that paragraph; is that right?

A. Yes, I would agree with that.”

1 B703

2 B708
3 Day 332/71-74


51.71 At the end of his oral evidence Private S denied that any of his firing was from the hip or from his waist.1

1 Day 332/127

Private S’s use of his respirator

51.72 In his written statement for and oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private S stated that he put on his respirator before moving off from Queen’s Street. He did not say for how long he wore it. In his written statement to this Inquiry,2 Private S told us that he could not remember whether he was wearing a respirator.

1 B706; WT12.101 2B724.004

51.73 Both soldiers shown in the enlargement of the photograph taken by Colman Doyle that we have reproduced in our discussion of the incident involving the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps volunteer Charles McMonagle1 can be seen to be wearing respirators. For reasons given earlier, we consider that Private S is one of these soldiers, the other being Lance Corporal V. Thus we consider that Private S was still wearing his respirator as he moved south after the incident involving Charles McMonagle.

1 Paragraphs 31.5–6

Summary of Private S’s account of his shots

51.74 According to the accounts given by Private S, therefore, about five minutes after he reached a position near the back wall of the last-but-one house in Chamberlain Street and from that position, he fired four groups of three shots at a man who was firing a rifle in his direction from the gap between Blocks 1 and 2 of the Rossville Flats. He said that he believed he missed the man with his first group of shots but hit him when he fired his second group. Similarly, he said he believed he missed the man when he fired his third group of three shots but hit him when he fired his fourth group. His evidence was that there was a gap of about 30 seconds between each of his groups of shots, and that on each occasion after he had fired a group of shots, the crowd came between him and the man he was seeking to shoot. He did not know whether each group of shots was fired at the same man.

Summary of Sergeant O’s account of firing by Private S

51.75 We deal in detail with Sergeant O’s evidence of firing later in this chapter.1So far as Private S is concerned Sergeant O’s evidence was to the effect that Private S was the only soldier whom he had seen firing, and that he saw Private S firing from the back wall of a house near the end of Chamberlain Street towards the gap between Blocks 1 and 2 of the Rossville Flats. Sergeant O said that he caught one glimpse of a man kneeling down in that location firing a weapon from the shoulder. The man was in a small gap by himself but there were people moving about that area. According to Sergeant O, it was after he had himself fired at a man on a walkway between Blocks 2 and 3, or on a balcony in Block 3, and some three to four minutes before he shot at a man on the corner of the gap between Blocks 2 and 3, that he saw Private S firing.

1 Paragraphs 51.208–265

51.76 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Sergeant O said that he could not now recall Private S firing.1

1 Day 335/76

Summary of Lance Corporal V’s account of firing by Private S

51.77 Lance Corporal V gave an account of firing by Private S. We examine Lance Corporal V’s evidence below. As will be seen, according to his accounts, after he had fired a shot from a position near to the wire fence that ran across the southern edge of the Eden Place waste ground, he went towards Private S, whom he described as standing on the corner at the end of the houses in Chamberlain Street. He said he saw Private S returning fire towards the gap between Blocks 1 and 2 and saw flashes in that area but did not hear the sound of shots. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry Lance Corporal V said that he had no recollection of Private S firing and “no clear recollection ” of seeing flashes.1

1 Day 333/80

The evidence of Corporal INQ 444

51.78 We consider later in this report1whether an account given by Corporal INQ 444 of a soldier firing a large number of shots relates to Private S.

1 Paragraphs 65.29–40

Lance Corporal V

51.79 We have described earlier in this report1the account that Lance Corporal V gave of disembarking from Lieutenant N’s APC and going forward to cover Private S who was ahead of him. We have also discussed the incident with the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps volunteer Charles McMonagle,2which involved Private S and which took place at the back wall of the Chamberlain Street houses close to the wire fence running across the southern edge of the Eden Place waste ground.

1 Paragraphs 26.14–17 2Paragraphs 31.1–14

The account of his firing given by Lance Corporal V to the Royal Military Police

51.80 In his RMP statement1Lance Corporal V gave an account of hearing the sound of shots as he disembarked and two explosions, and of rioters throwing petrol and acid bombs. In this account Lance Corporal V made no mention of the position he was in when he fired. He stated:2

“Firing was taking place at us from several positions with several different types of weapons.

I then saw a male person wearing a dark suit, white shirt, he was a young man. He had dark hair. He was standing in a crowd I saw him draw back his right arm. I saw him throw a bottle with a fuse attached at the end. It hit the ground but did not explode. He moved from the crowd. I fired 1 x 7.62 rd, aimed at him. He was thrown to the ground. The crowd scattered but 4–5 persons returned. I saw them waving white handkerchiefs and attending to the person I had fired at.

The firing still continued from the flats area. I observed that location. I didn’t see the man I’d shot again. ”


1 B788 2B788-B789

The account of his firing given by Lance Corporal V to John Heritage

51.81 In a note dated 5th March 1972 John Heritage, a senior legal assistant in the Treasury Solicitor’s department who interviewed a number of witnesses on behalf of the Widgery Inquiry, recorded the following.1

1 B821.002
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 3

Post  Guest on Tue 22 Jun - 11:21



51.82 The handwriting on this note is that of John Heritage. Major Bailey, to whom the note refers, is dead and gave no evidence to this Inquiry. As may be seen from a memorandum dated 3rd February 1972 and signed on behalf of the Director of Military Operations in the Ministry of Defence,1 Major Bailey was an officer of Army Legal Services who worked, under Colonel Colin Overbury, in the Army Tribunal Team, which was responsible for the preparation of Army evidence for the Widgery Inquiry.2

1 CO1.83 2 In our ruling on claims for legal professional privilege dated 20th July 1999, we determined that Colonel Overbury and Major Bailey acted for the Ministry of Defence, in the interests of the Army, and did not represent individual soldiers at the Widgery Inquiry. Colonel Overbury confirmed that this was the case in his oral evidence to this Inquiry (Day 243/88;
Day 243/123-125).

51.83 We are of the view that this note accurately records what Lance Corporal V told John Heritage, and give our reasons for this when we return to consider this note again later in this chapter.1 We first examine the rest of Lance Corporal V’s evidence.

1 Paragraphs 51.107–133

Lance Corporal V’s evidence to the Widgery Inquiry about his firing

51.84 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry (which, as we explain below, was not taken by John Heritage),1Lance Corporal V gave an account of disembarking from his vehicle and following Private S, hearing single shots as he did so and seeing bullets hitting the ground somewhere to his right as he was running up to the entrance “to the forecourt ”. He continued:2

“By the time I had run up to the entrance to the forecourt there was a large crowd on the left in front of me around the end of Chamberlain Street who were throwing stones and bottles and there were bottles being thrown from the block of flats on my right which contained liquid.

My attention was then drawn to a young man with longish dark hair who was wearing a dark suit and a light shirt. He was of medium height. He was at the front of the crowd and his right hand was drawn back in a throwing position. He was holding in his right hand a bottle with a cotton-waste fuse in it which was lit. I took aim at this man but my view of him was obscured for a fraction of a second probably by someone running in front of him. I kept my sights on this man and fired immediately I had a clear aim. I fired one aimed shot. The man was thrown backwards onto the ground. All these events took place almost instanteously [sic]. There was a lot of glass and debris about but I do remember seeing a smoking fuse although there had been no noise of a petrol bomb going off. I then realised that he had thrown the bomb before I had shot him.

After this had happened four or five male persons came towards the body with their hands in the air waving white handkerchiefs. At this time, realising that they were unarmed, I moved over behind [Private] S who was standing at the corner of the buildings at the end of Chamberlain Street. [Private] S was taking aim and returning fire in the direction towards the gap between the centre and right hand blocks of Rossville Flats. I saw flashes coming from that direction but I did not hear shots. There was still bottles coming down from the flats and there was a lot of noise and people running about in the forecourt of the flats. I then covered the general area of the right hand block of Rossville Flats in case any bombs were thrown from there or any snipers opened fire.

I then sent [Private] S, who had finished firing, back to the armoured vehicle and I moved over to [Sergeant] O’s armoured vehicle which was parked on the opposite side of the entrance to the forecourt. ”


1 B801 2B801–802

51.85 At the end of this written statement Lance Corporal V made these observations:1

“In the sixth paragraph of the statement which I made on 31 January 1972 at 0025 hours I stated ‘Rioters also threw petrol and acid bombs’. I should like to make it clear that at the time I was describing no petrol bombs were being thrown.

In addition in the eighth paragraph of my statement of 31 January 1972 the sequence of events given in this statement is incorrect but I am satisfied that my description of events in my present statement is correct. I should like to make it clear that the events described from my taking aim to firing took place within a matter of a second. ”


1 B802-B803

51.86 The reference to the eighth paragraph of his RMP statement must be a reference to the account he gave in that statement about his firing.

51.87 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, which he gave on 8th March 1972, Lance Corporal V said that the man he fired at was about 50m to 60m away from him.1He gave the Widgery Inquiry much the same account of the circumstances in which he had fired as that contained in his written account for that Inquiry, and also gave a similar account of moving over to join Private S who “was returning fire into the alleyway between Blocks 1 and 2 ”.2The transcript of Lance Corporal V’s oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry records him as having said that the man whom he had shot had been wearing a “white-collared shirt ”.3Lance Corporal V told us, and we accept, that this should have read a “white coloured shirt ”.4When he was cross-examined by counsel acting on behalf of the families and the injured at the Widgery Inquiry, he gave the following answers:5

“Q. And your impression now is, or your recollection now is, that he had thrown this petrol bomb before you fired at him?

A. I could not see that at the time, sir.

Q. But that is your reconstruction of the events?

A. Yes, sir, now.

Q. That was a petrol bomb which never exploded?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. So something must have happened to the fuse between the time you saw it and the time it landed on the ground?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you look to see where the petrol bomb might have landed?

A. When I saw that I had shot the fellow with a petrol bomb in his hand I looked to the area where he might have thrown it and saw a fuse still burning on the ground.

Q. Did you watch it?

A. No, sir. As soon as I saw the fuse I turned to go into the wall and cover of the area of the block of Rossville Flats.

Q. Did you shout a warning or anything like that?

A. When, sir?

Q. When you saw the fuse burning on the ground?

A. No, it was impracticable.

Q. It was impracticable to shout a warning to anyone when you saw this thing that was about to explode?

A. He still had the bomb in his hand.

Q. Did you not tell us a moment ago that after you saw this object on the ground you saw the object burning?

A. No, I saw the fuse burning.

Q. You saw the fuse detached from the bomb?

A. Possibly, sir. I did not see it alight.

Q. You saw something burning on the ground but you did not see the bomb?

A. No, sir.

LORD WIDGERY: I must try to get this straight. I thought you said he must have thrown the bomb in the moment when he was obscured from you and before you actually fired?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Now you are telling Counsel that he still had the bomb in his hand, or have I got it confused?

A. He said ‘Did you give a warning?’ and I said it was impracticable at the time because he was in a throwing position with the bomb.

Q. When you first gave your evidence I understood you to say you took aim. He was obscured for a second and then you fired. There was no explosion of the bomb, so you concluded he had thrown it in that split second when he was obscured from you?

A. Yes.

Q. In other words, the bomb had left his hand?

A. I did not see that.

Q. That is your account of it as you wish me to accept it?

A. Yes, sir. May I point out that when I am aiming he is so close that my sight picture was filled with the part I was aiming at.

Q. I want to be sure I have your evidence right. If that is right it means the bomb did not remain in his hand after you shot him, or did it?

A. I presumed it had not because I did not see any flames about the area where I had shot him. The fuse would have been in the bottle when it hit the ground.

Mr. McSPARRAN: You made no attempt to retrieve this bomb, whatever kind of bomb it was?

A. Petrol bomb. I presume the fuse had smashed because it was lying there.

Q. You did not see any bottle?

A. No, it had smashed on impact.

Q. It was something you did not notice?

A. No, I did not notice. ”

1 WT13.12

2 WT13.13

3 WT13.12
4 B821.005

5 WT13.21-22


51.88 Lance Corporal V told the Widgery Inquiry that he thought that he had hit the man in the stomach and that one of the party of people who came to take him away had been a priest in clerical clothes.1

1 WT13.22

Lance Corporal V’s Royal Military Police map and trajectory photograph

51.89 We reproduce below the marked map that accompanied Lance Corporal V’s RMP statement,1and his trajectory photograph.

1 B790
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 3

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51.90 Although in his RMP statement Lance Corporal V made no mention of where he was when he fired, the RMP map put him closer to the back wall of the Chamberlain Street houses than the trajectory photograph. Similarly, his target was shown as much further south on the RMP map than on the trajectory photograph. In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1 Lance Corporal V said that the man at whom he fired was at the front of a crowd near the end of Chamberlain Street.

1 WT13.12

51.91 It seems to us that the compiler of the RMP map was likely to have used information supplied by Lance Corporal V, though since there is nothing in Lance Corporal V’s RMP statement to indicate where he or his target was, it is not possible to tell whether or not the compiler correctly recorded on the RMP map what he had been told.

Comparison between the account of his firing given by Lance Corporal V to John Heritage and his evidence to the Widgery Inquiry

51.92 It will be observed that the account that Lance Corporal V gave the Widgery Inquiry in both his written statement and his oral evidence differed from the account that John Heritage had recorded of the circumstances in which he fired. The account recorded by John Heritage was to the effect that there was a gap in time between Lance Corporal V seeing the man throwing the petrol bomb and shooting the man when the crowd into which the man had gone parted and gave Lance Corporal V a clear line of sight. The account that Lance Corporal V gave the Widgery Inquiry was to the effect that everything happened more or less instantaneously and that it was not until after he had fired that he realised that the man had thrown the bomb.

The second entry in the Loden List of Engagements

51.93 The second entry in the Loden List of Engagements is as follows:1

“One petrol bomber at GR 43281679 shot from GR 43291683. Apparently killed (Car Park). ”


1 ED49.12

51.94 According to the grid references given in this entry, which are plotted on the map reproduced below (which was prepared for the purposes of this Inquiry by the legal representatives of one of the families), the firing soldier was in the mouth of the car park, close to the back of the second and third houses from the south end of Chamberlain Street; his target was close to the low wall on the south-western side of the car park.1

1 OS2.48 (extract)
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51.95 We are sure that this entry was based on an account given to Major Loden by Lance Corporal V. No other soldier claimed to have shot at (and hit) a petrol bomber. Furthermore, the grid references correspond reasonably closely to the positions of the firer and his target that appear on Lance Corporal V’s RMP map, though not with the positions shown on his trajectory photograph. However, given that the grid references in the Loden List of Engagements can only be treated as approximations, we cannot say more than that the possibility exists that when the trajectory photograph was prepared Lance Corporal V may have changed his mind on where he and his target were.

Lance Corporal V’s evidence to this Inquiry about his firing

51.96 As already noted, Lance Corporal V gave written and oral evidence to this Inquiry.

51.97 In his written statement,1Lance Corporal V told us that he did not remember the events of the day in any detail. So far as his firing was concerned, he stated: “I no longer actually recall the act of firing. ”2He also stated that he had no recollection of the interview on which John Heritage made the note to which we have referred above, or of giving a written statement for the Widgery Inquiry.3He described the oral evidence that he gave to the Widgery Inquiry as “The best evidence I can give ”.4

1 B821.003

2 B821.004
3 B821.004

4 B821.005


51.98 Lance Corporal V, in his oral evidence to this Inquiry, told us that he had no recollection of the reason why in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry he had retracted his RMP account of observing petrol bombs at a stage before he had fired.1He also told us that his RMP statement did not accurately reflect the fact that “the incident of me actually engaging the petrol bomber happened in a fraction of a second ”.2

1 Day 333/63-64 2Day 333/65

51.99 Counsel to the Inquiry asked Lance Corporal V whether he recalled the preliminary interview with John Heritage and his answers to the questions asked by Major Bailey and by John Heritage. Lance Corporal V told us that he had no recollection at all either of this interview or of anything that then happened with regard to it. He said to us that it was his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry of which we should take note, as these were his words “not … juggled around by other people taking statements for me ”.1

1 Day 333/69-74

51.100 It was pointed out to Lance Corporal V that on the basis of the accounts he had given in his RMP statement and to John Heritage, his shot did not comply with the Yellow Card, which only permitted firing after warning at a petrol bomber who was endangering life, since the man had already thrown a petrol bomb which had not exploded and so there was no longer such a danger. Lance Corporal V agreed that he had not shouted a warning. His answer in respect of the RMP statement was that he might have explained his account badly to the RMP; as to the note made by John Heritage he replied “I have no recollection of making that statement ”. He insisted that he had engaged “a legal target ”.1

1 Day 333/75-78

Lance Corporal V’s use of his respirator

51.101 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1 Lance Corporal V said that he put on his respirator when he was in the yard of the Presbyterian Church. He said that he was still wearing it when Lieutenant N’s vehicle passed through Barrier 12. He did not say for how long he continued to wear it.

1 WT13.10

51.102 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Lance Corporal V said that it was possible that he was still wearing his respirator when he fired a shot, but he could not remember. He said that if he had been wearing one, it would have restricted his view.

1 Day 333/146

51.103 For reasons given earlier in this report,1 we are sure that Lance Corporal V was one of the two soldiers photographed by Colman Doyle after the incident involving the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps volunteer Charles McMonagle, the other being Private S. This shows that Lance Corporal V was still wearing his respirator after this incident.

1 Paragraphs 31.1–14

Lance Corporal V’s evidence about firing by other soldiers

51.104 Lance Corporal V said in his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1 and in his oral evidence to this Inquiry,2 that he did not see any other soldier fire apart from Private S. We have already summarised above Lance Corporal V’s account of firing by Private S.3

1 WT13.22

2 Day 333/93
3 Paragraph 51.77


Lance Corporal V’s evidence about whether he could have shot Jackie Duddy or Margaret Deery

51.105 Lance Corporal V denied that he had shot either Jackie Duddy or Margaret Deery (two of the Sector 2 casualties), pointing out that the person he had shot was wearing a dark suit with a white shirt and had long hair.1

1 Day 333/87-92

Summary of Lance Corporal V’s accounts of his shot

51.106 On the basis of the evidence Lance Corporal V gave to the Widgery Inquiry, and his trajectory photograph, he was near the fence across the Eden Place waste ground when he observed a man with a petrol bomb quite close to the end of Chamberlain Street. If the compiler of the RMP map correctly recorded on it what Lance Corporal V had told him, Lance Corporal V’s target was further south, close to the low wall running along the back of Block 2 of the Rossville Flats, while Lance Corporal V himself was closer to the back wall of the Chamberlain Street houses. Lance Corporal V gave differing accounts of the circumstances in which he fired at this man; in his first two accounts (his RMP statement and his preliminary interview with John Heritage) he said that he saw the man throw the petrol bomb and that it did not explode, after which he fired at the man. In his written statement for and oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, he stated that it was only after he had fired that he realised that the man had thrown the petrol bomb. He insisted in his oral evidence to this Inquiry that his oral account to the Widgery Inquiry was to be preferred and that he had shot in accordance with the Yellow Card at a man who was posing a danger to life, though he agreed that he had shouted no warning.

The note made by John Heritage of his interview with Lance Corporal V

51.107 John Heritage gave written and oral evidence to this Inquiry.

51.108 In his written statement1John Heritage explained that in 1972 he was a senior legal assistant in the Treasury Solicitor’s department. He had worked as a legal assistant for Lord Scarman’s Inquiry into the civil disturbances that had occurred in Northern Ireland in 1969; he became the Legal Secretary to Sir Edmund Compton’s Inquiry into allegations of brutality to detainees after the introduction of internment in 1971. He became involved in the Widgery Inquiry at the beginning of the second week of February 1972. Basil Hall was the Solicitor to the Widgery Inquiry.

1 KH6.1

51.109 In this statement John Heritage described travelling to Northern Ireland towards the end of February 1972 and then, with Chris Leonard (another senior legal assistant in the Treasury Solicitor’s department), being charged with taking statements from both military and civilian witnesses to enable counsel to prepare for the hearings.

51.110 So far as military witnesses were concerned, John Heritage told us that all statements from ranks other than commissioned officers were taken in the presence of either a regimental officer or, more often, a member of the Directorate of Army Legal Services, or, on occasions, a member of the Treasury Solicitor’s staff. Major Bailey was a member of the Directorate of Army Legal Services.1

1 KH6.2

51.111 With regard to Lance Corporal V, John Heritage stated:1

“Soldier V

21. I have been asked about my recollections of my preliminary interview with Soldier V and subsequent discussions which are recorded in my three file notes of 5 March 1972. A copy of these file notes with their covering note is attached as Appendix A to this statement. I confirm that my file notes are, to the best of my belief, true and correct.

22. I remember that during the course of my initial discussions with Soldier V, I invited him to tell me his account of what had occurred on Bloody Sunday. Soon after he began telling me his account, he replied to a question I asked in a way that appeared to me would incriminate him. I clearly recall this incident, as it is the only occasion in my career when I have had to consider the possibility of giving a warning to a witness that his evidence might incriminate him.

23. I recall that Lieutenant Colonel Overbury and I had a disagreement over whether or not a warning should be given to Soldier V that he might incriminate himself. In retrospect, I believe this was based on a misunderstanding. I now know from the present Inquiry’s ruling on claims for professional privilege (paragraphs 20 et seq) and Mr Hall’s note to the Treasury Solicitor of 16 March 1972, paragraph 7 (which at the time I would not have seen) that the army team were acting on advice that a statement made in compliance with military orders could not be used against its maker in subsequent proceedings. At the time, I do not believe that I was aware of this and I simply did not understand Lieutenant Colonel Overbury’s approach. It seemed to me then that as the Inquiry had statutory powers of compulsion of witnesses and was

given the powers of the High Court, any military order to give a statement would be redundant. For the same reason any such order not to give a statement could be regarded as a contempt of the Tribunal.

24. As can be seen from the covering note I referred this matter to Basil Hall, Solicitor to the Inquiry, as Lt Colonel Overbury and myself were not able to agree on the course of action that should be taken. I had no further involvement in recording Soldier V’s evidence from that time onwards. I am unsure who took the final statement from Soldier V (ie SA34) but, by process of elimination, it is likely to have been Chris Leonard (or M.R. Hirst).

25. I did not discuss this matter with Mr Hall or with counsel and I do not know whether or not Lord Widgery was ever informed of it. ”


1 KH6.9-11

51.112 Chris Leonard was for medical reasons unable to give any evidence to this Inquiry. We were told in a letter dated 29th March 2000 from the Head of Public Law Group in the Treasury Solicitor’s department, that Michael Hirst had been taken through the notes made at the time of the episode involving Lance Corporal V, and that Michael Hirst had said that he had no recollection of the episode, but that he would have been likely to have remembered had he been asked to resume an interview commenced by someone else.1We accept that Michael Hirst could not assist on the matter under discussion.

1 KH7.1

51.113 The file note to which John Heritage referred in his statement is the document1that we have reproduced above.2The covering note is reproduced below.3

1 B821.002

2 Paragraph 51.81
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 3

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51.114 Basil Hall (the Solicitor to the Widgery Inquiry) wrote the word “Confidential ” and the words at the bottom of the covering note.1John Stocker QC was counsel to the Widgery Inquiry. Brian Gibbens QC was counsel for the Ministry of Defence at the Widgery Inquiry, but did not represent individual soldiers. Both are dead and neither gave evidence to this Inquiry.

1 KH2.6

51.115 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, John Heritage said that he had a recollection, independent of the documents, of interviewing Lance Corporal V.1He also told us that he did not take Lance Corporal V’s formal statement for the Widgery Inquiry, explaining that he had held the interview with Lance Corporal V on 5th March 1972 and had not been available to take further Army statements until 8th March.2The latter was the date on which Lance Corporal V gave oral evidence.

1 Day 251/62-64 2Day 251/89-92

51.116 John Heritage gave some further details in his oral evidence of why Major Bailey had intervened and had said that he wished to discuss the matter with Colonel Overbury:1

“Q. Then your note goes on to say that you asked him, that is [Lance Corporal] V: ‘... if he could see anything in the man’s hand. He replied, ‘No, sir, I cannot honestly say that I did’.’

At that point Major Bailey intervened and said he wished to discuss the position of this witness with Colonel Overbury before you proceeded.

What was your understanding of the reason why Major Bailey intervened at that point?

A. I am fairly sure that Major Bailey and I together realised that at that point it would be necessary to warn [Lance Corporal] V against self-incrimination. I recollect this part of the incident fairly clearly because it was unique and I think what happened after that sentence, ‘I cannot honestly say that I did,’ I think Major Bailey and I exchanged glances and he indicated that he would like a word with me.

We then spoke out of [Lance Corporal] V’s hearing and I confirmed that it was indeed my intention to give a warning.

I remember that Major Bailey did not disagree with me, but he asked for time to discuss the position with Colonel Overbury and I agreed to that.

This is not fully reflected in the note I wrote, but it is something which I believe is accurate, according to my recollection now.

Q. How did you manage to speak to Major Bailey out of [Lance Corporal] V’s hearing?

A. I think we went into the next room. ”


1 Day 251/139-140

51.117 There was the following exchange during the course of John Heritage’s oral evidence, about the circumstances in which Lance Corporal V’s written statement for the Widgery Inquiry came to take the form it did:1

“Q. The reason I am asking these questions is to establish whether or not this was all done by arrangement, in other words, that Soldier V would change his account so as to withdraw the admission that he had made to you which caused you to give him a warning, or propose to give him a warning, and that he was then able to give his fresh account with impunity to the Inquiry, knowing that he was not going to be challenged about it?

A. Certainly I made no such arrangement.

Q. Sorry, Mr Heritage, I am not suggesting you did, but do you know whether or not such an arrangement was made?

A. I do not. ”


1 Day 251/95

51.118 Finally, at the end of his oral evidence, John Heritage was asked why he had decided to write the note about Major Bailey confirming the record he had made of his interview with Lance Corporal V:1

“MR ROXBURGH: Would it be fair to say that when you decided to write the note that, ‘Major Bailey confirms that this is a fair and accurate record of what [Lance Corporal] V said in our presence,’ you would have had in mind that this was potentially a document that might go on to the record, in the sense of being a note used to prove what [Lance Corporal] V had said to you.

A. I would go so far as to say that I believed it to be a document that would go on the record. I had not contemplated later proceedings as it were, if that was the implication of your question.

Q. No. The implication of my question was simply that, you would not have written that note if in any way you had thought of your preliminary conversation with [Lance Corporal] V as being, as it were, an entirely off-the-record conversation that could not in any circumstances be used against him?

A. Yes. No, I would not have had that opinion.

Q. We have seen the statement that was finally taken from [Lance Corporal] V, that you believe was taken by one of your colleagues and not by you?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you say whether, before your colleague (whoever it was) conducted that formal interview with [Lance Corporal] V and took that final statement from him, you would have shown this note to your colleague so that he was aware of what had happened when you saw [Lance Corporal] V?

A. I cannot be sure of that because, as I have said earlier, I submitted this note to Sir Basil Hall and I believe that subsequently on the Tuesday and the Wednesday I was not at Coleraine. So I would not have been in a position to show the note to any other colleague.

LORD SAVILLE: When you say you submitted the note to Sir Basil Hall, would that be the note together with your handwritten additions to it?

A. Yes, there is a covering paper, I have clearly torn a piece of foolscap in half and I have written a note on it, saying:

‘1. Mr Hall to see.

2. Mr Shepherd, please file.’

MR ROXBURGH: We have that at KH6.13.

LORD SAVILLE: Going back to the document we have just been looking at, your note, it is pretty clear – I think I had better ask you to confirm it is your recollection – that you actually showed the typewritten part, at least, to Major Bailey?

A. Oh, certainly.

MR ROXBURGH: Whilst you may have no recollection of, and indeed you may have been doing other things on the Tuesday, there was no reason that you were aware of, was there, why this note should not have been handed to whichever of your colleagues was going to conduct the final interview with [Lance Corporal] V?

A. I am not aware of any reason, no.

Q. Indeed, it might be thought rather important that your colleague should be aware of the history of the matter before conducting that final interview; is that fair?

A. Yes.

LORD SAVILLE: Would I be right in supposing that you would have expected that to have been done?

A. Yes. ”


1 Day 251/143-145

51.119 Basil Hall, who was the Solicitor to the Widgery Inquiry, also gave written and oral evidence to this Inquiry. In his written statement,1he told us that he had no recollection of the episode with Lance Corporal V, but he reconstructed from the documents reproduced above what he believed had happened. With regard to his own note on the covering note made by John Heritage he stated:2

“My note records that Mr Stocker QC discussed the matter with Mr Gibbens QC and it was agreed that a statement could be taken from Soldier V ‘without further warning’. Whether this was because Mr Gibbens thought that the statement would not be incriminating or because he shared the view which was held by DALS [Director of Army Legal Services] that a statement made in compliance with military orders could not be used in subsequent proceedings or for other reasons I do not know. ”


1 KH2.5-6 2KH2.6

51.120 During the course of his oral evidence Basil Hall was asked by counsel for the majority of the families and the wounded to explain why, in their questioning of Lance Corporal V at the Widgery Inquiry, neither John Stocker QC nor Brian Gibbens QC had asked Lance Corporal V about what he had told John Heritage.1Basil Hall told us that he had not discussed with John Stocker QC why what was described by counsel as “this glaring and highly significant discrepancy ” had not been put to Lance Corporal V.2He then gave the following answers:3

“Q. You had been involved in this controversy concerning Soldier V?

A. I think you are putting it too high, ‘involved in controversy’. What we had – Mr Heritage, very properly in my view, had realised that there was a possibility of soldier – the soldier incriminating himself, and that that –

Q. There was not a possibility. He had actually incriminated himself.

A. Well, that is your view. It was not a matter that really would concern – I mean, what he was saying is: if you make this statement you may incriminate yourself; it is a possibility. The oral statement of such you may regard as incriminating him. But at that stage it was clear that, if he were to give that evidence before the Tribunal, Widgery had made it clear he could plead self – he could plead that to give the evidence would incriminate himself, and he would not be required to give it.

That seemed to me a proper thing to refer to, I suppose, if I remember – I do not have the paper in front of me – possibly to the Lord Chief. In fact it was resolved between Stocker and Gibbens, and he must go on, and did it.

Now, you are saying he made a different statement. It may be so. That was not the point with which I was concerned. That was a point that was to be dealt with, if it was to be dealt with, by Counsel.

Q. You must have had a view about the importance of Soldier V’s previous inconsistent statements?

A. You have no idea how much burden there was falling on me. I did not have time to think of all the individual statements and sort them out.

Q. The main burden that was falling on you was to discover the truth about Bloody Sunday.

A. The main burden that fell on me was to get as much information as I could that would lead to witnesses being called before the Tribunal, and to therefore establish what had happened on Bloody Sunday within the terms of reference given.

Q. Are you saying –

A. On this particular point my concern was that the evidence that he would give might be self-incriminatory, and how to deal with that. It was dealt with.

Now, why he phrased himself differently when he made the statement to Leonard, I have no idea; and which was the correct view, I also have no idea. ”

1 Day 250/51

2 Day 250/48
3 Day 250/48-50


51.121 Counsel for the majority of the families and the wounded then suggested to Basil Hall that Brian Gibbens did not raise Lance Corporal V’s previous inconsistent statements, “and I wonder whether or not he did not feel the need to deal with it because he knew in advance that Mr Stocker would not raise that either? ”. Basil Hall’s answer was: “Well, this is attributing almost a conspiracy to Counsel, and I do not believe those two respectful members of the bar would have done anything of the kind. ”1He later said to us:2

“A. … There is perhaps, you are saying – and I really am unable to comment on this – a conflict from what he [Lance Corporal V] had said to the SIB [Special Investigation Branch] and the final – the statement he made to Chris Leonard; and then you are saying that this – is there any explanation why this was not put by Mr Stocker?

Q. Other than the explanation I have suggested to you.

A. Which is?

Q. Which is: this was done by agreement.

A. Then you ask yourself: why were they agreeing this?

Q. In order to protect the Army.

A. If I may say so, I regard that as rubbish. I am sorry, I do not believe for a moment Stocker, who had a great – would set out to protect the Army. And it is not protecting the Army, either; it is protecting individual soldiers.

Q. Yes.

A. I simply do not accept that as a motive. It may have been better if it had been done. ”


1 Day 250/51-52 2Day 250/56-57

51.122 Counsel to this Inquiry, after Basil Hall had given his evidence about Lance Corporal V, pointed out that “It is perhaps appropriate to record, lest there be any misunderstanding, that the transcript of that inquiry shows that it was in fact Mr Underhill, rather than Mr Gibbens, who examined Soldier V in-chief. Mr Preston, rather than Mr Stocker then cross-examined on behalf of the Tribunal, and Mr Gibbens re-examined the witness. ”1

1 Day 250/93

51.123 We take the view that John Heritage gave truthful evidence on which we can rely. We also take the view that the suggestion that counsel at the Widgery Inquiry made a deliberate decision not to question Lance Corporal V about what he had said to John Heritage is unlikely to have been the case. Brian Gibbens QC did not examine Lance Corporal V in chief, nor did John Stocker QC cross-examine him, and we have found nothing to suggest that Timothy Preston, who conducted the cross-examination on behalf of the Tribunal, was told or would have known about the interview with John Heritage, or that he would have had any motive, as Basil Hall pointed out, to protect an individual soldier.

51.124 Colonel Overbury also gave written and oral evidence to this Inquiry. He was a solicitor and Assistant Director of Army Legal Services, who arrived in Northern Ireland at the beginning of February 1972 to join the Army Tribunal Team preparing for the Widgery Inquiry. Part of his function was to liaise with counsel instructed to act on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. He told us that Major John Bailey (now deceased) was also made available to help the Army Tribunal Team and that he sat in on a number of the interviews of military witnesses conducted by members of the Treasury Solicitor’s department for the Widgery Inquiry.1

1 CO1.36; CO1.38-41

51.125 Colonel Overbury was asked about John Heritage’s notes. In his second written statement to this Inquiry, he told us:1

“59. This appears to relate to an incident which I remember well because I thought that it raised a serious difficulty concerning the basis on which the soldiers were to give their evidence. At this time the hearings had already started but the Tribunal staff were still re-interviewing Army witnesses and taking further statements. Although I believe that I did subsequently attend some of these interviews, I was not actually present when V was interviewed, apparently on 5 March 1972. It had, I believe been agreed that when any soldier was re-interviewed by the Tribunal staff, an officer would be present. This is normal procedure when a soldier is involved in any inquiry outside the military environment which concerns his action when on duty. As I recall, Major John Bailey ALS, the Army Legal Services officer on the staff of HQ Northern Ireland was present when V was interviewed and I certainly recall receiving a telephone call from him to tell me that the official of the Tribunal staff wished to caution V. I asked him to get the interview adjourned in order to consult with Mr Gibbens.

60. The problem which gave me concern was that I had been told that the Attorney General in London had agreed that the soldiers could not be prosecuted on the basis of any statement they made or evidence they gave to the Tribunal with regard to the events of 30 January 1972, provided that they had been ordered to give evidence. Since I had, in fact, ordered them all to give evidence, it seemed to me that a serious problem would arise if any soldier was subsequently cautioned. As a result I consulted with Mr Gibbens who said he would speak to Mr Stocker and to Mr Hall and it was agreed that I would speak to the official concerned and tell him that I intended to repeat my order to V that he was obliged to give evidence and that if he was still cautioned I would order him to stay silent. I subsequently contacted the official and

I accept his version of what was then said as recorded in his note. The manuscript notes on the previous page would seem to indicate that the matter was resolved by no warning being given.

61. The reason why I would have ordered him to remain silent was to ensure that he could not use the caution as a reason to refuse to make further statements or to answer questions when examined under oath before the Tribunal. The whole purpose of ordering the soldiers to speak was to ensure that they had nothing to fear from speaking the truth when giving evidence. In this case, soldier V was apparently to be cautioned because the official interviewing him thought that he might be admitting to firing after rather than before he said he saw a man throw a nail bomb. My concern lay not in the fact that the soldier might make an admission but that if he were cautioned, he would have the right to refuse to answer further questions on that subject and, if he acquired that right, then so might all the other soldiers who had fired. I do not believe that I was present at any time while he was being interviewed, nor do I recall talking to the soldier at that time. I certainly did not advise him as to what he should say to the Treasury Solicitor’s official. ”


1 CO1.52-53

51.126 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Colonel Overbury agreed that he must have been informed of the upshot of this incident as set out in the covering note, namely that Lance Corporal V’s statement would be taken without further warning.1

1 Day 243/44-45

51.127 Colonel Overbury told us that he did not think that he was present when Lance Corporal V’s statement was taken, and though he said that “in principle ” it was the practice for a member of the Army Tribunal Team to be present when a statement was taken, and that he expected that somebody would have been present, he did not know whether that had happened in the case of Lance Corporal V, though the likelihood was that Major Bailey would have been present.1

1 Day 243/45; Day 243/47-48

51.128 Colonel Overbury agreed that there was a marked difference between what was contained in Lance Corporal V’s statement for the Widgery Inquiry and the account initially given to John Heritage. He told us that he did not know whether or not Lance Corporal V was given advice by somebody in the Army Tribunal Team before he came to give this statement. He said that it would have been “most incorrect ” if Major Bailey had said to Lance Corporal V “‘You do realise that the account that you have given to Mr Heritage shows that you shot a man when he was not posing any threat to you’ ”.1

1 Day 243/46-48

51.129 The written statement of Lance Corporal V for the Widgery Inquiry1is neither signed nor dated. However, the contents of the statement appear to be reflected in Lance Corporal V’s oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, which satisfies us that Lance Corporal V provided the information from which the statement was drafted. It seems to us that this statement must have been prepared after a further interview with Lance Corporal V, at some time before Lance Corporal V gave oral evidence.

1 B801

51.130 In our view someone acting for the Widgery Inquiry probably took the statement, for it follows the form that those statement takers used. We cannot be sure who this was, though it may have been Chris Leonard. It seems likely that a member of the Army Tribunal Team was present and from Colonel Overbury’s evidence this is likely to have been Major Bailey. There is nothing to suggest that Lance Corporal V was advised to change the account that he had given to John Heritage, as opposed to doing so of his own volition. Lance Corporal V told us that he had no recollection of either the interview with John Heritage or giving a later statement.

51.131 The representatives of Lance Corporal V submitted to us that the Tribunal should not rely upon John Heritage’s note as reliable evidence of what was in Lance Corporal V’s mind at the time he opened fire:1

“In particular, before placing any reliance upon the note, the Tribunal must bear in mind its provenance. It was produced over 30 years ago. It carefully records the agreement of those present to its accuracy; all those present except, of course, Soldier V. It was not produced to the Widgery Inquiry and V was never asked whether it was an accurate record of the meeting, was never asked whether it recorded what he actually said, was never asked what he meant when he said what he is alleged to have said. Instead, Soldier V gave his account to the Widgery Inquiry, on oath, and was cross examined on it. Thirty years later, the memo surfaced. Soldier V has no recollection of the meeting, let alone of what was or was not said, or what he did or did not mean. ”


1 FS7.1510

51.132 These representatives drew attention to the fact that Lance Corporal V was not cautioned nor did he have legal representation when he spoke to John Heritage.1They submitted:2

“In the circumstances, the best evidence that the Tribunal has of Soldier V’s belief at the time of firing is his evidence to Lord Widgery. The evidence which appears to contradict Soldier V’s own account is too unreliable for the Tribunal to be sure that Soldier V did not hold an honest belief that he was under threat at the time he fired. ”


1 FS7.1510 2FS7.1512

51.133 We take the view that John Heritage accurately recorded what Lance Corporal V said. The note also records Major Bailey’s confirmation that this was the case. The fact that the note was made over 30 years ago does not in our view detract from its reliability as a record of what Lance Corporal V said; nor the fact that Lance Corporal V was not cautioned. He had previously been ordered to give a statement and told that nothing that he said would incriminate him.1He was not legally represented, but this was the case not only when he spoke to John Heritage but also when he gave oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry; and it is apparent from the fact that John Heritage raised the point he did that he had Lance Corporal V’s interests in mind.

1 CO1.3; CO1.44; Day 243/22-23

51.134 We return later in this report1to make our assessment of the reliability of the accounts given by Lance Corporal V of the circumstances in which he fired. When doing so we treat John Heritage’s note as an accurate record of one of those accounts.

1 Paragraphs 64.48–61

51.135 In view of the fact that Lance Corporal V’s evidence was to the effect that he shot at a petrol bomber, it is convenient at this point to consider the evidence that other members of Mortar Platoon gave relating to petrol bombs in Sector 2.

Evidence of other Mortar Platoon soldiers relating to petrol bombs

51.136 Lieutenant N said in his oral evidence to this Inquiry that apart from the nail bomber whom he shot, he had seen no evidence of civilian firing, or nail bombing, or petrol bombing.1 In his first RMP statement,2 Sergeant O recorded that while in the area of the car park, he and his section had stones and bottles thrown at them, and also several acid bombs and petrol bombs. However, in his statement for the Widgery Inquiry3 he recorded that he did not notice any petrol bombs at the stage when shooting broke out, and his written evidence to this Inquiry4 was that he neither saw nor heard petrol bombs at any stage. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,5 he said that the reference to petrol bombs in his first RMP statement was based on information given to him by members of his platoon. Private S told us that he was not aware of any petrol bombs.6 Private U told us that he did not see any petrol bombs thrown.7 Private T gave accounts in 1972 of seeing bottles thrown down from the Rossville Flats that he originally thought were petrol bombs, but he said that none of them was alight, none exploded and (according to him) he then realised that they were acid bombs.8 Private 006 told us that he did not see or hear any petrol bombs while he was at the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats.9 The remaining members of Mortar Platoon gave no evidence about petrol bombs in Sector 2.

1 Day 323/39

2 B441-B442

3 B467

4 B575.117

5 Day 335/89; Day 336/56
6 Day 332/82

7 B787.005

8 B725; B735; WT13.89

9 Day 334/59-63


Evidence of other soldiers about Lance Corporal V’s firing

51.137 No other soldiers gave evidence of seeing Lance Corporal V firing. Private R, whose evidence was that he disembarked from Sergeant O’s APC in Rossville Street and then ran across the waste ground to the entrance to the car park of the Rossville Flats, told us that he did not know about Lance Corporal V’s firing.1

1 Day 337/93

Private Q

51.138 We have referred in an earlier chapter of this report1to the accounts Private Q has given of disembarking from Lieutenant N’s APC, following a baton gunner, who we are sure was Private 013, and taking up position at the north-east corner of the northern end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats.

1 Paragraphs 26.22–26

The account of his firing given by Private Q to the Royal Military Police

51.139 In his statement to the RMP1Private Q gave this account of his firing:2

“I observed towards the junction of the two Flat blocks to the SE of my position. I saw that youths had gathered in the area between the two blocks and these youths were stoning us and throwing bottles. After a very short while someone amongst them started to throw explosive devices.

I was about 100 metres from the corner of the two blocks. There were other soldiers behind a halted APC and these men were about 50 yards or less from the corner. These men were being attacked by the bottles dropped from the flats. As I continued to observe I saw that the explosive devices were in fact nail bombs. These were being thrown so as to land near to the halted APC where the troops were sheltering.

I saw one nail bomb thrower in particular. He kept coming to the corner and then looking around the corner before he threw his nail bombs. I saw him throw one bomb which I followed and saw burst some 10 yards from the APC. This man was sheltering behind the middle block of Flats. The man was wearing a dark coloured windcheater. He was in his mid-twenties. I could not tell his build because of his clothing.

As the man again came into my view from around the corner of the block of flats I saw that he had an object in his hand. He drew his arm back as if to throw the object. He was about to bring his arm forward to throw the object when I fired 1 round from my SLR at the man’s chest. I saw him fall to the ground. The object he had in his hand rolled away and I saw it was a cylindrical object. I did not see what happened to the object.

Another man came forward and pulled the man I had shot into cover behind the block of Flats. I did not see what happened to the man after that. ”


1 B624 2B625–626

Private Q’s evidence to the Widgery Inquiry about his firing

51.140 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1Private Q described what he had seen and done while at the corner of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats:

“During this period the stoning from the forecourt of the flats had not ceased. During this period my attention was drawn to one man in particular who was coming backwards and forwards round the corner between the two blocks of flats opposite me on the far side of the forecourt. I saw him throwing two or three objects towards the buildings at the end of Chamberlain Street where there were some soldiers taking cover. From their shape and size, bearing in mind my previous experience, I felt sure they were nail bombs. He then reappeared round the corner and threw another of these objects which exploded in the forecourt near to the houses at the end of Chamberlain Street. I was now certain this man was throwing nail bombs and when he next appeared I saw him go to throw a similar object and I fired one aimed shot at him. He fell to the ground. I can describe this man as being of medium height wearing a baggy black windcheater and he had dark hair. Another person dragged his body from sight round this corner. The nail bomb fell to the ground and rolled away from his body. It did not explode and I did not see what happened to it. I remained in the position where I was for a further 5 minutes or so. ”


1 B636

51.141 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Private Q described seeing a man throwing objects which he thought were nail bombs. He said he had seen nail bombs thrown in Belfast “Eight or nine times ”.1His evidence continued as follows:2

“Q. Did you see any of these objects land?

A. Yes sir.

Q. When he threw them?

A. Yes sir.

Q. What did they do?

A. Well, he threw two or three and they just rolled and then he threw another one and it exploded.

Q. Can you tell us where it was when it exploded?

A. It was in these houses back on Chamberlain Street, round this area, sir.

Q. Did you know whether anybody was hit by that explosion?

A. Not soldiers, sir.

Q. What did you do when you saw that man throwing those objects and the one that exploded? What did you do?

A. I just watched him, sir.

Q. Eventually did you do something?

A. Yes. He came round the corner with another one and I shot him, sir.

Q. What position were you in when you shot at him?

A. In a kneeling position.

Q. Can you give us any description of him?

A. He was medium height, a black windcheater on and he had got brown hair.

Q. The moment when you shot him, you got him in the sights of your rifle and shot him, do you know what he was actually doing?

A. He was in the act of throwing the bomb, sir.

Q. What happened about that shot, did it hit him?

A. Yes sir.

Q. What happened to him?

A. He fell, sir.

Q. Did his body remain where it fell?

A. No sir, he was dragged behind the buildings by another person.

Q. By another person?

A. Yes.

Q. You said he was in the act of throwing when you shot him. Did you see what happened to the bomb?

A. He dropped it, sir, and it rolled away. ”


1 WT12.88 2WT12.88-89

51.142 Later in his oral evidence Private Q said that the nail bomber at whom he fired was at the junction of the furthermost two blocks, which, on the basis of his account, would have been Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats.1

1 WT12.95

51.143 Private Q was asked to explain why he thought that the objects he had seen thrown were nail bombs:1

“Q. You saw him throw objects which just rolled on the ground?

A. Yes.

Q. That was what you noticed about him?

A. They resembled nail bombs, sir.

Q. What made you think they resembled nail bombs?

A. They looked like nail bombs.

Q. Would you tell me at that distance why they looked like nail bombs more than, for example, stones or rocks?

A. Because of the shape of them.

Q. What shape were they?

A. Round.

Q. Do you not get stones that are round, too?

A. Not perfectly round, sir.

Q. Was this a perfectly round nail bomb?

A. Just sort of round.

Q. Was it a perfectly round nail bomb?

A. I could not see from that distance.

Q. Is that not the truth of it, that you could not see what they were?

A. I saw what I thought was a nail bomb.

Q. Did you see that they were nail bombs?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you going simply on their shape when you say you thought they were nail bombs?

A. I thought they were nail bombs.

Q. And was it their shape, solely?

A. Yes.

Q. Which gave you that idea?

A. Yes. ”


1 WT12.95

51.144 Private Q said that he watched the man throwing the objects and did not then fire at him because he was “not sure ”. He saw no smoke coming from these objects. He also said that the object that exploded landed “at these houses at Chamberlain Street ” and “sort of banged ”. When the man threw this object there were people to the man’s left and right. Private Q said that the man he shot was the one he had already seen throwing objects.1

1 WT12.96

Private Q’s trajectory photograph and Royal Military Police map

51.145 Private Q confirmed to the Widgery Inquiry that his trajectory photograph showed him, at the position marked “X ”, and his target, at the position marked “1”.1We reproduce this photograph below together with Private Q’s RMP map, which shows much the same positions.2

1 WT12.100 2B627
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The sixth entry in the Loden List of Engagements

51.146 The sixth entry in the Loden List of Engagements is as follows:1

“One nail bomber at GR 43281675 (Car Park) shot from GR 43271686. Hit. ”


1 ED49.12

51.147 This entry refers to a nail bomber who was shot, according to the grid references, close to the gap between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats, by a soldier who was near the north end of Block 1. The grid reference positions are shown on the following map, prepared for the purposes of this Inquiry by the legal representatives of one of the families.1

1 OS2.57 (extract)

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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 3

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51.148 We are satisfied that the sixth entry reflects the account that Private Q gave of his firing. The positions of the firer and his target are similar to those shown on Private Q’s RMP map and trajectory photograph and described in the accounts that he later gave. Although Lieutenant N and (as will be seen) Private R also claimed to have shot at nail bombers in Sector 2, their accounts put their targets in different positions.

Private Q’s evidence to this Inquiry about his firing

51.149 Private Q gave written and oral evidence to this Inquiry. In his written statement he told us that the best evidence that he could give was by reference to his oral testimony to the Widgery Inquiry.1He told us in this statement2that his job was to cover Private 112, but in our view he was mistaken about this and the baton gunner whom he was covering was Private 013.

1 B657.1 2B657.3

51.150 In this account Private Q described what he said that he remembered about the incident. He repeated that he had seen the man throw a bomb: “I knew it was a bomb because it went off. ” He described seeing another bomb in the man’s hand before he fired at him, which he said was “black and cylindrical in shape ”.1

1 B657.4-5

51.151 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Private Q said that he had a vague memory of a man in the gap between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats. He was asked to estimate the size of the crowd that was in the vicinity, to which he had referred in his written statement to us:1

“Q. When you say that you caught sight of a man in the gap behind the crowd, can you give the Tribunal any idea of the sort of number of people who were in that man’s vicinity?

A. I could not be precise, sir.

Q. Sorry?

A. I could not be precise.

Q. I do not ask you to be precise. Can you give us any idea of the sort of numbers; are we talking about ten, 20, 50, 100?

A. I cannot recall, sir. ”


1 B657.4; Day 339/29-30

51.152 Asked about the sort of noise the bomb he said had exploded had made, Private Q agreed with the suggestion that the sound, which was audible to him at the north end of Block 1 and which he described as “a dull crump ”, would have been audible to the civilians in the car park and to the soldiers who were in and around the APC in the car park. He agreed that if his account was correct, the bomb must have been thrown with complete disregard for the life of civilians in the vicinity.1

1 Day 339/31-33

51.153 Private Q told us that he had a telescopic sight on his rifle, which he used to aim at the man.

51.154 Private Q was asked about the fact that in his RMP statement he had referred to explosive devices that landed near to the APC, and the fact that his comment in that statement that he had seen one nail bomber in particular could be said to indicate that there was more than one nail bomber, while in his evidence to the Widgery Inquiry and his written account to us he had referred to one man throwing three or four nail bombs. He gave the following answers:1

“Q. Were you, in these accounts, exaggerating the number of bombs that you saw thrown?

A. Not intentionally, sir, no.

Q. Were you doing it accidentally?

A. I was giving the best of my knowledge.

Q. You agreed with me a little earlier that the way in which it is expressed in your statement to the Tribunal is that you saw this man throw one nail bomb, which exploded and then shot him as he was about to throw a second?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Which is the evidence that the Tribunal should accept: that what you saw was limited to two nail bombs at most, or may it have been as many as five?

A. I would say two, sir.

Q. If that is what you invite the Tribunal to accept, saying that it was anything up to five must have been an exaggeration, must it not?

A. Just confusion, sir.

Q. How would you have been confused in an account that was given the very evening of the events in question?

A. It was a very confusing time, sir.

Q. The Tribunal has heard a great deal of evidence, both from people in the car park and in the flats and from a substantial number of soldiers, who say that they heard no nail bombs in the car park. Is your account, whether it be two nail bombs or five nail bombs, a truthful one?

A. Yes, sir. ”


1 Day 339/41-42

Private Q’s use of his respirator

51.155 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private Q said that he put on his respirator while he was near the Presbyterian church. He did not say for how long he wore it.

1 WT12.84

51.156 In his statement to this Inquiry,1 Private Q told us that he was definitely not wearing a respirator when he fired his shot at an alleged nail bomber. He could not remember whether he had worn one at some other stage.

1 B657.5

Private Q’s evidence about firing by other soldiers

51.157 We deal later in this chapter1 with Private Q’s account of firing into Block 1 of the Rossville Flats by a soldier who may have been Private T. In his statement for the Widgery Inquiry,2 Private Q said that this was the only shooting that he saw other than his own.

1 Paragraphs 51.301–306 2B637

Private Q’s evidence about whether he could have shot Jackie Duddy or Michael Bradley

51.158 Private Q denied that he had shot Jackie Duddy, who was the only person killed in Sector 2, or that he had told anybody that he had done so.1He also denied that he could have been the soldier who shot Michael Bradley, who was wounded in Sector 2. Private Q told us that he believed that he had killed his target.2

1 Day 339/53-54 2Day 339/58-60

Summary of Private Q’s accounts of his shot

51.159 According to the accounts of Private Q, he was at the north-east corner of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, when he saw a man in the gap between Blocks 2 and 3 throwing a number of objects towards soldiers in the area of the houses at the end of Chamberlain Street which he believed were nail bombs. One exploded about ten yards from Sergeant O’s APC. When the man reappeared and was about to throw again, Private Q fired a single shot at him. He said that he believed that he had hit the man in the chest and had killed him.

51.160 We have already stated our view that Private Q did not in fact observe a nail or blast bomb exploding in the car park of the Rossville Flats.1We return to his accounts later in this report,2when we consider what reliance to place on the evidence given by all the soldiers of firing at civilians.

1 Paragraphs 47.13–17 and 47.42 2Paragraphs 64.74–80

Evidence of other soldiers about Private Q’s firing

51.161 No other soldier gave evidence of seeing Private Q firing. Private 112, who was involved, as we described earlier in this report,1 in the arrest of Charles Canning, and who then moved to the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, told us that he did not see Private Q fire.2 He said that this is something that he would have remembered if he had been present when it had happened.3

1 Chapter 35

2 Day 320/139
3 Day 320/110


The soldiers from Sergeant O’s Armoured Personnel Carrier

Corporal P

51.162 As we have described earlier in this report,1Corporal P went to the western side of Rossville Street on disembarking from Sergeant O’s APC, when it stopped briefly near the corner of Pilot Row. He described in his accounts firing shots down Rossville Street at a nail bomber and a man with a pistol, and then firing further rounds over the heads of rioters. We deal with these incidents when considering the events of Sector 3.2

1 Paragraphs 24.18–25, 24.32–36 and 29.4
2 Chapter 73, paragraphs 82.8–10, 85.1–28, 89.21–32 and 89.72–74


Private U

51.163 We have dealt earlier1with Private U’s accounts of arresting Charles Canning on the Eden Place waste ground and of then moving to the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. According to his accounts he fired one shot from there at a man with a pistol who appeared on the other side of the rubble barricade in Rossville Street. As with Corporal P we deal with this incident when considering the events of Sector 3.2

1 Paragraphs 34.4–7 and Chapter 35 2 Paragraphs 85.29–82 and 86.564–606

Private R

51.164 We have referred earlier in this report1to Private R’s accounts of disembarking from Sergeant O’s APC in Rossville Street and running after the vehicle when it continued into the Rossville Flats car park.

1 Paragraphs 24.18–25, 24.32–36 and 32.4–5

The account of his firing given by Private R to the Royal Military Police

51.165 Having described in his first RMP statement1reaching the APC, hearing the sound of shots and explosions, observing rioters throwing stones at the soldiers around the vehicle and the crowd “milling about the flats in front of the vehicle ”, Private R stated:

“I then noticed a male person wearing a jumper/dark slacks with black hair about 5' 10" tall, slim built. He was running with the crowd when he stopped, the crowd gave him plenty of space. He stood at an angle to me. I saw in his left hand an object which was fizzing, he attempted to throw it at me. I fired 1 x 7.62 Rd aimed shot at this man, he was thrown to the right and backwards, he hit the ground and lay there. 4–5 persons gathered around him, they picked him up and carried him away. I didn’t see this man again. ”


1 B659

51.166 Private R, after stating that the rioters threw acid bombs, “one of which splattered across my legs ”, continued:

“I then saw a hand appear around the corner of No 2 Block Rossville Flats at GR 43281675, it contained a pistol. The pistol fired twice and then withdrew. It again appeared and the pistol fired again. I fired 2 x 7.62 aimed shots at the pistol. I fired 1 x 7.62 aimed shots the first time I saw the pistol. I can’t say if I hit it. I didn’t fire again during the incident. ”


Private R’s Royal Military Police map and trajectory photograph

51.167 It is convenient at this point to reproduce the RMP map that accompanied Private R’s first RMP statement,1and his trajectory photograph prepared for the Widgery Inquiry. The RMP map shows Private R close up to the corner of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, though in his first RMP statement2Private R had recorded that he had reached Sergeant O’s APC.

1 B660
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The account of Sergeant O’s firing given by Private R to the Royal Military Police

51.168 In his second RMP statement timed at 2130 hours on 4th February 1972,1 Private R gave an account of witnessing Sergeant O firing at a man holding a pistol just after he (Private R) had had two acid bombs thrown at him from the top of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats:

“Further to my statement of 30 Jan 72 I would like to add that I was positioned between the wall of Block 1 Rossville Flats and one of our APCs which was parked about 15 feet from the wall at the south end of the block. I had just had two acid bombs thrown at me from the top of Block 1 Rossville Flats. Both of the bombs struck me on the legs, causing staining to my denims. The driver of the APC threw water over me which saved me from being burned.

I heard shooting from in front of me to my left. It sounded like a low calibre weapon. I looked across to the North East corner of the flats forecourt and saw a man crouched behind a maroon Ford Cortina. He had a pistol in his hand and was firing in our direction. I don’t know how many rounds he fired. [Sergeant] ‘O’ was standing beside me and when he saw the gunman he fired his SLR at him. I don’t know how

many rounds he fired. I saw the gunman fall from behind the car and two or three people came and dragged him away. The car was about 70 yards from where I was located. I could not recognise the gunman. ”


1 B666

51.169 As will have been seen, this RMP statement was concerned with Private R’s evidence of acid bombs and what he observed Sergeant O doing, matters that we consider later in this chapter, but in the present context the relevant point is that Private R stated that Sergeant O was standing next to him when Sergeant O was firing at a man behind the Cortina.

51.170 Private R recorded in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry1 that the reference in his second RMP statement to the north-east corner of the flats forecourt was a mistake. He had earlier in his statement for the Widgery Inquiry2 described the car as “backed up against the angle of the low wall on the edge of the car park in the position I indicate on the photograph ”. However, the position of the Cortina is not indicated on Private R’s trajectory photograph (although it is on Sergeant O’s3). In his written statement to this Inquiry,4 Private R told us that the car was at about the point marked J on the plan attached to the statement5(by the low wall of the northern part of the recreation ground on the south-east side of the car park). In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,6on being shown Derrik Tucker Senior’s photograph (which we reproduce below), from which it appears that point J was within a fenced area, Private R said that although he was not sure, he thought that the Cortina had been roughly in an area that he marked on a photograph7(near the northern corner of the low wall around the southern part of the recreation ground). Later in his oral evidence,8he reverted to saying that the Cortina had been at point J. But it seems unlikely that the car was within the fenced area, and certainly no car is visible in the part of that area shown in Derrik Tucker Senior’s photograph. On the other hand, the area that Private R marked on the photograph9matches the description of the car, in his statement for the Widgery Inquiry, as backed up against the angle of a low wall on the edge of the car park. It is even conceivable that the car shown in the lower right corner of Derrik Tucker Senior’s photograph, albeit not a Cortina, might be the car in question, since its position would fit that description fairly precisely.

1 B672

2 B671

3 Paragraph 51.240

4 B691.004

5 B691.008
6 Day 337/48-51

7 B691.019

8 Day 337/129-130

9 B691.019

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Private R’s evidence to the Widgery Inquiry about his and Sergeant O’s firing

51.171 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry, Private R gave the following account:1

“The crowd were making for the two openings between the blocks in the corners of the car park.

5. I noticed one man who was not moving in the same direction as the others. There was firing going on at this time. I could hear the sound of firing from the other side of block 1 in the area around the barricade. I also heard a couple of explosions from this area which I thought were bombs. I could also hear weapons being fired from our side of the flats, and I heard our SLR’s firing. I was therefore looking out for likely snipers or bombers. The man I had noticed was about 30 yards away. He seemed to come out turning round as he did so. There were people running past crowded together and milling about. As he came out they avoided him. I could see he had something in his left hand which looked to be smoking. As he turned round he swung his arm down as if to throw a grenade. I brought my weapon into my shoulder took aim and fired 1 shot. I think I hit him in the right shoulder. Referring to the marked photograph I fired my shot from beside the right hand back door of the pig marked X on the photograph. The man was standing in the area marked 1 in the photograph. ”


1 B670

51.172 Private R then gave an account of acid bombs being dropped near him and of seeing a soldier who he thought was Private T firing at the acid bomber, matters we return to later in this chapter.1He continued:2

“6. At the time the acid bombs went off there were no civilians in the area between the pig and the wall of block 1. Across the court yard, where I had seen the first man I fired at fall, a small group of people were gathering round him. At that moment I heard the sound of shooting from in front of me to my left. It sounded like a pistol. I looked across the car park and saw a maroon Cortina backed up against the angle of the low wall on the edge of the car park in the position I indicate on the photograph. I saw a man behind it. Through the car windows I could see him, and from time to time he came out round the rear of the car using the car as cover and fired shots with a pistol. [Sergeant] O was standing beside me and fired at this gunman. I saw the gunman fall. I think he fell over the low wall. Two or three people came up and dragged him away. I also saw an ambulance man in a white coat move along the low wall from the Chamberlain Street end of the car park and I think he helped drag this man away. I believe the car was between 50 and 60 yards from our position.

7. After this man had been dragged away Sergeant O went to the back somewhere. At the far end of block 2 in the position indicated as 2 on my photograph I saw a man’s arm holding a pistol come out and fire between 2 and 3 shots. At this time the area in front of the alley way was clear of people. I could distinguish people on the grass bank behind the alley way, but I’m sure there was no one on the ground that I could see in front of it. When the pistol appeared and fired its first shot I came into the aim and as it fired again I fired one round. The arm withdrew, then it re-appeared and the pistol fired a couple more times. This time I was ready and I fired two shots at it. I do not know if I hit it and I did not see the fall of my shot. The arm withdrew and I did not see it again.

8. After this I saw that the man I had hit in the other corner of the court yard was being picked up and carried away. There were quite a few people round him, I think more than ten. I do not know what happened to the object he was about to throw. I am sure I did not hear a bang from that direction, although I had seen the object smoking. This did not surprise me because a fair number of these home made bombs fail to go off, and if anyone had got to it in time they might have pulled the fuse out. ”


1 Paragraphs 51.307–308 2B671–672

51.173 According to this account Sergeant O had gone “to the back somewhere ” before Private R fired at what he described as a man with a pistol. The references to his photograph appear to be to Private R’s trajectory photograph, reproduced above.

51.174 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Private R described the man he first saw as about 30 yards away along Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, “sort of pressed against the wall ”:1

“Q. What was he doing?

A. It was obvious the crowd was running away and there were people stopping and throwing This man ran out, took about five or six paces, not many more, then he swung round and he had a smoking object in his left hand and made to throw it like he was going to throw a grenade. At this time I took my safety catch off and I fired – I brought the weapon into the aim, took my safety catch off and fired one round. I assumed it hit him high in the shoulder, because of the way he fell.

Q. Was he still near the wall?

A. No, sir, it may be 5 yards out – not quite 5 yards; 4 or 5 yards.

Q. But there is still 30 yards down the wall?

A. Yes.

Q. How can you describe the man?

A. Well, at the time I saw him only a few seconds. It was fleeting. I would say he was roughly about 5 foot 10, slim build and dark hair, with light slacks.

Q. What happened to him?

A. At this precise moment that I fired, I put my safety catch back on, and then this acid bomb come down from the centre of No. 1 flats.

Q. An acid bomb came from above?

A. Yes. ”


1 WT13.74-75

51.175 Later in his oral evidence Private R told the Widgery Inquiry that the crowd had opened up, “giving him room to throw the thing”.1

1 WT13.85

51.176 When Private R was asked whether he had seen what happened to the man at whom he had fired, he replied that at that moment he “… was not even bothering. I got behind the vehicle itself for cover. I presumed there was people going out to him ”:1

“Q. Going back to when you saw the man you had fired at, did you see any people gather there?

A. Yes, four or five people came to him.

Q. Came to him?

A. Yes, because at this time there was still firing going on.

Q. Did you see him then lying on the ground?

A. I saw him fall, and after I saw him fall I had the safety catch back on. The acid bomb came down and I took cover behind the vehicle, and I saw my Platoon Sergeant fire at the man behind the Cortina. ”


1 WT13.75

51.177 Private R said to the Widgery Inquiry that after he had seen people carry away the person behind the Cortina whom Sergeant O had hit, the shooting started to slow down and he presumed that Sergeant O had gone “behind ” to check whether any of his men had been wounded.1He gave a similar description to that in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry of then seeing and firing at a man in the passageway between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats. He said that he could not say whether he had hit the man.2

1 WT13.76 2WT13.77

The fifth entry in the Loden List of Engagements

51.178 The fifth entry in the Loden List of Engagements is as follows:1

“One nail bomber (bomb had lighted fuse) at GR 43281683 (Car Park) shot from GR 43271686. Hit. ”


1 ED49.12

51.179 According to the grid references given, the nail bomber was some way out from Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, as plotted on a map prepared for the purposes of this Inquiry by the legal representatives of one of the families.1

1 OS2.54 (extract)
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 3

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51.180 We are satisfied that this entry reflects the account that Private R gave to Major Loden of the first shot that he said he had fired. The entry does not correspond with the RMP maps, trajectory photographs or accounts of the other soldiers of Mortar Platoon. However, the positions the grid references give for both the firer and the target must be incorrect, as they would mean that Private R was firing directly towards Sergeant O’s APC, at a target implausibly close to that Army vehicle.

The fourth entry in the Loden List of Engagements

51.181 The fourth entry in the Loden List of Engagements is as follows:1

“One gunman with pistol at GR 43321678 behind barricade at end of Chamberlain St shot from GR 43271686. Hit. ”


1 ED49.12

51.182 The grid references, plotted on the map reproduced below, which was prepared for the purposes of this Inquiry by the legal representatives of one of the families, show the target close to the north end of Block 3 of the Rossville Flats, some distance to the south-east of Chamberlain Street. The firing soldier was, according to the grid references, close to the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats.1

1 OS2.52 (extract)



51.183 There was no form of barricade at the end of Chamberlain Street, as can be seen, for example, from one of Derrik Tucker Senior’s photographs.1 The positions shown for the firer and the target are some distance from those marked on Private R’s RMP map and trajectory photograph. However, the position given for the firer in this entry is the same as the position given for the firer in the fifth entry. For reasons given above, we are satisfied that the fifth entry reflects the account Private R gave of shooting at a nail bomber. Private R also gave an account of firing at a gunman with a pistol. The fifth and fourth entries refer respectively to such targets. On the basis that Private R told Major Loden about both his targets, it could be expected that they would form successive entries on the list. Furthermore, of the other soldiers only Sergeant O gave an account of firing at a gunman with a pistol in the eastern or south-eastern area of the car park and, for reasons that we give below, we are sure that his firing does not feature in the Loden List of Engagements.

1 Paragraph 23.20

51.184 This fourth entry records the gunman as being hit. In his later accounts Private R stated that he did not know whether he had hit this target. While this could be said to militate against the suggestion that the fourth entry reflects the account Private R gave Major Loden, we are not persuaded that this outweighs the factors considered above, since Private R might well on reflection have concluded afterwards that he could not be sure that he had hit this target. In our view, therefore, the fourth entry probably does reflect what Private R told Major Loden.

Private R’s evidence to this Inquiry about his and Sergeant O’s firing

51.185 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1Private R told us that he had a very limited recollection of events and that the best evidence he could give was that which he had given in 1972 when matters were relatively fresh in his mind. He told us that he recalled a group of civilians standing against the wall on the eastern side of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, while other civilians were running towards the gaps between Blocks 1 and 2 and Blocks 2 and 3.2

“I noticed one man in particular, who was pressed against the wall, in the group I have referred to at E (grid reference K15). It was my impression that the others in the group did not want to get too close to him, and that he was up to no good. Although I only saw him briefly, I would say that I had a grand view of him he was in his 20’s; and tall, with dark hair. He took a few steps forward from the wall (at right angles to the wall stepping out into the car park of the Flats) and turned in my direction, right shoulder forward, he was left handed. I saw, in his left hand, an object which was smoking and which I thought was a bomb of some description; it could have been a nail bomb, a jelly bomb, or a blast bomb. The man drew his arm back, in a position similar to a bowling action, as though he was about to throw the object. I took aim and fired a single shot from my SLR; I believe that the bullet hit him high up on the right shoulder, causing him to spin around. I do not know what happened to the man after that – although I do recall people gathering around him. I have been asked by Eversheds whether there was a priest in this group; I have no recollection of seeing one. The object was smoking heavily in the same manner as a dynamite fuse, which is what I believe was burning. ”


1 B691.001 2B691.003

51.186 Private R’s reference to “E ” was a reference to a point about halfway down the east side of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, which he had marked on a map.1His reference to “Eversheds ” is to the solicitors who took statements on behalf of the Inquiry.

1 B691.008

51.187 After giving an account of being splashed by acid, Private R continued:1

“The next thing that I now recall is that a pistol was fired in my direction from the alleyway between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Flats. I saw a hand holding a pistol appear from the alleyway and heard shots being fired from the same position. The approximate position is marked F on the map (grid reference L18). I returned fire; I think I fired three shots, but I do not think I hit the gunman. If I did, I would have hit the arm. During the exchange, the hand holding the gun disappeared behind the alleyway and then reappeared, but I cannot remember how many shots were fired in our direction. As far as I can recall, there were not many civilians around by that stage.

During this incident, I think that Sergeant O appeared at the back of the Pig to check that Private T and I were okay. I have marked the approximate position of Private T and Sergeant O on the map at G and H (grid reference L14). I do not now remember any conversations taking place between us at this stage but they most probably did. The acid that had been splashed over my legs earlier was still eating away at my denims. ”


1 B691.004

51.188 Point F on Private R’s map was marked at the gap between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats. Points G and H were marked as close to where from other evidence it is clear that Sergeant O’s APC had stopped.1

1 B691.008

51.189 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Private R told us that Bloody Sunday was the first occasion on which he had fired a live round in earnest.1He also told us that he did not believe that the first man at whom he fired could have been throwing a stone, or that he could have been mistaken in thinking that the man was throwing a bomb, but that he had not seen any attempt to light what he thought was a bomb.2

1 Day 337/30 2Day 337/36

51.190 When it was pointed out to Private R that in his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry he had said that he saw the man as he was coming round the corner to get back to Sergeant O’s APC,1whereas in his written evidence to this Inquiry he had indicated that he was at the back of the APC,2and it was suggested to him that the former was likely to be right, his reply was “It may be, yes ”.3

1 WT13.73

2 B691.003
3 Day 337/37


51.191 Private R told us that he did not shoot Jackie Duddy (who was mortally wounded in the car park) or see him being carried from there by a group led by Fr Edward Daly; nor did he see any of those we are sure were wounded by gunfire in the car park.1

1 Day 337/60-67

51.192 Private R was asked how he had come to describe the man he believed had a bomb as wearing dark slacks in his RMP statement, and light slacks in his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry. He said: “… I made a mistake saying that, it should have been he was wearing dark slacks. ”1

1 Day 337/106

51.193 Private R was asked about the fact that in his evidence to the Widgery Inquiry he had first described the incident with the acid bombs, then Sergeant O’s shots and then his own shots at a man with a pistol in the gap between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats, whereas in his written evidence to this Inquiry the sequence of the last two events was put the other way round. He replied that his present belief was that “Sergeant O fired at his target and then I fired at my target and then I was acid bombed. I think that may be the order. Even then I am still not quite sure. ”1

1 Day 337/148

51.194 Private R denied that he had made his second RMP statement to try to justify Sergeant O’s shooting.1

1 Day 337/126-127

51.195 At the end of his oral evidence he gave the following answers:1

“Q. Do you remember that I was asking you questions this morning which drew attention to the similarity in some of the circumstances in which your first target was hit and in which the boy, Jack Duddy, was hit?

A. That is correct.

Q. Do you remember me asking you those questions?

I should also tell you this: the Tribunal has heard evidence from a considerable number of civilian witnesses, including a considerable number who were in the car park of the Rossville Flats, running towards one of the two alleyways between the two blocks; do you follow?

A. Yes.

Q. None of those witnesses speaks of a man falling, having been shot, at the point identified by you on your photograph or of that man having been shot, being carried away through the gap between Blocks 1 and 2; do you follow?

A. Yes.

Q. That raises the possibility that there was in fact no man with a nail bomb as you describe and that your first shot was in fact directed towards the crowd or somebody who was in the crowd running away and was fired without any justification at all; is that the position?

A. No.

Q. If that were so, that which I have been suggesting to you was so, it would follow that your account of a man with a nail bomb in a left-arm bowling position was invented; did you make that up?

A. No, I did not. ”


1 Day 337/144-145

Private R’s evidence about firing by other soldiers

51.196 We have referred above to Private R’s evidence about firing by Sergeant O and Private T, and we return to this evidence later. Private R did not describe firing by any other soldier, and told us that he could not now remember whether he had seen any soldier other than Sergeant O firing.1

1 Day 337/70

Private R’s evidence about acid bombs

51.197 We deal later in this chapter1with the evidence that Private R gave about acid bombs.

1 Paragraphs 51.307–317

Private R’s use of his respirator

51.198 In his statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private R recorded that he was putting on his respirator as Sergeant O’s vehicle passed through gas near Barrier 12. Some of the other soldiers already had their respirators on. He said that, by the time he was running across the waste ground to catch up with Sergeant O’s vehicle after disembarking, the majority of the soldiers had taken off their respirators.

1 B670

51.199 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private R said that he took off his respirator just before he reached the waste ground.

1 WT13.72

51.200 If, as he accepted was possible in his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Private R is the soldier seen in the middle of the group of three in the first of two photographs (reproduced below) taken by Robert White and if, as we consider is probably the case, he was the soldier running close to the kerb in the second, he appears still to have been wearing his respirator when these photographs were taken, though the quality of these photographs is such that it is not possible to be certain that this was the case.

1 Day 337/19
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 3

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Summary of Private R’s accounts of his shots

51.201 According to the accounts of Private R, he had run to where Sergeant O’s APC had stopped in the Rossville Flats car park, from where he saw a man about halfway down the eastern side of Block 1 with a fizzing or smoking object in his hand. He fired one shot at this man and believed that he had hit him in the shoulder. After acid bombs had been dropped near him he saw a man’s hand with a pistol appear from the gap between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats. Private R fired three shots at this man but did not know whether he had hit him.

Evidence of other soldiers about Private R’s firing

51.202 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private C, a member of Composite Platoon, recorded that after disembarking from his vehicle he was ordered to work his way round “the walls at the edge of the open ground ”. When he reached the south end of the back of Chamberlain Street he saw a soldier standing by the APC in the entrance to the car park fire a shot at the far corner between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats. He confirmed this in his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry.2 In his written statement to this Inquiry3 and in his oral evidence to this Inquiry,4 he said that he did not now recall seeing this firing. The soldier whose firing he described in his evidence to the Widgery Inquiry could have been either Sergeant O or Private R.

1 B52

2 WT15.64
3 B68.5

4 Day 354/15-17


51.203 Private 005 was a member of Machine Gun Platoon. According to his RMP statement,1 he was somewhere in the area of the road leading from Rossville Street into the car park. He stated that he saw a man on “the first floor veranda which runs between block one and block two of the flats ” fire two shots from a pistol. Private R, who was standing at the nearside wing of an APC, fired one round at the gunman, who disappeared briefly before reappearing and firing another two or three rounds in the general direction of the soldiers. Private R returned two rounds. Private 005 did not see whether the gunman was hit or not. The gunman disappeared.

1 B1370

51.204 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Private 005 told us that he saw a soldier firing towards the Rossville Flats. He thought that it had been Private R but could not rule out the possibility that it had been Private T. He thought that the soldier had fired three shots. It seemed to Private 005 that the soldier was firing “into the first floor of the flats because he looked to have his gun more or less on a level rather than raised ”. Private 005 could see “puffs of smoke ” rising from the ground where the soldier was standing. This and the soldier’s firing led Private 005 to believe that acid bombs or something similar were being thrown at the soldier, but Private 005 did not see any acid being thrown. Private 005 told us that he had a vague memory of seeing a man on either the ground floor or the first floor of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, with his arm back as if about to throw something, and with an object, possibly a nail bomb or petrol bomb, in his hand. However, Private 005 did not remember seeing the man throw anything, and was concerned that his memory might be wrong. He stated that he did not now remember seeing a man with a pistol, although he recalled hearing pistol fire at about the time when he saw the soldier firing.2

1 B1374.001 2B1374.004

51.205 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Private 005 admitted that he had not been in a position to see a gunman on the walkway between Blocks 1 and 2 of the Rossville Flats, and said that he had described the gunman in his RMP statement on the basis of hearsay in the NAAFI. Later he claimed that he had heard the gossip in the NAAFI about the gunman only after making his RMP statement, and that the RMP had made up the story about the gunman.2 He denied that the sequence of shots described in his RMP statement reflected what he had said to the RMP. He said that he had told the RMP that he had seen Private R fire one shot towards the passage between Blocks 1 and 2. He said that the RMP statement taker seemed already to know what had happened, and had filled in gaps in his knowledge.3 Private 005 was asked what made him think that the soldier was having something thrown at him,4 and replied that it was “Just the way the stuff was splashing about ”. He accepted that it was possible that the man described in his written statement to this Inquiry as having had his arm in a throwing position had not had anything in his hand. He then said that he had not seen the man at all and was “just surmising that there was somebody throwing it ”. He confirmed that it was not true that he had seen this man.5

1 Day 338/144-156

2 Day 338/163-174

3 Day 338/194-198
4 Day 338/139-141

5 Day 338/174-179


51.206 In view of his evidence to this Inquiry, it is difficult to place much reliance on the account given by Private 005, though it is possible that he saw the first shot fired by Private R.

51.207 We now turn to the soldiers who disembarked from Sergeant O’s APC in the Rossville Flats car park.

Sergeant O

The account of his firing given by Sergeant O to the Royal Military Police

51.208 In his first RMP statement timed at 2130 hours on 30th January 1972,1 Sergeant O, after giving an account of incoming shots from about four to five weapons of mixed calibre, continued:2

“When the firing started I was positioned by the rear of the Humber. I saw a male person wearing a dark jacket and dark shirt. He had dark hair; he was behind a red Cortina car which was parked facing my location at GR 43291678.

I saw the top half of this man’s body behind the car, he was holding a pistol in his right hand and pointing it at my location.

I saw the man’s hand jerking with the pistol and I believed he was firing at me. My SLR had been cocked on moving forward from my position. I fired 1 x 7.62 rd well aimed shot at this gunman. I saw the round strike the car.

The gunman still appeared to be firing at me. I couldn’t see the flash of the weapon but his hand was jerking as from a recoil.

I fired 2 x 7.62 rd well aimed shots at this gunman. I saw the gunman appear to be thrown backwards and disappear out of sight behind the car. I saw him being dragged away by two men, a woman, and a first aid man. They went between the flats and out of sight. I didn’t see this gunman again. He was about 50 metres from my location when I fired.

The firing continued and I located a second gunman on a first floor verandah between blocks 2 and 3 Rossville Flats, Londonderry. He was firing behind the concrete flat support. I believe that his weapon was a M1 Carbine. I saw the flash of his weapon firing, I fired 2 x 7.62 rd well aimed shots at this gunman. I saw his body jerk backwards and out of sight, I think I hit this man in the head. Only his head and shoulders were exposed. He was standing behind the pillar, when I fired he was about 75 metres from my location. I didn’t see this man again. I can’t describe him, he didn’t show enough of himself.

I kept the area under observation. I saw several persons move along the verandahs in a crouched position towards the gunmans location. They appeared to be dragging something. They then left the verandah. They reappeared on the ground floor between blocks 2 and 3 at GR 43281675.

I saw the group move out of sight and then one male person appeared and fired at my location with a carbine. I saw this man in the shoulder aiming position with the weapon, I saw the flash of the weapon firing. I fired 2 x 7.62 rds aimed shot at this gunman. He vanished from my sight. I didn’t see him again. I don’t know if I hit him. He was about 75 metres from my location.

I didn’t fire any further rounds during the shooting incidents. ”


1 B439 2B449-441

51.209 In his second RMP statement timed at 1430 hours on 1st February 1972,1 Sergeant O added this:

“Further to my statement made on 30 Jan 72.

I would like to add, when I fired at the second gunman who was located on the Veranda between Blocks 2–3 Rossville Flats, Londonderry, I fired first 1 x 7.62 round, aimed shot at the gunman. I didn’t observe a strike. I therefore, fired 2 x 7.62 rounds at this gunman who continued to fire at my location after I had fired at him. The second time I fired the gunman was hit and thrown from my sight. ”


1 B461

51.210 In this statement, therefore, Sergeant O described firing another shot, in addition to the two described in his first RMP statement, at the gunman he described being on the verandah between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats.

The account of his firing given by Sergeant O in the Thames Television This Week programme

51.211 In the Thames Television This Week programme Northern Ireland – Two Sides of the Story broadcast on 3rd February 1972, Sergeant O said that he returned fire against at least three men who were firing at him.1 His first gunman was a man using a pistol, while standing behind a maroon Cortina positioned “half-left across the car park as I was looking at it ”. Sergeant O fired three rounds at him. The man went down. Sergeant O was sure that he had hit him. The man’s body was taken away by “friends or people within that area ”.

1 X1.17.11-X1.17.13. The transcript refers to Sergeant O as “Sgt 1”.

51.212 Sergeant O’s second gunman was firing a fairly light rifle, similar to an M1 carbine, from the “first floor balcony ” between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats. Sergeant O fired at him. The man fell and his body was taken away by people who brought it downstairs, out of view of the soldiers, and reappeared beneath the balcony where the man had been.1

1 X1.17.12-X1.17.13

51.213 Sergeant O’s third gunman then stepped “round the corner of the stairs within that area ” and fired at Sergeant O with an M1-type carbine. Sergeant O assumed that this was the same weapon as had been used by the second gunman, and that it had been brought down with the body, and was being fired by one of that man’s colleagues or friends. Sergeant O fired at the third gunman but could not say whether he hit him.

The account given by Sergeant O to the Royal Military Police of ordering Private T to fire

51.214 In his third RMP statement timed at 1510 hours on 15th February 1972,1 Sergeant O described ordering Private T to fire at a man he said he had no doubt was throwing down acid bombs from the Rossville Flats. We deal in detail with this part of Sergeant O’s evidence when considering later in this chapter2Private T’s account of the shots he fired.

1 B464 2Paragraphs 51.287–300

Sergeant O’s evidence to the Widgery Inquiry about his and
Private S’s firing

51.215 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1 Sergeant O gave a similar account of seeing a man behind a red Cortina car with a pistol in his hand, pointed in his direction, about 50m away: “… at this distance I am quite satisfied I can identify a pistol, pointing in my direction. I saw a definite kick as he fired. I do not think it was a six-shot revolver, he fired too many shots for that. ”

1 B467

51.216 He continued:1

“11. I returned one shot at him. It was a deliberate aimed shot, fired through sights from the shoulder. The first missed hitting the car windows. I corrected aim and fired 2 rapid shots. The gunner was thrown backwards and fell out of sight behind the wall. A first aid man ran along the low wall from Chamberlain Street to the gunman, followed by two or three others. They were moving behind the wall. I saw them carrying him away out through the gap between Blocks 2 and 3.

12. There was shooting from my own men and from the block area at them. I saw another fall of shot, between the pig and the Chamberlain Street wall. Still by the front end of the pig, behind the mudguard, I saw the flash of a weapon on the lower of the two enclosed passageways joining Blocks 2 and 3. There was a gunman at the block 3 end with a weapon like an M1 carbine or small rifle. I fired an aimed shot at him. Again my first shot missed because (I think) the plastic stock of my SLR had broken and was throwing me out. I fired 2 more shots and think I hit the gunman in the head. This was at a range of about 75 metres. Again I have no doubt of the weapon. There is no possibility of cunfusion with a long lens camera or anything like that.

13. The firing was beginning to slacken off so I watched the position of gunman. I saw people moving along the verandah of block 3 crouching. They dragged something away from the gunman’s position into the covered part of the passageway.

14. There was no sustained fire at us now, just pot shots at us. ”


1 B468

51.217 Sergeant O then described the incident in which he ordered Private T to fire at a man throwing down bottles from the Rossville Flats.1Returning to his own shots, he stated:

“15. I moved round to the front of the pig and saw another body being taken through the alleyway where the first body had been taken. Then a man stepped out from that corner, brought a weapon (I thought it was the same weapon as before) to his shoulder and fired. I fired back two aimed shots and he either jumped or fell back. I cannot say if I hit him. These were the last rounds I fired. ”


1 B468-469

51.218 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Sergeant O said that after what he described as incoming fire, “The first thing that happened is we moved to the back of the pig. The prisoners were put in the pig. The blokes then spread out into fire positions and started to try and identify these targets. ” He told the Widgery Inquiry that it was about ten seconds after the initial firing that the soldiers started firing and that around his APC “it would be either myself or Soldier S who would be one of the first two to open fire ”.1

1 WT13.27-28

51.219 Sergeant O then gave the Widgery Inquiry a similar account to that in his written statement, of firing at a man behind a red Cortina and then seeing people, including someone he described as “a Knights of Malta, a first-aid man ”, carrying him away through the alleyway between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats.1

1 WT13.30

51.220 When he was asked what he did next, Sergeant O replied that he stayed where he was at the front of the APC. “I identified a further gunman, in the lowest of the two adjoining cover, the cat-walks, in between Blocks 2 and 3 ”:

“Q. You identified him as a gunman, how?

A. He appeared standing up at the edge of the balcony firing a type of weapon which I assume was an M.1 carbine for it was a fairly short weapon and he was triggering it off fairly fast. I could distinctly see flashes at the muzzle.

Q. What did you do?

A. I returned fire on that man. Again I fired one round and missed. I fired a further two rounds and again the man went down.

Q. Did you see what happened to him on the balcony?

A. People moved along the balcony on block 3 and dragged the man into the cover in an archway, into the cat-walk, I am sorry. ”


51.221 He then told the Widgery Inquiry that the only soldier he could see firing was Private S, who was standing to his left against the back wall of 32 or 34 Chamberlain Street. In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Sergeant O gave this description of Private S firing:1

“Q. At the same time was there shooting from your own men that you were aware of?

A. The only one that I could actually see firing was Soldier S, who was standing slightly to my left against the back wall of 32 or 34 Chamberlain Street, within this area. He was firing across my front into the gap between block 1 and block 2 into that area.

Q. That would be in this direction?

A. Yes sir.

Q. The opposite corner from the one you were firing?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you see what target he was engaging?

A. Only once I got a glimpse of a man kneeling down in that area of, say, between blocks 1 and 2 firing a weapon from the shoulder.

Q. What sort of weapon was he firing?

A. It was a short-barrelled rifle of some description. Again, it is possible it was an M.1 carbine, but I couldn’t say. I only got a glimpse of the man through the people milling around.

Q. It was a short barrel?

A. Yes, rifle.

Q. When you say there were people milling around, could you describe it more?

A. At this stage there were still a few people in the courtyard moving around and there was quite a bit of people moving around in that area, actually in the junction of block 2 and 1.

Q. Was there anyone very close to the man who was with the rifle?

A. No. There seemed to be a sort of gap round about him, but there were people moving round about. There was nobody actually close to him that you could say within touching distance. There seemed to be a small gap where he was himself.

Q. What about the alleyway behind between blocks 1 and 2? At that time were there any people in that alleyway, can you remember?

A. I cannot honestly say, like. I saw there were people moving around in that area. It is possible there were people in that alleyway but it just never registered.

Q. You cannot remember?

A. No.

Q. You saw the man you say with a rifle, or a short barrelled weapon, at his shoulder. Did you see whether he was doing anything? I mean, did you see the weapon used?

A. Well, there was a strike of rounds between myself and Soldier S on the ground at this stage and I assumed it had come from this man. ”


1 WT13.31

51.222 Sergeant O continued his oral evidence by saying that it was “a matter of about three or four minutes later ” that he fired at the man who appeared round the corner of the gap between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats.1

“Q. In what circumstances did you fire those two rounds?

A. Well, when I finished firing at the man up in the cat-walk I observed the area. I watched the body being taken away. There was nothing further came from that area. I then got back, I moved to the back of the vehicle and checked up on the blokes there. I came back round to the front of the vehicle and at this stage there was a body being taken between the gaps between blocks 2 and 3. As the body was taken away and vanished through that gap a man stepped round that corner and again started firing what I assumed to be an M.1 carbine.

Q. Pausing a moment, the body going through between blocks 2 and 3, which body was that, do you know?

A. I couldn’t honestly say which body it was.

Q. Was it the first from behind the wall?

A. No, it wasn’t the first one from behind the wall. The one from behind the wall that fired initially had long gone through that gap. It wasn’t the same body.

Q. Then he came out and started firing?

A. He just stuck his head and shoulders, sort of thing, round the corner and started firing with a weapon. I fired two rounds. He jerked back. Whether he jerked back because I hit him or whether he jerked back because the rounds were close to him, I couldn’t say.

Q. What was he firing with?

A. I believe again it was an M.1 carbine.

Q. Whether you hit him or not you do not know?

A. No, I couldn’t say. ”


1 WT13.31-32

51.223 Sergeant O said that he did not fire from the hip at any time, nor did he see any of his soldiers doing so.1

1 WT13.33

Sergeant O’s reference to his firing in his Praxis interviews

51.224 As we have previously explained, Sergeant O was interviewed, probably in 1989, as part of the research that resulted in the Channel 4 Secret History documentary Bloody Sunday made by Praxis Films Ltd, and was interviewed again for the purposes of the same programme on 14th May 1991. While the transcript of the first interview appears to be incomplete, it contains no description of Sergeant O’s own firing.1

1 O21.1-O21.14

51.225 In his second interview Sergeant O did not want to discuss any gunmen he might have seen, but said that he did not fire at anyone who did not have a weapon in his hand.1

1 O22.59-O22.60; O22.69

The account of his firing given by Sergeant O in his Peter Taylor interview

51.226 Peter Taylor interviewed Sergeant O on 28th November 1991 for the BBC Inside Story documentary Remember Bloody Sunday.

51.227 Sergeant O said in this interview1 that he saw a man about 50 yards away, or perhaps a little less, firing a pistol at him. He could see the kick of the weapon as the man pulled the trigger. Sergeant O returned fire. He missed with his first shot but hit the man with his next two shots. The man was taken away by “2 nurses and another gentleman ”. Sergeant O was asked what happened to the pistol, and replied: “Once he went down and I knew he was down, I was then looking for other targets. ”

1 I540-I541; I546-I548

51.228 Sergeant O said that his second gunman was “up in the junction of 2 of the blocks – I think block 1 and 2 up in the … first floor … veranda type … area of the flats ”.1 He was convinced that the man had fired a shot from a shoulder-held weapon down into the area where the soldiers were. He saw the muzzle flash and fired at the man. The man fell. Sergeant O was sure that he had hit him. Sergeant O did not try to find the weapon.2 The body was taken away “through one of the tunnels ”.

1 I549 2I550

51.229 Sergeant O said that the same type of weapon was then used to fire at the soldiers again from the area of the “tunnel ” through which the body had been taken.1 He did not know whether he had hit the third gunman.

1 I551

Sergeant O’s use of his respirator

51.230 As already noted, Sergeant O gave written and oral evidence to this Inquiry.

51.231 In his written account Sergeant O told us that he recalled putting on his gas mask (respirator) as his APC was driven through Barrier 12, but that he took his helmet and gas mask off before disembarking: “… from then on, I think I was bare headed. ”1

1 B575.111

Sergeant O’s written evidence to this Inquiry about his and
Private S’s firing

51.232 Sergeant O stated that it was a second or two after the first incoming fire that he saw a man with a pistol in the car park: “The reason that this man caught my eye was that he was stationary whereas everyone else in the car park was moving as quickly as they could to get through the gaps between Blocks 1 and 2 and Blocks 2 and 3. ”1Sergeant O then gave a description, as he had in his previous accounts, of this man firing his pistol, and of his own firing back at the man; of the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps volunteer who went to the aid of the man, followed by a woman and, Sergeant O thought, two other men; and of the man being taken through the gap between Blocks 2 and 3.

1 B575.113-114

51.233 Sergeant O then described shooting at a man who was on the “first balcony ” at the southern end of Block 3 of the Rossville Flats, who was partially shielded by a vertical concrete pillar and who was firing a short-barrelled rifle from his shoulder. He stated that the man was flung back against the concrete surrounding the balcony, and dropped out of sight on the balcony “below the balustrade level ”.1

“I then saw people moving towards the gunman in a southerly direction along the first floor balcony of Block 3. I am sure there was no movement at all on that balcony while the gunman was firing at me but as soon as he went down I could see the heads popping up and down along the balcony. I could not see the body but I assumed he was being dragged away. ”


1 B575.115-116

51.234 Sergeant O stated the following in relation to where he had said that he had seen this gunman:1

“Where I describe in my first RMP statement the gunman on the verandah between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats firing behind the concrete flat support, this is the pillar I have described. Having now looked carefully at a photograph of the Rossville Flats, I have identified that the verandah (or balcony) was actually towards the south end of Block 3 of the Rossville Flats, not on the walkway between Blocks 2 and 3. ”


1 B575.123

51.235 In this statement Sergeant O described, in similar terms to the evidence that he had given to the Widgery Inquiry, what he said he had seen of Private S engaging a gunman in the gap between Blocks 1 and 2. He also told us:1

“My recollections of this incident are not as vivid as those I have described above where I was involved in firing, but I am confident that what I have said is accurate. Private S was a good soldier and I was confident that he would handle the incident without me needing to get involved. In an interview I gave to Thames Television in the Sergeants’ Mess at Palace Barracks a few days after 30th January 1972 (which I deal with in more detail below) I referred to a soldier ‘getting some stick’. I was referring to Private S and this incident.

Knowing Private S as I did, I knew that he would not shoot until he was able to fire a clear aimed shot at the gunman. He would not have shot wildly in the direction of the gunman and I did not continue to watch what happened in the exchange of fire between Private S and this gunman. I would only have intervened if I had seen Private S fall, which I did not. During this incident, when I looked across to the gap between Blocks 1 and 2 of the Rossville Flats, I did not notice anything on the ground in the centre of the car park. ”


1 B575.116

51.236 Sergeant O also described seeing a man throwing down an acid bomb from the Rossville Flats and ordering Private T to fire at the man if he did it again. We consider this incident when dealing with Private T’s account of the shots that he fired.

51.237 Sergeant O told us that it was about three or four minutes after he had fired at the man with a pistol (and after he had fired at his second target, seen the incident involving Private S and told Private T to fire) that he came under fire again when he was at the front passenger side of his APC. He stated that on this occasion the gunman had a weapon similar to the one used by the second gunman he had engaged and was firing at ground level from the corner of the gap between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats. Sergeant O told us that he fired two shots at this man, who jerked back behind the corner.1

1 B575.118

51.238 Sergeant O stated that he was sure that he had hit the first two men at whom he had fired, but thought that he had not hit the third.1

1 B575.114; B575.115; B575.118

51.239 He also stated that the reason he had made a second RMP statement was that when he was shown the first (which he had made when he was very tired) he realised that it was incorrect in that it referred to two shots at the man on the verandah, whereas he had fired three at this target.1We accept that this was a genuine correction as to the number of shots fired and not one made falsely for an ulterior purpose; though whether Sergeant O was correct in his accounts of why he fired is a matter we consider further later in this report.2

1 B575.123 2Paragraphs 64.32–47

Sergeant O’s trajectory photograph

51.240 Towards the end of his written statement to this Inquiry,1Sergeant O said that John Heritage (the member of the Treasury Solicitor’s department who took his statement for the Widgery Inquiry) carefully prepared a photograph showing the trajectory of his shots. In his oral evidence, Sergeant O said that the following photograph seemed to be the one that John Heritage completed.2

1 B575.124-B575.125
2 Day 335/122
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51.241 In our view, for the following reasons, Sergeant O was probably mistaken in his recollection that the trajectory of his shots was marked on the photograph by John Heritage. In Sergeant O’s written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1there is a reference to an aerial photograph,of which a copy was used to prepare the trajectory photograph shown above, which to our minds shows that a copy of this photograph was in front of him and John Heritage when he made the statement. In his supplementary written statement to this Inquiry, John Heritage confirmed this.2

1 B466
2 KH6.17; KH6.29


51.242 However, the trajectory photograph is marked not only with the trajectories but, in a lighter pen, with an indication of the position of the Cortina in the car park of the Rossville Flats. Although it is impossible to be sure, a comparison with John Heritage’s handwriting on, for example, a document relating to Lance Corporal V1 suggests to us that he may well have written the word “Cortina ”. If so, Sergeant O was probably right in recalling that he saw John Heritage writing on the photograph.

1 B821.002

51.243 However, we believe that Sergeant O was wrong in thinking that John Heritage marked the trajectories on the photograph. The script in which the trajectories are numbered does not obviously resemble John Heritage’s handwriting. In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 John Heritage told us that to the best of his recollection the maps and photographs to which witnesses referred in their interviews were “prepared beforehand by the SIB [Special Investigation Branch] ”, and he drew attention to the statement for the Widgery Inquiry of Private C,2 in which the witness referred to markings on a map and photograph in terms that arguably indicate that the markings had been made before the interview. In his supplementary written statement to this Inquiry, Basil Hall, the former Solicitor to the Widgery Inquiry, told us that he asked that the soldiers who had fired rounds should indicate their lines of fire on photographs, and that copies of these photographs “would have been available to members of the team taking statements ”.3

1 KH6.3

2 B52
3 KH2.29


Sergeant O’s Royal Military Police map

51.244 We reproduce below the map that accompanied Sergeant O’s first RMP statement.1

1 B443




51.245 It will be noted that this map only shows two of Sergeant O’s targets, whereas three were described in his RMP statement.1 It is possible that the person who prepared this map chose only to mark the targets that Sergeant O said that he had hit. It is also possible that the third gunman described by Sergeant O was omitted from the RMP map because the RMP statement does not clearly indicate the position of that gunman.

1 B439-442

The absence of reference to Sergeant O’s firing in the Loden List of Engagements

51.246 The Loden List of Engagements records nothing that appears to relate to the accounts of shooting given by Sergeant O. We are satisfied that this is because Sergeant O was at Altnagelvin Hospital at the time when the list was being compiled. As is discussed elsewhere in this report,1 Sergeant O, together with a number of soldiers, including Corporal P, escorted the bodies of three of the rubble barricade casualties from the Bogside to the hospital.2 They left at about 1645 hours,3 arrived at the casualty department by 1730 hours4 and were still present at the mortuary at 1815 hours.5 Sergeant O told this Inquiry, and we accept, that after completing their duties at Altnagelvin, the soldiers drove directly to the base at Drumahoe, outside Londonderry, where they stayed that night.6 The Loden List of Engagements was, as we explain elsewhere in this report,7 compiled at some point after 1730 hours in Clarence Avenue, Londonderry, before 1 PARA withdrew to Drumahoe.

1 Chapter 122

2 B442; B469; B593; B603; B623.0027

3 B442; B469

4 ED40.6
5 WT5.37

6 B575.120; B575.125; Day 336/84

7 Paragraphs 165.1–2


Sergeant O’s oral evidence to this Inquiry about his firing

51.247 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Sergeant O marked a photograph with a blue arrow to show where he said the Cortina had been, and told us that the man at whom he fired had been at the rear of the car.1

1 B575.169; Day 335/56-57


51.248 Sergeant O said that the gunman was firing in his direction: “It could have been me; it could have been one of the other men; it was just in my direction. ”1He marked with a green arrow on the photograph shown above the area “behind the low wall ” from which he said that he recalled that the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps volunteer had come, and with a red arrow approximately where he thought he was himself standing (ie at the front edge of the APC) when he fired at the man, which he said was the same position from which he fired at his second target.2

1 Day 335/58 2Day 335/60-61; Day 335/70

51.249 In his first RMP statement Sergeant O had given a grid reference for the position of the red Cortina car behind which he said there was a man firing a pistol.1In the course of his oral evidence to this Inquiry he was disposed to agree that this showed that the car was further south than the position he had marked; and that accordingly when he fired in the direction of this car his shots went towards the gap between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats.2However, although he accepted the point put to him, it was a bad one. It was suggested to him that the grid reference given in his first RMP statement (GR 43291678) corresponded to the position marked by Martin Tucker with a red arrow on a photograph.3That was wrong. The grid reference indicates a position further north, and more nearly consistent with the positions indicated on Sergeant O’s RMP map,4on his trajectory photograph, and on the photograph5 that he marked in his oral evidence to this Inquiry. Those positions are also close to the position suggested by much of Private R’s evidence.

1 B440

2 Day 336/27-28

3 AT17.18
4 B443

5 B575.169


51.250 With regard to this incident, there was the following series of answers in the course of Sergeant O’s oral evidence:1

“Q. If we go back to your statement at B575.138, you say you saw this man’s hand jerking with the pistol: ‘and I believed he was firing at me’.

A. Yes.

Q. Why did you not take cover at that stage just to protect yourself?

A. I did not think about taking cover.

Q. You what?

A. I did not think about taking cover.

Q. Was it not a natural reaction to take cover so that you are in a better position to fire back from a position of safety?

A. Not necessarily.

Q. At this stage you were standing at the front passenger door of this Pig, on the left side?

A. Yes.

Q. Totally exposed –

A. Yes.

Q. – to this gunman?

A. Yes.

Q. Is there any problem with you taking cover on the other side and firing back from cover?

A. Only the length of time it would have taken me to get round the Pig. I preferred to stand my ground and return the fire.

Q. When you did return the fire, you fired a shot at him which you say missed, it hit the car?

A. Yes.

Q. The gunman did not take cover or duck behind the wall or do anything else to avoid being shot; did he?

A. He must have made the same decision as me, then.

Q. There you were standing toe to toe so to speak, shooting at each other until the first man went down; was that the picture?

A. I think the odds were on my side, yes.

Q. He was standing there exposed himself?

A. Yes.

Q. Firing his handgun at your SLR?

A. Yes.

Q. Is this another example of the sort of stupid gunmen that were there?

A. I think so. I do not know where the ‘stupid’ come in, but it was an example of the gunman who was there. ”


1 Day 336/35-36

51.251 With regard to his second target, Sergeant O marked on another photograph (reproduced below) two places where, though his mind was “not 100 per cent clear ”, the gunman he saw could have been, with the concrete pillar shielding half his body.1

1 B575.170; Day 335/62-63

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51.252 Sergeant O said that this gunman did not appear to notice his first shot, which Sergeant O thought had hit the concrete “round about ” the gunman, and that the gunman continued firing. Sergeant O disagreed with the suggestion that it was odd that the man had not noticed this shot, on the ground that “He was probably focused the same way I was ”. Sergeant O said he was sure that he had hit the man when he shot again, because the man was thrown backwards.1

1 Day 335/64-66

51.253 Sergeant O’s attention was drawn to the fact that he had described his second target in his first and second RMP statements1as being on a first floor verandah between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats, in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry2as being at the Block 3 end of the lower of the two enclosed passageways joining Blocks 2 and 3, and in his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry as being in the lowest of the two “cat-walks ” between Blocks 2 and 3,3whereas in his written statement to this Inquiry he had described his target as being on the “first floor balcony ” at the southern end of Block 3.4

1 B441; B461

2 B575.147
3 WT13.30

4 B575.115


51.254 It was suggested to Sergeant O that photographs showed that the walkway between Blocks 2 and 3 was enclosed, so that a gunman would be unlikely to have fired through windows from there; and that the balconies running along Block 3 were fitted with railings rather than a solid wall, so that it would have been possible to see more than the heads of people running along the balcony.1,2 It was suggested to Sergeant O that these alleged discrepancies demonstrated that he had invented his account of firing at a gunman. Sergeant O agreed, as he had recorded in his written statement, that he had obviously been mistaken in putting the gunman on the walkway. He said “I think the gunman was on the balcony, on the corner ”,3and denied that he had invented his account.4

1 We are doubtful whether someone moving along the back of the balcony would have been continuously visible to someone at ground level.

2 FR7.426
3 Day 336/43

4 Day 336/37-46


51.255 In our view there are indications that even in 1972 Sergeant O intended to say that the gunman had been on the balcony in Block 3. The references in his first RMP statement1 to the “concrete flat support ” and the “pillar ” are most easily understood as references to one of the supporting pillars on the balcony. His trajectory photograph places the gunman on the balcony. In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,2 he recorded that he saw people dragging something “away from the gunman’s position into the covered part of the passageway ”. If the last phrase refers to the connecting walkway, as to our minds it does, this implies that, on the basis of Segeant O’s account, the gunman was not in it when he fell. In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,3 Sergeant O said that the gunman was “standing up at the edge of the balcony ” and that after the shooting he was dragged “into the cat-walk ”.

1 B441

2 B468
3 WT13.30


51.256 It was suggested to Sergeant O that the reason for which he had refused to talk to the Praxis interviewers about his firing on Bloody Sunday was that he had participated in the shooting of innocent civilians and had supervised his men as they shot innocent civilians. He denied this and said that, as he had indicated to Praxis, he had had concerns for his safety.1

1 Day 336/76; Day 336/130-131

Sergeant O’s evidence about firing by other soldiers

51.257 We noted earlier that in his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry Sergeant O said that Private S was the only soldier he saw firing. Sergeant O confirmed this in his written and oral evidence to the present Inquiry.1

1 B575.125; Day 335/92; Day 336/62; Day 336/72-73; Day 336/86-89; Day 336/96-97

Summary of Sergeant O’s accounts of his shots

51.258 According to the accounts given by Sergeant O, therefore, while he was near his APC and soon after he had arrested William John Doherty he fired three shots at a man with a pistol who was behind a Cortina car on the south-east side of the car park; then three shots at a man with an M1 carbine or similar weapon towards the south-west end of the lower balcony of Block 3 of the Rossville Flats; and finally two shots at a man with an M1 carbine or similar weapon at ground level on the corner of the gap between Blocks 2 and 3. He was sure he had hit his first two targets, but said he thought that he had not hit his third. He estimated the time between firing at his first target and firing at his third as about three to four minutes.

Evidence of other soldiers about Sergeant O’s firing

51.259 Three or perhaps four other soldiers described Sergeant O’s firing. We have already referred to Private C,1 though whether he saw Sergeant O or Private R remains uncertain. The others were Private S, Private R and Private T.

1 Paragraph 51.202

Private S

51.260 Private S gave accounts of firing by Sergeant O, which we have considered earlier in this chapter.1He told the RMP that he saw Sergeant O firing at a gunman who was at a “ground floor window ” towards the southern end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats,2while he told the Widgery Inquiry that he saw Sergeant O firing shots at a target out of his sight at the other corner of the car park.3He told us that the account he had given to the RMP of seeing a gunman was untrue, but he stood by his evidence that he had seen Sergeant O firing.4

1 Paragraphs 51.47–49 and 51.64–70

2 B703
3 B708

4 B724.003; Day 331/75; Day 331/14-21; Day 332/71-74


Private R

51.261 We have already referred1 to the description of Sergeant O’s firing given by Private R in his second RMP statement2 and in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry.3 In these statements, Private R recorded that after he had been hit by two acid bombs thrown from Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, he saw a man firing a pistol towards the soldiers from behind a maroon Cortina in the car park. Sergeant O, who was standing beside Private R, fired at the gunman, who fell and was dragged away by two or three people. Private R said that he did not know how many rounds were fired either by the gunman or by Sergeant O.

1 Paragraphs 51.168–173

2 B666
3 B671


51.262 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private R said that he was standing behind Sergeant O’s APC, shaking his legs because of the acid, when he saw Sergeant O fire.

1 WT13.76

51.263 Private R also described this incident in his written statement to this Inquiry.1 Although he no longer remembered the make or colour of the car, he said that he had seen Sergeant O firing at a gunman behind a car, and that he had seen the gunman fall, and a group of civilians taking him away. Private R initially told us that he did not now recall how close he had been to Sergeant O when this firing took place.2 Later in his evidence,3 he said that Sergeant O was probably only four or five feet away. Private R believed that he had been at the back of the APC, but was not sure whether Sergeant O had been at the back or the front. As we have noted above,4 Private R told us that his present recollection was that he saw Sergeant O firing before he, Private R, was hit by acid bombs.5

1 B691.004

2 Day 337/52

3 Day 337/126-128
4 Paragraph 51.193

5 Day 337/148


51.264 It seems clear that this evidence relates to the first of the three incidents in which Sergeant O said that he opened fire. Private R did not describe either of the two later incidents.

Private T

51.265 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private T recorded that at one point Sergeant O shouted “‘There’s one over there behind the wall’ ” and fired across the car park. Private T stated that he thought that Sergeant O had fired two or three shots. In Private T’s oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,2he said that Sergeant O fired two or possibly three shots in the direction of the flats. Private T said that he did not know where Sergeant O meant by “over there ”. Private T also said that he could not see into the car park. When Sergeant O fired, he was standing at the back of his APC about three feet away from Private T.

1 B736 2WT13.91; WT13.93

Private T and acid bombs

The account of his firing given by Private T to the Royal Military Police

51.266 In his RMP account,1 Private T stated that after assisting in making arrests he moved back to Sergeant O’s APC. He became aware of people on the balconies of the flats dropping bottles and other missiles onto the soldiers’ position:

“I noticed that the bottles contained a liquid and I thought they were petrol bombs. However, none of the bottles was alight and none went on fire when they smashed. After a couple had broken as they fell I smelt a strong acid smell and realised that the bottles contained acid.

[Sergeant] ‘O’ was behind me and told me to fire at whoever was dropping the acid bombs if I saw him about to throw any more. One of the bottles bounced very close to me and broke. I was splashed with the liquid in the bottle. It covered the front of my trousers from the waist to the knee. I saw that it had been dropped from a balcony almost directly above me. This balcony was some 20 to 30 feet above me. I saw a man step back from the edge of the balcony as I looked up.

I continued to watch the balcony and saw the man again come to the front edge of the balcony. I could see that he had a white shirt on with a blue tie and jacket. I saw that he had a bottle in his hand and, as I watched, the man threw the bottle at me.

I then fired one round from my SLR at the man. I came to the aim after he drew his arm back and fired as he let go of the bottle. I did not see the result of the shot. The man seemed to freeze and I then fired a second shot at him. This did not hit him.

The man went away from the balcony and no more acid bombs were thrown at us. Also, after I fired, there were no more bottles or stones dropped or thrown at us from the balconies of the Flats. ”


1 B725-726

Private T’s evidence to the Widgery Inquiry about his firing

51.267 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private T recorded that after hearing a burst of low velocity gunfire, he took cover behind Sergeant O’s APC. He was watching the windows of the flats on his right to keep a lookout for anyone intending to fire at the soldiers. Bottles started to be thrown from this part of the flats. He noticed that one in particular contained liquid. He thought that it was a petrol bomb but it did not explode. After a few more bottles had been thrown in his direction, he noticed a distinctive smell, which he recognised from experience in the Falls Road in Belfast as the smell of acid. Until this point he had not seen any of those who were throwing bottles containing acid. Sergeant O told him to open fire if he saw anyone throwing acid from the flats. A bottle broke very close to him and splashed his trousers up to the waist. He was sure that the bottle had come from one of the balconies very close to his position. He then saw the man who had thrown it go back into the flats. He waited for him to come out again. The man was wearing a white shirt “with a dark suit and a tie the same colour ”. The man emerged again, came quickly to the wall of the balcony, and threw the bottle with a sideways movement of the arm. Before the bottle hit the ground, Private T fired an aimed shot at the man. The man was standing by a pillar, apparently waiting to see where the bottle would land, when Private T fired a second aimed shot at him, which “hit the wall a few feet above his head ”. The bottle landed very close to Private T at the back of the APC, and splashed him with acid. As a result of the shooting, the man disappeared.

1 B735-B736

51.268 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private T said that when he moved to the back of the APC, he saw “quite a lot of rubbish coming out of the window – stones, bottles, anything that could be thrown ”. He noticed that one of the bottles had a substance inside it. He thought that it was a petrol bomb but it did not explode. A bottle then landed very close to him “on the other side of an armoured door ” and after a time he noticed an acidic smell. He recognised the smell from school, and from previous experience of acid bombs in Belfast. He had not yet seen any of the people who were throwing missiles.

1 WT13.88-WT13.89

51.269 Private T said that Sergeant O had also noticed the smell.1 Private T told him that the acid had come from the flats. Sergeant O said that if anyone else threw acid bombs at the soldiers, Private T was to shoot him. Another bottle then landed quite close to Private T and covered him with acid from the waist downwards. After it had been thrown, he saw the man who had thrown it, who was beside a pillar on a balcony about three storeys up. The man was wearing a white shirt “with a dark-coloured jacket … I presumed it to be a suit – with a tie the same colour ”. The man threw another bottle, which landed very close to Private T and splashed him. Private T fired at the man when he had just thrown the bottle and seemed to be waiting to see where it landed. It was an aimed shot fired from a standing position over the back of the APC. Private T saw that his shot had missed, and fired a second shot at the man, but the man had stepped back and the second shot hit “the roof of the building ”. Private T did not see the man come out again. He said that the liquid in the bottles was greenish in colour.2 It was the same colour as the liquid in the acid bombs that he had seen in Belfast, which had been found lying in a crate. He said that he did not see any window cleaning liquid being thrown.

1 WT13.89-WT13.90 2WT13.92

Private T’s evidence to the Widgery Inquiry about the effect of the liquid with which he was splashed

51.270 As to the effect of the liquid, in his RMP account,1 Private T stated that very soon after his trousers had been splashed, he felt a tingling on his legs. Other soldiers poured water onto his legs. He changed his trousers and soaked them in water. Before signing this statement at 0200 hours on 31st January 1972, he had passed the trousers to Warrant Officer Class I Wood of the Special Investigation Branch of the Royal Military Police.

1 B726

51.271 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private T gave a similar account, although he referred only to a tingling in one leg. He said that Sergeant O had told him that he should pour water onto his trousers to weaken the acid, and then change them.

1 B736

51.272 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private T said that the only place in which he felt anything after he had been splashed was in a cut above his left knee, into which the liquid began to seep. As soon as the main shooting had died down, he wet his denims with water from a water carrier on the side of Sergeant O’s APC. He said that he did not consider that he had been seriously injured.2

1 WT13.90-WT13.91 2WT13.92

51.273 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private T recorded that when he left the area of the Rossville Flats he went to William Street to complete a form in relation to the arrest he had witnessed (which was the arrest of William John Doherty), and thereafter he rejoined his platoon.

1 B736

Private T’s use of his respirator

51.274 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry1 and in his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,2 Private T recorded that he put on his respirator while on a roof behind the sorting office, and that he warned members of his platoon who were standing by the Presbyterian church to do the same. He did not say for how long he wore his respirator.

1 B734 2WT13.87

Private T’s death before this Inquiry was established

51.275 As we have previously explained, Private T is dead and gave no evidence to this Inquiry.

Private T’s Royal Military Police map and trajectory photograph

51.276 We reproduce below Private T’s RMP map and trajectory photograph.1

1 B727


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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 3

Post  Guest on Tue 22 Jun - 11:40

The third entry in the Loden List of Engagements

51.277 The third entry in the Loden List of Engagements is as follows:1

“One bomber at GR 43261683 (top floor of flats) shot from GR 43281684. Apparently killed. ”


1 ED49.12

51.278 This entry refers to a bomber on the “top floor of flats ” who was apparently killed by a soldier. The grid references, plotted on the map below, which was prepared for the purposes of this Inquiry by the legal representatives of one of the families, show that the target was in or on Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, just to the north of the halfway point, while the soldier was in the car park, a little further to the north.1

1 OS2.50 (extract)


51.279 The reference in the list to a bomber on the “top floor of flats ” contrasts with Private T’s RMP statement, in which he refers to the bomber being on a balcony “some 20 to 30 feet above me ”.1 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,2Private T described his target as “about three storeys up ”. Private T’s trajectory photograph showed a position on the fifth floor balcony of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats.

1 B725-726
2 WT13.89


51.280 The entry in the list records that the bomber was “Apparently killed ”. In his RMP statement, Private T recorded that he did not see the result of his first shot, although “The man seemed to freeze ”; Private T then fired again but this shot did not hit his target.1 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry, Private T recorded that after his first shot “The man stood by a pillar apparently waiting to see where the bottle would land when I fired the second aimed shot at him which hit the wall a few feet above his head ”.2 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Private T said that his first shot missed the target, and that his second struck the “roof of the building ”.3

1 B726

2 B736
3 WT13.90


51.281 Private T was the only soldier of Mortar Platoon who claimed to have fired at a bomber up in Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. The grid references correspond roughly with the positions of the firer and the target according to the accounts given by Private T and his RMP map and trajectory photograph. However, Private T never claimed in those accounts either that his target was on the top floor or that he thought that he had killed the person at whom he had fired. Nevertheless it seems to us probable that this third entry does reflect what Private T told Major Loden. It may be that, out of bravado or for a similar reason, Private T claimed an apparent hit when giving his account to his Company Commander, but later after further thought withdrew this claim; or that Major Loden had mistakenly assumed that Private T had hit his target. It may also be that he told Major Loden (as he later told the Widgery Inquiry) that one of his shots hit the roof of the building, leading Major Loden to suppose that the target was on the top floor.

Other evidence relating to acid bombs and Private T’s accounts

51.282 Sergeant O said that he heard, and Private R that he saw, Private T firing. Private Q gave an account of firing into Block 1 of the Rossville Flats by a soldier who may have been Private T. In the following section we deal with the accounts of these witnesses, and of others who did not claim to have seen or heard Private T firing, but whose evidence relates to the throwing of acid bombs at the soldiers.

Evidence from Mortar Platoon soldiers

Lieutenant N

51.283 In his written account for the Widgery Inquiry,1 Lieutenant N stated that when he reached Sergeant O’s vehicle it was reported to him that two men had been hit by acid bombs. Perhaps two minutes later, he saw two soldiers whose clothes had been affected by acid burns. One had some physical discomfort but neither was in serious pain.

1 B399

51.284 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1 Lieutenant N said that he was told that the acid bombs had come from the flats. He saw one of the soldiers concerned gingerly holding the front of his trousers away from his legs because the acid on the trousers was stinging him.

1 WT12.69

51.285 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Lieutenant N told us that either just before or just after he had fired at a suspected nail bomber, two of his men walked towards him in a northerly direction from the point he had marked F on a plan2 (the east side of Block 1). One of them, who was being led by the other, appeared to have had acid thrown over him. There were “little holes with jagged edges down the front of his gear ”. Lieutenant N thought that the acid had burned through to the skin. It was not uncommon for battery acid to be thrown. Lieutenant N was not surprised to see that one of his men had been burned.

1 B438.013 2B438.056

51.286 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Lieutenant N accepted that he must have seen the men affected by acid after he had reached Sergeant O’s vehicle, since that is what he said in his statement for the Widgery Inquiry. He said that he had a “very clear picture ” of seeing the two soldiers.2

1 Day 322/102 2Day 323/110-111

Sergeant O

51.287 In his first RMP statement,1 Sergeant O recorded that while in the area of the car park, he and his section had several acid bombs thrown at them.

1 B441-B442

51.288 In his third RMP statement,1 Sergeant O said that he saw a man wearing a white shirt, dark tie and suit jacket on a balcony on about the second floor of Block 1. The man appeared at intervals and on each occasion dropped a bottle onto members of Sergeant O’s section below him. When the first bottle broke, about three or four feet from Sergeant O and almost on top of Private T, Sergeant O smelled acid. He ordered Private T to shoot at the man should he throw another acid bomb. Shortly afterwards, the man reappeared and threw another bottle. Sergeant O shouted a warning to Private T and heard him fire two shots. Sergeant O did not see the strikes of these shots. No further acid bombs were thrown.

1 B464

51.289 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1 Sergeant O gave a similar account, adding that acid from the first bomb splashed Private T. He placed the episode chronologically between his engagement of his second gunman and his engagement of his third gunman.

1 B468

51.290 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1 Sergeant O said that he smelled acid, and an acid bomb had apparently already been thrown, before he saw the bomb that splashed Private T on the legs. He also said that at the same time as Private T fired he heard the breaking of a bottle. He said that acid bombs could be distinguished by their “creamy colour ”, and that the bottles containing the acid always had screw tops.

1 WT13.32

51.291 In Sergeant O’s first Praxis interview1 he said that Private R was hit by acid dropped from the top of the Rossville Flats. Sergeant O told Private T to “watch and shoot ” at the acid bomber. Private T watched and fired two rounds in return. “Colonel Wilford turned up and said what’s happening. I told him about that, and I says we’ve got one bloke up on the roof firing acid bombs, he said have you returned fire, I says we fired two rounds back, there’ve been no hits. He says OK no more unless he drops more bombs, which he didn’t do. ” The soldiers then had to remove Private R’s denims and pour water onto him.

1 O21.4

51.292 In his second Praxis interview,1 Sergeant O said that Private T was not splashed with acid but “fired at the man that got splashed with acid ”. It would seem that he meant to say that Private T fired at the acid bomber but was not the soldier who was hit by the acid.

1 O22.89

51.293 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Sergeant O told us that before he saw an acid bomb himself, Private T had told him that acid bombs had been thrown, and had splashed Private T’s and Private R’s legs. The man wearing a white shirt and dark tie who threw an acid bomb had been on the second or possibly third balcony up in Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, as illustrated on a photograph attached to his statement.2 The acid bomb landed in the gap between Sergeant O’s APC and Block 1. Sergeant O did not see it land, but “heard the distinctive bang and spread of vapour ”. In his experience, acid bombs usually consisted of a screw top bottle containing a creamy or light yellow mixture of acid and paint, with a pungent and disgusting smell. He stated that he did not now recall seeing more than one acid bomb being thrown, or shouting a warning to Private T, but that his memory of the incident is likely to have been clearer when he made his third RMP statement.3 On the other hand, in his oral evidence to this Inquiry,4 Sergeant O said that it was possible that his third RMP statement contained information related by other soldiers as to the number of acid bombs thrown.

1 B575.117

2 B575.136
3 B575.124

4 Day 335/88


51.294 Sergeant O also told us that after he had fired at his third gunman, Colonel Wilford appeared and asked him what had happened. Sergeant O gave him a quick description and told him about his order to Private T to fire at the acid bomber. Colonel Wilford reminded Sergeant O about following the Yellow Card, and Sergeant O “confirmed to him what I had done ”. Sergeant O told us that Colonel Wilford seemed satisfied with what he had been told and left.1

1 B575.118

51.295 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Sergeant O said that Colonel Wilford had come up and asked for a quick snapshot of what had happened. Sergeant O told him that the soldiers had come under fire and returned fire, and as far as he knew they had some hits. Sergeant O told Colonel Wilford that acid bombs had been thrown at the soldiers from Block 2,2 and that he had told one of the men to fire back. He did not tell Colonel Wilford which soldier this was. Colonel Wilford told Sergeant O not to forget the Yellow Card. Sergeant O told Colonel Wilford that he had ordered the soldier to fire, and “I was quite happy with that and he seemed quite happy with it ”.

1 Day 335/93
2 This may have been a slip of the tongue for Block 1.


51.296 While Colonel Wilford did not refer specifically to a conversation with Sergeant O, he said in his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry1 that before he joined Major Loden he spoke to one or two soldiers near a vehicle who said that there had been shooting from the flats. He also said that at the stage when he spoke to Major Loden he heard that acid bombs had been thrown at the soldiers, as he took it, from the top of the Rossville Flats.2

1 WT11.45 2WT11.46

51.297 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Colonel Wilford said that he met Major Loden at the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats and asked him what the situation was. Colonel Wilford could no longer remember the detail of what Major Loden had told him, but noted from his own oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry that Major Loden had said, among other things, that there had been acid attacks. Colonel Wilford said that he could not remember any Platoon Commanders or Sergeants being present, although they might well have been. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry Colonel Wilford was not asked about the conversation that Sergeant O had said that he had had with him.

1 B1110.035

51.298 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Peter Taylor commented on a passage in the transcript of his notebooks.2 As elucidated by him, this note meant that one of his sources had described how Colonel Wilford had arrived and asked the source how things were going. The source said, and Colonel Wilford agreed, that everything was under control. Either the source or Colonel Wilford then said “don’t fire until [you] can definitely identify acid bomber ”. Peter Taylor refused to confirm that his source was Sergeant O, but in a letter dated 13th November 2002 Sergeant O’s solicitor said that his client accepted that the majority of the notes in the relevant section of the transcript3 related to Peter Taylor’s interview of him.

1 Day 218/100-103

2 M76.195
3 M76.192-M76.197


51.299 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Sergeant O told us that when he was at the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats after things had calmed down, he was able to check exactly what had happened to Private R and Private T. Both had acid on their legs. He believed that the hairs on Private R’s legs had been burned off by the acid. Several soldiers including Sergeant O removed Private R’s trousers because they were “steaming ”, and threw water onto him. Sergeant O could not remember how badly the acid had affected Private T.

1 B575.119

51.300 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Sergeant O was asked whether he accepted that Private T’s firing was not in accordance with the Yellow Card. He replied that he took responsibility for having ordered Private T to fire, and that as far as he was concerned Private T had to fire because his life was in danger.

1 Day 335/84-86

Private Q

51.301 In his RMP account,1 Private Q stated that when he moved to the north-east corner of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, people were dropping bottles from “various verandahs ”. Private Q saw that the majority of the bottles contained a liquid, and noticed “an acid smell ” from the bottles when they broke.

1 B624

51.302 In his statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1 and in his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,2 Private Q said that he saw the bottles landing by Sergeant O’s APC. When they broke, he saw liquid coming from them and recognised the smell of acid. One of the soldiers taking cover behind the APC had acid on his trousers.

1 B636 2WT12.87

51.303 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Private Q said that one or two acid bombs were thrown from a balcony in the Rossville Flats. They landed somewhere in the area marked D on a plan attached to the statement2 (near the north end of the east side of Block 1). “I did not see the bombs being thrown and I did not see them land. I just saw the reaction to them from the men in the area. ” He saw Private T jumping about, having been splashed by the acid, and he smelled the acid.

1 B657.5 2B657.42

51.304 Later in this statement,1 Private Q told us that he could not now remember seeing bottles falling from the Rossville Flats, but believed his RMP statement to be accurate. He did not now remember seeing the acid bombs being dropped, but recalled the smell of acid and “seeing T hit by acid ”.

1 B657.7

51.305 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Private Q was challenged about whether he had seen the acid bombs landing, as he had said in his evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, or whether he had not seen them being thrown or landing, as he had said in his written statement to this Inquiry. At first, he said that he “saw them ” and “saw the acid incident ”. When pressed further, he said that he “just cannot recall it ”. He maintained that he had seen Private T with acid on his trousers, and said that he did not know why he had not mentioned this in his RMP statement.

1 Day 339/77-81

51.306 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private Q said that when he was at the north-east corner of Block 1 he saw a soldier fire from beside Sergeant O’s APC at the “western ” (presumably a mistake for “eastern ”) side of Block 1. He confirmed this in his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry.2 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,3 he said that he did not remember seeing Private T fire, and could not say whether this firing had occurred at the same time as the acid bombs were thrown or later.

1 B637

2 WT12.90
3 Day 339/45-48


Private R

51.307 In his first RMP statement,1 Private R recorded that the rioters threw acid bombs, one of which splattered across his legs. In his second RMP statement,2 he recorded that two acid bombs were thrown at him from the top of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. Both struck his legs, causing staining to his denims.

1 B659 2B666

51.308 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private R recorded that the acid bombs were dropped from the “middle floor ” of Block 1 above him, just after he had fired his first shot at a man who was throwing a smoking object. The first acid bomb was a bottle that hit the ground about a yard from Private R. The acid splashed onto his trousers. Sergeant O shouted something like “‘that’s acid, look out’ ” and Private R stepped back. Then a second bomb came down and Private R was splashed again. As this bomb was thrown, Private R saw another member of the platoon take aim and fire at the bomber. He thought that this was Private T. After this, according to Private R,2 Sergeant O engaged the man who was firing a pistol from behind a maroon Cortina (his first target). Private R clarified and corrected3 his first RMP statement, saying that he did not see anyone throwing acid bombs from ground level, that the bombs were thrown or dropped from above, and that he thought that acid from both bombs had hit him, not from just one. He recorded that the mistakes in his first RMP statement were due to the conditions in which it was taken.4

1 B671

2 B671
3 B672

4 B672


51.309 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private R said that after he had fired his first shot, an acid bomb came down from the centre of Block 1 and “struck me across the leg ”. He stepped back for cover. Sergeant O gave a warning that it was acid. Private T turned round and took aim. Another acid bomb came down. Private R was again splashed on the leg by acid. Private R told the Widgery Inquiry that he had seen Private T fire. He was asked whether he was struck by the bottle or its contents when “the acid bomb ” hit him,2 and replied that the bottle had smashed perhaps a yard away, and the liquid had splashed up onto him. The liquid had come into contact with his skin. He was asked from where “that acid bomb ” had come, and said that he thought that it had come from the centre of Block 2 (but we consider he must have meant Block 1), about 30 to 35 feet from the APC. He said that he estimated that Private T had fired two rounds.3 Private T had fired at a man holding an object, presumed to be an acid bomb, who was on the “middle floor ” or “half-way up the actual flats itself, the second storey ”. The man’s position was on “the opposite side of this house, the end house, these flats ”, which presumably meant that he was opposite the south end of Chamberlain Street. Private R at first said that Sergeant O had ordered Private T to fire, and then said that Sergeant O had told Private T that he was entitled to fire at the man if he emerged again.

1 WT13.75

2 WT13.81-WT13.82
3 WT13.83-WT13.84


51.310 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Private R told us that he believed that some of the bottles thrown from the Rossville Flats into the car park were acid bombs, because two of them smashed near him and acid splashed onto his denim trousers. Within a few seconds, there were holes in his denims and he felt a burning sensation on the skin of his legs. He and Private T took cover behind the APC. Private R stated that during the incident in which he fired at a man firing a pistol from between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats (his second target) Sergeant O appeared at the back of the APC to check whether he and Private T were all right.2 At this stage the acid was still eating away at his denims. According to this account3 he no longer remembered Sergeant O giving a warning about the acid, or Private T taking aim or firing at the acid bomber.

1 B691.003

2 B691.004
3 B691.007


51.311 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Private R said that he no longer remembered Sergeant O telling Private T that he would be entitled to shoot the acid bomber. He also said that when he made his first RMP statement he had believed that he was splashed by acid from only one bomb, but that he thought that later on someone had told him that he had been splashed by acid from two.2 He could not remember who had told him this. He therefore came to believe that he had been splashed by acid from two bombs. He could not say this “exactly from my own knowledge ”, although he accepted that in evidence later than his first RMP statement he had given the impression that it was his personal recollection that he had been splashed by acid from two bombs.

1 Day 337/42 2 Day 337/111-115

51.312 Later in his oral evidence,1as we have already noted, Private R said that he now believed that Sergeant O fired at the man behind the Cortina (his first target) before Private R fired at the man firing a pistol from between Blocks 2 and 3 (his second target), and that only after that were the acid bombs thrown. However, he said that he was “still not quite sure ” about the sequence of events.

1 Day 337/147-148

51.313 In his second RMP statement,1 Private R had recorded that after he had been splashed with acid, the driver of Sergeant O’s APC threw water over him, which saved him from being burned. In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,2 he explained that this did not happen immediately. Initially his denims had kept most of the acid off his legs, but by the time he had fired at his second target, his legs were beginning to burn and tingle. He moved to the gable end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, where someone splashed his legs with water from one of the jerricans in the APC.

1 B666 2B672

51.314 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private R said that the water was provided by “One of the drivers ” at a time when “the rest of the vehicles were starting to pull away ”. He said that after he was splashed by acid he had to wait four or five minutes for the water.2

1 WT13.77 2WT13.81

51.315 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Private R told us that he went to the back of Major Loden’s vehicle to be treated for the burns to his legs. He dropped his trousers and saw that the tops of his thighs and the lower parts of both legs were red and sore, but there were no blisters. Someone opened a jerrican of water to wash his legs and soak his denims. Someone also gave him some long johns to wear. He told a reporter about the acid. The reporter asked whether he was all right and offered him a sweet. The acid burned the hair off his legs, which never grew back. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,2 Private R said that the reporter was English. We have been unable to identify this reporter.

1 B691.004 2Day 337/56

51.316 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Private R told us that he left the area in Sergeant O’s APC. In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,2 he said that he did not think that he needed to go to hospital, but he went to the Medical Inspection (MI) room on the following day to see whether he could be given some treatment. However, by that stage any treatment would have been too late, because he had already lost quite a lot of hair from his legs. Private R told us that he had since developed sweat gland fatigue, a condition that makes him unable to sweat enough.3 He did not say in specific terms that this condition had been caused by the acid, but that seems to have been the implication. He stated that he was fully fit before the acid incident and that he believed that it was as a result of the effects of the acid that he had gone “from being a grade A1 soldier to a grade 7 ”.

1 B691.005

2 WT13.86
3 B691.004


51.317 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Private 005 had told us that he saw Private R afterwards in Belfast. Private R did not say that he had been the victim of an acid bomb attack or that his clothes had been burned. However, there was some talk after the event to the effect that acid bombs had been thrown from the Rossville Flats. Private R was asked about what Private 005 had told us. Private R admitted to having been a good friend of Private 005, but told this Inquiry that he had no recollection of recounting the incident at all, except when making his statement.2

1 B1374.001 2Day 337/117-118

Private S

51.318 In his first RMP statement,1 Private S gave an account of nail and acid bombs being thrown from the top of the Rossville Flats at the soldiers who were making arrests, and in his second RMP statement2 he recorded that while he was at the back of 34 Chamberlain Street he saw people throwing nail bombs and acid bombs from the balconies of Block 1.

1 B692 2B703

51.319 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private S recorded that he saw acid bombs and a hail of bottles being thrown at the soldiers from the upper part of the Rossville Flats. However, it was “not really correct ” to say that nail bombs were thrown as well. He stated specifically that acid bombs were being thrown from Block 1 during the incident in which he opened fire.2

1 B707 2B708

51.320 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1 Private S said that “a hail of bottles with acid in them, Windolene bottles, more or less every kind of bottles ” descended towards Sergeant O’s APC. He said that he knew that some of the bottles were acid bombs because “One of our men got one ”.2 He also said that he was aware that there were bottles coming from Block 1 of the Rossville Flats “because they were falling short of me ”.3 He was not suggesting that he saw anyone on the roof of Block 1.

1 WT12.103

2 WT13.4
3 WT13.7


51.321 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Private S told us that he did not now remember any acid bombs or other objects being thrown from the Rossville Flats into the car park, but might simply have forgotten about them.

1 B724.005

51.322 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 he was asked whether it had been accurate to say in his statement for the Widgery Inquiry that he had seen acid bombs and a hail of bottles from the upper part of the Rossville Flats. He replied: “I would say ‘a hail of bottles ’ would be more of a truthful description now, I would say. But, again, I have no recollection of that.” He said that he had not seen any nail bombs or acid bombs.2 Although he had no recollection of how the inaccuracy arose, it was a “fair assumption ” that the RMP had told him to say that nail bombs had been thrown. However, as noted above, while in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry he had withdrawn his claim to have seen nail bombs, he had in that statement repeated his claim to have seen acid bombs. We have also recorded earlier3that we have found nothing to suggest that the RMP had told him to say these things.

1 Day 331/68-69

2 Day 332/36-41; Day 332/82
3 Paragraphs 47.7–9


Private U

51.323 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Private U told us that he saw bottles and stones being thrown from a high level in Block 1. He was told later that there was acid in some of the bottles, but he did not see the acid himself.

1 B787.005

Lance Corporal V

51.324 In his RMP statement,1 Lance Corporal V recorded that after he disembarked, rioters threw petrol and acid bombs. In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,2 he withdrew this claim in relation to petrol bombs, but not in relation to acid bombs.

1 B788 2B802

51.325 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1 Lance Corporal V recorded that by the time he reached the entrance to the car park, bottles containing liquid were being thrown from Block 1. He stated that after he had fired at a man who had thrown a petrol bomb, he moved behind Private S, who was standing at the corner of the buildings at the end of Chamberlain Street, returning fire towards the passage between Blocks 1 and 2.2 At this stage bottles were still coming down from the flats.

1 B801 2B802

51.326 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1 Lance Corporal V said that when he moved behind Private S there was “still bottling going on from Block 1 ”. The bottling was heavy. The bottles were landing by Sergeant O’s APC and by Lance Corporal V and Private S. He did not say whether they contained liquid.

1 WT13.13

51.327 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Lance Corporal V told us only that he had a recollection of “lots of debris and missiles ” being thrown down from Block 1 of the Rossville Flats at the APC.

1 B821.004

51.328 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Lance Corporal V said that although he did not recall why he had said in his RMP statement that rioters threw petrol bombs after he disembarked, he could suggest the following possible explanation: “Maybe it was my perception at the time that there were petrol and acid bombs thrown, but later on, on reflection, there was only one petrol bomb thrown in my sight, and so ‘bombs’ would have been inaccurate, I was trying to make it accurate; that is all I can offer you. ” He said that he would not have told a lie to the RMP or tried to justify the soldiers’ firing by giving the impression that they had come under a hail of acid and petrol bombs. It is not entirely clear whether in offering this explanation Lance Corporal V was either assuming or accepting that he had not seen any acid bombs being thrown after he disembarked, or at any later stage, but on the whole we consider that what he said was probably intended only to refer to petrol bombs.

1 Day 333/107-109

Private 006

51.329 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Private 006 told us that he saw Private T standing on the driver’s side of Sergeant O’s vehicle. Private T had acid on his legs. His legs looked wet. Private 006 did not remember Private T being in pain. Private T did not say where he had been or “what he had done to get the acid on him ”, although Private 006 was told that the acid had been thrown from the flats. Private S put water over Private T, which he had obtained from Lieutenant N’s vehicle. Private 006 could not remember whether he had seen this happen.

1 B1377.008

51.330 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Private 006 said that Private T had told him that he (Private T) had acid on his legs. Private 006 was fairly sure that Private T had said that the acid had been thrown from the flats. Private 006 could not remember whether Private T had been in pain, but said that he must have been in some distress in order to realise that the liquid was acid.

1 Day 334/70-72

Private 013

51.331 In his RMP statement,1 Private 013 recorded that he saw people throwing bottles and acid bombs from a balcony in Block 1 of the Rossville Flats.

1 B1406

51.332 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Private 013 told us that he could remember missiles being thrown from Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. He also told us that he remembered having to cut Private T’s boot off in an APC. Something thrown from the Rossville Flats had landed on Private T’s foot and there was liquid all over the boot. The soldiers did not know what the liquid was but thought that it might be acid. In fact it was probably urine. Private 013 was not with Private T when the liquid was thrown.

1 B1408.006

Private 019

51.333 According to a note of Neil Davies, one of the Praxis interviewers,1 a soldier told him that it had been necessary for him to cut off Private T’s trousers, which had been covered in acid from an acid bomb, and that “Loads of acid bombs ” had been thrown at the soldiers. For reasons given earlier in this report,2 it seems to us that this soldier was Private 019.

1 O27.1 2Paragraphs 30.58–69

51.334 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Private 019 said that at one stage he saw Private T and Private R. Someone was cutting off Private T’s denims. Private 019 was not sure who this was. Private 019 thought that Private T had been hit by some sort of substance, and that he had asked whether Private T needed any help.

1 B1494.004

51.335 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Private 019 said that he had not cut off Private T’s trousers. He said that he had seen someone cutting them off and so had assumed that they had been hit by a substance.2 He did not know anything about the substance.

1 Day 343/98 2Day 343/174-175

Private 112

51.336 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Private 112 told us that he had seen Private R with his uniform in tatters. It seemed to him that Private R had been struck by an acid bomb. Private 112 did not remember seeing Private R being struck, and could not remember where he had been when he saw Private R.

1 B1732.005

Lance Corporal INQ 768

51.337 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Lance Corporal INQ 768 told us that he did not remember seeing any objects thrown from the flats, nor did he recall any of the other soldiers being splashed with acid.

1 C768.5

Private INQ 1579

51.338 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Private INQ 1579 said that after he disembarked he became aware of the smell of acid bombs. He knew that the denims of one soldier were burned, but could not recall the identity of the soldier. He thought that he had seen the soldier, and not just heard about him. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,2 he was asked whether he had seen any acid bombs splashing or exploding, and said that he had seen the result in the form of the burns on the soldier’s clothing. He was asked where he had seen this,3 and said that he thought that he had been “in the area to the rear of the Pig ”. However, he said that he could not recall whether he had seen it in the immediate aftermath of the operation or later in the evening.4

1 C1579.4

2 Day 336/168
3 Day 336/194-195

4 Day 336/203-204


Private INQ 1918

51.339 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Private INQ 1918 told us that bottles of battery acid were thrown from one of the buildings. He recalled that Private R was screaming because his legs had been splashed with acid. Soldiers including Private INQ 1918 rolled Private R in a puddle to dilute the acid, and then cut his denims off. Private INQ 1918 was not sure who else was present or involved in helping Private R.

1 C1918.3

51.340 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Private INQ 1918 was asked whether an aerial photograph of the Rossville Flats helped him to identify the building from which the bottles of acid were thrown. He replied: “No, all this is doing for me is making me wonder if I have imported this from another operation. ” He said that he had a recollection of Private R being rolled in a puddle, and of cutting off his denims, but he then accepted that it was possible that he had not been involved in the incident and had learned about it from other members of his platoon.

1 Day 342/103-104

Evidence from other soldiers

Captain 028

51.341 Captain 028 was a Royal Artillery officer. He recorded in his RMP statement1 that he met two soldiers whose clothes bore acid burns at the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats.

1 B1568

51.342 In his statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1 he recorded that he saw two soldiers lying on the ground. He was told that acid had been thrown at them. He could see acid burns on their trousers. In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry2 he said that the two soldiers were lying on the ground leaning against Block 1. An officer told him that someone had thrown an acid bomb on them. In his evidence to this Inquiry, he told us that he did not remember the soldiers with the acid burns.3

1 B1569.002

2 WT17.57-WT17.58
3 B1582.7; Day 356/47


Lance Corporal 033

51.343 Lance Corporal 033 was a member of Support Company and was one of Major Loden’s signallers. In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Lance Corporal 033 told us that he saw Private T on the ground with his back against the north wall of Block 1, complaining quite loudly of having had acid thrown at him. Lance Corporal 033 saw that Private T’s trousers were damaged. A couple of other soldiers were looking after Private T. Lance Corporal 033 did not know how badly Private T had been burned. Water was poured over Private T’s leg. Lance Corporal 033 gave his water bottle either to Private T or to someone else to pour over Private T. He added that he was sure that he had told the RMP about seeing Private T after acid had been thrown on him,2 although the matter is not mentioned in his RMP statement.3

1 B1621.005

2 B1621.009
3 B1617


51.344 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Lance Corporal 033 said that he had a very confident recollection that at the time when he saw Private T, both military and other firing was continuing, with shots being fired maybe every one or two seconds.

1 Day 324/66

Captain 219

51.345 Captain 219 was the Medical Officer attached to 1 PARA. In his RMP statement,1 he recorded that while in the area of the Rossville Flats he treated a paratrooper for acid burns. He later withdrew from the area in his ambulance (which was a converted APC marked with a red cross) with an “injured paratrooper ”. It is not clear from this statement whether he was referring to the soldier with acid burns or another soldier who he recorded had concussed himself.2

1 B2160
2 The latter was Private INQ 455, who fell when climbing into Abbey Taxis as described in our consideration of the events in Sector 1 (paragraph 17.9).


51.346 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Captain 219 told us that he remembered treating a soldier for burns. He could no longer recall their cause but said that his RMP statement would be accurate. He could not remember the name of the soldier. An acid burn would have been significant. If the burns had been significant the soldier would have been withdrawn in the ambulance and sent to hospital. However, he did not think that the soldier with the burns had been withdrawn in the ambulance. He thought it more likely that the “injured paratrooper ” mentioned in his RMP statement was a soldier who was concussed as a result of a fall. Captain 219 would probably have seen the soldier with the burns again at a later stage but did not remember doing so. The usual treatment for an acid burn would be to remove any residual acid with saline fluid and apply a dressing. The fabric of the soldier’s uniform around the area of the burn would have been cut.

1 B2162.005

51.347 Captain 219 also told us that all fit soldiers were classified as PULHEEMS 2.1

1 PULHEEMS (an acronym for Physique, Upper limbs, Lower limbs, Hearing, Eyesight (left), Eyesight (right), Mental function, Stability) was the name then given to the system of fitness assessment in the Armed Forces.

51.348 This might drop to PULHEEMS 7 if the soldier became temporarily or permanently unfit. A drop to PULHEEMS 8 would lead automatically to discharge. For a soldier to drop to PULHEEMS 7 following a burn suggests that the burn was significant.1 There is no evidence to suggest that Private T’s PULHEEMS classification was changed as the result of acid burns.

1 B2162.007

51.349 Captain 219 did not give oral evidence to this Inquiry.

Private INQ 290

51.350 Private INQ 290 was the driver of the Medical Officer’s ambulance. In his written statement to this Inquiry1he told us that he recalled picking up a “corporal from support company ” in the ambulance. The corporal came out of a derelict building, the location of which Private INQ 290 could not recall. The corporal was limping and cursing. The gist of his words was “‘they were ready for us’ ”. Private INQ 290 could not see his leg, but heard him say that he had been hit by an acid bomb. Private INQ 290 did not recall his name. The name of Private T meant nothing to him. Either an unidentified Lance Corporal or Sergeant INQ 2100 (UNK 324) looked over the soldier. Private INQ 290 said that acid bombs had not been encountered for a long time.

1 C290.1-2

Lance Corporal INQ 366

51.351 Lance Corporal INQ 366 was Colonel Wilford’s driver. In his evidence to this Inquiry he told us that he recalled hearing a radio message, on what he assumed was the battalion net, that someone in the Rossville Flats was throwing acid bombs.1

1 C366.4; Day 288/18

Corporal INQ 444

51.352 In his written statement to this Inquiry1 this soldier, who at the time of Bloody Sunday was a member of C Company, 1 PARA, said that he saw someone on the roof of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats throw a bucket of liquid at some soldiers near an APC beneath the flats. He initially thought that water or excrement was being thrown, but then saw a couple of soldiers jumping about and other soldiers dousing their bodies with water, and so knew that it was acid. The person on the roof was at the point he marked as D on a plan2 (the north end of Block 1).

1 C444.5 2C444.9

51.353 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Corporal INQ 444 said that he probably only realised that the soldiers had been hit by acid through subsequent talk in the battalion. He was asked how sure he was that the liquid was thrown from the roof,2 and said that this was his memory, but that a photograph of Block 1 looked totally different from what he remembered. He said that he saw the soldiers jumping around immediately after he had seen the bucket of liquid poured from the roof.

1 Day 344/82
2 Day 344/105-107


Private INQ 449

51.354 Private INQ 449 was a member of Composite Platoon (Guinness Force) and went into the Bogside in one of the soft-sided lorries. In his written statement to this Inquiry1 he told us that he heard a soldier shout a warning from near Columbcille Court to “‘watch for the acid and sugar from the roofs’ ”. He stated that civilians frequently threw bottles of acid at the soldiers with sugar to make the acid stick. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,2 he said that this could very well have been a warning about acid being thrown from the Rossville Flats, rather than in Columbcille Court.

1 C449.4-5 2Day 357/18-19

Private INQ 1919

51.355 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Private INQ 1919, who was in Machine Gun Platoon, told us that he spoke to Private R and Private T when they were guarding a vehicle containing three bodies. He did not remember either soldier saying anything to him about acid having been thrown at them. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,2 he said that he was sure that Private R and Private T were the two soldiers to whom he had spoken. He could not remember whether he had seen any sign that either of them was in pain or discomfort.

1 C1919.5 2Day 296/21-23

Private INQ 2003

51.356 Private INQ 2003 was not present on Bloody Sunday.1 His accounts, therefore, are necessarily at best second hand. In his interview with Paul Mahon on 16th November 1999,2 Private INQ 2003 said that UNK 750 (a soldier the Inquiry has been unable to identify) had been badly injured in the face by an acid bomb. The injured soldier was about 18 years old and might have been the youngest of the soldiers. (In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,3 Private R said that he was 18 years old and might well have been the youngest in his platoon.)

1 C2003.161; Day 307/35-36

2 X1.41.76-77
3 Day 337/76-77


51.357 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Private INQ 2003 told us that Sergeant O had told him afterwards that he had been beside UNK 750 when they were both splashed with acid. Private INQ 2003 stated that he did not believe this and did not think that Sergeant O believed it either.

1 C2003.32

51.358 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Private INQ 2003 said that he was not sure that it was Sergeant O who had told him about being splashed with acid. It could have been Private T. He thought that the substance was an irritant, but not acid, because acid would cause burns and “Most of what [Private] T had and Sergeant O had was rashes ”. He did not know whether UNK 750 had been present on Bloody Sunday. He said that the soldier who was hit by an acid bomb had been hit on the legs, not on the face.2

1 Day 307/49-51 2Day 307/99-100

Lance Corporal INQ 2121

51.359 Lance Corporal INQ 2121 was a member of 8 Platoon, C Company, 1 PARA. In his written statement to this Inquiry1 he told us that he heard radio traffic while in the battalion Medical Officer’s vehicle from which he gathered that acid bombs had been thrown, but it was not clear whether the casualties were military or civilian. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry2 he said that he heard this radio traffic while on his way into the Bogside.

1 C2121.2 2Day 369/212

51.360 In his supplementary written statement to this Inquiry,1 Lance Corporal INQ 2121 identified himself as “Soldier Y ” in an article by Toby Harnden published in the Daily Telegraph on 20th May 1999.2 In that article, “Soldier Y ” was quoted as saying that he and the Medical Officer had “picked up a couple of our boys who had minor wounds from acid bombs thrown by the rioters ”.

1 C2121.5 2L282

51.361 In his written account to us Lance Corporal INQ 2121 also stated that after he and the Medical Officer had disembarked, the Medical Officer spoke to another soldier. Lance Corporal INQ 2121 thought that the Medical Officer was trying to find out where the soldier was who had been injured by an acid bomb; and that the injured soldier might have been put into the Medical Officer’s vehicle, but he was not sure about this.

51.362 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Lance Corporal INQ 2121 was asked whether he had any recollection of picking up two soldiers with minor wounds from acid bombs, and said that he did not. He recalled someone else being in the back of the vehicle apart from himself and the other escort, but could not say who it had been.

1 Day 369/226-227

Warrant Officer Class I Wood

51.363 At the time of Bloody Sunday, Warrant Officer Class I Wood was serving in the Special Investigation Branch of the RMP and as such took some of the RMP statements of the soldiers. In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Warrant Officer Class I Wood told us that one of the soldiers told him in an interview that he had battery acid burns. Warrant Officer Class I Wood could see that the soldier’s leg had been reddened by something corrosive, and believed that something had been thrown at the soldier, but was sceptical of the claim that it was battery acid. He could not believe that civilians would have decanted battery acid, and did not understand how the soldier could know that it was battery acid as opposed to any other type of acid.

1 CW1.10

51.364 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Warrant Officer Class I Wood implicitly confirmed that this soldier was Private T. He said that he believed that the soldier had been hit by acid, but could not see how the soldier knew that it was battery acid.

1 Day 383/175-178

Evidence from civilians

Maureen Gerke

51.365 In her NICRA statement,1 Maureen Barr (now Maureen Gerke) said that she saw acid being thrown at the soldiers from the Rossville Flats after one of the casualties had been shot.

1 AG27.18

51.366 In her written statement to this Inquiry,1 Maureen Gerke said that she had no recollection of acid being thrown from the roof of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. She would not have known whether acid was being thrown or not.

1 AG27.5

51.367 In her oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Maureen Gerke said that she could not remember anything being thrown from the flats on that day. However, she said that she must have believed that acid had been thrown when she made her NICRA statement.2

1 Day 133/84-85 2Day 133/107-108

Thomas Wilson

51.368 In his NICRA statement,1 Thomas Wilson said that someone in the Rossville Flats threw acid at a soldier who had taken up a defensive position after he had disembarked from the back of an APC in the car park. The bottle of acid hit the APC instead of the soldier. The soldier fired up at the flats. Thomas Wilson could not say whether the soldier fired a rifle or a baton gun, because another shot was fired at the same time and “a fellow who had been running away towards his flat was lying on the ground ”.

1 AW19.1

51.369 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 which was unsigned but verified in his oral evidence,2 Thomas Wilson told us that he saw about five or six bottles thrown over the side of Mura Place and Donagh Place from about the point he marked N on a plan3 (towards the north end of Block 1). There was glass everywhere. Thomas Wilson thought that it looked as though the bottles contained paint, but was told later by someone that they contained dilute acid. An APC “coming in towards the car park ” was hit by a bottle. A soldier standing at the point he marked D on the plan (near the north-east corner of Block 1) pointed his rifle up to the flats above where the soldier was standing. Thomas Wilson believed that the soldier did this in response to the bottle throwing. He did not remember the soldier’s rifle being fired, but could not say that it was not fired. The soldier had adopted a firing position but did not appear to be aiming at anyone in particular. Thomas Wilson heard a shot while the soldier’s rifle was raised but thought that it might have been fired by someone else nearby. When the shot rang out a man dropped to the floor on the balcony of Mura Place in the area from which bottles were being thrown. Thomas Wilson did not know whether this man had been shot, and did not know who he was. Thomas Wilson said that the “fellow … lying on the ground ” described in his NICRA statement was the man who dropped to the floor on the balcony.4

1 AW19.4-5

2 Day 84/1
3 AW19.13

4 AW19.9


51.370 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1 Thomas Wilson said that the bottles that he thought contained paint were white. He explained that the APC had stopped before it was hit by the bottle. It did not appear to him that the soldier who raised his rifle in response to the bottling had fired it. He did not think that the man who dropped down on the balcony was the man who had thrown the bottle at the APC. He thought that the man who dropped down was a journalist or photographer, as he believed that this man had a camera in his hand and had been taking pictures. As far as he recalled, those throwing the bottles were teenagers. He said again that he did not believe that he had seen the soldier fire.2 He also said that the bottles were thrown from the second and/or third bays from the north end of the middle balcony of Block 1,3 as shown in the photograph below, which was taken on Bloody Sunday by Derrik Tucker Senior. He was asked whether he saw anyone on the top balcony and said “not really ”.

1 Day 84/15-19

2 Day 84/72-73
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 3

Post  Guest on Tue 22 Jun - 11:41



Dr Richard Shepherd

51.371 Dr Richard Shepherd, the independent pathologist who gave expert evidence to this Inquiry, commented generally on acid burns in one of his reports.1

“I note the claims by Soldiers R & T and the comments made by the 1 Para Medical Officer in his original statement and in the single page of the recent statement for the Inquiry.

General Comments

The skin is a resilient material and it is designed to resist trauma of many kinds. While some areas of the skin are more resilient (palms of the hands etc) most of the skin has similar properties.

There are three factors that determine the effects of acid on skin.

1. The physico-chemical properties of the acid; ‘strong’ acids (eg hydrochloric acid or sulphuric acid) can cause severe burns to skin while ‘weak’ acids (eg acetic acid or citric acid) will have little or no effect.

2. The concentration of the acid; more concentrated acid solutions are more likely to cause damage to the skin than less concentrated ones.

3. The duration of contact of the acid with the skin; if the acid is ‘strong’ enough and concentrated enough to be the cause of damage then the longer the period of exposure the greater the damage to the skin will be.

Effects of exposure of the skin to acids

There may be no damage to the skin. If damage is caused then it may range from simple reddening to blistering and it may extend to the formation of deep ‘ulcerated’ areas.

Treatment

Initial first aid treatment for acid exposure is washing of the skin with large quantities of water to dilute and remove the acid. Any affected clothing should be removed as this will otherwise retain acid and prolong the period of burning.

If the burns are more severe then other measures, for instance the application of antiseptic creams, may be required. In the most severe cases admission to hospital for in-patient treatment and possibly skin grafting would be necessary.

Photography

It is impossible to determine if any marks would have remained after exposure to acid. Clearly any severe acid burns would have been visible for a long period and may even have resulting in scarring. Exposure that only caused reddening of the skin may have been visible for hours or days only and this type of injury does not have resulted [sic] in scarring. Any visible marks on the skin could, of course, have been photographed. ”


1 E32.1-E32.2

Medical records

51.372 In a letter to the Inquiry dated 16th March 2000, the Ministry of Defence stated that the medical records for Private R and Private T contain nothing that relates to or documents any injury sustained on Bloody Sunday.

Evidence from radio communications

51.373 The 1 PARA log1 records a situation report given to Brigade HQ at 1700 hours, in which it was reported that two soldiers had suffered minor acid burns and were remaining with their companies.

1 W91 serial 41

51.374 The Brigade log1 and the transcript of James Porter’s recording of radio traffic on the Brigade net2 record a casualty report from 1 PARA to Brigade HQ at 1706 hours, stating that two minor acid burn casualties had been treated by the battalion Medical Officer.

1 W50 serial 213 2W140 serial 567

51.375 The Brigade log1 records a situation report given in relation to 1 PARA at 1743 hours, in which it was reported that two men were suffering from acid burns, and that the acid had been thrown from the Rossville Flats.

1 W52 serial 233

Conclusions on the evidence relating to acid bombs

51.376 From the evidence summarised above, we are sure that a number of bottles (it is not clear how many) containing some form of acid or other corrosive liquid were thrown down from a balcony of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. When the bottles broke on landing some of the liquid in the bottles splashed Private T and Private R on their trousers, which were slightly damaged. As was reported that afternoon to Brigade HQ, these soldiers sustained minor acid burns. Neither was in serious pain though one had some physical discomfort, according to Lieutenant N. Both had water poured over the splashes to counteract the effect of the liquid and changed their trousers; and one was treated by the 1 PARA Medical Officer. There is no evidence to support Private R’s assertion that his later deterioration in fitness was attributable to being splashed with the liquid from the bottles, and it seems unlikely that minor acid burns would have had this effect.

51.377 We are also sure that Private T fired two shots at the man he believed (in our view correctly) was responsible for throwing the bottles. He did not believe that he had hit the man with either shot and there is no evidence to suggest that he did. We consider later in this report1whether one of the shots fired by Private T may have hit Patrick Brolly, though we can state at this stage that neither was he on a balcony and nor was he the man at whom Private T fired.

1 Paragraphs 55.311–346

51.378 Private T fired these shots after being told by Sergeant O to fire if another acid bomb was thrown.

51.379 The Yellow Card1(which, as explained elsewhere in this report,2 set out the circumstances in which soldiers were permitted to open fire) provided in Rule 6 that a warning had to be given before opening fire except in the circumstances described in Rules 13 and 14. Those rules were concerned respectively with firing at a person using or carrying a firearm, and with firing at a vehicle whose occupants had opened fire or thrown a bomb or were about to do so. “Firearm ” was defined as including a grenade, nail bomb or gelignite-type bomb, but the definition was not extended to acid bombs. It follows that Private T, in firing without warning, was in breach of the Yellow Card.

1 ED71.1-2 2Paragraphs 8.121–123

51.380 Rule 12 of the Yellow Card permitted a soldier to fire after warning if “there is no other way to protect yourself or those whom it is your duty to protect from the danger of being killed or seriously injured ”.

51.381 Sergeant O was asked how his order to Private T to shoot the acid bomber was consistent with the Yellow Card. His answer was:1

“A. In my opinion Private T was in danger of his life. If an acid bomb had come off that roof, smashed on the head, he stood a good chance of either being blinded or dead. As far as I was concerned he was entitled to shoot at the man. ”


1 Day 335/84-85

51.382 We accept that both Sergeant O and Private T believed that acid bombs were being thrown down at the soldiers from a balcony in Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. Although in the event these caused only minor injuries, we accept that at the time Sergeant O was justified in his opinion that further such missiles could have caused serious injury, though we do not accept that acid bombs would be likely to cause fatal injuries. Sergeant O’s comment about an acid bomb hitting Private T’s head would apply to any bottle, whatever its contents, and would be unlikely to cause death if Private T was wearing a helmet.

51.383 In our view the failure to give a warning was not a technicality. The terms of Rules 13 and 14 of the Yellow Card suggest that firing without warning was permitted only in certain situations in which to give a warning was either impracticable, or undesirable, because the soldier was facing an imminent attack with a firearm or explosive device and thus any delay could lead to death or serious injury. Those considerations do not apply to a threat from a falling object which can be dodged. It is not unrealistic to think that a warning might have been an effective deterrent, the more so where the threat was less dangerous than gunfire, so that the assailant might not have realised unless warned that he was exposing himself to a danger of being killed. In our view there was a real possibility of ending the threat by giving a warning, so that it was a serious matter for Private T, without warning, to try to kill the man instead. Furthermore, we are not persuaded that Private T had no other way of protecting himself, by putting on his helmet (if he was not already wearing it), or moving to a safer position, or seeking to dodge any falling bottles. In these circumstances we do not accept that Sergeant O was entitled to assume that the condition stated in Rule 12 would be met and thus that Private T would be justified in firing.

51.384 On Private T’s evidence, he fired his first shot either as the man released the bottle, or just after he had released it. He then fired a second shot at the man. Quite apart from the failure to give a warning and the matters to which we have referred in the previous paragraph, that second shot was in our view unjustified, since there was, once the acid bomb had been thrown, no further immediate danger from the man.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 3

Post  Guest on Tue 22 Jun - 11:42

Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry
- Volume III - Chapter 52



Summary of the shots and targets claimed by the soldiers of Mortar Platoon
Chapter 52: Summary of the shots and targets claimed by the soldiers of Mortar Platoon



52.1 At this point we bring together our summaries of the shots and targets claimed by the soldiers of Mortar Platoon.

Soldiers from Lieutenant N’s Armoured Personnel Carrier

Lieutenant N

52.2 According to Lieutenant N, he fired three shots up the Eden Place alleyway and ejected one round unfired. Then, after returning to his APC, he went forward to a position close to Pilot Row, fired at and believed he had hit in the thigh a man he described as about to throw a bomb, who was at the corner of the southernmost house on Chamberlain Street.

Private S

52.3 According to the accounts given by Private S, about five minutes after he reached a position near the back wall of the last but one house in Chamberlain Street and from that position, he fired four groups of three shots at a man who was firing a rifle in his direction from the gap between Blocks 1 and 2 of the Rossville Flats. He said that he believed he missed the man with his first group of shots but hit him when he fired his second group. Similarly, he said he believed he missed the man when he fired his third group of three shots but hit him when he fired his fourth group. His evidence was that there was a gap of about 30 seconds between each of his groups of shots, and that after he had fired each group of shots, the crowd came between him and the man he was seeking to shoot. He said he did not know whether on each occasion that he fired a group of shots, it was at the same man.

Lance Corporal V

52.4 On the basis of the evidence Lance Corporal V gave to the Widgery Inquiry and of his trajectory photograph, this soldier was near the fence across the southern edge of the Eden Place waste ground when he observed a man with a petrol bomb quite close to the end of Chamberlain Street. If the compiler of the RMP map correctly recorded on it what Lance Corporal V had told him, Lance Corporal V must have given an explanation to the RMP in which he placed his target further south, close to the low wall that ran along the back of Block 2 of the Rossville Flats, and placed himself closer to the back wall of the Chamberlain Street houses. The Loden List of Engagements puts Lance Corporal V and his target in similar positions to those shown on his RMP map.

52.5 Lance Corporal V gave differing accounts of the circumstances in which he fired at this man; in his first two accounts (his RMP statement and his statement to John Heritage) he said that he saw the man throw the petrol bomb and that it did not explode, after which he fired at the man. In his written statement for and oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, he stated that it was only after he had fired that he realised that the man had thrown the petrol bomb. He insisted in his oral evidence to this Inquiry that his oral account to the Widgery Inquiry was to be preferred and that he had shot in accordance with the Yellow Card at a man who was posing a danger to life, though he agreed that he had shouted no warning. He believed that he had hit the man at whom he had fired.

Private Q

52.6 According to the accounts of Private Q, he was at the north-east corner of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats when he saw a man in the gap between Blocks 2 and 3 throwing a number of objects, which Private Q believed were nail bombs, towards soldiers in the area of the houses at the end of Chamberlain Street. One exploded about ten yards from Sergeant O’s APC. When the man reappeared and was about to throw again, Private Q fired a single shot at him. He said that he believed that he had hit the man in the chest and had killed him.

Soldiers from Sergeant O’s Armoured Personnel Carrier who disembarked in Rossville Street

Corporal P and Private U

52.7 We consider these soldiers’ accounts when dealing with the events of Sector 3.1

1 Chapters 73 and 85

Private R

52.8 According to the accounts of Private R, he ran to where Sergeant O’s APC had stopped in the Rossville Flats car park, from where he saw a man about halfway down the eastern side of Block 1 with a fizzing or smoking object in his hand. He fired one shot at this man and believed that he had hit him in the shoulder. After acid bombs had been dropped near him he saw a man’s hand with a pistol appear from the gap between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats. Private R fired three shots at this man but did not know whether he had hit him.

Soldiers from Sergeant O’s Armoured Personnel Carrier who disembarked in the Rossville Flats car park

Sergeant O

52.9 According to the accounts given by Sergeant O, while he was near his APC and soon after he had arrested William John Doherty, he fired three shots at a man holding a pistol who was behind a Cortina car on the south-east side of the car park; then three shots at a man holding an M1 carbine or similar weapon towards the south-west end of the lower balcony of Block 3 of the Rossville Flats; and finally two shots at a man holding an M1 carbine or similar weapon at ground level on the corner of the gap between Blocks 2 and 3. He said he was sure he had hit his first two targets, but said he thought that he had not hit his third. He estimated the time between firing at his first target and firing at his third as about three to four minutes.

Private T

52.10 Private T said that, while close to Sergeant O’s APC, he fired two shots towards a man he believed was throwing acid bombs down from a balcony of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, but did not hit him.

Order of evidence

52.11 The order in which we have dealt with the evidence of the soldiers above is based upon the convenience of taking first the soldiers from Lieutenant N’s APC, then those who disembarked from Sergeant O’s APC in Rossville Street, and finally those who disembarked from that APC in the car park.

Summary of shots and targets

52.12 On the basis of these accounts, leaving aside Corporal P and Private U, whose evidence we consider in the context of Sector 3, the soldiers of Mortar Platoon fired 32 shots, hitting three nail or blast bombers, one petrol bomber, one man with a pistol, and two or three men with rifles or carbines, while missing an acid bomber, and probably missing another man with a pistol and another man with a carbine. We set out below a map on which we have marked the positions, according to the accounts of the soldiers, of the targets that they said that they had, or thought they had, hit and the targets that they said that they had, or thought they had, missed.
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 3

Post  Guest on Tue 22 Jun - 11:43



52.13 According to these accounts, therefore, the soldiers of Mortar Platoon hit seven or eight gunmen or bombers.

52.14 We should add at this point that there is no evidence to suggest that any other soldier fired in Sector 2. There is also no evidence to suggest that any soldier in Sector 2 fired more or fewer shots than he claimed to have done. Although the representatives of the majority of represented soldiers submitted that some of those shot in Sector 2 might have been hit by accident,1none of the soldiers except Private R admitted even the possibility that this could have been the case. Whether or not anyone was in fact hit by accident is a matter that we consider later in this report.2

1 FS7.1579; FS7.1584; FS7.1602 2Chapter 64
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 3

Post  Guest on Tue 22 Jun - 11:45





Summary of the firing soldiers’ evidence of incoming fire
Chapter 53: Summary of the firing soldiers’ evidence of incoming fire


53.1 Earlier in this report1we gave reasons for our view that there was no acceptable evidence of incoming fire in Sector 2 before the soldiers opened fire in that sector. We have already considered the evidence that Mortar Platoon soldiers and others gave in this regard, but despite repetition and for the sake of clarity we give here a resumé of the evidence of those who fired in Sector 2.

1 Chapters 49 and 50

The soldiers from Lieutenant N’s Armoured Personnel Carrier

Lieutenant N

53.2 In his statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1Lieutenant N said that during the period in which he was occupied around Eden Place he was aware of firing, but that none of it affected him directly and he could not say exactly when it began or ceased. He did not say whether he thought that the fire was incoming or outgoing. In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,2he said that certain shots that he thought were fired at Army vehicles standing outside the Rossville Flats after bodies had been collected from the rubble barricade were the first that he had heard. For reasons given when discussing the events of Sector 3,3we consider that no shots were fired at Army vehicles at that stage. In our view Lieutenant N wrongly identified the firing that he heard at that stage as non-military fire. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,4Lieutenant N said that he no longer recalled the shots fired at the vehicles after the collection of the bodies and had “no aural memory at all of that day ”.



Lance Corporal V

53.3 In his written statement to the Widgery Inquiry, Lance Corporal V described hearing the sound of single shots and seeing bullets hit the ground to his right as he ran forward behind Private S.1He said in his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry that the fire that he heard as he ran behind Private S was high velocity rifle fire which he thought was coming from the passage between Blocks 1 and 2.2He also recorded in his Royal Military Police (RMP) statement that firing was taking place towards the soldiers from several positions with several types of weapon,3and that firing from the “flats area ” continued after he had shot at the man he said he had seen throw a petrol bomb;4and in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry he said that at a late stage, when his squad commander was conducting an ammunition check, there was still occasional firing from the right side of the Rossville Flats.5



53.4 In his written statement to this Inquiry, Lance Corporal V described hearing a burst of automatic fire and seeing bullets hitting a wall between him and a soldier who was in front of him, which he thought had been directed at him from the area of the Rossville Flats.1His written statement to this Inquiry could mean that this occurred after his confrontation with a member of the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps and before he had fired at the man he claimed was a petrol bomber.2


53.5 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Lance Corporal V said that he could no longer recall hearing single shots or seeing bullets hitting the ground. He also said that he had no “clear-cut memory ” of automatic fire hitting a wall and conceded that it was possible that his recollection of automatic fire (which he had not mentioned in 1972) might be at fault. However, he said: “there was a lot of fire coming at us and maybe I have only just remembered that bit. ”1

Private S

53.6 Private S gave an account to the Widgery Inquiry of being fired on as he and others disembarked from Lieutenant N’s APC. We have earlier1given our reasons for rejecting this account.



53.7 Private S gave an account to the RMP of seeing a gunman fire about six shots from a ground floor window of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats at soldiers deployed around Sergeant O’s APC.1He told us that this account was untrue.2He also gave an account to the Widgery Inquiry of shouting to Sergeant O that the latter was under fire, but it is not clear from where this fire was said to be coming. In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Private S used the model of the Bogside to point out the direction from which the fire had come but it is impossible to tell from the transcript of his explanation which direction he was indicating.3



53.8 Private S also told the RMP that he thought that a man who was in the gap between Blocks 1 and 2 of the Rossville Flats had fired about four rifle shots towards him. Private S then saw that the man had a rifle and fired three shots at him. About 30 seconds later the crowd opened up and a man in the same position fired two shots towards him; and Private S fired three shots back. After another 30 seconds a man reappeared and fired another three shots and again Private S fired three shots at the man. After another 30 seconds a man reappeared and fired four shots and again Private S fired three shots at him. On this account, therefore, there were in all 13 incoming shots during this incident.1


53.9 According to the accounts that he gave in 1972, Private Q heard four or five low velocity shots when he reached the north end of the Rossville Flats about 45 seconds or a minute after he had disembarked from Lieutenant N’s APC, but did not know where they had landed or where they had come from and was not aware of any firing directed at him or the other soldiers from Lieutenant N’s APC.1



The soldiers from Sergeant O’s Armoured Personnel Carrier who disembarked
in Rossville Street

Corporal P

53.10 Corporal P gave an account to the Widgery Inquiry of hearing two incoming high velocity shots when he reached the wall to the south of Kells Walk,1though there was no mention of this firing in either of his RMP statements.2



Private R

53.11 Private R gave several accounts of hearing high and low velocity shots from the flats area when he disembarked, when he was running to catch up with Sergeant O’s APC and when he reached it.1In his written statement to this Inquiry, he described hearing what sounded like firing from an Armalite rifle or M1 carbine, a Thompson sub-machine gun and a starting pistol.2



53.12 In his written statement to this Inquiry, Private R told us that high velocity fire still seemed to be coming from the Rossville Flats as he fired at a man who was throwing a smoking object.1He told us that at about that time there was a series of short bursts fired together, but he could not be sure that this was automatic fire. He told us he thought that incoming fire was continuing, although not at the same intensity, while he received treatment for acid burns.2



Private U

53.13 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1Private U gave an account of hearing automatic gunfire as Sergeant O’s APC drove into the Bogside. He also gave accounts of seeing or hearing automatic low velocity shots as he moved towards the Rossville Flats after disembarking, as he was taking an arrested citizen back to the junction of William Street and Rossville Street and as he returned towards the Rossville Flats;2and low and high velocity shots after he had reached the north-west corner of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats.3





53.14 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Private U said that he could not remember whether he had heard fire between disembarking and the arrest of the civilian.1He also said that he thought that the first shots that he had heard after disembarking came from the area of Glenfada Park.2In his written statement to this Inquiry, Private U told us that he thought the first gunfire that he heard after disembarking came as he was escorting the arrested civilian.3He no longer recalled seeing fire near Major Loden’s vehicle (which is the fire that he said in 1972 that he saw as he returned to the area of the flats, having handed over the arrested civilian).4He thought that the shots that he heard while he was at the north-west corner of Block 1 came from the car park, from “further south from there ” and from Glenfada Park North.5In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Private U said that he could not remember whether he was aware of gunfire at the time at which he made the arrest.6He said that he recalled hearing gunfire as he moved to the north-west corner of Block 17(having said in his written statement to this Inquiry that he did not recall coming under fire at this stage8).




The soldiers from Sergeant O’s Armoured Personnel Carrier who disembarked
in the car park

Sergeant O

53.15 In his first RMP statement Sergeant O said that after six arrests had been made, he heard shots. The firing came from four to five weapons of mixed calibre.1Sergeant O said that during the subsequent engagements he and his section were under constant small arms fire from several positions in the Rossville Flats area.2



53.16 In his statement for the Widgery Inquiry, Sergeant O said that the firing started after he had arrested a man and while he was following the arrestee back to the APC.1He described further incoming fire from the flats as he engaged his targets. The firing then slackened off and became sporadic.2


53.17 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Sergeant O said that the firing from the Rossville Flats started after he had arrested a man and handed that man over to a senior non-commissioned officer. It was as Sergeant O returned to the vehicle that the firing started. He said that he had only heard riot guns being used before this firing occurred. The firing came from four or five positions and was of low velocity and, possibly, high velocity. He heard firing from paratroopers about ten seconds after the initial firing from the Rossville Flats.1He said that he thought that a total of 80 to 100 shots had been fired from the Rossville Flats and that this was the most intensive fire that he had experienced in Northern Ireland.2


53.18 In his written statement to this Inquiry, Sergeant O said that, after he had arrested a man and while his soldiers were carrying out other arrests, he heard about 20 to 30 rounds being fired from between three and five positions in the Rossville Flats. The fire was a mixture of high and low velocity.1Although he is recorded as having told Praxis Films Ltd that at one stage he had heard automatic fire,2he told us in his oral evidence that he did not remember saying this.3


53.19 As we have noted earlier in this report,1Sergeant O described in particular those he said he fired at, namely a man with a pistol firing from behind a vehicle on the south-east side of the car park, a man with what could have been an M1 carbine firing towards the south-west end of the lower balcony of Block 3 of the Rossville Flats, and another man with a similar weapon who fired from ground level from the gap between Blocks 2 and 3.


53.20 Sergeant O described the firing incidents that took place while he was in the area of the Rossville Flats as only lasting between three and five minutes in all.1



Private T

53.21 Private T gave accounts to the Widgery Inquiry of hearing low velocity firing coming from the car park after he disembarked,1and subsequently a lot of shooting of all types in the area.2After this had died down “we were just fired at in ones and twos ”.3In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Private T said that he heard firing 30 to 45 seconds after disembarking and that this fire “could have been a burst of fire, or a semi-automatic rifle being fired very quickly ”.4
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 3

Post  Guest on Tue 22 Jun - 11:46

Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry
- Volume III - Chapter 54





General summary and consideration of the evidence of the soldiers of Mortar Platoon in Sector 2
Chapter 54: General summary and consideration of the evidence of the soldiers of Mortar Platoon in Sector 2

54.1 If the accounts of the soldiers of Mortar Platoon are taken at face value, their vehicles were fired on as they entered the Bogside; the soldiers from Lieutenant N’s APC were fired on as they disembarked or soon afterwards; firing was directed towards soldiers soon after they disembarked from Sergeant O’s APC in Rossville Street and as they were conducting arrests; and soon after Sergeant O had arrested William John Doherty near to his APC in the car park, the soldiers came under substantial fire from a variety of firearms for some three to four minutes, as well as being subjected to an exploding nail bomb and a number of acid bombs. There were in addition unsuccessful attempts to throw two nail bombs and a petrol bomb.

54.2 On the basis of these accounts, as noted above,1Lieutenant N, Private Q and Private R shot three nail or blast bombers, Lance Corporal V shot one petrol bomber, Sergeant O shot one man with a pistol and Sergeant O and Private S shot two or three men with rifles or carbines. There was in addition an unsuccessful attempt by Private T to shoot an acid bomber, a probably unsuccessful attempt by Sergeant O to shoot another man with a carbine, and a probably unsuccessful attempt by Private R to shoot another man with a pistol. As we have already noted, in all the soldiers of Mortar Platoon fired 32 shots in Sector 2.



54.3 While two soldiers (Private R and Private T) sustained minor injuries from acid or a similar corrosive substance contained in bottles thrown down from a balcony of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, none of the soldiers of Mortar Platoon in Sector 2 sustained any injury from nail or blast bombs, or firearms, despite the fact that most of them were in close proximity to those they said were deploying these weapons and despite the substantial amount of incoming fire which some said they encountered. On the other hand, according to their accounts, the soldiers of Mortar Platoon were able to shoot seven or eight people in the area of the Rossville Flats car park, all of whom were armed with lethal weapons.

54.4 We have already concluded, for the reasons we have given,1that we have found no acceptable evidence that there was incoming fire before these soldiers opened fire or that a nail bomb exploded as described by Private Q.



54.5 Whether, and if so to what extent, reliance can be placed on the remaining accounts of the soldiers of Mortar Platoon in relation to the shots they themselves fired at people is a matter to which we return1after considering further evidence relating to Sector 2.



54.6 However, it is important to bear in mind at this stage that none of the soldiers of Mortar Platoon who fired in Sector 2 admitted either to shooting any of those who we are sure were hit by Army gunfire in Sector 2 (namely Jackie Duddy, Margaret Deery, Michael Bridge and Michael Bradley) or, except perhaps for Private R, that they could have hit any of them by accident or in the mistaken belief that they were doing something that justified them being shot. So far as Private R is concerned, while he told us that he believed that he had hit his intended target with his first shot, he appeared to accept that it was possible that this had hit someone else, though he denied the possibility that he had hit Jackie Duddy.1As to his subsequent shots, which he said he had fired at a gunman in the gap between Blocks 2 and 3 of the Rossville Flats, he told us he could not say whether it was possible that he had hit someone near the low wall parallel to Block 2 of the Rossville Flats, and that if this had happened, he would not have seen it.2



54.7 It has not been suggested, nor is there any evidence to suggest, that any of the known casualties was armed with a lethal weapon or doing anything that could have justified any of them being shot. We consider below (and for the reasons there given reject) the submission made on behalf of the majority of the represented soldiers1that Margaret Deery and Michael Bradley might have been shot by paramilitary gunmen, but no such submission was made in respect of the others, who no-one disputed were hit by Army gunfire.



54.8 On the basis of the evidence of the firing soldiers, therefore, the shooting of Jackie Duddy, Margaret Deery, Michael Bridge and Michael Bradley remains wholly unexplained. To our minds it inevitably follows that this materially undermines the credibility of the accounts given by the soldiers who fired. The evidence of one or more of them must be significantly inaccurate and incomplete. The question of whether, in addition to the known identified gunshot casualties, the soldiers also shot people who have not been identified is considered later in this report.1
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Re: Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry Volume 3

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