Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 May 2015

Bloody Sunday Report: An electrifying roar of vindication

Cahal Milmo witnessed Derry's jubilant reaction

Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Relatives of those shot dead on Bloody Sunday wave to crowds after reading a copy of the long-awaited Saville Inquiry report, outside the Guildhall
Relatives of those shot dead on Bloody Sunday wave to crowds after reading a copy of the long-awaited Saville Inquiry report, outside the Guildhall
Relatives of those shot dead on Bloody Sunday wave copies of the long awaited Saville Inquiry report in the air outside the Guildhall
Prime Minister David Cameron tells MPs in the House of Commons that the Saville Inquiry into the Bloody Sunday killings found the actions of British soldiers was 'both unjustified and unjustifiable'
Crowds gather to hear the findings of the long-awaited Saville Inquiry report into Bloody Sunday, outside the Guildhall
People watch Prime Minister David Cameron on a giant screen making a statement to the House of Commons regarding the findings of the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday, outside the Guildhall
Crowds gather to hear the findings of the long-awaited Saville Inquiry report into Bloody Sunday, outside the Guildhall
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
A relative of Bloody Sunday victim Jackie Duddy is comforted by Martin McGuinness as she marches from the Bogside area of Londonderry to the Guildhall to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
A young Fr Edward Daly (now Bishop Daly) carries a blood-soaked hankie as he leads a group of men trying desperately to carry John 'Jackie' Duddy to safety. Duddy (17) was the first fatality of Bloody Sunday after being shot from behind by paratroopers
Bloody Sunday. January 1972
Alana Burke who was eighteen when she was run over by an armoured personnel carrier on Bloody Sunday.
William McKinney, killed on Bloody Sunday.
Paddy Doherty, who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
The start of a grim day in Derry. Civil Rights marchers make their way through Creggan. They defied a Government ban and headed for Guildhall Square, but were stopped by the Army in William Street. 31/1/1972
Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972
Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972
Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery in his room at the Old Bailey as he looks through his report on the "Bloody Sunday" shootings
Michael McDaid who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
An injured man receiving attention on Bloody Sunday.
Bloody sunday in Derry 1972 when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights march through the city.
Bloody Sunday 1972
JAMES WRAY IN HIS HOME IN THE BOGSIDE DERRY HOLDING THE COAT WITH BULLIET HOLES IN THAT HIS SON ALSO CALLED JAMES WRAY WAS KILLED ON BLOODY SUNDAY
Bloody Sunday. A number of civilians arrested by the Army are marched in a line, with their hands on their heads, through the Bogside. 31/1/1972
Hugh Gilmore who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972
Bloody Sunday. Funeral. Mrs Ita McKinney, 9 months pregnant cries behind the hearse carrying her husband James from St Mary's, Creggan. 2/2/1972.
Bloody Sunday. 30.1.1972
Bloody Sunday. Funerals. 2.2.1972
Bloody Sunday in Derry 1972 when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights march through the city.
General Sir Robert Ford, Britain's Commander of Land Forces in Northern Ireland, pictured on July 3, 1972
Bloody Sunday when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights march. PACEMAKER PRESS
Bloody Sunday: Up to 20 soldiers still face being formally questioned by police for alleged murder, attempted murder or criminal injury during the notorious incident
30th January 1972: An armed soldier and a protestor on Bloody Sunday when British Paratroopers shot dead 13 civilians on a civil rights march.
A scene showing British paratroopers near Glenfada Park in Derry where Bloody Sunday took place.
A scene showing a British paratrooper near Glenfada Park in Derry where Bloody Sunday took place.
A man receiving attention during Bloody Sunday.
Soldiers taking cover behind their sandbagged armoured cars during Bloody Sunday
St Mary's Church, on the Creggan Estate, during the Requiem Mass for the 13 who died on 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry.
Jim Wray who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
William McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Kevin McElhinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Paul Doherty in front of an image of his dying father Patrick Doherty who was shot on Bloody Sunday.
Hugh Gilmore (third left) seen clutching his stomach as he is shot during Bloody Sunday.
Lt Col Derek Wilford, the former commander of the members of the Parachute Regiment involved in the Bloody Sunday shootings
Bloody sunday in Derry 1972 when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights march
Bloody Sunday - when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights marc. PACEMAKER PRESS
PACEMAKER BELFAST - FLASHBACK - Bloody sunday in Derry 1972 when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights march through the city.PICTURE CREDIT PACEMAKER PRESS
John Young who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Gerald Donaghey who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Gerard McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Patrick Doherty who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Michael Kelly who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
An injured man receives treatment on Bloody Sunday. Survivor and campaigner Johnny Duddy has died aged 87
Lord Saville
A Republican mural is seen on the side of a house in the Bogside are of Derry, the scene of the 'Bloody Sunday' shootings. 2005
Scenes from 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry, Northern Ireland
A man receiving attention during the shooting incident in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, which became known as Bloody Sunday, January 31, 1972.
Fr Daly waving a bloody handkerchief as he and several others carry the fatally wounded Jackie Duddy, 17, past British soldiers on January 30, 1972, known as Bloody Sunday. Picture by Stanley Matchett
The Bloody Sunday Anniversary. Among the marchers were Native Americans who attended the event because of their sympathy with Irish Nationalists. 30/1/85.
IRA gunmen in Derry during a Bloody Sunday commemoration. Pacemaker Press Intl. 29 Jan. 1978
IRA gunmen in Derry during a Bloody Sunday commemoration. Pacemaker Press Intl. 29 Jan. 1978
Bloody Sunday Commemoration. IRA Gunman displays M60 Machine Gun on streets of Derry. Pacemaker Press Intl.29 Jan. 1978.
Commemoration of Bloody Sunday march in Derry. Gerry Adams and Martin Maguiness are pictured. Pacemaker Press Intl. 30/1/83.
A youth is arrested at gunpoint by a Paratrooper in Derry on Bloody Sunday Picture by Fred Hoare

Shortly before 3pm the marchers arrived in Guildhall Square singing "We shall overcome".

Some entered the small walled space crying. Others bore giant banners carrying pictures of the 14 victims. But all of them were there because an hour later, some 38 years and fours months ago, the first victim of Bloody Sunday fell barely half a mile away and no one on that day made it this far.



Yesterday, many of those who walked out of the Bogside to gather for the publication of the Saville report outside the baroque Victorian splendour of Derry's Guildhall described the quiet, even uncertain, gathering as the literal end of a journey.



Following the route that the civil rights protesters tried to achieve on 30 January 1972 before the members of Support Company of 1 Para opened fire, the denizens of "Free Derry" entered the square with the expectation that Lord Saville's 12-year inquiry would deliver the vindication that had been denied.



Kay Duddy, the sister of Jackie Duddy, the 17-year-old who became the first victim of the shootings, summed up the sense of anticipation that gripped the 5,000 people who had crammed into the city centre.



She said: "We've waited so long for this and now we're finally here, my stomach is in knots. So many times we thought we were so close, and to think that soon we'll see it in black and white. I just hope I can get through the day."

Ms Duddy recently donated the handkerchief soaked in her brother's blood – and waved by Father Edward Daly (above) as a symbol of humane neutrality that became one of the defining images of the day – to a museum in Derry for a display commemorating the worst massacre of British citizens by their own soldiers since Peterloo.



But yesterday she claimed it back for 24 hours as a "comfort blanket" to be held when she, along with other relatives of the victims, received a copy of the inquiry findings prior to David Cameron standing up before the House of Commons some 600 miles away.



Large screens were set up in the square to convey the Prime Minister's speech but, ultimately, it was perhaps fitting that the first and most telling indication of the rectitude with which Derry received Lord Saville's conclusions came not from Westminster but from the relatives themselves.



Shortly before Mr Cameron stood up, several members of the families' group inside the Guildhall signalled their approval of the report's contents to the crowds waiting outside by making the thumbs-up sign and waving the front cover of a document whose exhaustiveness and cost had never been seen before in British legal history and, most likely, will not be seen again.



The reaction was instantaneous – an electrifying, almost telepathic, roar of vindication that encapsulated the way Bloody Sunday is utterly entrenched in the folk memory of Derry, a compact undulating town of 90,000 citizens.



Dominic Martin, an IT manager who was born a week after the shootings at his family's home in the heart of Catholic Derry, had driven from his home in Belfast for a day that he saw as being "as close to a reckoning as we are going to get". He said: "People thought the events of Bloody Sunday faded away for my generation and beyond. I give daily thanks that my kids have grown up not knowing the Troubles but, as I grew up, we never forgot it.



"Bloody Sunday imbued everything. You knew someone whose mam or uncle Joe had marched that day. You heard stories in the playground about Michael McDaid [a victim who was shot in the face as he walked away from the soldiers] and what was left of him. "It's because of that that I'm here. For better or worse, Bloody Sunday soaked into every brick of this city. Whether Catholic or Protestant, you have at least three generations who have grown up in the shadow of its legacy. You ask a 10-year-old here what it's about and they'll be able to tell you. That's why telling the truth about it is so important. And it's good to see that truth being told here [in Guildhall Square] because that's where [the marchers] wanted to come."



The sprouting of newly minted buildings across Derry, from shopping centres to a five-star hotel peeping over the city walls, is testimony to the peace dividend that has been reaped by its inhabitants. If indeed it was the residents of the Bogside who overwhelmingly flocked to the square yesterday, they did so with a motivation that seemed to owe little to bitterness.



There are those in the Unionist community who argue that Bloody Sunday and the minute examination of those it claimed has created a "hierarchy of victims" of the Troubles.



Ronnie Crawford, an Ulster Unionist councillor in Lisburn, lost his brother Maynard, a part-time Ulster Defence Regiment sergeant in 1972, when he was shot and killed by the IRA. He said: "The Bloody Sunday victims were killed during a spontaneous riot, and the deaths are regrettable, but others have been deliberately and brutally murdered and we are just expected to forget and move on."



Yesterday, a few hundred yards away, beyond the dark rock of the city walls, Joseph McCartney was sat outside his home overlooking Free Derry Corner and the granite obelisk that stands as a memorial to the Bloody Sunday dead.



The 65-year-old had recently completed his service in the British Army when he took part in the march on 30 January 1972 and witnessed men who he would have recently called comrades killing people with whom he had grown up. He said: "Do I want those soldiers prosecuted after what we've heard today? Yes. Were those who died any different as victims from the people killed by the IRA? No. The grief of their families is no different. But I saw people shot dead by the British Army, by people who were supposed to protect them. At that point the British state became the enemy here. Only now, only today, does that begin to change."



LIVES CHANGED...

Olive Bonner: We got the proof we wanted



Then aged 32 and the oldest of eight brothers and sisters, she warned "the baby of the family" Hugh Gilmour, 17, to be careful as he headed out to march. He was killed by a bullet while running away from soldiers in Rossville Street



I told him: "Watch yourself, there will be rubber bullets and tear gas". We never thought there would be live bullets. I was standing on the veranda when I saw Jackie Duddy shot. Then I saw Pat Doherty lying on the pavement dying. I ran upstairs to my mother's and somebody knocked on the door and said Hugh had been shot. We just took it for granted he was not dead.



At the hospital we couldn't see his name on the list for the wounded. Then someone said: "You may go to the morgue and look." They were all lying there on tables. It was desperate. I just kept thinking, "He is not here, he is not here." But he was up in the corner.



I used to get flashes of memories. For a while we always talked about him as if he was still there. That was our way of coping with the trauma. Just the other night I woke and was I remembering all the names of those killed – I went right down the list.



The Widgery tribunal was whitewash from day one; we knew it was all lies. We needed to prove to the whole world that these were innocent boys and men. So I am just glad to see this day. We got the proof we wanted. We proved the British government was lying. We proved the British Army was lying. My mother, my father and Hugh are all at peace now. I am happy as the day is long. I will be able to go to bed tonight and sleep.



Gerry Duddy: It has affected my whole life



He was 14 when he and brother Jackie, 17, decided to attend the march against their father's wishes.



Everybody was running for cover. You had bullets whizzing around, which was terrifying, but my main worry was that I knew my father would not be happy we had been to the march.



I didn't know Jackie had been shot. When I got home and saw the crowds at the front door I knew something was wrong. My sister got me at the top of the stairs and said Jackie had been killed. It was an awful lot to take in.



Then there were the coffins laid out – that will stay with me. It has affected my whole life. I am always Gerry Duddy, the brother of Jackie Duddy who was killed on Bloody Sunday. Every time we see the famous picture and Father Daly waving the handkerchief it brings back memories. But we wanted the world to see it.



It was my pleasure to thank people today for all the support they have given us over the years. We could not have done it without them.



Finally, a British Prime Minister acknowledged that the people who were murdered or injured were all innocents. He acknowledged the wrongs that day. That was worth the wait. Finally Widgery is where it belongs: in the bin.



My brother had only started out in life. I made him a promise that I would clear his name and today I hope he is looking down on me.



Stanley Matchett: I would love people to leave it behind



Then a 30-year-old news photographer, he took the famous image of Father Edward Daly waving a white handkerchief as a group of men carried the fatally wounded Jackie Duddy, 17 – the first person to die.



Today brought back all those memories. It was sunny – blues skies. Just a civil rights march – we expected nothing more than a bit of shouting. Then we heard shots and suddenly there was a body lying in a pool of blood. The whole thing lasted a few minutes but it was pandemonium. It took our breath away. Father Daly was leading as they carried a body. At the time you don't take it in. You are in shock. Only afterwards I realised it was a 17-year-old shot in the chest.



Bloody Sunday was a defining moment for me. Without a doubt, it is the most published picture I have taken. People all know it. You realise later that you are helping to write history pages.



But I am none the wiser because of the inquiry. I think the money could have been better used – we need schools, hospitals. That's the shame. I would love to see people be able to leave it behind.



Bernadette Devlin: I lost the capacity for fear thereafter



The MP for Mid Ulster, she was speaking at the civil rights march.



I was on the platform when the soldiers opened fire. My abiding memories are fear, horror, disbelief and detachment. Because of the adrenaline rush of fear that day I lost the capacity to be afraid thereafter. Significantly worse things have happened in my life since: I was shot eight times in my own house and I distinctly remember not being afraid at that time.



Bloody Sunday changed the course of the civil rights movement. The touchpaper for a war was lit by those soldiers. It was the start of a 35-year protracted and politically violent period. It changed the course of my life and that of everyone else of my generation. Despite the long history of Anglo-Irish relations, I had never considered the British would do that.



I can understand that the relatives of the victims feel pleased about the Saville report. It is important for them that their innocent family members have had their names cleared. But what Lord Saville does not address is why the Government lied about that day. He places no blame on anyone except the soldiers on the ground. I do not think we will ever get an answer.



I did not want a public inquiry. I testified out of respect for the family, but I knew that Lord Saville could not tell me anything I did not already know.



Interviews by Terri Judd and Mark Hughes

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