Belfast Telegraph

People have a right to support Soldier F – Sammy Wilson

Hundreds of people marched at a parade in support of the Clyde valley Flute Band following incidents in Londonderry in August.

A rally in Larne in support of the Clyde valley Flute Band following incidents in Londonderry in August (Brian Lawless/PA)
A rally in Larne in support of the Clyde valley Flute Band following incidents in Londonderry in August (Brian Lawless/PA)

By Aine McMahon PA

People have the right to support Soldier F, DUP MP Sammy Wilson has said following a parade in Northern Ireland.

Several hundred bandsmen came to Larne, Co Antrim on Saturday evening to show support for Clyde Valley Flute Band.

The band caused controversy in August after its members marched in the annual Apprentice Boys parade wearing a Parachute Regiment emblem and the letter F on their shirt sleeves.

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Mr Wilson said people who took part in the parade were ‘proudly’ wearing Soldier F insignia and banners (Michael McHugh/PA)

The motif is a reference to Soldier F, a former member of the British Army’s Parachute Regiment who is accused of murder and attempted murder in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday, January 1972.

Thirteen civil rights demonstrators were shot dead on January 30 1972, on one of the most notorious days of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

As well as the 13 who died on the day, 15 others were shot and injured. One of the injured died months later from an inoperable tumour and some consider him the 14th fatality.

The soldiers were members of a support company of the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment.

The Parades Commission has deemed the event on Saturday to be “sensitive”, but it passed off without any incidents.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson said the parade is part of an ongoing campaign “to ensure the rewriting of the Troubles is not allowed”.

“The message from the people here tonight to the public representatives and to the Government in Westminster is you must stop the abuse of the juridical system. Stop dragging old men before the courts when they have been cleared because they want to put the blame on security forces.

“This will be an ongoing campaign until Westminster gives some protection to the police and the army for the role they played during the Troubles,” he said.

Mr Wilson said people who took part in the parade were “proudly” wearing Soldier F insignia and banners.

“They have a right to do it and are absolutely correct in doing so because they are engaged in a propaganda war that we cannot afford or allow the Republicans to win,” he said.

PA

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