Belfast Telegraph

Soldier ‘treated dying man at Army base’ following Ballymurphy shootings

Shell dressings were used to stem bleeding from gunshot wounds at Henry Taggart Hall in west Belfast.

A soldier treated a dying man at an army base following the Ballymurphy shootings, a witness told an inquest (Niall Carson/PA).
A soldier treated a dying man at an army base following the Ballymurphy shootings, a witness told an inquest (Niall Carson/PA).

A soldier treated a dying man at an Army base following the Ballymurphy shootings, a witness has told an inquest.

Shell dressings were used to stem bleeding from gunshot wounds at Henry Taggart Hall on Springfield Road in west Belfast.

Ten people were shot dead in disputed circumstances over three days following the start of internment without trial in August 1971.

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Joseph Corr, Danny Taggart, Eddie Doherty, Father Hugh Mullan, Frank Quinn, Joan Connolly, John McKerr, Noel Philips, John Laverty and Joseph Murphy (Ballymurphy Massacre Committee/PA)

The witness, who was in 2 Para and is known by the cipher M574, said no ambulance was available to take casualties to hospital because the roads were blocked.

Instead he gave first aid to a man aged 35-40 using the dressings.

He said: “We treated him for a couple of hours until he died.”

Joan Connolly, Noel Phillips, Joseph Murphy and Daniel Teggart were shot during the incident near the Army base.

Operation Demetrius had been launched in the early hours of August 9 1971, and the British Army moved into republican strongholds to arrest IRA suspects following introduction of internment without trial.

The mass arrests sparked rioting across Northern Ireland, including in the Ballymurphy area where over the course of three days the 10 were shot dead.

Earlier, another military witness known by the codename M1434 gave evidence to the coroner’s court in Belfast.

He was a driver sent to recover the bodies of casualties following the shooting.

He said he was collapsing the canvas roof of his vehicle when the trouble broke out at Henry Taggart Hall, and took cover behind a wheel of the vehicle.

He said: “I could see the situation breaking down in Ballymurphy. People were upset at what occurred and they were running in the streets banging lids.”

He said he did not fire back because he could not see any targets.

He also said he did not see anyone with injuries and did not see petrol bombs.

It followed a shooting incident on waste ground in front of the then Army base at Henry Taggart Hall.

PA

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