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Bloody Sunday Inquiry: A soldier's view - 'I was in Derry that day. I just wish the Army hadn't been'

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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 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

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'

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

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

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

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

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

Oli Scarff

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

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

Oli Scarff

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

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

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

Julien Behal

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

Julien Behal

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

Martin McKeown

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

Oli Scarff

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

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

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

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

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

Oli Scarff

A young Fr Edward 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

A young Fr Edward 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

Bloody Sunday. January 1972

Alana Burke who was eighteen when she was run over by an armoured personnel carrier on Bloody Sunday.

Alana Burke who was eighteen when she was run over by an armoured personnel carrier on Bloody Sunday.

William McKinney, killed on Bloody Sunday.

William McKinney, killed on Bloody Sunday.

Paddy Doherty, who was 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

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

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

Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery in his room at the Old Bailey as he looks through his report on the "Bloody Sunday" shootings

PA

Michael McDaid who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Michael McDaid who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

An injured man receiving attention  on Bloody Sunday.

An injured man receiving attention on Bloody Sunday.

PA

Bloody sunday in Derry 1972 when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights march through the city.

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

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

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

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.

Hugh Gilmore who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

Bloody Sunday.   30/1/1972

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. 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. 30.1.1972

Bloody Sunday. Funerals.  2.2.1972

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.

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

General Sir Robert Ford, Britain's Commander of Land Forces in Northern Ireland, pictured on July 3, 1972

PA

Bloody Sunday   when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights march. PACEMAKER PRESS

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

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

Fred Hoare

30th January 1972: An armed soldier and a protestor on Bloody Sunday when British Paratroopers shot dead 13 civilians on a civil rights march.

30th January 1972: An armed soldier and a protestor on Bloody Sunday when British Paratroopers shot dead 13 civilians on a civil rights march.

Frederick Hoare

A scene showing  British paratroopers near Glenfada Park in Derry where Bloody Sunday took place.

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 scene showing a British paratrooper near Glenfada Park in Derry where Bloody Sunday took place.

A  man receiving attention during  Bloody Sunday.

A man receiving attention during Bloody Sunday.

PA

Soldiers taking cover behind their sandbagged armoured cars during  Bloody Sunday

Soldiers taking cover behind their sandbagged armoured cars during Bloody Sunday

PA

St Mary's Church, on the Creggan Estate, during the Requiem Mass for the 13 who died on 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry.

St Mary's Church, on the Creggan Estate, during the Requiem Mass for the 13 who died on 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry.

PA

Jim Wray who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Jim Wray who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

William McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

William McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

Kevin McElhinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Kevin McElhinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

Paul Doherty in front of an image of his dying father Patrick Doherty who was shot on Bloody Sunday.

Paul Doherty in front of an image of his dying father Patrick Doherty who was shot on Bloody Sunday.

Paul Faith

Hugh Gilmore (third left) seen clutching his stomach as he is shot during Bloody Sunday.

Hugh Gilmore (third left) seen clutching his stomach as he is shot during Bloody Sunday.

PA

Lt Col Derek Wilford, the former commander of the members of the Parachute Regiment involved in the Bloody Sunday shootings

Lt Col Derek Wilford, the former commander of the members of the Parachute Regiment involved in the Bloody Sunday shootings

PA

Bloody sunday in Derry 1972 when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights march

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

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

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.

John Young who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

Gerald Donaghey who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Gerald Donaghey who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

Gerard McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Gerard McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

Patrick Doherty who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Patrick Doherty who was killed on Bloody Sunday.

Bloody Sunday Trust

Michael Kelly  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

An injured man receives treatment on Bloody Sunday. Survivor and campaigner Johnny Duddy has died aged 87

Lord Saville

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

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

Christopher Furlong

Scenes from 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry, Northern Ireland

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

A youth is arrested at gunpoint by a Paratrooper in Derry on Bloody Sunday Picture by Fred Hoare

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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

I am not surprised by what has come out in the report – I knew we were going to get a kicking and that is what has happened. I have been following the inquiry on and off and I could see the way it was going.

What Saville has concluded is one-sided and does not give the whole picture, but I suppose people will say we, the Paras, are bound to say that.



I am not going to say that some innocent people were not killed that day – and I am truly sorry for their deaths, as, I am sure, a lot of other soldiers are as well. But to say that we went into the Bogside on that day to kill civvies cannot be further from the truth. We were ordered to go there and sort out rioters who were hitting the Army for days with petrol bombs, nail bombs, bricks, all sorts; we were told we would be making arrests.



We were also told that we may meet PIRA [Provisional IRA] and also what they called the Stickies [official IRA] and we were told to expect trouble.



I cannot pretend that I remember all the details of what happened that day. Since then, I have been in quite a few contacts [armed action] as a soldier before I left and one cannot remember all the details on each occasion.



What I do recall is that there was firing on several occasions and it seemed to be directed towards us from the south and our guys were firing back. I think one of those times was near a post office building and I remember taking cover behind some walls. There was a barricade in front of us and things were being thrown from there, although I don't think anyone was injured.



The firing did not go on for long, I would say about 15 minutes or so, we knew people had gone down, we did not know at the time how many had been killed or injured – that only came later. When we did find out everyone was a bit quiet, but we did think at the time that the people killed were IRA.

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I did not carry out shooting that day and I suppose I am very thankful I didn't.



I feel sorry for people who died if they were innocent, I feel sorry for some soldiers who they say might now get charged. And I am sorry we were in Derry on that sodding day.



The author was a non-commissioned officer with 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, in Derry on 30 January 1972, Bloody Sunday. He no longer serves in the British Army


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