Skip to Content | Accessibility Statement | Site Map

Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry
- Volume VI - Chapter 96



The movement and actions of other members of Anti-Tank Platoon

Chapter 96: The movement and actions of other members of Anti-Tank Platoon

Contents

Paragraph

Lieutenant 119 96.4

The movement of Anti-Tank Platoon vehicles 96.6

Lance Corporal J 96.8

Private 027 96.9

Other soldiers 96.13

96.1 Other soldiers from Anti-Tank Platoon followed Corporal E, Lance Corporal F, Private G and Private H into Glenfada Park North. We are satisfied, for the reasons given below, that their movement away from the low walls of the Kells Walk ramp is shown in film footage.1

1 Vid 48 11.35

96.2 This footage shows a group of more than a dozen soldiers moving over or around the low walls of the Kells Walk ramp. There is no evidence of such a large number of soldiers moving in this way before the arrival of Anti-Tank Platoon in this position. Members of Composite Platoon (Guinness Force) took up positions at the southern end of Kells Walk at some point after Anti-Tank Platoon had done so, and by the time that they did so it seems that all of Anti-Tank Platoon had moved away from the walls.1 There is no suggestion that more than a dozen members of Composite Platoon moved forward of the Kells Walk walls at any point in the way shown on the footage, nor is there any evidence of another platoon or group of men congregating in this area during the day. Accordingly, the only explanation for the footage is that it shows the majority of Anti-Tank Platoon moving from the low walls of the Kells Walk ramp towards Glenfada Park North.

1 B290; B298; B302; B311.6; B311.11; Day 364/147-151; B372.4; B1650; B1615.5; FS7.1738-1739

96.3 As is discussed above, we consider that Corporal E, Lance Corporal F, Private G and Private H were the first soldiers to move from the low walls of the Kells Walk ramp, and that they did so on the instigation of Corporal E. In our view, the footage shows the rest of Anti-Tank Platoon at some stage moving forward after them, possibly on the orders of Lieutenant 119.

Lieutenant 119

96.4 Lieutenant 119 has consistently stated that he entered Glenfada Park North after the initial group of soldiers who moved there, although the precise time at which he did so is a matter of some dispute. He accepted at the Widgery Inquiry that Corporal E and Lance Corporal F had momentarily gone out of his sight as they advanced from the low walls of the Kells Walk ramp.1 In his second Royal Military Police (RMP) statement and in his evidence to the Widgery Inquiry he referred to arriving in Glenfada Park in time to see Lance Corporal F fire from the north-eastern corner along the eastern block of flats.2 He told the Widgery Inquiry that he did not see Corporal E or Private G fire;3 that Private G was about halfway down the western side of the complex;4 that Lance Corporal J was also present;5 and that he could not recall any other soldiers who were there as well.6 In his RMP and Widgery Inquiry accounts, Lieutenant 119 stated that he went into the courtyard at a time when three bodies were lying in the south-west corner with a crowd of civilians and members of the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps gathered around them.7 He also told the Widgery Inquiry that he saw a group of about 20 people when they emerged from the gable end of the east building.8

1 WT14.13

2 B1752.33-34; B1752.44; WT14.14; WT14.20-21

3 WT14.14

4 WT14.14; WT14.20

5 WT14.20

6 WT14.20

7 B1752.034; B1752.041-042; B1752.044; WT14.15; WT14.20

8 B1752.044; WT14.15

96.5 As is discussed below, Lieutenant 119’s description of Lance Corporal F’s firing is difficult to reconcile with the latter’s own evidence, and in Lieutenant 119’s first RMP statement he did not mention witnessing any of his soldiers firing in Glenfada Park North.1 Other details of his 1972 accounts, when compared to the analysis of the events in Glenfada Park North (and Abbey Park) that follows, lead us to believe that he arrived in the courtyard after the firing by Lance Corporal F, Private G and Private H that had resulted in the casualties in Sector 4. What we consider he witnessed in Glenfada Park North is discussed later in this report,2where we conclude that is is likely that he witnessed the firing by Corporal E, but confused this soldier with Lance Corporal F.

1 B1752.041 2Paragraphs 98.4–8 and 100.19

The movement of Anti-Tank Platoon vehicles

96.6 There is another aspect of Lieutenant 119’s 1972 evidence that merits consideration at this stage. In his accounts to the RMP and to the Widgery Inquiry, Lieutenant 119 stated that as he ordered the group under Corporal E and Lance Corporal F to move into Glenfada Park, he arranged for his platoon’s vehicles to be brought up to provide cover for his men from firing coming from Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. He added that he did not follow the first soldiers until after the vehicles had arrived and he was satisfied that his men were in cover.1 This answer implied that he left a number of his men at the low walls of the Kells Walk ramp, and that he did not move away from there himself until some time after Corporal E, Lance Corporal F, Private G and Private H had advanced. In his evidence to this Inquiry, Lieutenant 119 agreed with this interpretation of his evidence, and while he accepted that it was possible that he had been mistaken, he said that he continued to believe that his 1972 accounts were accurate.2 However, as is discussed elsewhere in this report,3 we are of the view that before the arrival of soldiers from Composite Platoon at the low walls of the Kells Walk ramp, all members of Anti-Tank Platoon had vacated this position; they are shown so doing in film footage.4 Further, the photograph reproduced below shows Colonel Wilford and members of Composite Platoon at the wall at a time when the soldiers of Anti-Tank Platoon were no longer there.

1 B1752.37; B1752.44; WT14.13

2 Day 363/147-150; Day 364/122-123

3 Paragraphs 96.1–2

4 Vid 48 11.35

96.7 We have already concluded that Lieutenant 119, contrary to some of his accounts in 1972, did not give an order for Corporal E and the three who accompanied him to go into Glenfada Park North. In our view he was probably also wrong in saying that he did not follow these soldiers until after his vehicles had arrived.

Lance Corporal J

96.8 Lieutenant 119 told the Widgery Inquiry that other than Corporal E, Lance Corporal F and Private G, the only soldier whom he recalled seeing in Glenfada Park North when he went in was Lance Corporal J.1 As is discussed above, Lance Corporal J stated in his 1972 evidence that he was ordered into Glenfada Park North by Lieutenant 119 in order to assist with arrests. Throughout his 1972 accounts he claimed that he saw Lance Corporal F and Private G firing in Glenfada Park North. His evidence as to their precise positions and that of their targets is discussed later in this report, but it seems to us that it is possible, despite doubts we have as to his evidence generally, that he may have seen these soldiers firing towards the opposite side of the courtyard, ie from north-east to south-west.2 If Lance Corporal J did see Lance Corporal F and Private G firing in this direction, it would follow that he did indeed arrive in Glenfada Park North before Lieutenant 119, who in our view arrived after this firing. However, it is noteworthy that Lance Corporal J either failed to see or failed to record the shots fired at approximately the same time by Corporal E and Private H. In light of the unreliability of Lance Corporal J’s evidence, we do not know for sure whether he reached Glenfada Park North in time to see Lance Corporal F and Private G fire; but we do consider that he arrived there before Lieutenant 119 because the evidence of the latter was to that effect.

1 WT14.20

2 B270.1-2; B273; WT15.32-33

Private 027

96.9 During his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Lieutenant 119 was asked about the presence of his wireless operator in Glenfada Park North. Lieutenant 119 confirmed that the signaller was present when he and his men withdrew from the area and stated that He [the wireless operator] came in shortly after me ”.1We are satisfied that Private 027 was the only wireless operator with Lieutenant 119 on Bloody Sunday, and that he was the soldier to whom Lieutenant 119 was referring in this evidence. Lieutenant 119 told this Inquiry that Private 027 should have been with him throughout the day.2We accept Lieutenant 119’s evidence to both inquiries on these points.

1 WT14.59

2 Day 363/144

96.10 Private 027 has given a number of accounts as to what he saw when he arrived in Glenfada Park North. We discuss these below. The time at which he arrived is a factor in our assessment of his reliability as a witness of the events that took place in Glenfada Park North.

96.11 In his evidence to the RMP and his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry, Private 027 stated that he was some short distance behind Corporal E, Lance Corporal F, Private G and Private H as they advanced into Glenfada Park North, and that he heard several self-loading rifle (SLR) shots prior to his arrival there. He stated that when he entered he saw a crowd of 40 civilians and a petrol bomber at whom Corporal E fired.1In his written evidence to this Inquiry, Private 027 told us that his statement in 1972 that he saw a man with a petrol bomb was a total fabrication ”.2He said that he was about 10m behind Corporal E, Lance Corporal F, Private G and Private H by the time they reached Glenfada Park, and that he recalled seeing a crowd and hearing shooting as he entered. Private 027 stated that he was psychologically unable to remember the precise events that he saw in the complex, but he thought that four soldiers, whom he could not identify, fired while he was present.3

1 B1547-1548; B1551-1552

2 B1565.51

3 B1565.42-43; Day 246/83-86; Day 246/92-93

96.12 We discuss elsewhere in this report1the various accounts that Private 027 has given over the years. In view of the fact that we are satisfied that Private 027 did not enter Glenfada Park North until after Lieutenant 119, it follows in our view that he too was not an eyewitness to the situation when the soldiers first arrived or to any of the shooting (save perhaps that witnessed by Lieutenant 119) that resulted in the casualties in that courtyard. Thus it seems to us that his accounts in these respects must be based on what he was later told or believed had happened. His evidence in this regard is, therefore, at best second-hand. Whether and to what extent it accurately reflects what happened is a matter that we consider later in this report.2

1 Chapter 179 2Paragraphs 112.41 and 112.46

Other soldiers

96.13 Many other members of Anti-Tank Platoon moved from the low walls of the Kells Walk ramp into Glenfada Park North, or close to it, at some stage after Corporal E, Lance Corporal F, Private G and Private H had gone into the courtyard. However, the evidence that we have from these other soldiers does not, in our view, assist further in determining what the situation was at the stage under consideration, though we return to consider their accounts later in this report,1when we deal with the arrests that were made in this area.

1 Chapter 113