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Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry
- Volume I - Chapter 1


Principal Conclusions and Overall Assessment



Chapter 1: Introduction 45

Chapter 2: Outline of events before the day 48

Chapter 3: The events of the day 52


Events before the arrest operation 3.1

The arrest operation 3.14

The casualties in the Bogside 3.27

The soldiers who shot the casualties 3.43

Why the soldiers shot the casualties 3.67

Other firing by soldiers on Bloody Sunday 3.114

The arrest of civilians 3.120

Chapter 4: The question of responsibility for the deaths and injuries on Bloody Sunday 90


The United Kingdom and Northern Ireland Governments and the Army 4.2

Major General Ford 4.8

Brigadier MacLellan 4.13

Lieutenant Colonel Wilford 4.15

Major Loden 4.26

Lieutenant N 4.30

Lieutenant 119 4.31

Captain 200 and Sergeant INQ 441 4.32

The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association 4.33

Chapter 5: The overall assessment 99

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 The object of the Inquiry was to examine the circumstances that led to loss of life in connection with the civil rights march in Londonderry on 30th January 1972. Thirteen civilians were killed by Army gunfire on the day. The day has become generally known as Bloody Sunday, which is why at the outset we called this Inquiry the Bloody Sunday Inquiry. In 1972 Lord Widgery, then the Lord Chief Justice of England, held an inquiry into these same events.

1.2 In these opening chapters of the report we provide an outline of events before and during 30th January 1972; and collect together for convenience the principal conclusions that we have reached on the events of that day. We also provide our overall assessment of what happened on Bloody Sunday. This outline, our principal conclusions and our overall assessment are based on a detailed examination and evaluation of the evidence, which can be found elsewhere in this report. These chapters should be read in conjunction with that detailed examination and evaluation, since there are many important details, including our reasons for the conclusions that we have reached, which we do not include here, in order to avoid undue repetition.

1.3 The Inquiry involved an examination of a complex set of events. In relation to the day itself, most of these events were fast moving and many occurred more or less simultaneously. In order to carry out a thorough investigation into events that have given rise to great controversy over many years, our examination necessarily involved the close consideration and analysis of a very large amount of evidence.

1.4 In addition to those killed, people were also injured by Army gunfire on Bloody Sunday. We took the view at the outset that it would be artificial in the extreme to ignore the injured, since those shooting incidents in the main took place in the same circumstances, at the same times and in the same places as those causing fatal injuries.

1.5 We found it necessary not to confine our investigations only to what happened on the day. Without examining what led up to Bloody Sunday, it would be impossible to reach a properly informed view of what happened, let alone of why it happened. An examination of what preceded Bloody Sunday was particularly important because there had been allegations that members of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland Governments, as well as the security forces, had so conducted themselves in the period up to Bloody Sunday that they bore a heavy responsibility for what happened on that day.

1.6 Many of the soldiers (including all those whose shots killed and injured people on Bloody Sunday) were granted anonymity at the Inquiry, after rulings by the Court of Appeal in London. We also granted other individuals anonymity, on the basis of the principles laid down by the Court of Appeal. Those granted anonymity were given ciphers in place of their names. We have preserved their anonymity in this report.

1.7 Londonderry is the second largest city in Northern Ireland. It lies in the north-west, close to the border with the country of Ireland. The River Foyle flows through the city. The area of the city with which this report is principally concerned lies on the western side of this river, as does the old walled part of the city. We show the western part of the city and certain important features as they were in 1972 in the following photograph and map.