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Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry
- Volume V - Chapter 85



Other shooting by soldiers in Sector 3

Chapter 85: Other shooting by soldiers in Sector 3

Contents

Paragraph

Corporal P 85.2

Summary of the accounts of firing by Corporal P 85.17

Assessment of the accounts of Corporal P 85.25

Private U 85.29

The evidence of Bombardier 015 85.48

The evidence of Gunner 023 85.68

Summary and consideration of the accounts of firing by Private U 85.72

Lance Corporal J 85.83

Summary of the accounts of firing by Lance Corporal J 85.91

85.1 In addition to the shots that soldiers from Anti-Tank Platoon and Composite Platoon stated that they had fired from the low walls of the Kells Walk ramp, there is evidence of other shooting by soldiers in Sector 3.

Corporal P

85.2 Earlier in this report1we considered the evidence of Corporal P of Mortar Platoon, to the effect that he had fired two shots at a nail bomber soon after taking up position on the western side of Rossville Street, after disembarking from Sergeant O’s APC. For the reasons we gave, we rejected his account of engaging a nail bomber, but we concluded that he did fire his rifle at about this time. On the basis of Liam Mailey’s evidence and photographs, which we have considered earlier in this part of the report,2we are sure that these shots were fired before soldiers of Anti-Tank Platoon reached the low walls of the Kells Walk ramp.

1 Chapter 73 2Paragraphs 69.51–57

85.3 After giving the account that we have rejected of firing at a nail bomber, Corporal P recorded in his first RMP statement:1

The crowd then pulled back temporarily about 5–10 metres. The nailbomb did not explode. They then surged forward again and removed the body of the man I had shot.

In front of us about 70–75 metres was a block of flats. To the right of us were the Rossville Flats.

Between us and the flats in front was a low barricade towards which we advanced. As we advanced we came under gunfire. I think it was from a pistol but cannot be certain. Two bullets struck the wall just above our heads.

We went to ground. When lying I saw a man get up from behind the barricade he had what appeared to be a pistol in his hand. He held it like a pistol and he pointed it in our general direction. I fired four aimed shots at this man. I saw the first round strike the barricade and the following three rounds appeared to hit the body of the man with the pistol. He fell backwards behind the barricade.

A group of people ran towards where he had fallen and some of them bent down and picked something up. It was not the body and I assumed it was the gun.

We stayed in our positions until the rioters dispersed.

After I had shot the gunman I fired a further five rounds over the heads of the rioters to attempt to disperse them.

I cannot describe the gunman I shot, the incident occurred so quickly.

1 B577-578

85.4 We have earlier1reproduced the RMP map that accompanied this statement but for convenience we reproduce it again here.2

1 Paragraph 73.2 2B579

85.5 It is not possible to tell from this map which of the two positions marked for Corporal P was intended to show what he had said was his position when he fired four shots at a man with a pistol behind the rubble barricade.

85.6 In his second RMP statement timed at 1450 hours on 1st February 1972,1Corporal P stated that his first RMP statement was incorrect in recording that he had fired five shots over the heads of rioters: I fired only 3 rounds 7.62 over their heads. He stated that during the afternoon he fired a total of nine rounds. We have no reason to doubt that this was an accurate correction as to the total number of shots he had fired.

1 B588

85.7 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1Corporal P gave a similar account of firing at a man with a pistol at the rubble barricade, but whereas in his first RMP statement he had said only that the gunman pointed in the general direction of the soldiers something that looked like a pistol, in this statement Corporal P added that the gunman fired a number of shots. As to the shots that he said that he had fired after shooting at the man with a pistol, he gave this account:

The area qui[e]tened down. I noticed the vehicle had moved back on to the waste ground in front of the North End of the Rossville Flats. I then told the soldier who was with me to move back across the road to cover the vehicle. I followed on behind him. When I was halfway across a group of people came out from the Glenfada Park area and started coming down the road towards the barricade. Most of them were again throwing missiles at myself, the soldier who had been with me and at the vehicle. I thought the crowd was coming too close for comfort so I knelt down in the street and fired three shots over the heads of the crowd in an attempt to disperse them. There would have been no-one in my line of fire. I then reached the cover of the vehicle. I got into the back of the vehicle and could stillhear firing but inside the vehicle the sound is very indistinct so I could not tell what kind of firing it was. I was then ordered to act as escort in the Commander’s vehicle which held the bodies and accompanied them to the Altnagelvin Hospital.

1 B592-593

85.8 In this statement Corporal P recorded that (contrary to his first RMP statement) he did not cock his rifle until after leaving the vehicle. He also stated that there was only one soldier with him, not two as he had recorded in his first RMP statement.1

1 B593

85.9 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Corporal P said that when he saw the man with a pistol at the rubble barricade there were about five or six people there, on either side of the man with the pistol, who were throwing stones. His evidence continued:1

Q. Can you say how many shots he fired?

A. Not altogether, sir.

Q. What would have been the range?

A. About 100 metres – something like that.

Q. Did you then take action?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you do?

LORD WIDGERY: Did you hear the shots? Did you hear the bullets from that range?

A. Yes, they passed overhead. I took aim at him and fired four shots. He stood up before this and pointed the pistol again and fired another couple of shots, not particularly in my direction, but I believe in the direction of Guinness Force.

Mr. GIBBENS: That is behind you?

A. Yes. I fired four shots, one of which hit the barricade and the other appeared to hit the man. He fell back.

Q. You say four shots you heard go over you. Were you in a position to judge what sort of pistol it was he had?

A. Not particularly, no, sir.

Q. I mean, normally 100 metres would be rather a good range for a pistol?

A. Yes, reasonably good.

Q. But these bullets went past you?

A. Yes.

Q. When you fired you say you knelt down. What position did you hold your rifle in?

A. At the shoulder, sir.

Q. Were there any other people in your line of fire at the time?

A. No, sir.

Q. That you were aware of?

A. No, none whatsoever.

Q. You fired, and you believe you hit him?

A. Yes.

1 WT13.50

85.10 Corporal P continued his account by telling the Widgery Inquiry that a group of people had come out from the Glenfada Park area and run across towards the Rossville Flats, one or two coming in the direction of the rubble barricade: They picked up something which I think was a pistol, but I could not be certain, and carried it over to the area of Rossville Flats. He said that the body of the man he had shot lay at the barricade and that he did not see it removed.1

1 WT13.51

85.11 Corporal P then said that about a minute later people came back to the rubble barricade who he thought were attempting to cross it, but the immediate area then quietened down.1His evidence continued as follows:2

Q. Did you see where the vehicle was that you had been with?

A. Yes, a vehicle which was at the car park, nearest to the car park at Rossville Flats, had moved back on to the open ground just by the corner of Block 1.

Q. Did you tell your companion soldier to move back under the cover of that vehicle?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. And did you follow him?

A. Yes.

Q. So you were going towards Pilot Row, were you?

A. Not to Pilot Row – towards the corner.

Q. That way?

A. Yes.

Q. Your back then would be to Glenfada Park?

A. Yes.

Q. When you were going in that direction did you see some more people?

A. Yes, as I say, they came out of Glenfada Park. I was looking around as I was running. I saw some people coming out of Glenfada Park and attempt to cross the barricade. They were still throwing stones at this time.

Q. What part of Glenfada Park did they come out of – which end?

A. From this end here.

Q. And down that alleyway near the barricade?

A. That is correct.

Q. And they seemed to be attempting to cross the barricade?

A. One or two of them did, sir.

Q. You mean towards Rossville Flats or up the street?

A. Up the street towards where we were.

Q. Were they doing anything as regards –

A. They were throwing stones and bottles.

Q. At whom?

A. Towards me in general.

Q. At you?

A. At me and at the vehicle.

Q. How close to you did they come?

A. I could not say to be exact. They were fairly close. I would not like to pin it down.

Q. Where were the troops behind you at the alleyway to Kells Walk?

A. I believe a few had moved back, but I could not be certain. I believe one or two had left the alleyway and carried on.

Q. When the crowd approached throwing stones and bottles what did you do?

A. I dropped on one knee and fired a couple of shots over their heads in an attempt to disperse them, which I did. I thought it was endangering a lot of life.

Q. The crowd?

A. Me in particular and also the people with the vehicle.

Q. How many were in the crowd?

A. About 50 or 60.

Q. And then in which direction would you fire?

A. It would be more or less straight up the road, sir.

Q. Did you then reach the cover of your vehicle?

A. I did, yes.

Q. And get into it?

A. Yes.

Q. When you got in could you hear any firing still going on?

A. There was some firing still going on, but I could not make out as to what sort it was.

Q. Were you then ordered to act as escort of the Commander’s vehicle, where there were three bodies?

A. Yes.

Q. And did you accompany them to Altnagelvin Hospital?

A. Yes, sir.

1 WT13.51

2 WT13.51-52

85.12 Corporal P told the Widgery Inquiry that the reason he fired over the heads of the crowd was to frighten them off.1

1 WT13.53

85.13 Corporal P also told the Widgery Inquiry that when he fired four shots at the man with a pistol behind the rubble barricade he was Alongside the wall ,1and he agreed, on being shown his trajectory photograph, that he had fired at this man from the same position as that from which he had previously fired at the man he said was holding a nail bomb. He said that he was firing at an angle, so that his shots did not go down to Free Derry Corner (which he said he could not see from where he was) but to what appears from the transcript to have been the left.2

1 WT13.63

2 WT13.63; WT13.69

85.14 We have already exhibited Corporal P’s trajectory photograph when discussing his shots at an alleged nail bomber,1but for convenience we reproduce this photograph again below.

1 Paragraph 73.4

85.15 Corporal P said that the pistol man was the only man with a weapon whom he saw at the rubble barricade and that he did not hear any explosions near the barricade. He then said that after he had fired at the pistol man the rioting died down and he went towards the car park of the Rossville Flats, at which stage he saw a hostile crowd of about 50 or 60 people who had come from the Glenfada Park area, a few of whom came across the barricade towards him. He said that he was within range of the stones that these people were throwing and that at this stage he fired three shots over their heads and the crowd retreated. He also said that he was crossing Rossville Street at this stage and that there were one or two soldiers at the corner of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats who were nearer to the crowd.1

1 WT13.65-67

85.16 As we have already observed,1in his written statement to this Inquiry Corporal P told us (in our view falsely) that he recollected very little about 30th January 1972.2He also said that he had no recollection of firing his weapon or of seeing or hearing others firing weapons.3

1 Paragraph 69.29

2 B623.001

3 B623.002

Summary of the accounts of firing by Corporal P

85.17 According to his accounts, Corporal P was close to the wall of the high ramp at the south end of Kells Walk when he fired two shots at, and hit, a nail bomber at or near the alleyway leading into Columbcille Court; he then fired four shots from the same position at a man with a pistol behind the rubble barricade whom he also hit; and finally he fired three shots over the heads of people advancing over the rubble barricade as he was making his way across Rossville Street towards his vehicle (Sergeant O’s APC), which by this time had moved to the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats.

85.18 We have already expressed our conclusion1that Corporal P was not telling the truth when he stated that he had first fired at a nail bomber. As we observed,2this makes it difficult to rely on the accounts he gave of his later shots, in the absence of supporting evidence. We return to consider Corporal P’s evidence about those shots later in this report3when we discuss the question which soldier or soldiers shot the casualties at the rubble barricade. At this stage, however, we should record that though it appears that Corporal P fired his first shots, which he claimed (falsely) to have fired at a nail bomber, before other soldiers arrived at and fired from the low walls of the Kells Walk ramp, it is difficult to relate his remaining shots in time to the other firing in Sector 3. The reasons for this are not only the unreliability of Corporal P’s accounts but also the fact that there is no other evidence from soldiers of Corporal P’s later firing.

1 Paragraph 73.27

2 Paragraph 73.28

3 Paragraphs 89.21–32

85.19 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1Lance Corporal F said that he did not see a soldier firing approximately nine shots from a position in front of Anti-Tank Platoon when they were at the south end of Kells Walk. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,2Private H said that he had no recollection of a soldier from another platoon firing approximately nine shots from a position not far in front of him at the south end of Kells Walk. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,3Lance Corporal J said that he had no recollection of a soldier from another platoon firing approximately nine shots from a position to the south of the south end of Kells Walk.

1 Day 375/79-80

2 Day 377/25

3 Day 370/25

85.20 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1Private U said that he did not see any soldiers firing from the western side of Rossville Street. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,2Captain 200 said that he had no recollection of seeing a soldier firing any shots from a position in front of the eastern wall of the high ramp at the south end of Kells Walk. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,3Private David Longstaff said that he did not remember a soldier from another platoon firing approximately nine shots in the area of the low walls at the south end of Kells Walk.

1 Day 369/108

2 Day 367/101-102

3 Day 374/77-78

85.21 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1Sergeant K said that when he was at the low walls at the south end of Kells Walk he saw no other soldiers immediately in front of him, and did not see the two soldiers shown in Liam Mailey’s third photograph, which we have reproduced above2and which we are satisfied shows Corporal P and Private 017. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Sergeant K confirmed that he did not remember seeing two soldiers on their own in the position shown in that photograph,3and said that he had no recollection of seeing, while at the low walls at the south end of Kells Walk, a soldier of Support Company firing from a position further south.4

1 WT15.88-WT15.89

2 Paragraph 69.54

3 Day 364/145-146

4 Day 364/151

85.22 As explained earlier in this report,1the baton gunner Private 017 disembarked from Sergeant O’s APC when it stopped briefly in Rossville Street and, with Corporal P as his escort, crossed to the western side of that street. We have already drawn attention2to the fact that Private 017 mentioned nothing in his first RMP statement about Corporal P engaging a nail bomber.3He mentioned nothing in that statement, nor in the other accounts that he gave in 1972,4about any of the other shots that Corporal P said that he fired later. In his written evidence to this Inquiry, Private 017 told us that he did not see Corporal P fire another shot after firing at the alleged nail bomber. He also told us that after he had seen the gunman at whom he fired his baton gun, an incident which we have considered earlier in this report,5he went back to his APC to collect his rifle and stayed there looking for snipers in the Rossville Flats, but there were none there ”.6

1 Paragraphs 24.12–19 and 24.33–36

2 Paragraph 73.11

3 B1472

4 B1479; B1482

5 Chapter 74

6 B1484.005

85.23 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Private 017 said that he vaguely remembered Anti-Tank Platoon moving forward from his and Corporal P’s position and going into Glenfada Park,1but he denied that he had seen four youths killed at the rubble barricade.2His attention was drawn to the fact that Corporal P had said that, after he had shot the man with a pistol at the rubble barricade, he and Private 017 had started to make their way across Rossville Street where a crowd attacked them and where Corporal P fired three shots over their heads. Private 017 told us that he neither saw nor heard the shots Corporal P said that he had fired at a pistol man, or the shots Corporal P said that he had fired over the heads of a crowd.3

1 Day 358/134

2 Day 358/144

3 Day 358/166-167

85.24 Private 017’s evidence lends no support to the accounts given by Corporal P of his shooting at a pistol man or over the heads of the crowd. In view of his false assertion that he saw Corporal P shoot a nail bomber, it is difficult for us to rely on his assertion that he did not see what Corporal P then did. Whether Private 017 returned more or less immediately to his APC is in our view in doubt, given that Corporal P had said in the accounts that he gave in 1972 that he remained with or close to Private 017 until they returned to the APC. It thus remains possible that Private 017 saw at least some of what Corporal P did after his first firing, but has chosen not to tell us what he saw.

Assessment of the accounts of Corporal P

85.25 We have already rejected Corporal P’s account of firing two shots at a nail bomber.1We also reject his account of firing over the heads of a crowd that was advancing over the rubble barricade as he was making his way to his vehicle (Sergeant O’s APC), which had moved in front of the north end of the Rossville Flats. There is no other evidence to suggest that at this stage there was any hostile movement of the crowd as Corporal P asserted. On the contrary, as we describe later in this report,2people had been killed at the rubble barricade, and all others had fled, leaving it deserted save for Alexander Nash, who had gone to his son William, whose body was lying there with those of Michael McDaid and John Young.

1 Paragraph 73.27 2Chapter 86

85.26 As to the man with a pistol at the rubble barricade at whom Corporal P said that he had fired four shots, we have found nothing that to our minds supports Corporal P’s accounts, which varied from telling the RMP that he had seen a man get up from behind the barricade and point a pistol in our general direction 1to telling the Widgery Inquiry that the man had fired a number of shots before he fired at the man. We consider, as we have said above,2that Corporal P’s account of a man with a pistol getting up from the rubble barricade in full view of a considerable number of soldiers in the area, let alone then proceeding to fire a number of shots, is simply not credible.

1 B578 2Paragraph 82.10

85.27 Corporal P initially fired two shots, not at a nail bomber but probably over the heads of people to frighten them off, and he fired nine shots in total. Four people were killed at the rubble barricade: Michael Kelly (who was shot by Lance Corporal F), Michael McDaid, John Young and William Nash. As will be seen hereafter,1we are sure that none of these was armed with a weapon or doing anything that justified him being shot. We are also sure, for the reasons we give later in this report,2that there were no additional unidentified casualties at the rubble barricade. It seems to us highly unlikely, in view of the fact that Corporal P must have known that people had been killed at the rubble barricade, that he would have invented an account of firing at that barricade. Accordingly we conclude that Corporal P did fire at least four shots at the rubble barricade, but lied about his target, knowing that he had no justification for what he did. It is possible that he fired more than four shots in this direction, since we do not believe his account of later shooting over the heads of a crowd that in our view was not there.

1 Paragraphs 86.55 and 86.364 2Paragraphs 87.228–236

85.28 We make two further observations about Corporal P. The first is that his first two shots were fired at an early stage. No member of Anti-Tank Platoon or Composite Platoon appears to have seen Corporal P firing. It is therefore in our view likely, as we have already commented,1that other soldiers mistakenly took this firing for paramilitary firing. The second observation is that there is no evidence to support Corporal P’s evidence as to where he was when he fired his subsequent shots, nor indeed as to when he did so. It is possible that some of these at least may have been fired from or near to the low walls of the Kells Walk ramp; and may have been fired at an earlier stage than Corporal P was prepared to admit.

1 Paragraph 82.85

Private U

85.29 Private U was another Mortar Platoon soldier who disembarked from Sergeant O’s APC in Rossville Street. We have described earlier in this report1how Private U was then involved in the arrest of Charles Canning. Having described this arrest in his first RMP statement timed at 0040 hours on 31st January 1972,2Private U continued:3

I then returned the roadside corner of the Rossville Flat GR 43271686 where I took up a position there alone. I then came under fire from the waste ground at the far end of Rossville Flats. Between myself and this waste ground there was a barricade across Rossville Street. It was about three feet high and formed of rubble. The rioters were gathered around and behind this barricade but they were beginning to thin out by this time.

I heard about thirty gunshots while I was in this position but could not tell where they were coming from.

As the rioters thinned out I saw a man on the waste ground behind the barricade, he was about 150 metres from my position. He was standing in the middle of about five other men at GR 433216784and he was wearing a light coloured anorak.

In his right hand he had a pistol and I saw him fire two shots at other members of my unit who were on the opposite side of the road from me.

From the standing aiming position I fired one aimed shot at this man. I saw that the shot struck him in the stomach and he jerked and fell. I also saw a man behind the one I fired at clutch his head with his hands and also fall to the ground.

When these two men fell to the ground the other rioters nearly5dropped to the ground also.

I reported my hit to my Coy CSM who was nearby and we were going to go forward to recover the body and weapon.

As we were about to do so a priest came out into the road with about ten other people. The priest was waving a white cloth.

We remained in our position. After about five minutes the Priest and the men with him moved off and we could see that the body had been removed.

We stayed in our positions until I was recalled to the arrest vehicle to identify the rioter I had arrested earlier.

1 Chapter 35

2 B748-749

3 B749-750

4 This appears to be a mistake for GR43221678, which is the position shown on the RMP map.

5 The word “nearly ” was a typographical error for “nearby ”, as can be seen from the manuscript version of the statement (B758).

85.30 On his RMP map, Private U’s position is shown a little way down the western side of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, while that of his target is shown a considerable distance south of the rubble barricade.1

1 B754

85.31 In his second RMP statement, dated 4th February 1972,1Private U gave an account of seeing a gunman at the door of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats firing two shots. We return to this account later in this report.2

1 B759 2Paragraph 86.563

85.32 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry, Private U gave this account of what he saw and did after dealing with the man he had arrested:1

I then went back up Rossville Street towards the flats and as I did so I could see soldiers at the entrance to the forecourt firing at a gunman I could see on the far corner of the forecourt. At this point I cocked my rifle. I asked one of the soldiers in an armoured vehicle on the open ground to give me cover and I ran across in the direction of the flats. As I was running I saw four or five automatic shots landing near the Company Commander’s vehicle which was ahead of me in the direction of the flats. I got to the Command vehicle at the north end of Rossville Flats and intended to return to my own vehicle which was parked on the opposite side of the entrance to the forecourt but I noticed soldiers had taken up covering positions in that area and as there was not enough cover in the area where I was I decided not to proceed in the direction of my vehicle. I took over a position at the other end of the north end of Rossville Flats which is marked with a cross on the photograph which I have signed.

I was in this position about two minutes when I saw five or six men walking across from Glenfada Park towards Rossville Flats behind the barricade. I saw one of these men had a pistol. He had a light blue jacket on. The other men moved away from him as though they were surprised he had a pistol. He fired two shots in quick succession in the direction of the opposite side of Rossville Street from where I was standing where there were soldiers. Then I was in a standing aiming position, I took off my safety catch and aimed for the centre of his body. I fired one round. He fell backwards and the man behind him clutched his head. All the men went to the ground. I reported this to company sergeant major. About a minute later a group of people including a priest came out from behind the flats. The priest was waving a white flag and they picked the body up and took it to the back of the flats. I didn’t see what happened to the man who had clutched his head going down.

1 B767-768

85.33 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Private U said that when he returned from handing over the man he had arrested he had been going to go to Sergeant O’s APC but in fact went to the corner of the Rossville Flats:1

Q. From there where were you intending to make your way?

A. At this point most of the firing had died down, hardly anything happening. I saw more of my own platoon in firing positions so the area inside of the flats was covered, but the corner, I believe the north corner of Rossville flats was not covered, or it was covered by one man and I did not think it was enough, so I went and joined him.

Q. When you were in that position did you see some people moving?

A. Yes.

Q. Where were they moving?

A. There were people moving all round this area, moving along here, a few people moving in towards Glenfada Park.

Q. Did you see a particular group of people?

A. At this point I see a group of about five or six men moving out from the area of Glenfada Park.

Q. Which way were they moving towards?

A. Moving towards the flats.

Q. Were they on the Free Derry Corner side of the barricade or your side of the barricade?

A. On this side of the barricade.

Q. This is on the far side, the Free Derry Corner side. Did you notice any of that group of men in particular?

A. Yes, one man had a pistol which he raised and fired two quick shots in the area opposite Rossville flats.

1 WT13.97

85.34 Private U then gave the Widgery Inquiry a similar description to that in his written statement of firing at the man who had a pistol, seeing him fall backwards, seeing a man behind him clutch his head (Private U said that he did not see what happened to this man) and seeing the group of people all going down to the ground. He said that he reported this incident immediately to the Company Sergeant Major who was stood right next to me .1

1 WT13.98

85.35 We should record at this point that in his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1Warrant Officer Class II Lewis (the Company Sergeant Major of Support Company) told us that so far as he knew or recalled, Private U did not report a shot to him.

1 Day 373/168

85.36 Private U told the Widgery Inquiry that from his position he could see two bodies at the rubble barricade. He then gave an account of seeing an old man with one of the bodies and of a gunman firing from the door of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats,1to which we return later in this report.2

1 WT13.98-100 2Paragraph 86.565

85.37 During his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, Private U was shown his trajectory photograph.

85.38 Private U agreed that the man he shot was on the junction behind the flats and that there were people at or near the rubble barricade at the time, who would have been in danger as they were between the man and the soldiers at whom, according to Private U, the man was firing.1

1 WT14.3

85.39 Private U told the Widgery Inquiry that he had seen soldiers going into Glenfada Park and had then heard high velocity firing from that area.1

1 WT14.8

85.40 There is no entry in Major Loden’s List of Engagements1 that corresponds with the shot that Private U said that he fired at a man who had a pistol. Private U told us that he had no recollection of talking to Major Loden.2 It appears therefore that Private U did not report his shot to Major Loden, but we do not know why this was so.

1 ED49.12 2Day 369/183

85.41 Private U gave written and oral evidence to this Inquiry. In his written evidence to this Inquiry he gave a broadly similar account of his firing to the accounts that he had given in 1972.1

1 B787.005-006

85.42 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry, Private U told us that when he was at the northern end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats he recalled being on his own and hearing gunfire coming from – towards Glenfada Park and others over to my left, which would be the courtyard area .1He said that when he heard the high velocity firing from Glenfada Park that he had described to the Widgery Inquiry he was at the corner of the Rossville Flats.2He also told us that when he was there he saw five or six soldiers crouched in firing positions behind a wall on the other side of Rossville Street directly across from him. The position of these soldiers he marked on the following photograph with a red arrow as being in the area of the ramp at the northern end of Glenfada Park North.3He used a blue arrow to show the approximate direction, according to Private U’s evidence, in which the gunman at whom he fired was facing.4

1 Day 369/58

2 Day 369/61-63

3 Day 369/64-67; B786.0039

4 Day 369/85

85.43 Private U told us that he could not say whether these soldiers moved before he fired his shot.1He also told us that he had no recollection of seeing from his position people carrying Michael Kelly from the rubble barricade after he had been shot, or of seeing three men fall at the rubble barricade, or of seeing civilians running towards the door of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, or of seeing a man stumble or fall near that door.2These are all matters to which we return later in this report.3Private U also said that he had no recollection of Army vehicles moving close to his position and parking at the time he was at the northern end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats.4

1 Day 369/68

2 Day 369/72-74

3 Paragraphs 86.59 and 86.85–151

4 Day 369/91

85.44 In the course of Private U’s oral evidence to this Inquiry, he gave the following answers when he was being questioned about his first RMP statement:1

MR HARVEY: Again this statement is graphically painting a picture at the time that you shot of the barricade being manned by rioters; is that not right?

A. That is what I said there.

Q. Yes. There is not one mention which later comes into your SA statement2and your Widgery evidence about persons walking across from Glenfada Park towards the direction of Rossville Flats; is that not right, not one mention? Do you want to go back? Let us go back, could we go to the previous page: As the rioters thinned out I saw a man on the wasteground behind the barricade, he was about 150 metres from my position. He was standing in the middle , standing, not walking, but ‘standing in the middle of about five other men and he was wearing a light-coloured anorak. In his hand he had a pistol ...

That is a far different picture from the picture you sought to paint in your Treasury Solicitor’s statement3and in your evidence before Widgery: you are placing this man behind the barricade at some distance, but in the midst of rioters who are thinning out; he is a member of them; they open up; he fires and all the other rioters nearby fall to the ground; is that not right?

A. Once again, I do not understand what you are getting at.

Q. Well, this picture that you are painting, it is a very simple picture in this statement, it is not really all that complicated: you get out of your vehicle, you say you make an arrest; you then go to the north-west corner of Block 1. There is still a riot going on. There are many people behind the barricade. They are thinning out. As they thin out, there is one man who is noticeably standing in the middle of five of those rioters. He opens fire with a pistol and other people around him fall to the ground nearby.

There is no mention of people walking out from Glenfada Park. There is no mention of people walking out from Glenfada Park and moving across towards Rossville Flats; is there?

A. I cannot explain that.

Q. Surely when you were making your statement to the Royal Military Police that particular evening these events would have been fresh in your mind as to when it was and what were the circumstances in which you had killed another person; were they not?

A. I suppose so.

Q. And this picture that you paint in words is consistent with other members of your unit, that is both Mortar Platoon, Machine Gun Platoon firing, either simultaneously or around the same time as you are and not one person being killed but a number of persons being killed at this barricade; is that not right?

A. No, it is not.

1 Day 369/147-150

2 This refers to his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry.

3 This is also a reference to his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry.

85.45 It was suggested to Private U that while he was at the end of Block 1 he could not have failed to see other troops shoot and kill a number of those who were hit behind the rubble barricade. Private U said: I did not see that. 1

1 Day 369/156; Day 369/163

85.46 Private U’s attention was drawn to some of the evidence, to which we refer below,1given by Bombardier 015, who was stationed in the shirt factory on the corner of Little James Street and Sackville Street, which he marked with an X on the following photograph when he made his written statement to this Inquiry.2

1 Paragraphs 85.48–67 2B1434.009

85.47 As can be seen, from this position Bombardier 015 had a view down Rossville Street. Private U gave the following evidence:1

Q. Sir Allan Green has already taken you to some portions of what 015 said, can I take you to his statement at B1414.2If we could go to the final paragraph on this page. This is the soldier I have already pointed out to you on photographs 415, 417, 427, you can see the Peter England factory. He is looking straight down Rossville Street:

Suddenly all the troops in the area seemed to dive for cover and take up fire positions. One soldier I noticed was observing two men behind a rubble barricade that stretched from Block No 1 Rossville Flats across Rossville St to Glenfada Park. The soldier was positioned on the corner of Block No 1 Rossville Flats. The men were continually throwing missiles in his direction.

Your claiming before the Widgery Inquiry is in fact that people were throwing stones and bottles at you and that you were hit several times by stones and twice by two bottles; that is right, is it not?

A. That is correct, but not at that time.

Q. You were positioned – and the soldier later describes where it is – it is in precisely the north-west corner, you were positioned there and you were positioned there on your own; is that not right?

A. As far as I remember.

Q. The two men suddenly jumped up and started running towards an open door halfway down Block No 1. The rear man stopped suddenly and turned to look at the soldier, as the soldier brought his SLR into the aim position. The man turned and started running faster towards the open door. I then saw the soldier fire one round in the direction of the fleeing man. The man dropped to the ground. He fell in the doorway, I then saw hands come from the doorway and dragged the body in.

When he gave evidence on 10th July, he accepted that with the perspective that he had, the person may not have fallen into the doorway, but in fact have been brought into the rear of Block 1 at the south-west corner. You are firing in the same direction as the person described by 015; is that not right? You are firing along the eastern pavement of Rossville Street; is that not right?

A. That is his description.

Q. But that is the position you were firing in; that is the trajectory of your shot?

A. I was at that corner.

Q. And you were at that corner?

A. That day, yes.

Q. And you were the first soldier at that corner that day, so far as you recollect?

A. I, I cannot say I was the first soldier there; I have a recollection of being the only soldier there.

Q. If you were the first soldier and the only soldier there for some time, you are firing in this direction, you also, like the soldier described by 015, fired only one shot; that is correct, is it not?

A. I fired only one shot.

Q. The person that you hit, by whatever mechanism, appeared to have been brought into the safety of the rear of the flats; that is also right, is it not?

A. I did not see that.

1 Day 369/157-159

2 B1414

The evidence of Bombardier 015

85.48 In his first RMP statement,1timed at 1150 hours on 3rd February 1972, Bombardier 015, a member of 22 Lt AD Regt, recorded that he was at one of the upper windows of the Peter England shirt factory in Little James Street. From that position he saw a soldier at the corner of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. The soldier was observing two men behind the rubble barricade who were continually throwing missiles in his direction. The two men suddenly jumped up and started running towards an open door halfway down Block 1. The rear man stopped suddenly and turned to look at the soldier, as the soldier brought his rifle into the aiming position. Then the man turned again and started running faster towards the door. Bombardier 015 saw the soldier fire one round in the direction of the fleeing man, who fell to the ground in the doorway. Hands emerged from the doorway and dragged the body inside. Bombardier 015 stated that while he was on duty on that day his vision was aided by a pair of binoculars, but he did not say in this statement whether he was using the binoculars when he observed this incident.

1 B1413-B1416

85.49 In his second RMP statement,1taken by Colonel Overbury and dated 16th February 1972, Bombardier 015 recorded that the open door was at the south end of Block 1, not in the centre as he had said in his first RMP statement. He also said that when the man stopped and turned to face the soldier at the corner of Block 1, the man raised his right arm to shoulder height, pointing towards the soldier. Bombardier 015 had not been able to see whether the man had anything in his hand. According to this account Bombardier 015 pointed the man out to Gunner 023, who was at another window in the same room.

1 B1422

85.50 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry, dated 9th March 1972,1Bombardier 015 recorded that during the relevant period of observation he was using his binoculars from time to time. The soldier was at the near corner of Block 1. When the two men were behind the rubble barricade, Bombardier 015 saw the movement of their arms, and saw pieces of rock coming over and landing on the corner where the soldier was positioned. Bombardier 015 did not see any flashes or hear any bangs where they landed . There was a lot of other noise. When the rear man stopped running towards the door and turned to look at the soldier, Bombardier 015 could see that he was not holding any weapon as large as a rifle. He was too distant for Bombardier 015 to be able, even with the aid of binoculars, to see whether he was holding anything as small as a pistol. Bombardier 015 saw the soldier fire after the man had turned again and was running away towards the door at a faster pace than before.

1 B1425

85.51 In manuscript on this statement, where Bombardier 015 had described the man turning to look at the soldier, are the words His right arm came up . We return to this manuscript addition below.1

1 Paragraphs 85.64–65

85.52 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry,1Bombardier 015 said that the two men were throwing objects from behind the rubble barricade on the side closer to Block 1. The distance was too great for him to see what sort of objects they were throwing. He saw some of the objects landing near the soldier at the corner of Block 1. Bombardier 015 said that the two men suddenly got up and and started running away towards the door at the south end of the Rossville Flats. The rear man then stopped and turned round and faced the soldier. He said that he was unable to see whether the rear man had anything in his hand when he stopped and turned. Asked to confirm that the soldier at the corner brought his weapon to the aim, Bombardier 015 said And fired, sir . Bombardier 015 was then asked what happened, and he replied: The man who was running away, sir, who had stopped, he fell in the door, in front of the door, and then he was dragged into the door, sir. Bombardier 015 said that he was sure that the man had not been crawling at any time. He neither saw nor heard any of the objects thrown by the two men from behind the barricade exploding. Questioned by Lord Widgery, at the end of his oral evidence Bombardier 015 gave the following evidence:2

LORD WIDGERY: Was this man running away at the moment when he was shot?

A. No.

Q. As I understand it, he paused and you saw his arm move?

A. Yes.

Q. But at what time did the soldier fire at him?

A. I could not say, I did not see; all I saw was the puff of smoke and he fell away towards the door.

MR. GIBBENS: I think my Lord was asking whether you saw the sign of the shot before or after he raised his arm.

A. It was about the same time.

1 WT16.36-WT16.37

2 WT16.40

85.53 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1Bombardier 015 told us that the two men were lying or crouching behind the rubble barricade. According to this account, they threw probably three, four or five objects in the direction of the soldier at the north-western corner of Block 1, using an overarm action that suggested that they were throwing a grenade or nail bombs or something similar . Bombardier 015 did not see any of the objects explode. The two men suddenly rose from behind the barricade and ran towards the doorway. The rear man stopped and turned anti-clockwise, so that his left side was facing the soldier. As he did so, he lifted his right arm, so that it was bent across his chest at shoulder height, with his hand pointing towards the soldier. The man was carrying nothing as large as a rifle or a stick. Bombardier 015 could not see clearly, and could not say whether the man had anything in his hand, but said that his actions were those of someone firing a pistol in a hurry. Bombardier 015 saw a puff of smoke from the rifle of the soldier at the corner. The man crumpled down and was dragged by one or more people into the entrance to Block 1. This all happened within seconds or micro-seconds of the time when the man turned towards the soldier. Bombardier 015 thought that the man would have been hit between his front and right side, ie more to the front than to the rear . Bombardier 015 could not believe that the soldier would have shot the man if he had nothing in his hands, and assumed that the man must have had a pistol. Bombardier 015 said that the passage in his first RMP statement that suggested that the man had been running away when he was shot may have been a little confused .2He thought that the passage to the same effect in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry was misleading the way that it is written . The man was shot as he turned towards the soldier with his arm up. Bombardier 015 stated that although his current recollection was that he observed this incident without using his binoculars, the reference in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry to his inability to see, even with binoculars, whether the man had anything in his hand showed that he must have been using binoculars.

1 B1434.003-B1434.004

2 B1434.006-B1434.007

85.54 In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,1Bombardier 015 said that he was too far away to see whether any of the objects thrown by the two men from behind the barricade were fizzing. He could not say correctly that they were throwing anything other than pieces of rock. When the rear man stopped running and turned to face the soldier, Bombardier 015 had not, so far as he could remember, seen smoke or a muzzle flash. He did not hear any pistol shots. He did not know whether the man was armed, although he had assumed that he was because he could not believe that the soldier would have fired without reason. He did not recall seeing anyone else fall at the same time as the man was shot. Bombardier 015 said that he had his binoculars with him during this incident, but was not using them all the time. He told us that the man was shot as he was stopped or just about to run away again and that he ran on towards the doorway after the shot was fired.2He could not say why he had said in his first RMP statement and in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry that the man had been shot while running away from the soldier, but suggested that he might have been tired and confused when he made those statements. He said that he considered that the man was fleeing because he jumped up from the barricade and went, he was fleeing from the moment he got up . Bombardier 015 denied that he had resiled from his earliest accounts in order to protect the soldier. His attention was drawn to the similarity between the relevant passages in his first RMP statement and in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry.3He said that he did not know whether the latter passage had been copied from the former. Bombardier 015 said that the man took a step or two after being shot before he fell and was pulled into Block 1.4It was then put to Bombardier 015 that he had been wrong when he said that the man had been running away when he was shot. He said that he did not think that he had been wrong. Bombardier 015 accepted that the man might have been pulled around the south-western corner of Block 1 instead of into the doorway.5Bombardier 015 said that he had told the truth in his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, in which he had said that the man was not running away when he was shot.6

1 Day 360/173-183

2 Day 360/185-191

3 Day 360/191-193

4 Day 360/197-198

5 Day 360/202-203

6 Day 360/208-210

85.55 There are three common threads that run through the accounts that Bombardier 015 gave in 1972 and the evidence that he gave to this Inquiry. The first of these was that the man he said he saw was running from the rubble barricade away from the soldiers. The second is that the man stopped and turned towards a soldier at the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. The third is that that soldier shot at, and hit, the man.

85.56 There is no mention in Bombardier 015’s first RMP statement or in his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry of the man raising his right arm. In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry he said that the man’s right arm came up as he turned, but said nothing about the man pointing his arm at the soldier.

85.57 In his RMP statement and in his statement for the Widgery Inquiry, Bombardier 015 recorded that the man was running away when the soldier shot him. In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry he said that the man was not running away at the moment he was shot.

85.58 It was submitted that Bombardier 015 had tailored his accounts, particularly his second RMP statement in which he had recorded that the man had raised his right arm and pointed it towards the soldier, in order to provide a justification for the soldier firing.1In response to this, the legal representatives of Bombardier 015 submitted that the reason there was no mention of the man raising and pointing his arm at the soldier in the statement Bombardier 015 made for the Widgery Inquiry was either because this was omitted in error, or because the statement was made up without the statement taker actually interviewing Bombardier 015.2These representatives further submitted that there was nothing to support a finding of deliberate deception on the part of Bombardier 015.3

1 FS1.1696-1699

2 FS9.121

3 FR9.5-6

85.59 The statement made for the Widgery Inquiry was taken by John Heritage, one of the lawyers acting for the Widgery Inquiry. Those acting for John Heritage were shown the submissions made on behalf of Bombardier 015 and replied by letter dated 20th April 2004,1setting out John Heritage’s response to the suggestions that he had not interviewed Bombardier 015 or had in error omitted including what Bombardier 015 had told Colonel Overbury about the man raising his right arm.

1 FR18.1-4

85.60 John Heritage expressed the view that he had not simply amalgamated the two RMP statements without interviewing Bombardier 015. He pointed to the fact that the statement that he took contained material that was not in either of the two previous statements. He pointed out that it was his practice to take the witness through his previous statements. He also pointed out that at the end of the statement he recorded that he had taken it in the presence of Charles MacMahon, who was acting on behalf of the Army.

85.61 As to the reason why there was no mention in the statement he took from Bombardier 015 of the man raising his right arm, John Heritage suggested that there were three possible explanations, namely that he did not have the second RMP statement before him; that he overlooked the evidence about the raised arm in that statement; or that he had concluded that since Bombardier 015 had clearly stated that the man was running away when he was shot, the evidence relating to the raised arm was not material.1

1 FR18.2

85.62 John Heritage was unable to state with certainty which one of these explanations was correct, but expressed the view that it was likely that he did have the second RMP statement before him, since that statement had been provided for the Widgery Inquiry and contained the information that the door to the flats was at the far end, which appears in the statement that he took; that it was also unlikely that the evidence about the right arm was omitted through inadvertence, since it was his practice to refer to any material evidence a witness had already given, to which he already adhered, and since, if Bombardier 015’s recollection seemed clear on the point, and since the evidence was favourable to the Army, Charles MacMahon could and (as an experienced lawyer) would have intervened to request its inclusion ”.1

1 FR18.3

85.63 John Heritage considered the possibility that the evidence about the raised arm was intentionally omitted as the result of a discussion with Bombardier 015, but stated that if this had happened he would normally have added an explanation for the change of evidence. There is no such explanation and John Heritage could not now offer any reason for this. However, he expressed the view that the most likely explanation was that the matter had been discussed with Bombardier 015. He also told us that Bombardier 015 must in any event have left him in no doubt that he saw the man running away when he was shot ”.1

1 FR18.3

85.64 As to the manuscript addition of the words His right arm came up on the statement, John Heritage told us that this was not in his handwriting and that he did not make it. He expressed the view that it was likely that this was done by one of the counsel appearing at the Widgery Inquiry, and drew our attention to the fact that other statements that he took also bear additions in similar handwriting.

85.65 We observe elsewhere in this report1that we considered John Heritage to be a careful, honest witness on whose evidence we could place reliance. In those circumstances we are of the view that he was correct in his view that the omission of any mention of the man raising his right arm was likely to have been the result of a discussion with Bombardier 015.

1 Paragraph 51.123

85.66 Our assessment of Bombardier 015’s evidence as a whole is that we are sure that he saw a man running away from the rubble barricade who stopped and turned to look at the soldier who was at the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats; and that as the man turned to continue running away, the soldier shot him. We are doubtful whether the man raised his arm, and we do not accept that he pointed it towards the soldier, something that (apart from his second RMP statement) Bombardier 015 did not mention in his other 1972 statements or when he gave oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry.

85.67 Bombardier 015 agreed with Counsel to this Inquiry that he believed that a soldier in the British Army would not fire without a reason, which had led to him telling us that he assumed that the man must have had a pistol.1It is possible that in this belief he convinced himself that the man must have pointed at the soldier. We are left in doubt whether this was the explanation for what he told Colonel Overbury, or whether he knowingly invented this detail, from which he later resiled when questioned by John Heritage and when he gave his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry.

1 Day 360/181; B1434.004

The evidence of Gunner 023

85.68 As we have noted above,1 in his second RMP statement Bombardier 015 recorded that he had pointed out the man he had seen running away to Gunner 023 who was at another window in the same room ”.2

1 Paragraph 85.49 2B1422

85.69 Gunner 023 gave an RMP statement and also a written statement for the Widgery Inquiry. In his RMP statement,1 he recorded that he said that he saw a man appear from behind a wall, on the waste ground opposite FAHAN ST . His RMP map2 put the position of this man as just to the west of the south end of the northern block of Joseph Place. The man seemed to take aim with a rifle at APCs in Rossville Street. Gunner 023 heard some low velocity shots and the man disappeared. After a couple of minutes, the man appeared again and aimed his weapon in the direction of the APCs. Gunner 023 took aim at the man with his SLR. He then heard a low velocity shot that seemed to come from the man’s position, immediately followed by a high velocity shot from the area of the APCs. The man behind the wall seemed to jump in the air and fall back. A crowd gathered around him and carried him off. In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,3 Gunner 023 gave a similar account.

1 B1519

2 B1520.1

3 B1522

85.70 In his written statement to this Inquiry,1 Gunner 023 said that he no longer remembered the incident. In his oral evidence to this Inquiry,2 he said that he did not recall Bombardier 015 drawing his attention to a man who had been running towards a doorway south of the rubble barricade and was then shot.

1 B1525.1-2

2 Day 360/40

85.71 We have found no other evidence to support Gunner 023’s account of seeing a man with a rifle near Joseph Place, or of this man apparently being shot and then being carried away by a crowd. No soldier gave evidence of firing at or hitting a man in this position. On the basis of Gunner 023’s account, a soldier would have been justified in firing at a man behaving as Gunner 023 described. Gunner 023’s account was so different from that of Bombardier 015 that in our view it cannot be a description of the incident described by the latter. In these circumstances we take the view that Gunner 023 must have been mistaken in what he said he saw.

Summary and consideration of the accounts of firing by Private U

85.72 Private U gave evidence that when at the north-western corner of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, he fired at and hit a man armed with a pistol who fired two shots towards soldiers on the opposite side of Rossville Street; and who, according to his first RMP statement, was standing with about five other men on waste ground behind the rubble barricade; or, according to the evidence he gave to the Widgery Inquiry, was walking with a group of men across from Glenfada Park towards the Rossville Flats.

85.73 We have no reason to doubt that Private U fired from the position that he indicated. We should note that Private 006 told us that during the time when he was at the north-western corner of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats, or behind a vehicle near that corner, he did not see Private U fire or see any soldier fire from that corner.1 If Private U had fired from the corner during that time, Private 006 said that he would have been bound to see him do so. However, in view of the evidence of Bombardier 015, we are sure that a soldier did fire from that position.

1 Day 334/76-82

85.74 In our view that soldier was Private U. There is no evidence that suggests to us that another soldier fired his rifle into Sector 3 from the north-western corner of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats.

85.75 We should note at this point that Charles Canning, who, as we have described earlier in this report,1was arrested by Private U and Private 112, recorded in his NICRA statement2 that before he was arrested one of the two soldiers who arrested him had been firing shots with his SLR towards the people at the rubble barricade. There is no other evidence that suggests to us that Private U fired his rifle at this early stage or that he fired more than one shot. In his written statement to this Inquiry,3Charles Canning said that he saw a number of paratroopers firing towards the rubble barricade from about the point marked “G” on the plan attached to his statement4(near the entrance to the alleyway between Glenfada Park North and Columbcille Court). He said that of the two soldiers who arrested him, the soldier with the SLR had come from that area, but he did not say that he had seen him firing his rifle. In our view Charles Canning probably witnessed Corporal P firing his first two shots and confused this soldier with those who had arrested him.

1 Chapter 35

2 AC25.5

3 AC25.2

4 AC25.6

85.76 Apart from Private U’s account, there is no evidence from any source that suggests to us that anyone was shot in the position that he gave for the man at whom he fired. As with Corporal P, we find it beyond belief that a man, in full view of a number of soldiers in the area and away from any cover, should produce a pistol and fire it at soldiers. We reject as an invention Private U’s account of the man with a pistol. We should add that having listened to Private U we formed the view that he had seen and remembered much more of what occurred on and near the rubble barricade than he was prepared to admit to us.

85.77 Later in this report1we conclude, for the reasons that we give, that Private U shot Hugh Gilmour; and we also consider the state of mind of Private U when he fired.

1 Paragraphs 86.154 and 89.46–49

The evidence of Captain 028

85.78 The representatives of the majority of represented soldiers submitted that the description Captain 028 gave in 1972 of a man with a pistol who appeared to the south of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats had particular similarities to the account of Private U.1

1 FS7.1684

85.79 Captain 028 was the Unit Press Officer of 22 Lt AD Regt.1 He gave an RMP statement dated 3rd February 1972,2 and written and oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry.3 In these accounts he described being in Rossville Street when the vehicles of Support Company came in, and hearing a shot fired from a .303in rifle or an M1 carbine from the direction of Free Derry Corner, which struck the front of the leading vehicle just before it came to a stop in front of the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats; seeing a man with a machine gun some 20 yards behind the rubble barricade fire about 15 rounds in one burst, which hit the ground about 20 feet in front of soldiers who were advancing towards the barricade; hearing 7.62mm fire returned and seeing the man with the machine gun fall; seeing a priest at the rubble barricade apparently directing the other people there; seeing the bodies of four people at the rubble barricade, of whom he told the Widgery Inquiry that he could not say categorically whether they were hit by Army fire or by the man with the machine gun behind them; and later seeing a man appear from the south end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats with a pistol, who fell to the ground when a shot was fired, together with another civilian who had run or walked towards him.

1 WT17.64

2 B1566

3 B1569.001-002; WT17.52-64

85.80 Captain 028 told us in his written statement to this Inquiry that he now had no recollection of making these statements in 1972 or of giving oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry. He also told us that he no longer had any memory of the incidents summarised above, except that he recalled hearing a high velocity shot fired from the vicinity of Free Derry Corner.1

1 B1582.3; B1582.6-8

85.81 According to his own accounts, Captain 028 had accompanied the paratroopers who had gone through Barrier 14 in William Street. As we have explained earlier in this report,1 this occurred after the vehicles from Support Company had gone into the Bogside. On this basis Captain 028 could not have been in Rossville Street in time to see the Support Company vehicles arrive, and thus to witness a bullet hitting the leading vehicle before it had come to a stop. As we have explained earlier in this report,2 no Army vehicle moved to the north end of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats until much of the shooting was over. His accounts of this shot and of a man firing a burst of about 15 rounds with a machine gun from some 20 yards behind the rubble barricade are unsupported by any other persuasive evidence. Some of his other accounts, such as that of seeing a priest (whom he identified in his RMP statement,3 by reference to a photograph,4 as Fr Anthony Mulvey) directing people at the rubble barricade as the man was firing the machine gun, are in our view so far-fetched that they can be rejected out of hand. We consider the evidence given by Fr Mulvey elsewhere in this report.5

1 Paragraphs 20.259–261

2 Paragraphs 43.18 and Chapter 59

3 B1567

4 B1568.002

5 Paragraphs 122.138–141 and 124.24–27

85.82 In these circumstances we take the view that it would be unwise to rely at all upon the accounts of Captain 028; and we accordingly reject the submission that his evidence supports the accounts given by Private U.

Lance Corporal J

85.83 In his first RMP statement, having described shooting from a position that appears (from his RMP map and later accounts) to have been near the low walls of the Kells Walk ramp at a man he said had a nail bomb at the rubble barricade (an incident that we have considered earlier in this report1), Lance Corporal J continued:2

I then, accompanied by other members of my unit, advanced further along Rossville Street towards the barricade. Several nail bombs were thrown at us. I saw at the junction of a block of flats a person, he was holding a nail bomb in his hand. I could see smoke coming from the bomb. I fired one aimed 7.62 round at this man. The round struck the wall above him and he then dropped down and disappeared behind the block of flats. I do not think I hit him.

My location was about 50–60 metres from the man’s location. I could not describe him as I was being fired on from the flats by an automatic weapon. The advance was continued and the crowds from the barricade were dispersed.

I then received orders to go to Glenfada Park and assist in escort duties for a number of civilians that had been arrested for rioting. These were escorted by us to our vehicle location where they were taken in armoured vehicles, I do not know where.

We were ordered to withdraw. I did not fire any more rounds.

1 Paragraphs 81.36–57 and 83.9–10 2B266

85.84 In his written statement for the Widgery Inquiry,1Lance Corporal J gave this account of his second shot:

After a few minutes we then moved further down towards the entrance to an alleyway which leads to Glenfada Park. From behind the barricade several nail bombs were thrown in our direction. They fell short and I saw about two explode. Then I saw, at the corner of Rossville Flats further down Rossville Street, a man who had his head and left arm round the corner and he held in his left hand an object which I saw to be fizzing. I fired one quick aimed shot at him. As soon as I saw him he must have seen me and as I fired he ducked back round the corner out of my vision and I did not see the object in his hand explode. I do not think that I hit him.

1 B273

85.85 In his oral evidence to the Widgery Inquiry, after he had described his first shot, which he said that he fired from the low walls of the Kells Walk ramp, Lance Corporal J gave an account of moving forward from the low walls when most of the trouble had stopped for that time . He said that most of the people had moved back, to the far corner of the Rossville Flats and the corner of Glenfada Park, but some of them were still throwing missiles and several nail bombs were then thrown , of which two went off.1

1 WT15.30

85.86 He then gave the following answers:1

Q. Did you see some particular person who attracted your attention?

A. Just as I got to the alleyway leading to Glenfada Park I looked across to the far side of Rossville Flats and a person came into view there with a fizzing object in his left hand.

Q. Just point out with the pointer where he was.

A. Just here.

LORD WIDGERY: I cannot see from here. Is it at the very end of the block that you are pointing?

A. The very end, sir.

Q. What level? Ground floor?

A. No, he was on the street outside.

Mr. UNDERHILL: He came to the corner of the building?

A. Yes sir.

Q. Did he have anything in his hand?

A. Yes, he had a cylindrical object and it was fizzing.

Q. Can you remember which hand it was in?

A. In the left hand.

Q. Was he close to the corner of the building?

A. Yes sir, he was hiding behind it and as I got to the wall he came out into view sufficient to throw the object.

Q. What did you do?

A. Well, I got to the alleyway, to the corner there, took one aimed shot at him –

Q. Did you have much time for aiming?

A. No sir.

Q. Did it hit him, as far as you could tell?

A. I don’t think so, sir. I think as soon as I saw him he must have seen me.

Q. What did he do? Did he remain in the same position?

A. As I fired he kind of went back behind the corner and the round must have missed him.

Q. Did you see what happened to the object he had in his hand?

A. It wasn’t thrown. He seemed to go back behind the corner.

Q. Did it go off, so far as you know?

A. I didn’t hear any explosion, sir.

Q. Where did you go then?

A. We then moved up into Glenfada Park …

1 WT15.31

85.87 We have reproduced Lance Corporal J’s trajectory photograph1earlier,2but it is convenient to do so again here. The upper trajectory line marked on this photograph indicates that Lance Corporal J fired at the man he said was a nail bomber at the corner of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats from a position in Rossville Street beside the ramp at the north-eastern corner of Glenfada Park North.

1 B289 2Paragraph 81.47

85.88 We have observed above1that there is no entry in Major Loden’s List of Engagements that corresponds with either of the shots that Lance Corporal J stated that he had fired in Rossville Street. It appears therefore that he did not report this firing to Major Loden, but we do not know why this was so.

1 Paragraph 81.48

85.89 Lance Corporal J gave written and oral evidence to this Inquiry. In his written evidence1he told us that his recollection was poor, but he described firing a second shot, at a man who was holding a smoking object, after he had moved further south down Rossville Street from the position from which he had fired his first shot, and he said that he was sure that he had not hit this person, but the wall above him.

1 B289.003-004

85.90 As we have already observed,1we did not believe Lance Corporal J when he professed, in his oral evidence to this Inquiry, that he had virtually no recollection of the events of the day.

1 Paragraph 81.57

Summary of the accounts of firing by Lance Corporal J

85.91 According to his accounts, Lance Corporal J fired first from the low walls of the Kells Walk ramp at a nail bomber at the rubble barricade, but did not think that he had hit him. He then moved south along Rossville Street, and from the wall of the Glenfada Park North ramp fired another shot at a man at the southern corner of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats who was holding a cylindrical fizzing or smoking object, but again did not think that he had hit him.

85.92 No other soldier gave specific evidence about Lance Corporal J firing from near the ramp at the north-eastern corner of Glenfada Park North.

85.93 Earlier in this report1we gave our reasons for rejecting the accounts of Lance Corporal J of the throwing of nail bombs and for our conclusion that, in view of the unreliability of his evidence, we could not accept Lance Corporal J’s account of shooting at a nail bomber at the rubble barricade in the absence of supporting evidence, of which in our view there was none. We take the same view of the claim by Lance Corporal J that he saw and fired at a nail bomber who was at the corner of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats. Again there is no evidence from any source to support this claim. In our view there was no such nail bomber.

1 Paragraphs 83.9–10

85.94 Whether Lance Corporal J shot anyone at the rubble barricade and whether he fired in the genuine but mistaken belief that he had seen a nail bomber at the corner of Block 1 of the Rossville Flats are matters that we consider later in this report.1

1 Paragraphs 89.33–41