Skip to Content | Accessibility Statement | Site Map

Report of the The Bloody Sunday Inquiry
- Volume V - Chapter 70



The actions of civilians in Rossville Street on and after the arrival of the Army vehicles

Chapter 70: The actions of civilians in Rossville Street on and after the arrival of the Army vehicles

70.1 In our consideration of the events of Sector 2,1we concluded that while some civilians threw stones and bottles at the vehicles as they came into the Bogside, the general reaction of the crowd was to run away. So far as Sector 3 is concerned, there was initially the same general movement away, as can be seen from the film of the two leading vehicles driving in.2

1 Paragraph 24.72 2 Vid 48 12.26

70.2 We have referred earlier, in our consideration of the events of Sector 2,1to photographs taken by Derrik Tucker Senior from Block 2 of the Rossville Flats, before and as the Army vehicles came in. We set out below the photograph that he took after the Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) of Mortar Platoon had turned off Rossville Street.

1 Paragraphs 23.20, 23.22 and 24.27–28

70.3 Ciaran Donnelly, the Irish Times photographer, took a number of photographs when the vehicles arrived. He told us that he took the first two of these from the ramp at the north-eastern corner of Glenfada Park South (ie from behind and slightly above the rubble barricade) and the second two at ground level and also from behind the barricade.1His contact prints show that the photographs were taken in the following order.

1 Day 71/21-23; Day 71/30-36

70.4 At the stage when these photographs were taken, Lieutenant N’s APC had already turned into the Eden Place waste ground and Sergeant O’s APC into the Rossville Flats car park, and so they are out of view.

70.5 Before the sequence of six photographs taken by Liam Mailey that show the arrival of Corporal P and Private 017 at the pram-ramp wall south of Kells Walk, which we have set out above,1Liam Mailey had taken another photograph, which we show below.

1 Paragraphs 69.51–56

70.6 Although each of the photographs that we have set out above shows only a moment in time and must be treated on that basis, together they give a view of people moving away from the Army vehicles, a number gathering at the rubble barricade, some to the north of that barricade and some apparently armed with stones and similar missiles. A number of civilians gave evidence that there was rioting at and north of the barricade, in the form of throwing bricks, stones and similar missiles.

70.7 Thomas Heaney,1 Vincent McCauley,2 Ciaran Donnelly3 and Peter Lancaster4 told us of rallying cries and calls for people at Free Derry Corner to return to the rubble barricade. Some witnesses, such as Don Mullan,5 told us of returning to the barricade with maybe a dozen or two dozen people to throw stones.6 Paul McGeady put the number returning at maybe several dozen .7 Gavan Duffy said about … 80 people … surged forward towards the [Free Derry Corner side of the] barricade from Glenfada Park North on seeing a soldier hitting a youth with a rifle butt.8

1 Day 140/32

2 Day 119/115

3 M22.7

4 AL4.8

5 Day 148/105-9

6 Day 148/105

7 Day 137/128

8 Day 126/144

70.8 Vincent McCauley told us of rioters charging towards the soldiers 1 and of youths running towards the soldiers with the intent of tackling them with bricks ,2 from about the south end of Glenfada Park South.3 Paul McGeady thought maybe between 6 to 12 people went over the barricade,4 while George Downey thought three or four guys went over the barricade five or six foot .5 Hugh Patrick O’Donnell said that 30 to 50 people ran towards soldiers at the corner of the Rossville Flats, and that he thought that there had been 30/40 of us north of the barricade”.6 Frankie Mellon said that 20 or 30 people , including Hugh Gilmour (one of those shot and killed in Sector 3), would pick up fist-sized stones from behind the barricade and run forward about 40 or 50 yards to hurl them at the soldiers.7 James Quinn said that, while he threw stones from behind the barricade, some were stoning from the north side of the barricade.8George Roberts said that he and between 15 and 20 others threw stones from the rubble barricade, but the soldiers were too far away for them to reach.9

1 Day 119/117

2 Day 119/118

3 Day 119/135-138; AM99.10

4 Day 137/128

5 Day 123/16-19

6 AO32.4; Day 405/13-14

7 AM399.3; Day 151/137-138

8 AQ10.5; Day 179/54-55

9 Day 151/69-70

70.9 Many civilian witnesses described seeing or taking part in rioting at the barricade itself. Paul McGeady thought Maybe a dozen youths were involved in the stoning.1 Brian Kelly described rioting by some of between 12 and 15 youths behind the barricade, but thought that the youths would have realised that the stones could not reach the soldiers and that there was no chance of causing injury .2 Gavan Duffy believed that only a minority in the crowd were rioting with stones and bottles while the remainder watched without participating.3 Ciaran Donnelly said that of the 20 or so youths lined up behind the barricade, only six to ten were constantly throwing stones .4 Ronald Wood said that a crowd of ten to 15 people were throwing rubble and pieces of brick from the centre of the rubble barricade, among whom were two young men who fell, though he said that he had not actually seen the two men throwing stones.5 Professor Terence O’Keeffe (who in 1972 was Fr O’Keeffe) told us that he had the impression that a small group of youths, about 7 or 8, towards the middle of the barricade were throwing stones.6 George Roberts put the number at 15 to 20 maybe , but said that the soldiers were out of range.7 Jack Nash threw stones from behind the barricade and saw others do the same.8 Donal Deeney thought that There might have been more than 10 to 20 rioters.9

1 Day 137/125-126

2 AK6.14-15

3 Day 126/140-143

4 WT2.81

5 AW24.3; Day 127/21-22

6 H21.46; Day 127/99

7 Day 151/69-70

8 Day 137/31

9 Day 86/42

70.10 Assistant Chief Constable Robert Campbell, of the Renfrew and Bute Constabulary, and Superintendent Samuel McGonigle, then the Planning Officer of that constabulary, were visiting Northern Ireland in order to study the methods employed there for dealing with major incidents; and were present on Bloody Sunday. They accepted an invitation from the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) to observe the civil rights march from near the Walker Monument on the City Walls. We indicate the position of the Walker Monument on the following map and photograph.

70.11 Both these police officers reported being able to observe, among other things, part of the rubble barricade, though their view of Rossville Street further north was obscured by the Rossville Flats; and that they saw people running north to the rubble barricade and hurling stones and similar missiles at what they assumed were soldiers out of their view.1 According to Superintendent McGonigle, a crowd formed up behind the rubble barricade and then ran forward throwing these missiles.2

1 JC4.6; JM19.6

2 JM19.16

70.12 There was some evidence to suggest that a number of people at the rubble barricade went forward and threw stones after seeing a person arrested by soldiers on the Eden Place waste ground.

70.13 George Downey,1 Gavan Duffy,2 Paul McGeady,3 Alphonsus Cunningham,4 Noel McCartney5 and Hugh Patrick O’Donnell6 all gave accounts of what some described as a surge forward, with numbers varying from about three and four up to as many as several dozen crossing the barricade and going forward. However, none suggested that they came close to the arresting soldiers or near enough to do them harm. We accept that, as George Downey said, the surge was really more a gesture than a real attempt to engage the soldiers.7

1 Day 123/16-19

2 AD155.2; Day 126/144

3 AM219.3-4; Day 137/128

4 AC125.11

5 M55.8

6 Day 405/13

7 Day 123/65-66

70.14 Although it is not certain, we consider it more likely than not that the arrest, or one of the arrests, to which these civilians were referring, was that of William John Dillon. We considered this arrest in our discussion of the events of Sector 2.1 Neither of the soldiers who arrested William John Dillon (Private 006 and Private 037) gave any evidence of being approached by civilians or being stoned as they did so.

1 Chapter 33

70.15 As we noted while considering the arrest of William John Dillon,1 both Jeffrey Morris of the Daily Mail and Colman Doyle of the Irish Press photographed this event. The first photograph taken by Jeffrey Morris from the Eden Place waste ground gives a view across Rossville Street and of part of the rubble barricade.

1 Paragraphs 33.13–14 and 33.35–37

70.16 There is an enlargement of the left-hand side of this photograph shown below.

70.17 This shows two figures north of the rubble barricade and perhaps moving northwards. However, the photograph as a whole shows no-one near the soldier arresting William John Dillon, and the part of Rossville Street in view (from the western part of the rubble barricade to a position a few yards from the corner where Corporal P and Private 017 can be seen in the photographs we have considered above1) is shown entirely clear of people.

1 Paragraphs 69.44, 69.46 and 69.49

70.18 As we have also already noted1when discussing the arrest of William John Dillon, Colman Doyle took a very similar photograph from a position that must have been close to Jeffrey Morris. Colman Doyle’s contact prints show that after that he took five further photographs of the arrest of William John Dillon. In the background of the last three of these can be seen Corporal P and Private 017. Two of these photographs we have reproduced above.2 The contact sheet we show below.

1 Paragraph 33.36 2Paragraphs 69.44 and 69.49

70.19 In our view there can be little doubt that this series of photographs, and those of Jeffrey Morris, were taken over a short period of time. With the exception of the figures just to the north of the rubble barricade shown in the enlargement of Jeffrey Morris’s photograph, none shows any civilians (apart from William John Dillon) in the area of Rossville Street or along its western side.

Conclusions on the rioting at and near the rubble barricade

70.20 From the evidence we have considered above we are sure that rioting broke out at the rubble barricade soon after the Army vehicles arrived in Rossville Street, in the form of some dozen or more men collecting and throwing stones, bricks, rubble, bottles and the like towards the soldiers. Some went forward of the rubble barricade to stone from nearer the soldiers, but in our view none came near enough to soldiers to pose a real danger to them. At this stage most of the soldiers in Sector 3 were some 70 yards away from the rubble barricade, in the Kells Walk area of Rossville Street.