Bloody Sunday 1972: What really happened in Northern Ireland and how many died?


What happened during the harm to 26 civilians and 50 years after the 1972 Bogside Massacre? How many victims died and what happened to the soldiers of the parachute regiment?

Arrested civilians march to detention in the Bogside area of ​​Derry by British troops
Arrested civilians march to detention in the Bogside area of ​​Derry by British troops

Bloody Sunday, also known as the Bogside Massacre, was a massacre that took place in Derry, Northern Ireland, on January 30, 1972. In the horrific event, British troops opened fire on a group of protesters, killing 13 unarmed people and wounding 26 more.

Many of the victims were shot dead as they fled from armed troops, while others died while tending to the wounded. All those shot were Catholics.

The protesters were marching against a new law that allowed police to jail people without trial. Marching through the streets of Derry, they encountered soldiers from the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment.

The civilians were met by the shields of the soldiers. It was then that the regiment fired into the crowd.

Following the massacre, the British government carried out two investigations. The first query, Widgery Court, it found British soldiers “bordering on recklessness” but not guilty of any crime, but the report was criticized for “whitewashing” the activities of British troops.

The horror of the massacre sparked a surge of anger in Northern Ireland, pushing many marginalized youths to side with republican organizations such as Sinn Fein and the IRA.

British troops search civilians on the day of the Bloody Sunday massacre
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Image:

Popperfoto/Getty Images)

After years of division caused by The Troubles, the British government released another investigation: the Saville Inquiry, in 2010, concluded that the killings were, in fact, “unjustified”.

He found that all those who were killed were unarmed.

Following the Saville Inquiry, then-Prime Minister David Cameron formally apologized on behalf of the British government.

However, the massacre already had far-reaching implications for Northern Ireland and its civilians, inciting anger, division and nationalist violence that lasted for decades.

How many people died on Bloody Sunday?

Thirteen people were shot to death at the scene and at least fifteen others were injured.

Another member of the public is believed to have died of his injuries a few weeks after the massacre, bringing the total number of victims to 14.

What happened to the Bloody Sunday Parachute Regiment?

A mural in Derry depicting the events of Bloody Sunday
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Image:

REUTERS)

Despite the anger that followed the massacre, none of the 21 soldiers involved in the deaths were arrested.

The Widgery Tribunal largely absolved the British soldiers and authorities of blame, while the victims’ families claimed the investigation was a cover-up. They then spent years campaigning for a new public inquiry.

After years of campaigning, the families finally sought justice with the Saville investigation in 2010.

The investigation concluded that, contrary to previous reports, soldiers had fired on civilians first.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) launched a murder investigation and a soldier, known as Soldier F, was expected to stand trial for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney.

However, years later, in 2021, the Public Ministry (PPS) stated that soldier F would not face trial for ‘inadmissible’ evidence.

This decision was made due to the circumstances in which the evidence was collected.

Although no soldiers have been tried for the massacre, the decision not to proceed with the case is now subject to live judicial review.

This is after one of a victim’s brothers filed a legal challenge.

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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