30th January 1972
In an incident which remains extremely controversial to this day, members of 1 Para opened fire on a civil rights march in Londonderry. There is almost no doubt that those who were killed were not, at that immediate moment, involved in acts of terrorism. There is considerable disagreement over whether the British troops present were engaged by Republican terrorists before, during or after the main shooting episode.
Whatever the reason for the shooting, the fact remains that the incident was a disaster for the British Army and a propaganda dream for PIRA which allowed them to stake the very dubious claim that they were, in some sense, the protectors of the Roman Catholic community in Northern Ireland.
Those killed were:
John (Jackie) Duddy (17). Shot in the chest in the car park of Rossville flats. Four witnesses stated Duddy was unarmed and running away from the paratroopers when he was killed. Three of them saw a soldier take deliberate aim at the youth as he ran. Uncle of Irish boxer John Duddy.
Patrick Joseph Doherty (31). Shot from behind while attempting to crawl to safety in the forecourt of Rossville flats. Doherty was the subject of a series of photographs, taken before and after he died by French journalist Gilles Peress. Despite testimony from "Soldier F" that he had fired at a man holding and firing a pistol, Widgery acknowledged that the photographs showed Doherty was unarmed, and that forensic tests on his hands for gunshot residue proved negative.
Bernard McGuigan (41). Shot in the back of the head when he went to help Patrick Doherty. He had been waving a white handkerchief at the soldiers to indicate his peaceful intentions. Hugh Pious Gilmour (17)
Shot in the chest as he ran from the paratroopers on Rossville Street. Widgery acknowledged that a photograph taken seconds after Gilmour was hit corroborated witness reports that he was unarmed, and that tests for gunshot residue were negative. Kevin McElhinney (17).
Shot from behind while attempting to crawl to safety at the front entrance of the Rossville Flats. Two witnesses stated McElhinney was unarmed. Michael G. Kelly (17). Shot in the stomach while standing near the rubble barricade in front of Rossville Flats. Widgery accepted that Kelly was unarmed.
John Pius Young (17). Shot in the head while standing at the rubble barricade. Two witnesses stated Young was unarmed.
William Noel Nash (19). Shot in the chest near the barricade. Witnesses stated Nash was unarmed and going to the aid of another when killed.
Michael M. McDaid (20). Shot in the face at the barricade as he was walking away from the paratroopers. The trajectory of the bullet indicated he could have been killed by soldiers positioned on the Derry Walls.
James Joseph Wray (22). Wounded then shot again at close range while lying on the ground. Witnesses who were not called to the Widgery Tribunal stated that Wray was calling out to say that he could not move his legs before he was shot the second time.
Gerald Donaghy (17). Shot in the stomach while attempting to run to safety between Glenfada Park and Abbey Park. Donaghy was brought to a nearby house by bystanders where he was examined by a doctor. His pockets were turned out in an effort to identify him. A later police photograph of Donaghy's corpse showed nail bombs in his pockets. Neither those who searched his pockets in the house nor the British army medical officer (Soldier 138) who pronounced his death shortly afterwards say they saw any bombs. Donaghy had been a member of Fianna Éireann, an IRA-linked Republican youth movement. Paddy Ward, who gave evidence at the Saville Inquiry, claimed that he had given two nail bombs to Donaghy several hours before he was shot dead.
Gerald (James) McKinney (34). Shot just after Gerald Donaghy. Witnesses stated that McKinney had been running behind Donaghy, and he stopped and held up his arms, shouting "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!", when he saw Donaghy fall. He was then shot in the chest.
William A. McKinney. Shot from behind as he attempted to aid Gerald McKinney (no relation). He had left cover to try to help the older man.
John Johnson. Shot on William Street 15 minutes before the rest of the shooting started. Johnson died of his wounds 4½ months later, the only one not to die immediately or soon after being shot.
|Find out more in the Dictionary|