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Seven things you need to know about Bloody Sunday

Bloody Sunday, January 30, 1972. Picture: Getty Images
Bloody Sunday, January 30, 1972. Picture: Getty Images

ON Sunday January 30, 1972, British Army paratroopers opened fire on a civilian march in Derry.

A large group of protestors were fired upon by the troops, with 13 people losing their lives on the day, 44 years ago.

A fourteenth died months later from an illness related to injuries he suffered on what became known as ‘Bloody Sunday’.

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The victims were aged between 17 and 41 – with five of the dead teenagers.

No one has ever been brought to justice for the deaths and the investigation into the events on that day continue today.

On January 30, the family, friends and neighbours of the 14 victims come together for their annual commemoration in the Bogside area of Derry City, where the shootings occurred.

Seven facts  about Bloody Sunday

1. Civilian casualties 

The British Army fired shots at a civilian march, where 10,000 people were peacefully marching through Derry City. They were protesting the fact that the British forces had introduced internment without trial

2. Rising tension

The march happened at a tense time in Derry – just a week previously, the British Army beat protesters off the strand near the Magilligan peninsula in Derry during a separate civil rights protest

3. Shots fired 

The march began at 3pm and the first shots were fired by the British Army officers at 3.55. It began as a 5,000-strong march and by the time the shots were fired, the crowd had doubled in size

A British soldier with a captured youth on Bloody Sunday. Picture: Getty Images
A British soldier with a captured youth on Bloody Sunday. Picture: Getty Images

4. 14 victims

In total, 14 people died – John ‘Jackie’ Duddy, Michael Kelly, Hugh Gilmour, William Nash, John Young, Michael McDaid, Kevin McElhinney, James ‘Jim’ Wray, William McKinney, Gerard McKinney, Gerard Donaghy, Patrick Doherty, Bernard ‘Barney’ McGuigan and John Johnston

5. The aftermath

The British soldiers attended a tribunal after the shootings – where eyewitnesses claimed the shootings were unprovoked. The British-government-appointed Widgery Tribunal found the soldiers were “bordering on the reckless” – but upheld their claims that they fired shots at gunmen and bomb throwers

6. An apology

It was not until 2010, after the Saville Inquiry closed, that it was officially acknowledged that the British troops had fired the first shot, fired on unarmed civilians and shot and killed one man (Jim Wray) after wounding him. Prime Minister David Cameron issued an apology from the British Government after the publication of the report to the victims and their families

7. More investigation

The first ever arrest in relation to the Bloody Sunday deaths was made in November of last year, when a former British soldier was arrested in Co. Antrim. He was released on bail shortly after – and a separate group of soldiers successfully lodged a legal bid in London against their extradition to the North of Ireland for questioning the following month.


James Mulhall

James Mulhall is a reporter with The Irish Post. Follow him on Twitter @JamzMulhall

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5 comments on “Seven things you need to know about Bloody Sunday”

  1. Fergal Keegan

    It took 100 years ,so let's get it done this time,and please God we never see a repeat .

  2. Steve Edwards

    With all of theae compensation claims against British Soldiers and Veterans being brought by the families of terrorists and the terrorists themselves, how soon is it going to be before the very Veterans and soldiers bring claims against the Republican terrorists for murder, attempted murder, threat to life etc? Would the lrish Government be as accommodating as the British? Adams and McGuiness should be the first in court.

  3. Anne Marie

    I'm shocked.

  4. Jon

    What a refreshing approach to journalism, I must commend the writer on their appreciation of the situation in the bogside in 1970's. Thank goodness you have managed to set the record straight, all us idiots over here were sat here thinking that a former IRA Commander had fired the first shot himself, good to know that he had nothing whatsoever to do with it, you've put all our minds at rest, not, pathetic propaganda, but we expect no less, and you never fail to deliver.

  5. Tony

    never seen or heard an apology from I.R.A or any other para military groups for atrocities they carried out.
    It all seems extremely a 1 way thing this


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