Bloody Sunday, also known as the Bogside Massacre, was an incident that took place on January 30, 1972, in Derry, Northern Ireland. British soldiers shot 28 unarmed civilians during a peaceful demonstration in response to a mass internment of 342 people who were alleged to be members of the Irish Republican Army.
Fourteen people died in the massacre. Many were shot while fleeing from the soldiers, some were shot while trying to help the wounded.
Investigations into the incident cleared the British authorities and soldiers of culpability. The defense was that those who were shot had bombs. It wasn’t until 2010 that the killings were both
unjustified and unjustifiable after it was determined that all those shots had been unarmed, there were no alleged bombs, and that the soldiers falsified the accounts to attempt to justify their actions. A British paratrooper detains a man from the crowd on Bloody Sunday when British paratroopers opened fire on a civil rights march. Getty Images A British paratrooper detains a man from the crowd on Bloody Sunday, 30 January 1972, when British paratroopers opened fire on a civil rights march, killing 13 civilians, in Derry. Getty Images A demonstrator is placed on a stretcher after the Bloody Sunday shootings in Derry, Northern Ireland. The Guardian A girl stands in a ray of sunshine next to a soldier on Derry street on Bloody Sunday. The Guardian A man is treated for gunshot wounds in Derry after paratroopers opened fire on protesters. The Guardian A member of the Parachute Regiment clashes with a rioter during the illegal civil rights march in 1972 which became known as Bloody Sunday. The Guardian Londonderry. Bloody Sunday. Riots. A number of civilians arrested by the Army are marched in a line, with their hands on their heads, through the Bogside. 31/1/1972. Belfast Telegraph A priest gives the last rites to a demonstrator shot in the Bloody Sunday riots. The Guardian Alana Burke who was eighteen when she was run over by an armored personnel carrier on Bloody Sunday. Alana was one of only two women injured that day. Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com A man receiving attention during the shooting incident in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, which became known as Bloody Sunday. Monday, June 14, 2010. PA/PA Wire Arrested Catholic demonstrators are made to stand against a wire fence. The Guardian British paratroopers detaining demonstrators. Belfast Telegraph British paratroopers take away civil rights demonstrators on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972 after the paratroopers opened fire on civil rights. Getty Images British soldiers in riot gear detain a man on Bloody Sunday. Daily Mail British soldiers march through a cleared street. Smoke rising from the background. Belfast Telegraph British soldiers on the streets of Derry during the Bloody Sunday riots. The Guardian British troops stand behind a barbed-wire barricade during the Bloody Sunday riots when 13 people lost their lives in a clash between British troops and civil rights demonstrators. Getty Images Catholic demonstrators and British troops on Bloody Sunday. The Guardian James Wray in his home in Bogside Derry, holding the bullet-riddled coat that his son James Wray Jr. was killed in. Belfast Telegraph Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery in his room at the Old Bailey as he looks through his report on the “Bloody Sunday” shootings in Londonderry. While the horror of Bloody Sunday sent shockwaves across the world, the judicial inquiry that followed arguably did as much damage to the reputation of the British state. The controversial fact-finding exercise by then Lord Chief Justice John Widgery, which effectively absolved the soldiers of any blame and claimed many of the dead had been armed, has long been considered a complete whitewash by the victims’ families. Their outrage at the Widgery report, which at its most critical said the soldiers’ actions ‘bordered on the reckless’, spurred the subsequent campaign for a fresh investigation, culminating in 1998 when Prime Minister Tony Blair ordering the Saville Inquiry. PA/PA Wire Bloody Sunday Trust undated handout photo of Michael McDaid who was killed on Bloody Sunday. Bloody Sunday Trust/PA Wire One of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings, when British paratroopers killed 13 civilians on a civil rights march in Derry. A 14th man died later in hospital. Getty Images Paddy Doherty, who was killed on Bloody Sunday. Picture. Maurice Thompson. Inpresspics.com. Protestors help a wounded man off the streets. Belfast Telegraph Londonderry. Bloody Sunday. The start of a grim day in Derry. Civil Rights marchers make their way through Creggan. They defied a Government ban and headed for Guildhall Square, but were stopped by the Army in William Street. 31/1/1972 William McKinney, killed on Bloody Sunday. Maurice Thompson. Inpresspics.com Hugh Gilmore who was killed on Bloody Sunday. Belfast Telegraph A Londonderry street being cleared with tear gas. Belfast Telegraph Londonderry. Bloody Sunday. Funeral. Mrs. Ita McKinney, 9 months pregnant cries behind the hearse carrying her husband James from St Mary’s, Creggan. 2/2/1972. Belfast Telegraph British paratroopers yell warnings over the bullhorn. Belfast Telegraph A funeral procession in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday. Belfast Telegraph Protestors carrying an injured man off the streets to receive medical attention. Belfast Telegraph General Sir Robert Ford, Britain’s Commander of Land Forces in Northern Ireland, pictured on July 3, 1972. Belfast Telegraph A scene showing British paratroopers near Glenfada Park in Derry where Bloody Sunday took place. Collect picture. A scene showing a British paratrooper chasing a protestor near Glenfada Park in Derry where Bloody Sunday took place. Collect picture. Soldiers taking cover behind their sandbagged armored cars while dispersing rioters with CS gas in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday. PA Wire The inside of St Mary’s Church, on the Creggan Estate, during the Requiem Mass for the 13 who died on ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Londonderry. PA Wire Bloody Sunday Trust undated handout photo of Jim Wray who was killed on Bloody Sunday. Bloody Sunday Trust/PA Wire Bloody Sunday Trust undated handout photo of William McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday. Bloody Sunday Trust/PA Wire Bloody Sunday in Derry 1972 when members of the parachute regiment opened fire on a banned Civil Rights march through the city. Belfast Telegraph Hugh Gilmore (third left) seen clutching his stomach as he is shot during Bloody Sunday. PA Wire Lt. Col. Derek Wilford, the former commander of the members of the Parachute Regiment involved in the Bloody Sunday shootings, who has sparked outrage Tuesday, July 6, 1999, when he condemned the group of relatives of the victims as a Republican Front Organization. Lt Col Derek Wilford, the former commander of the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, also appeared to brand “almost every” Catholic in Northern Ireland as Republicans. Belfast Telegraph Paratroopers arrested several protestors and lined them up against a wall. Belfast Telegraph
Sources For Further Reading: History Collection – 40 Photographs of The Troubles, The Northern Ireland Conflict History – “Bloody Sunday” in Northern Ireland The Irish Times – Civil Rights March On Bloody Sunday Was Not Illegal BBC News – Bloody Sunday: What happened on Sunday 30 January 1972? The Irish Times – Bloody Sunday Decision Time: ‘The People Who Were Killed Have Nothing’ Belfast Telegraph – Family Of Man Shot In Back On Bloody Sunday Say He Forgave Soldier Belfast Telegraph – Almost £1m Compensation Awarded For Bloody Sunday Victims Belfast Telegraph – Who were Bloody Sunday victims James Wray and William McKinney? BBC News – Initial Bloody Sunday Inquiry Labelled ‘Whitewash’ BBC News – Bloody Sunday Victims The Guardian – 13 Killed As Paratroops Break Riot Reuters – No Trial For British Soldier Charged Over “Bloody Sunday” Killings The Independent – ‘Many Were Shot While Running Away’ – The Victims Of Bloody Sunday Belfast Telegraph – ‘Bloody Sunday A Job Well Done And Not All Victims Innocent,’ Says Ex-Parachute Regiment Soldier The Guardian – Shoot To Kill – Army General’s Plan Before Bloody Sunday BBC – Bloody Sunday Commander Derek Wilford Stands By Soldiers