The British Army Brigadier Robert Ford who deployed 1 Para on Bloody Sunday in Derry died last week without being held to account for his crime.
The Saville Report into the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1972 said:
In the secret memo to his superior, dated 7 January 1972, Ford said he was “coming to the conclusion that the minimum force necessary to achieve a restoration of law and order is to shoot selected ringleaders amongst the DYH (Derry Young Hooligans), after clear warnings have been issued”. In the event, seven of the innocent victims of Bloody Sunday were indeed Derry teenagers. At the Bloody Sunday inquiry he claimed not to remember having written the memo.
However, on the Radio 4 Obituary Programme ‘The Last Word‘ a recording was played in which Ford had a better memory when he reminisced before he died about an incident at the end of World War II. He vividly remembered being ordered to put down a mutiny of 200 soldiers who were refusing to board a ship to the Far East after having fought and won the war in Europe.
He marched his men with fixed bayonets towards the mutineers and commented he was fully prepared to bayonet his own soldiers.
The mutineers backed down and Ford ended the anecdote saying: “I believe the ringleaders were hanged.’
A friend described him as, “warm and humane”.
Background and more information on the 1972 Bloody Sunday Massacre can be found here BLOODY SUNDAY TRUST