Re-opening the case of the Ballymurpy Massacre

I wasnt familiar with the story of the Ballymurphy massacre in 1971 According to this story, 11 people were killed in the aftermath of the introduction of internment, and new questions are being asked about the deaths.

If it’s borne out, perhaps one of the most significant areas of this story are the claims that the soliders involved in the shooing were the same ones involved in Bloody Sunday 6 months later. Now whether that means same regiment or same individual soldiers, I dont know, but perhaps its a question worth asking. The daughter of one of the men killed has asked for an investigation, but there doesnt seem to be too much detail as to who is being asked to investigate it.

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    It’s interesting that the same soldiers allegedly involved in Bloody Sunday shooting innocent civilians are the same one 6 months earlier shot 11 innocent civilians in the Ballymurphy massacre in 1971. Does anyone know…are there the same intensity and number of murals for these Republican victims as for Bloody Sunday victims? Didn’t the queen give medals to the soldiers of Bloody Sunday? If that is the case..did they get medals for killing these Irish men and women as well? And to think some Irish republicans want a role for the queen in a united Ireland….makes me want to loose my lunch.

  • Rory

    I remember this only too well, Miss Fitz. What allowed me to cope with it was that it was might be expected. In all the years since i have never been disappointed at the willingness and indeed eagerness at times of the dogs of war of the great democracies to be be slipped upon the innocent that they might know what ruthlessness they might face in opposing them.

    The response to that terror was the even greater resistance of the IRA and when the cruel machine responded with a savage repeat of gleeful butchery in Derry, in the early part of the next year, to prove their point, the quiet young men and women of the north of Ireland said, “No more killing our people with impunity”.

    This is where we are today.

  • Interesting speculation, though the writer is apply the poetic license rather thickly. Few of the people shot were killed in Ballymurphy, but in what had been a mixed community that was very nastily squashed between rioting Loyalist and Repubican factions.

    If I recall correctly, the guns came out towards the end of the day. It has been the subject of some conjecture as to whether it was the British army or loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for some or all of the deaths, but I’m willing to be corrected.

  • None of your business

    An interesting one would be to try and establish common linkages between the commanding officers and lines of communication upwards that are common between the two incidents mentioned.

    The boys that came out firing in both cases (I assume)were just squaddies but I know from having lived with a former Para, that they were an exceptionally brutal bunch (the stories he told me are reminiscent of the B + T’s) and his reason for first transferring to the medical corp and then deserting the british army after that, was that

    “you could never rely on any of them to watch your back in a fight”

    However, troops take their orders from officers and behave in a way that is created by dint of their CO’s and the “Corp D’esprit” that they engender…

    Here’s lies the nub of the thing…boys on the rampage..or…determined policy to suppress the situation on the streets in the most direct and indiscriminate manner, by fear and over-powering force………….

    “Shock and Awe”……… Anyone?

  • Rory

    The billeting of troops at Henry Taggart Hall had always been contentious. In the summer prior to internment there had been a company from a Scottish regiment lodged there and while negotiations between the nascent IRA and the British commander were ongoing to keep the peace the British troops did anything and everything to disturb that peace, eventually running rampant through the estate with all the destruction, violation of human dignity, obscenity towards females and the old and infirm that is such a mark of the mercenary conscript.

    Kitson and his military theology was alive and well and needed testing in a UK urban working class area abd Belfast fitted the model. The boys and girls of Belfast however refused to conform to Kitson’s model of easily defeated resistance and their example spread…and so here we are today, as indeed I do believe I may have said earlier.

  • None of your business

    *looks around, …….sniffs a bit*

    What!! …no… “whataboutery” ….

    Shurly someone could find a retort about an unrelated item…

    c’mon Sluggers…

  • mnob

    None of your business – i would be interested in knowing what your response to the lack of whataboutery would be.

    Is it – “ha – I knew it – we’ve got the b*stards bang to rights we were right all along.”

    Or is it :

    “good on at least some occasions there is conscensus about wrongdoing”

    In other words do you see it as a victory or a chance to move on ?

  • nmc

    I mentioned this to my girlfriend last night, and she’d never heard anything about it, which is strange as she’s lived on the Falls/Glen Road all her life. Is there anywhere that I can find out more about this? I’m also interested in why there has been so much less of a fuss about this than Bloody Sunday, but primarily I would be grateful for further reading material if anyone knows where I can get some… Thanks muchly.

  • SlugFest


    “Ballymurphy and the Irish War”, by Ciaran de Baroid, gives a first-hand account of it.

  • nmc

    Thanks Slugfest, I’ll take a look….