Saturday 25 November 2017

Martin Brennan: Battle cry of Paras still rings in my ears

Martin Brennan

'GO on the Paras!' General Robert Ford shouted as he stood among the lines of Humber 'Pig' four-wheeled armoured vehicles in the side streets of the Bogside.

His words echoed in the ears of the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment as it sprung a trap that would see 13 young men dead and dying within 10 minutes. The 14th victim of the massacre, John Johnston (59), died four-and-a-half months later in hospital.

The Civil Rights Association march on that day -- Sunday, January 30, 1972 -- followed a tense week in which soldiers fired CS gas and rubber bullets at protesters on Magillan Strand near Derry. Two police officers had been shot dead in the Creggan area of Derry city.

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