Bloody Sunday: What happened on January 30, 1972

What happened on Bloody Sunday? UTV journalist Mark McFadden explains the events of January 30, 1972 - and its troubled legacy.

Thirteen men were killed and many more people wounded on Sunday, 30, January 1972, during the event that came to symbolise one of the deadliest days of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Fifty years ago, members of the British Army's Parachute Regiment opened fire on demonstrators in the Bogside, Derry, a majority Catholic area.

What came to be known as Bloody Sunday unfolded in broad daylight before the eyes of hundreds of witnesses.

Much of what happened was filmed and photographed by the media.Yet, it still became one of the most disputed and controversial events of the troubles era.

What happened on the Bogside on Bloody Sunday?Basic facts are beyond question: On that day, an anti-internment march had been banned by the Stormont government and blocked by the army.Rioting broke out, and troops of the 1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment raced into Derry's Bogside area.Within minutes they fired 108 shots and killed 13 men, wounding many more.

Requiem Mass in St Mary's Church on the Creggan Estate for the 13 who died on Bloody Sunday, on February 2, 1972. Pic PA

Then began a battle for the truth.The army claimed 1 Para had been attacked by the IRA and the soldiers fired back, killing gunmen and bombers.

All told, thirteen were killed on the day and a fourteenth man died of his injuries four months later.The people of Derry said the dead were unarmed and innocent.

Widgery inquiryA public inquiry under Lord Widgery came down on the Army's side.Widgery's findings caused outrage among nationalists - they branded his findings a 'whitewash'.A campaign began for a new public inquiry, and in 1998 Downing Street ordered Lord Saville to begin a new investigation.It would take 12 years - the longest in UK legal history.

Derry marks the publication of the long-awaited Saville report in 2010. Pic PA

Saville inquiry

Saville was critical of the Parachute Regiment's discipline and concluded the Bloody Sunday dead had been killed without justification.That heralded a campaign to have former Paras prosecuted.But the question over whether the Paras should be prosecuted remains unresolved.

Has anyone been prosecuted over Bloody Sunday?

Recently, authorities launched in investigation into a former Para, known as 'Soldier F'.

The former soldier was arrested over the deaths of three of the Bloody Sunday victims, and prosecutors said they had enough evidence to charge him with two murders, and four attempted murders.

Last July, public prosecutors announced they would longer prosecute the soldier because statements from 1972 were deemed inadmissible as evidence.

The reaction drew, condemnation from victims' families and resulted in 'Soldier F' being named by an MP using parliamentary privilege.

The campaign has brought the issue back into the spotlight, exposing the continuing political and sectarian divisions in Northern Ireland.

In recent years, rows have erupted over the flying of Parachute Regiment flags on the outskirts of Derry, during the lead-up to the anniversary remembrance march.

Even now 50 years after the horror of January 1972, Bloody Sunday remains an unhealed wound.

A mural of the victims painted by the Bogside Artists for the 25th anniversary. Pic PA

Bloody Sunday's victims

  • John "Jackie" Duddy, age 17

  • Michael Kelly, age 17

  • Hugh Gilmour, age 17

  • William Nash, age 19

  • John Young, age 17

  • Michael McDaid, age 20

  • Kevin McElhinney, age 17

  • James "Jim" Wray, age 22

  • William McKinney, age 26

  • Gerard "Gerry" McKinney, age 35

  • Gerard "Gerry" Donaghy, age 17

  • Patrick Doherty, age 31

  • Bernard "Barney" McGuigan, age 41

  • John Johnston, age 59.