Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland (2023): Season 1, Episode 1 - It Wasn't Like a Movie Anymore - full transcript

This episode looks at times of relative peace and good times to full conflict. The Catholics modeled their marches on the civil rights marches in the United States to try to improve their voting rights and improve employment oppor...

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I'm going to show you a clip.

Press the space bar.

My God!

[CLIP]: The 32 contestants were today
being put through their paces

in Dublin's Burlington Hotel
as they rehearsed

for tonight's contest.

The winner will represent Ireland
in the Miss World Competition

in London later this year.

Well, the striking thing, of course,
is always the pretty face

and the figure to go with it.

We like a girl to be ladylike,
know how to carry herself,

have poise and confidence.


Oh, my God.

Did you see yourself in there?

I bloody did, aye.

That is I.

Oh, the '80s hair!


Isn't it great?

I didn't know how to put on make-up.

I had zero idea.

"Poise, elegance and ladylike"?

I was a fucking tomboy!

I remember going onto
Miss Ireland then was...

That was an eye-opener.

I was really greenhorn.

I'd never been outside of Derry
at that point.

I've always done things where
it's nearly a form of escapism,

to not think about
what I was going through.

I put on a character.

I wasn't me.

None of those people knew
my experiences in the North.

Nobody knew that my brother
was murdered.

None of them.

And I'm not a victim
of the Troubles.

I survived the fucking Troubles
and I survived all the shite

that was going with it.

I'm just a defiant, determined shit,
and I'm going to get through it.

Nothing's going to beat me down.

I can't make sense of the past.

And sometimes I try not
to think about it

and I can close myself off.

But, as I say, my absolute truth
is I know Jim's gone.

For what?

I don't know.

I just feel really angry
that so many people

in this part of Ireland

had to suffer the shit
that they did.

Should it be Catholic, Protestant,
policemen, soldiers,

everything in between.


I remember...

I remember crying.

I remember feeling afraid.

I remember frightened...
I remember feeling frightened.

And I can remember...
I just remember me mammy.

I remember people were joyful.

I can remember the excitement,
the butterflies in the stomach.

I remember just feeling
so happy and loved.

I remember the first time...
I remember...

I just remember...

...the anger that I had.
...flashing and guns going off...


My father always said to us...

..."Tell the truth.

"Tell the truth
and shame the devil."

# In my memory #

# I will always see #

# The town that I
have loved so well. #

I was born in the Bogside, in Derry.

Born at home.

Three-bedroomed house.

But people think,

"Oh, yous were lucky you had
a three-bedroomed house,"

but there were three families.

There was a family in each room.

But I was too young...
I slept in a drawer

because there was no room.

There's two siblings before me,
so I was the third.

Happy days, looking back, you know?

There's some good times.

Some very sad times,
but some good times.

All right, George?

Now you're in the heart
of the Bogside.

99.9 Catholic nationalist area.

Great people.

Best people in the world.

IRA rules.

Nice to meet you.

Where are you from, Berlin?


- This is me on the wall.
- That's you?

- Yeah.
- OK.

Come on, we'll get a photograph.


Folks tell me you could be here
for the full day,

taking photographs,

all year round.

That's a signed copy of the T-shirt.

The museum now sell a few.

They make a few quid on them.

There's a souvenir.

This is me on the wall.

Yeah. Do you want a photograph?

Come on.

My name's Billy McVeigh.

Some people call me the wee man,

some people call Wee Bill.

Some people call me
the best rioter in Derry.

[INTERVIEWER]: They did what?

Who is?

People called me that.

I probably was!


People ask me, "What was
it like in those days?"

And I'd said,
"Well, if you weren't shot

"and you weren't caught,
the craic was 90."

Yeah, good craic.
It was good craic, yeah.

It was dangerous.
Dangerous good craic.

Did the Troubles start off
with the riots?

No, not at all.

# We shall overcome some day... #

It started off, we had
the civil rights movement

a couple of months before it.

It was peaceful demonstrations.

# We'll walk hand in hand... #

What were people asking for?

Housing, jobs, mainly.

Housing and jobs, better conditions.

Catholics were second-class
citizens, you know.

It was total discrimination
It was clear to be seen.

Here a man is either
a Protestant or a Catholic.

He is either with us or with them.

You knew there was a separation.

When you looked across the river,

it sort of just rang a bell
in your head.

"They're all Protestant over there."

The divide was plain to be seen

because they all had good houses.

They also had better jobs.

If we had jobs at all,
we were lucky.

So there was something in the air.
You could tell.

The discrimination
was going to explode.

It was going to come out.

Enough was enough.

I just remember there was
a tension in the city.

And when you went round to the shop,
you just could feel the atmosphere

was really charged.

And I remember people saying,
"Oh, we've no jobs.

"We've outside toilets...
we've no bathrooms."

And I thought about it and I said,
"But that's me."

You know, that's exactly what...

We'd no... Nothing either.

We were just working-class

working-class Catholics.

There was no difference.

Do you know what?

I was happy enough
with the way my life was,

to tell you the truth.

Had a house, had my kids.

And my husband.

We didn't want our life to change.

I was very selfish that way.

I just wanted to live
in this lovely, happy city

where everybody went out and got on.

Derry, Londonderry,
whatever you want to call it.

Do you know this?

I'm so lucky for its lovely
memories, sitting talking to you.

It is. It's great memories.

[ARCHIVE FOOTAGE]: Catholics call it Derry.

Protestants call it Londonderry.

My name's Jeanette Warke.

Proud to be a Derry woman,

or a Londonderry woman!

Which are you?

I'm a Londonderry woman.

Cause a whole uproar with the prods.
"She said 'Derry'!"

Cause a whole lot with the
Catholics. "She said 'Londonderry'!"

# We shall overcome some day... #

You know, Protestant people
can be very proud, too.

You know, my mum would never
have taken part in marches, never.

We didn't feel comfortable to go,

and we don't know anybody
that was going anyway,

from our community.

And you kind of knew deep down
that something was going to happen.

The atmosphere was electric.

"We're getting together here."

One of the main aims was
"one man, one vote".

One person, one vote.


I remember
the civil rights campaign.

I was 14, 15.

Maybe 15.

I was starting to become
interested in politics.

Like "one man, one vote"...

who would be against
one man, one vote?

Do you not think that
it's more democratic to have

one man, one vote?

No, I don't.

[CHANTING]: One man, one vote!
One man, one vote!

But you had to be a homeowner
to have a vote.

[ARCHIVE FOOTAGE]: In local elections,
the seven adults in this family

have only two votes... for
the householder and his wife.

Very few Catholics
owned their houses.

Hadn't got any money.

Paid rent.

So if a lot of Catholics
didn't have votes at all,

whereas the Protestants, quite
a few of them did own their houses.

And this is a crucial element
in all of this.

The state of Northern Ireland
was designed so that

there would be a permanent
Protestant majority.

Ever since the partition of Ireland,

power has been monopolised
by one party, the Unionist Party,

devoted to the British Crown
and to the Protestant religion.

We were basically demanding equality

and we were being
beat off the streets.

And don't forget, the police was
predominantly Protestants, as well.



After the 2nd or 3rd March,

you went prepared for a riot.

People armed themselves.

That was the beginning of it.


We were being told that the civil
rights movement was dangerous.

"Really dangerous people.

"And they're fighting
our police and our...

"They are OUR police."

And I can remember
my father saying, you know,

"All this civil rights carry-on
is just a front for the IRA,"

and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Your father was like the oracle,
you know, in those days.

You didn't sort of...

Whatever he said was
the fucking law, basically.

You know what I mean?
He used to wear...

He had two pairs of glasses,
you know. He had one on the point

of his nose and one up here,
and he sort of alternated them

for looking at whatever he was
looking at and reading the paper.

And he'd go, "Da, da, da..."
And then he would go like this...

"Well, are you going
to argue with that?

"There it is in black and white."


[ARCHIVE FOOTAGE]: The most violently
anti-Catholic group is that led

by the Reverend Ian Paisley,

moderator of his own
Free Presbyterian Church.

All our life
and heritage is at stake.

Paisley was preaching suspicion.

He was preaching hate.

He might've had a grain of truth...

...and then a shovel
full of shit along with it

So he was sowing fear,

petty much like
the right wing in America do,

you know, to their people.

Romanism has controlled in
this land for many centuries,

and Romanism has bred
poverty and ignorance

and priestcraft and superstition.

Fear is a great motivator, you know?

"Oh, if you don't do
something now..."

...oh, all was lost.

Protestant culture was gone.

We as Protestants
have always been British,

and we intend to remain
and stay British.

The Roman Catholics want
to be under a united Ireland.

"Let me tell you that the whole
thing is constructed by Rome

"against the Protestant people!"

I thought he was great.

Like, I used to go to the rallies

It felt like you were
a part of something big.

No surrender!

You're focused heavily on my...

...prejudicial past.

Yeah, I know.

Because it's important
to understand.

- It's...
- Because you're trying to make sense

out of something that maybe
I've never even made sense out of,

you know what I mean?

Like being empathetic, you know?

I would've seen anybody
who was empathetic

or anybody who had any feelings
for "the other", you know?

As they were as bad
as the other type.

So when you say "the other",
you're talking about Catholics?



This is Londonderry.

The police have just made
their first baton charge.

They're now inside the Bogside area,

but the crowds
are pushing them back.

There's been another fusillade
of stones flying into the police.


I mean, thinking back on it,
Battle of the Bogside was '69.

I was 17.

Only kids.

It was a three-day riot.

Very violent.

But we kept the police at bay.

Come back up here, boys.
Come up here.

They're going back up.

Come on back. Come on!

Everybody was angry
because the police used to

come to the Bogside
in the middle of night

and break windows and smash doors,

just to get their own back,
if you like.

Even the women were in the streets,
making petrol bombs.

And the police were there to
protect us, really, weren't they?

I remember standing, I had the pram
with me, and looking at them.

And it just got to you, you know?


Why are they suffering like that?

What did you think was going
to happen?

Oh, I thought we were all
going to get shot,

killed, blew up, everything.

The city was finished.

I did despair.

[ARCHIVE FOOTAGE]: Inside the Catholic
Bogside area, the second day

of siege is under way,
and barricades at every street

keep visitors
and the police outside.

I never prayed as hard in my life.

I did. I just felt everything
was over for us.

I did, honestly.

And then it just escalated,
really, didn't it?

[NEWSREADER]: After Londonderry,
the conflict spread,

and Protestant and Catholic gangs
fought savage battles

in the streets of Belfast.

About 150 yards from my house...

...the sky was absolutely on fire.

All red.

Houses blazing.

And me and my father
and my granda,

who was 76...

...were in a small room
in the back of the house.

And my father had a lump hammer.

And my granda was working
a set of rosary beads.

He was praying.

And my da...
I remember my da's face.

My da wasn't fear'd.

There was no fear in his face.

He was ready to go,
he was ready for battle.

And he said to me,
"Grab your Harley bat.

"If anybody comes in here,
me and you's getting into them."

There was whole streets
being burnt out...

...by Protestant extremists.

The world had turned chaotic.

Who do you think
did this to your house?

It was no Protestant
that I know that done it.

Do you know what I mean?
I dare say, like...

...with Paisley agitation
and different things

would be responsible
for a lot of it.

If there is no solution,
the alternative

is too terrible for words.

The alternative is civil war.

And what must be realised
by everybody on all sides

is that nobody gains from this.

On one side, what use
is one man, one vote

if you're not there to exercise it?

And on the other side, what is
the use of maintaining a situation

of privilege
and power over a desert?

The price of no solution
is total destruction.


I arrived in British Honduras
on the 25th of November 1968,

and became 18 on the 26th
of November, the day after.

What a birthday present, eh?

Sun, sea, sand, palm trees,
beautiful women.

You name it.

Every day was new,
every hour was new.

Every minute was new
with what you did.

It was brilliant.

Oh, I forgot to add that
I got married just before I went,

as well, by the way.

My name's Tom Wharton.

I came from a military family.

My grandfather got five campaign
medals in the Boer War.

And on a Sunday afternoon when
everybody had had a few drinks,

the medals would come out,
and pinned on my chest.

And I'd walk around with these
medals on at 11 years old.

So I decided to join the Army.

We were young lads.

We didn't read newspapers.

You know, if you found one lying
around you'd pick it up and

look to the sports pages
and then throw it down again.

We were a million miles away
from what was happening in the UK.


Oh, well done!

So we then started getting briefings
about the riots that had been

going on and the killings
in some places

that had been going on.

We said,
"Where's all this happening?"

"Oh, it's happening
in Northern Ireland."

This was the scene as a new batch
of British troops arrived to take

over security duties at Belfast,
Bogside and other strategic points.



We were going in
as kind of saviours.

We'd been brought in to stand
in the middle, basically,

and to stop them killing each other.

At the start, there was a real,
real tense situation because people

didn't know what these guys
were going to do.

I mean, I'd never heard an English
voice before The Troubles.

And I didn't know
what the fuck they were saying.

And then...

...all of a sudden, you see these
wee women coming with trays of tea

and coffee, and the whole heat's
taken out of the situation.

There was that sense of,
"Well, thank God they're here now.

"Maybe a bit of calm will descend."

And I remember bringing
out biscuits.

You did?

Aye. I think it was Rich Tea.

You got both Catholics and
Protestants competing with the tea.

So they'd come from one side
with a tray of tea and sandwiches,

and you'd eat those,
and then you'd turn round

and from the Protestant side
they'd come along with another...

And you think, "Oh, God I'm full!"

You know, because you're not
getting much exercise

when you're stood on the end
of a street, you know.

"Will you come in for breakfast?"

And the people on both sides
were so pleasant.

It was unbelievable.

You know?

What's all this about?

Why are we here?

There you are now.

That's for after your lunch
or after your dinner.

- Thank you very much.
- Thank you.

Appreciate it. Thank you.

You've got to remember, most of
the soldiers came from areas

just like this.

and Scarborough and Halifax.

We came from areas
like they lived in.

You know, you thought to yourself,

"Good grief. I'm home."

They were smiling and laughing
and there was...

...people talking to them
just like they were decent,

normal human beings, and...


...that was the early days.

We didn't know what was round
the corner, really, then, did we?

I was doing O-levels
at this time.

I remember my father saying...

He says, "This is the start
of something huge."

I hadn't a clue
what he was talking about,

and he wouldn't elaborate.

But he saw something that I didn't.

My father was a republican,
had been a republican,

had been a former commander of
Belfast during the 1940s

for a while.

And so the people who
he classified as friends

were always committed
to armed struggle.

They were not civil rights people.

These people were
out-and-out revolutionaries.

And I would say that even by
that stage they were...

...rubbing their hands and plotting.


...probably talking about
raising an army to fight.

It was tailor-made for them

because they had an enemy
right in front of them

in a green uniform.

The British Army.

The British Army!

They had foreigners on Irish soil.

It was 1921, War of Independence
all over again.

It was tailor-made for a revolution,
and these guys went for it.

They went for it

like racing drivers.

And what they were plotting,
is that what became...

The Provisional IRA.

And that's what happened.

The IRA, totally dormant.

Nobody even talking about it.

Suddenly the unsaid was being said.

You know,
"We want a united Ireland."


Your whole day was preoccupied
with the riots.

From the minute
you got out of school,

it's all about the riots.

[MUSIC: "Baba O'Riley" by The Who]

Where was the riots?

Who was rioting?

What was on fire?

Every day there was
trouble somewhere.

My name's Richard Moore,

and I'm delighted to be here today.

I would've been probably
eight or nine years of age then.

# I don't need to fight #

# To prove I'm right #

# I don't need to be forgiven
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah... #

When they come back...

And again when they come round.

It's amazing the things that
become your normal language,

like water cannons, rubber bullets.

# It's only teenage wasteland... #

We had dog shit thrown at us.

Loads of it, and they'd get it
on a stick and go...

You know, you'd be ducking,

and there's things flying
all over the place.

And the kids loved it.

And what are you going
to do against kids?


My second tour, 1971,
the whole atmosphere had changed.

Some Catholic communities
hated the British by now.

It's quite inevitable that if
you are going to pursue

a counter-terrorist campaign,
you have to go in amongst

the population which harbours
the guerrilla

and gives him sustenance.

You cannot do this without causing
a degree of bitterness.

[BRITISH SOLDIER]: Well, I hope you
realise we have to come round

and look at these houses
from time to time.

Oh, I know. Yes, I know that.
I understand.

I mean, we just have to make
absolutely certain there are no

- weapons or anything in this area.
- I know, yes. - Thank you.

We became known as
a republican family.

We were singled out
for supporting a united Ireland

and classing ourselves as Irish.

They were raiding our house
to see if we were either hiding

guns or gunmen.

Has anybody approached you
at any time to join the IRA

- or take part in any activities whatsoever
in this area? - No.

- Not at all?
- No.

Are you absolutely sure?


It's always... It's the feet.

The feet. That's one of
the things that I remember.

That "bang, bang, bang, bang!"

The stairs just literally
being pounded in.

"Come on, come on, get out
of your fucking beds!"

And it's...

...just all young girls in the room.

These weren't the same people
that were sitting on the wall

that I was handing biscuits to.

They were angry and they were
shouting and they were

wrecking the place, and...

...you know, dragging us
out of bed and...

And when they eventually left,

there was no "sorry...
we didn't find anything"...

there was nothing.

The new army searches have brought
a rash of complaints

from Roman Catholic residents.

The Army, for their part, claimed
they used minimum force to enter

the house and suggest that perhaps
local residents had done it

in order to win sympathy
for the republican cause.

I've been over in England quite
a few times, and I think to myself,

"How would they feel if this was
going on in their city?

"How would they feel?

"Would there be
an uproar against it?

"Or would people just comply?"

Hold on. I'm not finished.


You blokes are standing
in the middle over here and,

strictly speaking,
you can't take sides with it,

Protestants or Catholics.

Is it really possible
to do that, Tom?

No, I don't think...

I get embarrassed when I see it.

For one thing, I'm sat there going,
"Hm, hm, hm..."

And for another thing, I don't know.
It's just embarrassing.

God. I mean, look at the hair,
for one thing.

So you go into a Protestant area.

They give you tea, they give you
cakes. They're friendly.

You go into a Catholic area,

they throw bottles, they throw
stones and they shoot at you.

So it's only natural
you're going to be biased.

I'm biased. I'm biased.

How do you feel about Catholics now?

I am a Catholic.

And I just... I don't like
the Irish Catholics over here.

Not everyone out there is
out there to kill you.

But there are some.

News of the murders has undoubtedly
shocked people here,

and there's a wave
of sympathy for the Army.

Apparently, no-one saw anything
in the pub where the young soldiers

had been drinking, and no-one could
explain how they were lured out

to be shot at close range
in the head and left dying,

heaped on each other
at the side of the ditch.

The IRA killed a couple of soldiers.

People feared then that
the thing was escalating.

"Who would be next?", you know?

We would have seen ourselves
as British.

So "Brits out"... what? Does that...
Does that mean me?

You know, it wasn't like one night
there was, "Ahh!"

It wasn't like that.

It sort of crept in and crept in
and crept in

till it became the big monster that
sort of everybody feared was now

on our doorstep type of thing.

Shortly after that, there was
bombs and, you know, blah, blah.

And, you know, it was sort of
starting to move on

to another level.

[NEWSREADER]: Victims were not
restricted to the shooting war

between IRA and British soldiers.

The savagery of urban terrorism
was indiscriminate.

We just couldn't understand why
the city was getting blew up.

It was just horrific.

I mean, there wasn't a Saturday that
passed that you weren't caught up

in either CS gas or rioting
or bombs or something.

You more or less felt like
a prisoner in your own home.

But you didn't know what
you were going to walk into.

The fear of God set in then.

Trust me.

Our whole tactics changed.

The IRA weren't messing around.

They were killing people.

So you've got to come up
with something.

And that's the only thing we had.


[ARCHIVE]: The British government
may detain, without trial,

anyone they suspect of terrorism.

On the 9th of August,
the British swept in

and they arrested
over 300 individuals.

They were not the right people.

The Provisional IRA was
relatively brand-new.

So they didn't know who they were.

But they knew all the old-timers
from the '50s

and they knew who the
civil rights people were.

So they arrested a lot
of civil rights people

and they arrested a lot of old
republicans who weren't involved.

[ARCHIVE]: Ulster's Catholics felt
that both house-to-house searching

and the policy of internment
were directed at them

rather than at the Protestants.

All those things were there,

give you a sense
of a community that was...

...under siege at times.

But, in all honesty, I have to say,
I don't remember feeling terrified.

I genuinely don't.

You know, you would almost
describe it as exciting.

It was mad. It was like a movie.


Children anywhere else in the world,
you would play cowboys and Indians.

We used to play soldiers
and IRA men.


And in your games, who won?


I don't know if they
ever had a winner,

but if there was going
to be a winner

it would've been the IRA,
wouldn't it?



# Armoured cars and tanks and guns #

# Trained to take away our sons #

# But every man would stand behind
the men behind the wire... #

This song, which British people
would consider in bad taste,

has become the popular anthem
of the internees.

The people in England don't
really know what it's all about.

# Heedless of the crying children #

# Dragging fathers from their beds #

# Beating sons while helpless mothers #

# Watched the blood flow
from their heads... #

The Catholic people
just can stand no more.

# On the people, step together #

# Proudly firmly on your way #

# Never fear and never falter #

# Till our boys come home to stay #

# Armoured cars and tanks and guns
Came to take away our sons... #


Did you join the IRA?


Tell me about that.

What's to tell you?

I joined it.

What made you want to join?

For our country, for Ireland,
to get the Brits out.

It's more or less a defiance,

making a stand...


...armoured cars and tanks
and guns, they say.

I mean, when you mention the IRA,

people think this is a team of
people come out of space

or somewhere... the IRA
was in your street.

They were in every street.

So the IRA were the people.

You'd be trained on guns, etc.

And back in Belfast,
you'd be on active service.

And how did that feel to join?

I felt ten foot high.

As far as I was concerned,

I was doing the right thing,
absolute right thing,

the patriotic thing

to fight these foreigners
who were on Irish soil.

Before internment, the IRA
had killed ten soldiers.

By the end of the year,
they had killed 40.

[RADIO]: Take extreme caution
in the area.

My unit, in a period of four months,
had five killed

and over 100 wounded.

Gunshot wounds, bricks,

bottles in the face,

nail-bomb blasts...

...in a British city.

It got really serious.

What does your wife think
about you being over here?

The wife's very calm.

You know, I haven't been long
married. She's very calm.

She doesn't understand why
all these British blokes

should be getting killed and that.

All I get is, why don't you kill
the Irish so-and-sos and all this?

You know, they keep saying,
"What are you going back over for?"

I say, "It's my job.
I've got to go over."

- Would you like to go home, Tom?
- Yes.

You mean, would I go home
if I had the chance?

Well, if someone came up to me
and said that there's a plane

at the airport, there's your ticket,

I'd burn his hand with friction.

But I've got a job to do,
and the Army's needed here.

I've got a wife at home.
She doesn't want me to be here.

I'd rather be with her.

But my job says I come out here
so I'll follow it.

Have ever been tempted to
buy yourself out,

to get shot of this place?


I've thought about it. Erm...

This time, in fact, this tour.
Last tour, no. This tour, yes.

I've seriously thought about it.

Will you?


I had the conversations with my wife

about whether I wanted
to stay in or not.

And, er, she just said,
"It's up to you."

There was always the chance...

always the chance...
that I wouldn't be coming back.

And she took it pretty hard
when I got blown up.

She really did.


The last thing I remember
is a wooft... gone.

That's it. Wooft... gone.


Down at the bottom of the brick
wall here,

they'd taken two bricks out.

Then they put PE behind that

and then concrete behind the PE.

What's PE?

Plastic explosive.

Then they had filled the front
of that hole full of bolts and nails

and everything else that
could find and packed it in.

So they just triggered it

and that blew all the nails out
into the alleyway.


I had about 140 stitches up
my back of my left leg,

I had shrapnel in my right leg,

that was broken where one
piece had gone right through.

And, as you can see,
that hand absolutely shattered.

Those fingers were, er...

Well, the hand was almost severed.

Apart from that, I was all right.


It's the old saying, the old adage.

One man's freedom fighter
is another man's terrorist.

So are they freedom fighters
or terrorists?

What did you think they were?
Er, terrorists.

Nothing more than terrorists.

# If you hate the British Army,
clap your hands #

# Clap your hands #

# If you hate the British Army... #

I lived just a few streets down
from where the march was starting.

You know, the march protesting
against internment.

In our house that morning,
some of my brothers were...

...getting ready to go

because it was the thing to do and
was where all their friends were.

And girls would have met fellas,
fellas would've met girls at it,

you know, there would've been
all of that.

If the people up here at the front

think that that's an orderly
beginning to the demonstration now,

patch yourselves on.

Now, can you please move back
behind the civil rights banner?


It started on this hill
in a Catholic area

overlooking Londonderry.

Several thousand people...
men, women and children...

gathered behind Civil Rights
Association banners

and marched down the hill
toward the British troops

in defiance of the ban
against demonstrations.

When we arrived at William Street,
they were stopping us.

They said it was an illegal march.

And us being the great rioters
that we were, we said...

...we'll take these guys on today.

We broke away from the crowd

and we were rioting... heavy stuff.

But it didn't last that long,
you know? 15, 20 minutes.

We retreated back to the Bogside.

Next thing, somebody came
round the corner and said,

"The paratroopers are coming on up."

And that's when
the shooting started.

I can remember one of
our neighbours coming up

and he had tears in his eyes.

But I actually thought the tears
maybe were from tear gas

cos, at that stage, we were fairly
used to CS gas being fired

and, you know, makes your eyes run.

But I... I... I remember him saying,

"There's murder down there."

And he had tears in his eyes.


And then we start to
hear the stories.

I'd seen three or four dead, like.

Two right beside me.

You just feel like...



Get away!

Get away.

If I'm making this sound easy,
believe you me, it's not.

What do you mean?

Talking like this, about this.

I mean, I get the same nightmare...

I've been shot in the back,
running away.

And that's where most people were
shot... in the back, running away.

You know?



Run, you mad bastard.

I was only ten years of age...

...but I would've been...

...very much aware that...

...the British Army...

...were wrong.

I'll never understand how
it was allowed to happen.

And then how it...

...you know, how it was
attempted to be justified.


The aim of the operation, in fact,
was an arrest operation

against the hooligans
who've been attacking us

for probably a couple of hours.

My information at the moment...

and it is very almost immediately
after the incident...

is that the power battalion
fired three rounds altogether

after they'd had something
between 10 and 20 fired at them.

They fired three rounds only.

My information at the moment...

- I believe there are more than three dead.
- They fired three.

I certainly, I have seen
three dead myself.

Well, they may well not have been
killed by our soldiers.

Are you saying that the paras
only opened fire

because they were fired on first?

Because the people in the Bogside
are saying that no shots were fired

at the troops as they came in.
Most certainly.

There's absolutely no doubt at all

that the paratroops did not open up
until they'd been fired at.

Oh, General Ford, aye.

Liar, liar, pants on fire!

He tells them too, aye.

You know, it's just "liar".

You're just thinking to yourself,
"Liar," you know?

But it makes you angry, you know?

Makes you angry.

OK, I'm just going to go back
a little bit.

When you woke up that day,
what was your plan?

I was never really interested
in politics, you know?

And my boyfriend was taking
flying lessons

and I was up in a wee plane.

And then I was sitting in his house
around five that evening

and started to hear the news,

you know, about people dying in

Never dreaming
that it was my own family,

but I was thinking,
"Jesus, this is awful."

You know, "This is awful."

And, er...

Knock at the door, then.

And it was a friend of mine.

She says, "Your... Your, erm...

"Your brother Willie was shot dead,"
she says.

"Your father's been wounded, but
he's OK. He's in the hospital."

You know?

Aye. My world kind of fell
apart then, to be honest with you,

I just couldn't believe
it was happening.

I didn't... I thought then,
"Oh, this is just a nightmare.

"I'm sleeping and I have to wake up
and... Please wake up, kid.

"Wake up. Please, God,
don't let this happen.

"Please, God. Please, God.
Please, God."

My father had to come out
in a hail of bullets,

running towards the barricade,
to help his son.

People there said
they couldn't stop him.

I just... I had to get home.

I had to get home and I had to see
my father, you know.

Do you know what I mean?

The minute I got to him, I said to
him about his wound, you know,

I said, "That looks sore."

And he says, erm...

"Willie's in the morgue."

I still remember that.

I remember that vividly, actually.

"Willie's in the morgue," you know,
and he's just...

My father was a big, smiling man,
you know, he...

...he never looked like that.

Never looked like that,
the way he looked that night.

I mean, he was there with Willie,

right there with him,
you know, when he died.


Oh, God love him.

We, in the Protestant community,
believed that

every one of those people
that were shot on Bloody Sunday

deserved to be shot.

You know, people were saying
all these people were murdered

and the people in my community were
saying they weren't really murders,

no, they were shooting at the army
and the army shot back

and killed them, like, so.

Here we are with an audience,
a Protestant audience,

from the Shankill area of Belfast.

The paras in Londonderry,
they call it Bloody Sunday.

We call it Good Sunday,

- because it was the first time that the...
- You call it what?

We call it a good Sunday because
the troops did their duty...

- Oh, surely now...
- ...as we Protestants should see it been done.

That is, if gunmen opened fire
on them,

they have the right
to reply with gunfire.

Not rubber bullets.
Not rubber bullets.

We have no hesitation
in saying here now

that the troops didn't shoot
half enough of them that day.

- Oh, I'm sure that...
- We are all in agreement on that here today.

All right, first of all...
All right, let me just see,

how many of you think of it not as
Bloody Sunday, but Good Sunday?


Good Sunday, yes.

We used to sing songs, you know,

"We shot one, we shot two,

"We shot 13 more than you."

Not nice.

But I can remember cheering,
you know,

and laughing and clapping my hands.

I went, "Yay! Yeah!
That's... Woo!

"Woo, woo, woo!"

You know?

Do you feel guilty for those years?

Of course I do.

No, there's part of me inside
that feels bad to this day.

Like, how could you not?
You're looking back and saying,

"Oh, Jesus Christ, was I that
person? Was I ever that person?"


...I once was that person, you know?

And, to this day...
and you've been in Derry...

in loyalist areas, what do you
see flying from lampposts?

Paratroop flags.

Second Battalion.

I can't get my fucking head
around that

and I grew up a loyalist and I
cannot get my head around that.

There's not many people
don't know the truth.

And if you don't know the truth,
you don't want to know the truth.


That's where I'm at, you know?


# Until this life is over #

# And then forever more #

# Oh, sacred heart of Jesus #

# We love ye and adore. #

The thing that stands out
in my mind,

almost most of all,

was seeing 13 coffins on the altar.

And it sort of brought it home,

the enormity of what
happened that day.

And you did sort of think,

there's no turning back now, like.

You can't undo this.

And when I think of it as
a young boy, I think that...

...something changed,
as well, because...

...it wasn't funny any more.

Or it wasn't exciting any more.

It wasn't like a movie any more.


[DAVID CAMERON]: The conclusions of
this report are absolutely clear.

What happened on Bloody Sunday was
both unjustified and unjustifiable.

It was wrong.

The first shot was fired
by the British Army.

[SHE WAILS]: Oh, I miss you
and I loved you.

What's more, some of those killed
or injured were clearly fleeing

or going to the assistance
of others who were dying.

One person was shot while
crawling away from the soldiers.

There was some firing by
republican paramilitaries,

but none of this firing
provided any justification

for the shooting of civilians.

And the report refers
to the father...

...who was hit and injured

by Army gunfire after he had
gone to tend to his son.

On behalf of our country,

I am deeply sorry.

That's Willie.

He's smiling away.

Wondering, "What can I do next?
What can I get up next?"

Well, he was a funny guy.

I'm sure he would've ended up,
you know, with some nice girl.

He was a nice fella, aye.



You can't apologise for murder.

Committing a crime like that
requires justice.

Aye, an apology is not enough.

My brother was murdered.

My brother was shot down
in cold blood.

But why?


Is it pure hate?

Do they hate...?
Do they hate us?

Do those people in power
over there hate us?

Is that what it feels like to you?


What else could it be?

Bloody Sunday...

...I feel...

...just sealed my brother Jim's fate.

He was so incensed by it. He...

He thought, "Right, that's it.
I'm signing up."

And when you say signing up...?
He signed up to the IRA.


So many people done it,

and, I mean, you had boys lying
about their age just to sign up.

And, erm... Do you know what?

That alone was the biggest
recruitment drive...

....for the IRA... ever.

So, he was 16 years old
when he signed up.

I'm sure when you're that age,

you think you're going
to save the world.

Four years later, he was dead.

Killed by a British soldier.

I've had people
actually saying to me,

"Well, you deserve what you get."

Sure, we were the thugs
and we were the terrorists.

Well, I think that's everybody
has their own terrorist

and the British Army are mine.

They always were and
they always will be.

That's just the way I view it.


You know, they inflicted
terror on me.

They traumatised me.

So, you know...

...that's what they are to me.

It was snowing and...

...there's four or five of us
in the house.

And we heard about Bloody Sunday.

I'm going to leave it at that.

- What do you mean? Why...? Why?
- Because...

Just... I don't really want
to talk about it.

We were very, very angry

that 14 innocent people had been
mowed down by the paras...

...but have very
vivid memories of it.

It wasn't too hard to say
to yourself, "You know what?

"I'm ready, boys.
Come on, let's have it."

My knowledge at the time
was that we were like

the French Resistance...

...to the Nazis.

My name is Ricky.

I was involved in the struggle
for Irish freedom.

As far as I was concerned...

...this is war.


My community, my people, my city
was being attacked by the IRA.

We needed to fight back
and this was our army.

I was in charge of guns
when I was 17.

Guilty as charged.

When you went down to the Harp Bar,

religion went out the window.

I mean, it was a dump.

But it was our dump.

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