BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: UK: Northern Ireland
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Tuesday, 9 October, 2001, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Witness 'saw victims' in vehicle
The inquiry is looking into events on Bloody Sund
The inquiry is looking into events on Bloody Sunday
A man who was working as an ITN sound recordist on Bloody Sunday has recalled the "horrific" sight of dead men's legs protruding from the back of a military armoured personnel carrier that day.

Robert Hammond, now a freelance cameraman, also said in evidence to the Saville Inquiry that he had seen soldiers firing from their self-loading rifles while exposed and apparently not under fire in Londonderry's Bogside.

The Saville Inquiry is investigating the events of 30 January 1972 when paratroopers opened fired on civil rights marchers in the city killing 13 men. Another man died later.

However, a statement given by Mr Hammond in the days after Bloody Sunday, quoted him saying that he heard machine-gun fire similar to the sound of a Thompson - a weapon more likely to have been used by the IRA.

From the witness box in the Guildhall, in Derry, he said he had no memory of it now but added: "I certainly had heard it that day."

Lord Saville: Heading inquiry
Lord Saville: Heading inquiry
Mr Hammond and the cameraman with him were positioned behind Army lines during the large civil rights demonstration which took place that day and which was prevented from venturing beyond the Bogside into the city centre.

He described entering the Bogside once soldiers had already gone in.

And he described hearing "a lot of fire" as he and the rest of the crew moved to a corner where they could see the soldiers on Rossville Street - the main road into the Bogside - and Kells Walk, a housing development off the street.

His written statement, made public as he took the stand said: "I was surprised to see them taking up positions where they were exposed.

"They did not seem to be under fire ... I could see that the soldiers were firing and their guns were jumping up and down."

Later when the crew moved further south into the Bogside, he recalled seeing an Army personnel carrier with its back doors open - three of the 13 men shot dead that day were removed from the scene in an Army vehicle.


He stated: "There were a number of pairs of feet sticking out (of the APC). I thought they were deceased persons from the way the feet were positioned. It was a horrific sight."

Mr Hammond's 1972 statement was taken for the original Widgery Inquiry into the shootings.

It also recalled a paratrooper's comment to the effect that "they (the Bogsiders) won't mess about with the Paras after this".

Asked by Counsel to the current Inquiry Christopher Clarke QC on Tuesday if he remembered the conversation, he said: "We had an exchange, yes."

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry, chaired by Lord Saville of Newdigate, was established in 1998, and is currently probing civilian eyewitness accounts at oral hearings in the Guildhall.

It is expected to last two years.

Links to more Northern Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Northern Ireland stories