15 January 2004 Edition

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Former Volunteer gives evidence


A former IRA Volunteer has told the Saville Inquiry of how he saw the bodies of many of the victims of the British Army on Bloody Sunday.

William Anderson, who waived his right to anonymity, appeared before the tribunal on Tuesday this week. The inquiry heard that at the time of Bloody Sunday he was just 18 years old. He explained that he was member of the Creggan company of the Provisional IRA, having joined as a 17-year-old shortly after internment the previous year.

He told the inquiry that the first time he had seen anybody shot was on the Saturday prior to 30 January, during a riot in the Bogside, when Peter McLaughlin and Peter Robson had both been shot and wounded by the British Army. Anderson explained Robson had been shot as both of them had gone to aid the already injured McLaughlin, adding that had Robson not been bending down in front of him, he would have been hit in the head by the bullet that instead wounded Robson.

On Bloody Sunday itself, Anderson said he joined the march, at one point helping two rioters light a gas canister which they threw in the direction of the army. Shortly after that he saw army vehicles drive down Little James Street in what he thought was "a pincer movement". He then ran towards the Rossville Flats, believing he would be safer there as previously the army had not ventured so far into the Bogside.

As he ran through the gap between Blocks 1 and 2, he heard the sound of live rounds being fired for the first time from directly behind him. He eventually found shelter in a flat in Joseph Place and whilst he was in the flat, he said, "there was still a lot of shooting going on outside and I would not even look out the window". After some minutes he left the flat and, in a confused state, made his way to Blucher Street, where he saw "a man with his cheek missing", believed to be Michael Quinn.

Anderson then went to look for his 14-year-old brother, who had been on the march, but was called into a house where Michael Kelly and Jim Wray had been taken. He then left the house, only to see the bodies of Hugh Gilmore and Barney McGuigan lying where they had been killed. Further along, he says, he saw a further two bodies, but does not know who those victims were.

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