Glenfada Park

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“Jim Wray fell close to the alleyway, immobilized by a gunshot wound in the back…To the horror of eyewitness, Wray was approached by a Para who shot him again in the back, at very close range.  It was an execution of an already wounded man…” (1)

As the march turned to chaos with the sound of gunfire and the advancing Paras, a number of demonstrators found themselves trapped in the Glenfada Park  apartment blocks.  The South Glenfada Park was a square, 3 long apartment blocks and an equal length garage separated by alleyways and a large open space.  As the group of about 20 found themselves ensnared, a small contingent of Paras began moving in from the north.  One of them began indiscriminately firing into the forum.  It was during this opening salvo that Jim Wray was shot. (2)

Image of Rossville Street, showing numerous points of action from Bloody Sunday. Glenfada Park South is seen at the lower right.

As the four Paras moved in, a small group of young males tried to dash for the alleyway leading to Abbey Park.  The soldiers saw them escaping and opened fire hitting Joseph Mahon and William McKinney. (3)  As these two lay on the pavement, both seriously injured, Mahon watched in horror as a Para walked up to the still wounded and immobilized Jim Wray and executed the wounded man with another shot to the back. (4)  Before leaving, the British fatally shot two more individuals.  Gerard Donaghy and Gerard McKinney were in an alleyway leading to Abbey Park and safety.  However, seeing Wray on the ground both felt a compulsion to aid the dying man.  (5) As Donaghy moved into view he was shot in the abdomen.  McKinney following on his heels had time to see the Paratrooper taking aim at him.  He raised his arms above his head, pleading “Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!”. Autopsy reports validated the eyewitness testimonials that his arms were over his head when he was fatally shot. (6)

The scene above is from the film Sunday.  Running from about 4:30-7:00 is the shooting in Glenfada.  The entire episode highlights both the indiscriminate violence of the Paras and the willingness to so callously murder civilians indicates that these attacks were part of a broader move to forcefully reassert dominance over the Bogside.

 


  1. Don Mullan, Eyewitness Bloody Sunday , edited by Don Mullan, Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1997, pp. 126.
  2. Peter Pringle, and Philip Jacobson, Those Are Real Bullets: Bloody Sunday, Derry 1972, New York: Grove Press, 2001, pps. 191-192
  3. Ibid. pps. 192-193
  4. Mullan, Eyewitness, pp. 126
  5. Pringle and Jacobson, Those Are Real Bullets pp. 198
  6. Mullan, Eyewitness, pp. 126

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