British soldiers swarm into Creggan during Operation Motorman, July 1972. Courtesy Colmen Doyle.
British Army film footage and still photographs relating to two major operations in Derry 43 years ago is ‘missing’ according to the Ministry of Defence.
Recently the ‘Journal’ ran material contained in top secret documents relating to Operation Motorman in the city in July, 1972. The documents contained references to instructions the British Army that the film the operation from the air and that Army photographers were also to be placed on the ground.
Therefore the ‘Journal’ used the Freedom of Information Act to request a copy of this footage and also requested that footage from Bloody Sunday also be released. The actions of British soldiers on Bloody Sunday and Operation Motorman in Derry claimed a total of 16 civilian lives. The ‘Journal’ also asked for military photographs taken during both British operations.
In response to our request the British Ministry of Defence said:
Despite an extensive search of Ministry of Defence archives, I must advise that we have not been able to locate the information you requested.
Operation Motorman took place on July 31, 1972 and resulted in the deaths of two teenagers in Creggan. One was 15-year-old Daniel Hegarty and the other 19-year-old Seamus Bradley, an IRA member who was unarmed at the time he was shot. Bloody Sunday took place almost exactly six months earlier on January 30, 1972. Thirteen men were shot dead on the day by British Paratrooper’s, whilst the 14th victim died sometime later from his wounds.
Marchers on January 30th, 1972, the day that would become known as Bloody Sunday.