Derry Journal

Para 'Smock' No Longer For Sale

Friday 17th September 2004

The uniform allegedly worn by a Para who opened fire in the Bogside on Bloody Sunday is no longer for sale on the Internet, the 'Journal' can reveal.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the "smock" a camouflaged outer garment traditionally worn by the Parachute Regiment was on sale on the world wide web for £350.

The individual selling the item claimed it was owned by a soldier known to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry by the cipher "Soldier S".

In his evidence to the Saville hearings in mid-May 2003, "Soldier S" admitted firing 12 shots at a "gunman" in the vicinity of the Rossville Flats.

He also told the London hearings that Bloody Sunday was a "tragedy for everyone."

The "smock" - when on sale on the popular online auction site - was, according to its seller, "a very rare chance to own a piece of history."

The sale blurb read: "This is an original 1959 pattern Denison para smock that was owned by a member of the Parachute Regiment that was involved in Bloody Sunday in Derry 1972.

"Smock is in good condition with a few holes on the woollen cuffs."

It went on to claim that the "smock" was "used by soldiers in the inquiry."

The 'advertisement' also included up-to-date photographs of the "smock" as well as images of Paratroopers, in uniform, rounding up people in the Bogside on Bloody Sunday.

Before its "disappearance" from the website, there had been no bids for the item.

Throughout the week, the 'Journal' made a number of unsuccessful attempts to contact both the internet seller and the online auctioneers.

The families of those gunned down in the Bogside on Bloody Sunday say they are "relieved" the item is no longer for sale.

John Kelly, whose teenage brother was shot dead on Rossville Street, told the 'Journal':

"Whatever the reason for its disappearance, I'm happy.

"Whether it's no longer for sale because we highlighted the matter in the press or, perhaps, the person selling it decided to take it off for totally unrelated reasons - I don't care. I'm just comforted by the fact that it's no longer there."

Mr. Kelly said that, in spite of this most recent development, "it is still amazing the depths some people will stoop to to make money.

"I find it astonishing that a genuine effort was made to make money out of the massacre of our loved ones."

Mr. Kelly said he did "take some heart from the fact" that, up to the time of its removal from the website, no-one had entered any bids for the item.

He concluded by urging the online auctioneers to "closely scrutinise" all future items offered for sale on its site.

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