”Soldier F” Statement
UKIP Veterans Group, along with UKIP, recognise the contribution and sacrifice made in Northern Ireland by members of HM Forces and the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC throughout the period known as “the troubles” and beyond.
Despite undertakings from the government that “witch hunts” against NI veterans would be halted, we are still seeing former soldiers hounded into court in relation to incidents that happened almost 50 years ago, incidents which were all investigated at the time by military and civilian authorities and, in the case of events in Londonderry in January 1972, subject to much public debate, commentary, a tribunal and full inquiry. All of this makes it extremely unlikely that “Soldier F” would be given a fair trial, particularly in N Ireland.
The loss of life around which these investigations pivot was tragic and terrible but, the loss of the departed will not be undone by politically motivated show trials.
In the early days of troop deployment to NI, front line combat troops were put on the streets with no police training and no means of self defence other than their issue assault rifles. They were not equipped with any “non-lethal” weapons, as would be the case in such circumstances today. They came under attack and they responded with what they were given.
The blame for what happened on that day and others must be shared by those who made the decision to put soldiers on the streets with little or no police training and no means of self defence other than their weapons of war, as well as those who commanded them in theatre and, of course, the terrorists who fired the first shots.
It is wholly wrong that the burden of responsibility for these events should fall on the shoulders of a solitary former lance corporal, whilst the political class and senior officers watch on with impunity and the terrorists enjoy their undeserved immunity.
UKIP Veterans Group Spokesman