Motorman to be commemorated today

A digger removing the remains of a barricade in the Bogside following Operation Motorman. (3107MM09)
A digger removing the remains of a barricade in the Bogside following Operation Motorman. (3107MM09)

A number of events will take place in the city this evening to mark the 40th anniversary of Operation Motorman.

The commemoration events have been organised to remember the two Derry teenagers shot dead by the British army during the huge military operation to regain control of the ‘no-go’ areas of the Bogside and Creggan carried out on July 31, 1972.

Daniel Hegarty and Seamus Bradley were killed by British troops in the Creggan area of the city when more than 1,500 soldiers, backed by 300 vehicles including Centurion tanks, stormed the Free Derry area in what was the largest military operation mounted in Europe since the Hungarian uprising.

The commemoration events will begin at 1pm with a presentation to the family of Seamus Bradley at the Creggan republican monument, Cromore Gardens.

They will continue at 6pm with a historical re-enactment of the moment when British soldiers smashed their way into the estate. The re-enactment will include people dressed up as British soldiers and will also involve military-type vehicles. A historical account of the events of the day will also be given by well known Derry republican Gerry McCartney.

This will be followed by the unveiling of a plaque in memory of Seamus Bradley, an IRA volunteer, at the Chapel Lane, which runs alongside the Bishop’s Field, close to the point where he was shot. The teenager was unarmed when he was killed. A memorial Mass will be said in the nearby St Mary’s Church, Creggan, immediately after the unveilling at 7.30pm.

Following the Mass there will be a photographic exhibition at the ‘Corned Beef Tin,’ Central Drive, Creggan. The exhibition will focus on the events of Operation Motorman and will feature a range of photographs taken throughout the Bogside and Creggan areas on the day.

As well as the exhibition, there will also be a talk on the campaign for justice for Daniel Hegarty, including the renewed call for a fresh police probe into the case. The talk will be given by a representative of the Pat Finucane Centre, who have been assisting the family of the teenager.

Margaret Brady, a sister of Daniel Hegarty has said that the family will be displaying the pair of jeans worn by Daniel when he was shot. It will be the first time the jeans have been displayed publicly.

Following the talk a presentation will be made to the Hegarty and Bradley families by the Eamonn Lafferty Sinn Féin cumann, Creggan. Light refreshments will be provided.