The Parachute Regiment obituary of Major Ted Loden provides an insight into the way the British top brass now sees Bloody Sunday. Major Loden was shot dead by armed robbers at his son’s home in Nairobi on September 7 last.
Major Loden commanded Support Company of the First Battalion of the Paras on the day. His men fired all the shots which killed or wounded civilians. He was on the spot in Rossville Street throughout.
The regimental website ParaData recalled last week that Loden had been awarded a Military Cross for bravery in action in Aden in June 1967. The citation was published in the London Gazette on January 23, 1972 - seven days before the Bogside massacre. Loden’s promotion from captain to major was announced at the same time. He must have arrived in Derry flushed with self-belief and a surging confidence that he was fully in tune with what his superiors expected of a para.
The account of Bloody Sunday in the ParaData obituary reads, in full: “During the events in Londonderry in 1972, later named ‘Bloody Sunday’ he was in command of a Company in an action during which thirteen civilians were killed.
“The Saville Report later exonerated Col Loden, concluding: ‘At the time the casualties were being sustained, Major Loden neither realised nor should have realised that his soldiers were or might be firing at people who were not posing or about to pose a threat.’”
No hint of sorrow, no admission of wrong-doing. Because it wasn’t the officers who’d done wrong…
The Bloody Sunday report didn’t just find the dead and wounded innocent. It also found the British Army innocent. It was wrong-uns running amok that had been to blame…So apologising for what had happened didnt mean acceptance of responsibility. This is the basis of the political consensus between the British Government and the main Nationalist parties that the Bloody Sunday business is sorted and that there’s no need for any further discussion.