Royal British Legion distances itself from ‘Soldier F’ campaign

One of the banners in support of Soldier F that has appeared in towns and cities across NI.
One of the banners in support of Soldier F that has appeared in towns and cities across NI.

The Royal British Legion has distanced itself from a high-profile campaign in support of a former soldier facing murder charges in connection with Bloody Sunday.

The Legion - a charity for veterans of the British armed forces - says it neither authorised nor condones the use of its logo on banners which have appeared across NI in support of ‘Soldier F’.

The former paratrooper is expected to appear in court in Derry next month charged with the murders of James Wray and William McKinney.

He will also be charged with the attempted murder of four other people in Derry’s Bogside on January 30, 1972.

The ‘Journal’ has seen a copy of a letter sent to the Bloody Sunday families by the Royal British Legion in which the organisation expresses concern that its name has been used on banners erected in support of the ex-soldier.

The letter, signed by the Director General of the Royal British Legion, Charles Byrne, reads: “We wish to emphasise in the strongest possible terms, our disavowal of this misappropriation of our name.”

Mr Byrne adds: “We have not, and would not, authorise such use, and, furthermore, we have taken no stance in the matter of Soldier F. Our position is that the rule of law should prevail.”

Mr Byrne says the Legion has asked its members who wish to take part in protests in support of Soldier F to do so in a personal capacity.

A spokesperson for the Bloody Sunday Trust has welcomed the Legion letter.

“We welcome the fact the Royal British Legion is distancing itself from these protests in support of Soldier F and others and that they have made it clear that the rule of law should prevail,” said the spokesperson.