Bloody Sunday: Timeline of an atrocity and its long legal aftermath

From the civil rights background of the fatal march through to Widgery and Saville inquiries

February 1967: The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) is founded.

October 5th, 1968: NICRA and the Derry Housing Action Committee (DHAC) decide to hold a march to protest at housing in the city. The RUC baton charge protesters and the images of police violence are captured on television. Almost 100 protesters are injured.

January 4th, 1969: Civil rights protesters are set upon at Burntollet Bridge outside Derry by loyalists lying in wait for them. The RUC stands by and watches.

April 17th: Bernadette Devlin is elected as MP for Mid-Ulster.


August 12th-14th: The Battle of the Bogside occurs in Derry between local nationalists residents and the RUC.

August 9th, 1971: Internment is introduced in Northern Ireland and is directed at the nationalist population.

January 18th, 1972: Northern Ireland prime minister Brian Faulkner bans all parades and marches until the end of the year.

January 22nd: Anti-internment protesters are attacked by paratroopers at Magilligan Strand in Co Derry.

January 28th: The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) calls for a peaceful "incident-free day" and a march on Sunday at 2pm from the Creggan.

January 30th:

2.50pm March sets off almost an hour late from Bishop's Field in the Creggan estate. The march is blocked from proceeding to Derry's Guildhall by British soldiers.

4.10pm-4.40pm: The soldiers open fire on demonstrators, killing 13 people instantly. A 14th, John Johnson, dies four months later.

January 31st: British home secretary Reginald Maulding announces in the House of Commons that a public inquiry will be held. He claims the soldiers acted in self-defence. Bernadette Devlin slaps him in the face.

February 1st: British prime minister Edward Health announces that the public inquiry will be carried out by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery.

February 2nd: An enraged crowd in Dublin burns the British embassy to the ground in Merrion Square.

March 24th: The Stormont Assembly is dissolved and direct rule introduced.

April 18th: The Widgery report exonerates the soldiers involved and claims the paratroopers opened fire after being fired upon. The report is condemned as a whitewash.

1987: The 15th anniversary of the shootings is marked by the setting up of the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign (BSJC).

April 15th, 1992: The BSJC is reconstituted with three demands: a new inquiry, a repudiation of Widgery and a formal acknowledgment that those shot dead were innocent.

January 29th, 1998: British prime minister Tony Blair announces the setting up of a fresh inquiry chaired by Lord Saville. Blair states that Lord Widgery's report was produced with too much haste and a new one is needed.

March 27th, 2000: The Saville public inquiry into Bloody Sunday begins. It is the biggest public inquiry in British legal history

January 2005: The last eyewitness testimony is given.

June 15th, 2010: The Saville report into the events of Bloody Sunday is finally published after previously being subject to multiple delays. It completely exonerates those who had been shot dead or injured on Bloody Sunday and concludes that many of the soldiers involved had given false testimony to the inquiry.

British prime minister David Cameron apologises to the families. What happened was "both unjustified and unjustifiable, it was wrong", he tells the House of Commons.

March 19th, 2019: The North's Public Prosecution Service (PPS) decides to prosecute Soldier F for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney on Bloody Sunday.

July 2nd, 2021: The prosecution against Soldier F is dropped as the PPS states there is "no longer a reasonable prospect of key evidence in proceedings against Soldier F".

To date, nobody has been tried or convicted of the killings on Bloody Sunday