Soldiers involved in Operation Motorman met for a 50th reunion party over the weekend, while families of those killed held memorial services in Derry.
The gathering has prompted a lawyer representing the family of 15-year-old victim Daniel Hegarty to write to the chief of attorney’s office asking that the organizer and guests of the event be contacted.
Desmond Doherty told the Public Prosecutor’s Office (PPS) she could assist in locating a man named Soldier A who has proved “elusive”.
Soldier A is believed to have been accompanying Soldier B – the man accused of killing Hegarty.
After an inquest in 2011, a jury found that Hegarty and his cousins Christopher and Thomas, who were with him, posed no threat. Christopher was also shot but survived.
Prosecution of Soldier B was halted by prosecutors on legal grounds.
Hegarty’s family is questioning that decision.
Mr Doherty said the PPS was aware of the “excitement” this reunion event had caused.
Hegarty was one of two teenagers shot dead at Derry’s Creggan estate during the operation carried out in the early hours of 31 July 1972 to retake no-go areas in Derry and Belfast .
Hegarty was shot twice in the head with a heavy machine gun at almost point-blank range.
The army tried to blacken his name by claiming he was carrying a nail bomb, but later retracted the allegation.
In a monthly newsletter, the Scots Guards Association invited Guardsmen serving on “Op Motorman or Op Banner and friends or other veterans” to an “Operation Motorman 50 Reunion”.
It was held at the Scots Guards Club on Saturday, “to mark the 50th anniversary of Operation Motorman, which the 2nd Battalion of the Scots Guards took part in in the province of Northern Ireland”.
The newsletter states: “The 2nd Battalion’s role in this operation was to clear the ‘No Go Areas’ set up by much of the PIRA in 1972 in the Bogside area of Londonderry.
“I would ask anyone who will be attending this 50th anniversary event if they could PM me if they haven’t already.
“Just to confirm numbers for a buffet and a curry later in the evening the cost of that would be £10 for both.
“All timings are good old Scottish. ie Toast 12.00ish Dress: smart/casual, ladies as pretty as ever.”
The bar was scheduled to open at 10am and part of the process involved a “presentation” to the club for the anniversary.
Colonel JM Clavering OBE MC was among the guests.
During the operation he was in command of the right flank of the 2nd Battalion.
In an article previously published in Guards Magazine, Col Clavering spoke about the Guardsmen’s lack of training before they set foot on the streets of Derry.
“Starting a new company from practically nothing, with a high proportion of young guards straight from the depot and newly commissioned platoon leaders, was a challenge,” he said, paying tribute to a former colleague.
He added: “In July of this year the battalion was deployed at relatively short notice and with limited pre-tour training to Londonderry for Operation Motorman to clear Republican restricted areas.
“This proved to be something of an anti-climax as the IRA melted across the border and then the force was greatly reduced.
“However, the battalion was retained in the city to be responsible for the hard-Republican areas of Bogside and Brandywell, with Right Flank in charge of the latter.”
Daniel Hegarty’s family said: “The British government at the time also murdered the judiciary and the rule of law. The current UK government is doing the same.
“Operation Carcan was the secret code within Operation Motorman for Derry. By definition it is a means of death by a blunt instrument. Fifty years later, the British government and its supporters are blatantly murdering justice and the rule of law.
“It appears to us that Operation Carcan is still ongoing in relation to Daniel’s assassination and beyond. We all live in a nightmare of a never-ending stream of injustice.”
They added: “Shooting a defenseless and small, harmless child in the head at close range was acceptable to the British Army in 1972 and is even more acceptable to them now.”
“Daniel’s investigation in 2011 rightfully paved the way for charging Soldier B with murder. But the state protects him and itself and will continue to do so.
“The British state legitimizes the killing of innocent civilians and children by its own army.”
The PPS said that since investigations are a matter for the police, correspondence is forwarded to the PSNI.
The PSNI said it has not yet received any correspondence on the matter.
“Once we receive them, we will take the time to study the contents and respond in due course,” police said.
The Army explained that 2008 was a year to commemorate the “contribution and sacrifice” of the servicemen and women who served during that time.
It said: “Events and regimental meetings to mark the 50th anniversary were largely coordinated by individual associations and veteran groups.”
The Scots Guards charity, which runs the website featured in the newsletter, has been contacted for comment.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/army-veterans-held-reunion-party-to-mark-operation-motorman-anniversary-while-families-in-derry-mourned-41883064.html Army veterans held reunion party to mark Operation Motorman anniversary while families in Derry mourned