By David Burke.
Brigadier Frank Kitson, who is still alive, ran 39 Airportable Brigade area, i.e. Belfast, as if he was a mob boss with the city his patch. He let the paratroopers under his command run riot in that domain.
Some of the more decent and honourable British army officers were aghast at their excesses and asked HQNI to keep them away from their sectors.
The shock troops of Support Company of 1 Para became known as ‘Kitson’s Private Army’.
1. State terrorist.
There was method to Kitson’s madness, albeit of a grotesque variation: he wanted to make Belfast hell for any community he suspected was or was likely to become an IRA stronghold.
Kitson also established the MRF death squads and began the process of collusion with the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commando terror groups.
His counterinsurgency tactics backfired with disastrous results. In effect, he became the greatest recruiting sergeant for which the IRA could have hoped.
2. The ‘Gunge’ Eaters
Kitson’s paratroopers, a motley crew of thugs, racists and rapists, were permitted to assault and even kill those they believed had stepped out of line.
Rifle butts were used to smash teeth, ribs and noses as a matter of routine while Catholic homes were often ransacked.
Michael Asher, author of ‘Shoot To Kill’, described the violence he witnessed while serving as a paratrooper in Belfast in the early 1970s. There were a lot of fights in the barracks:
They were what happens in most exclusively male societies: fights to determine the pecking order and who can boss who. But they weren’t the only exotic form of entertainment. One group of soldiers would hold so-called ‘gunge’ contests. They sat around in a circle and tried to outdo each other in acts of gross obscenity, like eating shit and drinking urine. [Asher, Michael, Shoot to Kill: Journey Through Violence (Cassell Military Paperbacks, London, 2003), p.119.]
Asher has also described how the paratroopers came to despise the Nationalist community:
During house searches they vented their anger on their victims, smashing down doors and breaking up furniture, kicking and rifle-butting anyone who resisted, making lewd suggestions to the women of the house and threatening the children. Some of them tormented the quiet Pakistani in the [regimental] shop until he threw a chip-pan of boiling fat at them. They battered to death a stray cat that wandered past the OP and held up its mangled corpse to the children who came looking for it. [Asher (2003), p.119–20.]
Asher knew paratroopers who were truly scraped from the very bottom of the barrel:
Several of them boasted of dragging a mentally deficient girl into the OP [observation post] and forcing her to perform oral sex. They said she enjoyed it. [Asher (2003), p.119–20.]
3. Some of the soldiers of Support Company who invaded the Bogside on Bloody Sunday.
The sequence of photographs which follows contains pictures of some of the paratroopers who participated in the attack on the Bogside on Bloody Sunday.
4. Mass Murder.
It was Kitson’s paratroopers who perpetrated the Ballymurphy massacre in August 1971.
1 Para went to Derry on Bloody Sunday on ‘loan’ from Kitson. It was they who perpetrated the massacre. They disobeyed the orders issued to them by the Brigadier of Derry, Pat MacLellan. Brigadier MacLellan had not wanted 1 Para to go near the Bogside on Bloody Sunday.
Lord Widgery conducted a cover-up of what Kitson’s troops did in Derry on Bloody Sunday. Kitson’s name did not even appear once – anywhere – in Widgery’s Report. Lord Saville virtually ignored him in his 2010 report.
David Burke is the author of ‘Kitson’s Irish War’ which will be published by Mercier Press next October.
OTHER STORIES ABOUT BLOODY SUNDAY, THE BALLYMURPHY MASSACRE, BRIGADIER FRANK KITSON AND COLONEL DEREK WILFORD ON THIS WEBSITE:
Soldier F and Brigadier Kitson’s elite ‘EFGH’ death squad: a murderous dirty-tricks pattern is emerging which links Ballymurphy with Bloody Sunday. A second soldier involved in both events was ‘mentioned in despatches’ at the behest of Kitson for his alleged bravery in the face of the enemy.
Mission accomplished. The unscrupulous judge who covered-up the Bloody Sunday murders. Soldier F and other paratroopers have been protected by the British State for five decades. None of them now face prosecution. This perversion of justice began with the connivance of the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, John Widgery, a former British Army brigadier, Freemason and oath-breaker.
The McGurk’s Bar cover-up. Heath’s Faustian pact. How a British prime minister covered up a UVF massacre in the hope of acquiring Unionist votes to enable the UK join the European Economic Community, the forerunner of the EU.