Soldier G was the ‘partner’ of Soldier F.
Both soldiers served with Support Company of 1 Para.
Soldier F’s real name is David Cleary.
Soldier G was Ronald Alan Cook.
Cook was a private in 1 Para at the time of Bloody Sunday. His military number was 24180769. He was probably 21 at the time. He was referred to as “Soldier G” at the Bloody Sunday tribunals.
Both Cook and Cleary were awarded the honour of being “mentioned in dispatches” for their roles during the internment swoops of August 1971 in Belfast.
They were key figures in the events that played out on Bloody Sunday. Their superior, Colonel Wilford, paid them a mysterious visit at the Presbyterian Church where they were based in the hours before the massacre of that day. Cleary described the discussion to the Widgery Tribunal in 1972 as an “unusual” one, but gave no details of what was said.
When soldiers E,F,G and H went into action on Bloody Sunday, Major Edward Loden let them shoot at civilians in the Bogside for a while before he ordered them to cease fire. Byron Lewis, a 1 Para radio operator (designated ‘Soldier 027’ at the Saville Inquiry), relayed Loden’s order to the soldiers but Cleary and Cook disobeyed the major and moved into Glenfada Park where they continued shooting civilians. Lewis described later how they seemed to have had a “preconceived idea” of what they were going to do, and that they were acting “with purpose”.
After the shootings, Cleary and Cook led the ‘beasting’ of prisoners at Fort George in Derry. According to a local priest, Fr. Terence O’Keeffe, who was among the prisoners, Cook had “scary eyes” and an “almost psychotic look”. The pair “roamed” among the prisoners, stamping on their feet, kneeing them in the groin, forcing their faces up against electric heaters, spitting in their mouths and engaging in other acts of “idle brutality”. Fr. O’Keeffe recalled Cook as having had “the sadistic edge” on Cleary.
Fr O’Keeffe was also a professor who lectured in philosophy and was the holder of a chair at Coleraine University.
Cook was never disciplined for disobeying Major Loden’s cease-fire order on Bloody Sunday. Why? The only logical answer is that he was acting in accordance with orders from Colonel Wilford who outranked Major Loden.
Wilford is alive and perfectly compos mentis and the pages of Village are open to him to put his side of the story forward should he so wish.
Cook engaged in further acts of extreme brutality following his return to Belfast after Bloody Sunday in Derry. Village will be providing an account of these shortly.
Cook later joined the South African Army’s 5th Reconnaissance Regiment, a special force unit which fought along South Africa’s borders to preserve apartheid. The regiment was based at Phalaborwa in the Limpopo Province of Northern South Africa. He fought in the conflict along the northern border of the province. His superior officer was Colonel J. R. Hills. Cook was shot dead by a sniper on 12 February 1986. He was 35. At the time of his death, he was a sergeant designated as soldier 80021827PE.
Cook has family in Wales and that may be from where he hails.
Only three soldiers were involved in the highly secret discussion at the Presbyterian Church in Derry immediately before Bloody Sunday. Cook is long dead, but Wilford and Cleary are alive and well. Many now believe that Wilford ordered Cleary and Cook to provoke the IRA into a gun battle so the elite Support Company of 1 Para could smash its way into Free Derry and wipe out the IRA. Support Company would have acted as the tip of the spear with C Company following them into the Bogside. If so, Wilford chose them because they were his ‘go to’ soldiers, men who had proven themselves to him and Brigadier Frank Kitson in Belfast, especially during the internment swoops in August 1971 – hence their ‘mention in dispatches’.
Cook’s name has never been published before, but it does feature on a memorial at the present-day HQ of South African special forces. It is hardly likely that the government of South Africa is aware that it is honouring such a controversial figure in so respectful a fashion.
Another publication has very recently suggested that Soldier G died in Angola in the 1970s. I disagree but understand how confusion about the issue may have arisen. Another paratrooper who may have participated in Bloody Sunday died in Angola but he was not Ron Cook. This lack of clarity would not have arisen but for the ongoing attempts by the British government to conceal the identities of Soldiers E,F,G and H.
David Burke is the author of ‘Kitson’s Irish War’. It can be purchased here:
OTHER STORIES ABOUT BLOODY SUNDAY, THE BALLYMURPHY MASSACRE, BRIGADIER FRANK KITSON AND COLONEL DEREK WILFORD ON THIS WEBSITE:
Lying like a trooper. Internment, murder and vilification. Did Brigadier Kitson instigate the Ballymurphy massacre smear campaign? Where was Soldier F and his ‘gallant’ death squad during it?
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.