We are a group of HM Forces Veterans and civilian supporters, mainly bikers but also have a large troop of foot soldiers – our “F Troop”.
We are all angered and appalled by the vexatious prosecution of our Veterans who were tasked to Operation Banner (British Armed Forces’ operation in Northern Ireland from 1969 to 2007). Most of these men are now OAPs and some are suffering from terminal illnesses but are still being subjected to intense interrogation (by PSNI after being taken back to NI) and court appearances without the benefit of a jury. These prosecutions are being driven by Irish Republicans.
Following reports of the unsuccessful Appeal to the Supreme Court by one Veteran – Dennis Hutchings (RIP) – and the news the same day that another Veteran of Op. Banner – Soldier F – was to be charged, Army Veteran and Biker Harry Wragg took to Social Media to vent his frustration at their treatment and the threat hanging over the heads of others. The post went viral and a Facebook group was setup with the first Rolling Thunder ride to Central London being planned and executed. This resulted in (Met Figures) 22,000 bikes, 30,000 plus bikers and pillions and 5000 plus foot soldiers bringing Central London to a grinding halt. This started the ball rolling and other groups, such as Million Veterans March Never Surrender, organising similar events. Unfortunately, whilst we are making advances, the situation has not changed much and another Op Banner veteran has been arrested and is facing charges.
We are supporting these Veterans in their fight for justice by organising and attending support marches and rides with other Veteran and biker groups. As well as letting them know they are not alone we are hoping to educate the public on what is really happening following the Good Friday Agreement (and its hidden agenda) as well as putting pressure on the Government to back those it sent to Northern Ireland and are now being persecuted and prosecuted for doing the job they were sent to do.
Currently there are 6 soldiers facing trials for alleged offences from over 40 years ago whilst carrying out their lawful duties, in all cases multiple investigations have cleared each soldier of any wrong doing and they were all told that was the end of it. None of these trials are in front of a jury, all are what is known as Diplock trials held in front of just a Judge, there are no checks and balances. There are also 200 other Soldiers being “investigated”.
Soldiers A to Z
David Holden, Grenadier Guards: For the killing of Aidan McAnespie
Soldier B: For the killing of Daniel Hegarty – Case dropped, pending possible review
Dennis Hutchings, Life Guards: For the killing of John Pat Cunningham – Sadly Dennis passed away during his trial and was never able to prove his innocence. We will fight on in his name
Soldier A and Soldier C, Para Regt: For the killing of Joe McCann Found Not Guilty verdict due to lack of evidence.
Soldier F, Para Regt: For the killing of James Wray and William McKinney Case dropped, pending possible review
Currently there are no impending prosecutions of former terrorists, a total of 156 IRA suspects enjoy total immunity as part of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement struck by former Prime Minister Tony Blair. There was also an agreement between the Northern Ireland Office, Sinn Fein and Blair that there was nothing to stop serving or former Op Banner security force members (including NI Police) from being prosecuted.
3,532 people were killed and approximately 47,500 injured during the so called “Troubles”. Approximately 60% of the dead were killed by republicans (IRA etc), 30% by loyalists (UDA etc) and 10% by British security forces. All acts by the paramilitaries were illegal but the Security Forces were acting within a legal framework and Rules of Engagement as laid down by the British Government which, at the time, directly governed Northern Ireland.
What most people forget or do not know is that the British Army was sent into Northern Ireland to support the RUC in their policing duties and protect the predominantly innocent citizens of Northern Ireland. Ask any Soldier how much police training he had, the answer will be NONE. They had Military stop and search training, riot training, VCP training & contact training. They were not given any training on how to be a Copper! Soldiers do what they are trained to do… FIGHT… The only equipment they were supplied with to protect themselves and innocent members of the public were battlefield weapons.