THE QUEEN’S REGIMENTAL ASSOCIATION
Patron: Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
STATEMENT FROM THE PRESIDENT REGARDING CONTACT WITH MEMBERS CONCERNING THE BELFAST CORONER'S INQUEST INTO AN INCIDENT ON THE BALLYMURPHY ESTATE IN 1971
There have been a number of inaccurate and unsubstantiated rumours on social media regarding the Belfast Coroner's imminent inquest into the Ballymurphy incident in August 1971 when elements of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions were deployed on OP DEMETRIUS in support of the Parachute Regiment. I suggest that you neither listen to these rumours nor circulate them further. The facts as we know them are these:
Members of the Regiment were deployed as the outer cordon on the operation; an inner cordon was provided by the Parachute Regiment.
As far as we can tell, no rounds were fired by members of the Queen's Regiment. However, the Coroner is also seeking to identify witnesses to engagement and action during the operation.
The Coroner, quite within her legal right, has requested names from the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) of personnel who might have been serving in Belfast at that time. I have been assured that the names and addresses have been redacted from public records. However, I remain concerned that members of the Association have been contacted directly by solicitors seeking to ascertain involvement in the operation and I have requested MOD to explain how such details have been disclosed.
As President of the Association and thereby 'controller' of our database I have made it quite clear to the Coroner that I see no grounds to justify the disclosure of our database from a legal point of view. More importantly, under General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), I have emphasised that I see myself as custodian of your personal information which I hold in trust simply for the private and charitable objectives of the Association. I am seeking further legal advice on this which will, I am assured, be paid for by the MOD.
I have raised the matter with my own local MP who has agreed to pass his own concerns to the Secretary of State. You might find it useful to write to your own MPs regarding this issue.
I understand that members whom the Coroner believes may have been in Belfast have been sent a letter with a questionnaire. If you have already received one of these letters or do so in the future,my advice is:
Provide the Coroner with your full name and address, battalion(s) and regiment - she has this already but it helps her eliminate those who can provide no detail of the events.
If you were not involved in OP DEMETRIUS, say that you were not and that therefore you cannot provide any information that will help her in her inquiry.
If you were involved in the operation, however, you must inform the Coroner that you were present as it is a criminal act to mislead the Coroner.
If you fired any rounds or witnessed the firing of any rounds, I strongly advise you to take up the offer of legal help which will be provided for you free. If, of course, you can remember no details from the event then say so. There is no requirement to provide any further details such as names of others involved.
Some of those who have already contacted Colonel John Powell suffer from PTSD, have had strokes, heart attacks and other life-changing medical conditions that make it difficult to remember what happened recently let alone in 1971. Please use the box at the end of the proforma to declare your condition if you wish to.
Please feel free to contact the Secretary if you have any concerns or require any further advice.
Queen's Regimental Association
0771 484 4069
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