Bloody Sunday: Widgery Report

The Widgery Report was a British investigation on Bloody Sunday – January 30th, 1972 – when British soldiers killed 14 citizens and wounded 12 more. The report was conducted to determine where the blame should lie for the killings, whether it be on the army, the individual soldiers, or the civilian marchers and rioters. The author of the report was John Passmore Widgery, a former British officer in the military division who received multiple awards for his service. Evidently, one would think that Mr. Widgery would not be allowed to preside over the case because of his former occupations and ties to the very people and organization that were being tried. However, civilians did not have much say in the matter

Clear bias is easily notable in the Widgery Report, so much that it was referred to as a “whitewash” by many, and the Saville Report was established in 1998 to reinvestigate the incidents that both preceded and occurred on January 30th. The language of the report is used to place the majority of the blame on the unarmed citizens that were gunned down. In the text, the word “citizens” is used interchangeably with “hooligans,” and often groups are described as “hooligan gangs.” Additionally, it is stated that if soldiers had not shot at the citizens, “hooligans backed by the gunman would take control.” Clearly, diction is used to supplement the findings of the report.

Pathos and Logos are also utilized often throughout the report. The soldiers were described as if they feared for their lives, and their families were mentioned to appeal to the emotions of the audience. Similarly, for logos, the protesters and marchers are described dangerously, making the audience believe the only rational course of action would be violence.



“John Widgery, Baron Widgery.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2016.

“Report of the Tribunal Appointed to Inquire into the Events on Sunday, 30th January 1972 [Widgery Report].” CAIN Web Service. N.p., n.d. Web.


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