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Started by Jacob_Richter on May 12, 2019 12:53:50 PM
British soldiers used shot Catholic man's skull as ashtray

The family of a man whose skull was used as an ashtray by members of the Parachute Regiment after he was shot dead have spoken of their "deep distress."

Jacob_Richter - 12 May 2019 12:55:53 (#1 of 129)

Henry Thornton (28), from south Armagh, was killed as he travelled along Belfast's Springfield Road in August 1971.

Details of the disturbing actions of British soldiers were raised this week at an inquest into the killing of 10 people over three days in Ballymurphy in west Belfast in 1971 by the Parachute Regiment.

Former Paratrooper Henry Gow told the coroner's court how a colleague recovered part of the skull of another man killed in the area, Henry Thornton, and used it as an ashtray.

Gow had previously recounted the grizzly episode in his autobiography Killing Zone, which he wrote under the name Harry McCallion and which was published in 1995.

Mr Thornton died almost instantly when British soldier Allan McVittie fired twice at the van he was driving close to the former Springfield Road RUC station. McVittie has since died.

A father-of-six from Silverbridge, Mr Thornton had been working in Belfast and was living temporarily in the city when he was killed.

During questioning this week Mr Gow said that a 'sweepstake' was run by his unit to reward soldiers who "got a kill".

Henry Gow, whose company of the Parachute Regiment was not involved in the Ballymurphy shooting,s said the winner "got the pot" and would use the money to "go for a piss-up".

The Thornton family lawyer Pádraig Ó Muirigh last night they were aware of Henry Gow's evidence.

"The allegation that the remains of their loved one was treated in such an undignified manner is a source of great distress to them," he said.

"This revelation and others such as a sweeptake being organised for soldiers who ‘got a kill' are deeply disturbing but nonetheless indicative of the culture that prevailed in the Parachute Regiment."

Mr Ó Muirigh added: "A litany of murder and brutality has followed this regiment in their various tours of duty whether in the Ballymurphy area, Shankill Rd, Ardoyne or the Bogside in Derry.

“The Parachute Regiment have had a bloody and dishonourable record in the north of Ireland which has come under further scrutiny at the Ballymurphy Inquest.”

An inquest into Mr Thornton's killing heard that he and another man had been driving to work when their van backfired prompting McVittie to open fire.

Worth bearing in mind when mobs of bikers and scumbags like Mercer whinge about soldiers being prosecuted for crimes they have committed.

thisonehasalittlehat - 12 May 2019 12:57:19 (#2 of 129)

Sounds unlikely to me. Honestly.

Jacob_Richter - 12 May 2019 13:01:55 (#3 of 129)

Of course. They are British soldiers. BRITISH SOLDIERS. And the Prince of Wales is Commander in Chief. Of course it's unlikely. The fact that those involved admit it is neither here nor there.

airynothing - 12 May 2019 13:04:50 (#4 of 129)

Gow had previously recounted the grizzly episode

"Grizzly"? Bearly believable, I’d say.

GreenFuture - 12 May 2019 13:05:01 (#5 of 129)

Military did shit thing nearly 50 years ago.

Fuck ‘em.

And thank God for the Good Friday Agreement.

thisonehasalittlehat - 12 May 2019 13:07:08 (#6 of 129)

One person claimed it happened in that report.

I don't see how you'd get the skull back after the autopsy and coroners inquest without the family knowing, and that's not explained. I don't think. I didn't read until the end. Actually it turned out I did read until the end.

I reckon his friend was just having him on.

FleurDuMal - 12 May 2019 13:07:30 (#7 of 129)

And thank God for the Good Friday Agreement.


virgil5 - 12 May 2019 13:37:10 (#8 of 129)

Not to worry. American soldiers are now available to keep the status quo.

Donald Trump is their Commander-In-Chief.

RosyLovelady - 12 May 2019 13:52:52 (#9 of 129)

I'm sure the silly billy soldier made the whole thing up because he thought it wold make him look big and clever.

Snarlygog - 12 May 2019 14:02:20 (#10 of 129)

Bet he was the second man on the balcony as well.

TommyDGNR8 - 12 May 2019 14:35:26 (#11 of 129)

There were cunts on both sides. There always are. Let him who has not concealed a bucketload of evidence cast the first stone.

Tagyourit - 12 May 2019 14:38:34 (#12 of 129)

The skull bit does sound very much like NAAFI bar bullshit to me. The sweepstake thing however is more believable, no idea if it happened or not but it sounds much more likely than the skull story.

On a related note:

Snarlygog - 12 May 2019 14:41:28 (#13 of 129)

#11 handy if it's a Police action and if the memory of the Black and Tans had faded. Oh and the Croke Park massacreBloody Sunday

foghorn - 12 May 2019 14:49:14 (#14 of 129)

The old skull/ashtray story. Last one I heard was from a redcap in Hong Kong.

mememe - 12 May 2019 14:51:07 (#15 of 129)

That does have the ring of an urban myth to it, doesn't it?

"No really, my mate heard it from his mate who used to work with someone where it was".

SinnerBoy - 12 May 2019 15:13:10 (#16 of 129)

airynothing -

---Gow had previously recounted the grizzly episode---

"Grizzly"? Bearly believable, I’d say.

Hah! You beat me to it!

browserbutton - 12 May 2019 15:16:19 (#17 of 129)

"Out in 'Nam I met this guy who had a NECKLACE OF EARS!"

mememe - 12 May 2019 15:16:46 (#18 of 129)

And you'll never believe what happened when my mate's mum's friend bought some KFC.

SinnerBoy - 12 May 2019 15:17:41 (#19 of 129)

I'm also very sceptical about this story. I mean, I have no doubt that he was shot and that he was entirely innocent and unarmed, but how would they manage to get a piece of his skull, from the mortuary?

annetjie - 12 May 2019 15:29:36 (#20 of 129)

Someone managed to get Kennedy's brains ...

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