On 12 August, thousands of Apprentice Boys prepared to march through a Derry seething with anxiety and discontent. As the march passed the Bogside, it was greeted by jeering and stone throwing. The police, backed by loyalists, tried to force the protesters back.

Unlike during previous incursions, Bogsiders were ready. Existing barricades were strengthened and new ones erected. Stockpiles of petrol bombs and stones were brought forward.

Over three days and two nights of fighting, the Bogside held the barricades. The area had effectively seceded from British rule.

On 14 August, the Bogsiders pushed an exhausted police back towards the city centre. At the same time, B Specials could be seen mobilising behind police lines.

At 4.00pm on 14 August, as Derry prepared for confrontation between the Bogside and the B Specials, soldiers of the Prince of Wales Regiment were deployed around the area. Their initial guarded welcome would not last for long.

  • Women making provisions for Battle of the Bogside Aug 69 colour (Gilles Carron)

    12 - 14 August

    Hundreds of young defenders, with the active backing of the entire community, secured the perimeter of the area and the commanding heights of the roof of the Rossville Flats. Bricks and petrol bombs battled against batons, guns and armoured vehicles. Police fired more than 1,000 CS gas canisters into the area.

  • Freedom Fleadh 2 (Eamon Melaugh)

    Freedom Fleadh

    The appearance of British troops in Derry on 14 August was viewed as a victory over the police and unionism. Free Derry celebrated with the Freedom Fleadh, with The Dubliners, Tommy Makem and others performing on makeshift stages in the Bogside.