Bloody Sunday failed in its objective to terrorise the no-go area. Stormont fell in March and direct-rule from London was re-instated. Free Derry remained. Support for republicanism grew. The conflict continued to escalate. In six months after 30 January, 15 people were killed in the Free Derry area.

In July, the British Army began ‘Operation Motorman’ to smash Free Derry and other no go-areas in the north of Ireland: 21,000 troops, supported by tanks and bulldozers, invaded nationalist working class areas.

The IRA had been forewarned that they would be facing an overwhelming military force, and had quietly left the no-go areas, offering no resistance. By daylight Free Derry was under armed occupation. The British Army set up camps around the area, and for the next 22 years, Free Derry was one of the most militarised areas in western Europe.

  • Motorman 1 Colman Doyle

    January - July 1972

    Manus Deery (15) was shot dead by British soldiers in May, and James Casey (57) in July. IRA volunteer Gerald Doherty (16) died in a shooting accident in February, and volunteers Colm Keenan (19), Eugene McGillan (18) and John Starrs (19) were killed by the British Army in March and May.