Lord Dannatt reveals he was questioned by HET on his last day in uniform
THE former Chief of General Staff of the British Army has revealed he was questioned by detectives from the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) on his last day in post.
Retired British Army general Richard Dannatt, was head of the army from 2006-2009. Now a member of the House of Lords, he served as a platoon commander in Belfast with the Green Howards Regiment in 1971.
Writing in the News Letter this week about legacy investigations, he says that the "knock on the door" is not confined to "elderly, retired paratroopers, riflemen and cavalrymen".
Saying that on his last day as General Chief of Staff in August, 2009, he was quizzed about the death of a man in Belfast in the early 70s.
"The final scheduled appointment in my diary, before I left the Ministry of Defence for the last time in uniform, was with two investigators from the Police Service of Northern Ireland's Historical Enquiries Team," he said.
"They travelled from the province to London to quiz me about the killing of a young man in Belfast some 36 years before. Having explained the circumstances of the day in question, I assumed that the matter was closed.
"Not so, as one of my corporals, now 76 years-old, was subsequently questioned, police finally accepting that events in our statements nearly 40 years before were an accurate account of a hostile attack.
"While the army kept extremely good operational records, the terrorists did not . This makes a very uneven playing field on which to conduct these retrospective investigations," Lord Dannatt said.
Speaking about the 2010 Saville Report into Bloody Sunday, when Lord Saville concluded that firing by members of the Parachute regiment caused the deaths of 13 people, none of whom was posing a threat, Lord Dannatt said that "should have been the end of Bloody Sunday".
"But now there is a horrible suspicion among veterans that the non self incriminatory basis on which they gave evidence to Saville has been broached, and that some soldiers do indeed now stand liable for further investigation and fear of a knock on the door," Lord Dannatt added.