Robert Ford

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Person.png Robert Ford
Born 1923-12-29
Wikipedia page Robert Ford (British Army officer)

Major General Robert Ford was the British Army's Commander, Land Forces in Northern Ireland at the time of Bloody Sunday in January 1972. His appointment came at the height of The Troubles in 1971.[1] He was criticised in the Saville Report into the Bloody Sunday massacre in Derry for deploying soldiers to arrest rioters: "In our view his decision to use 1 Para as the arrest force is open to criticism but he did not know his decision would result in soldiers firing unjustifiably."[2]

In a secret memo to his superior, dated 7 January 1972, Ford said he was "coming to the conclusion that the minimum force necessary to achieve a restoration of law and order is to shoot selected ringleaders amongst the DYH (Derry Young Hooligans), after clear warnings have been issued".[2] In the event, seven of the innocent victims of Bloody Sunday were indeed Derry teenagers. At the Bloody Sunday inquiry he claimed not to remember having written the memo.[2]

In 1973 he became Commandant of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and in 1976 he was appointed Military Secretary. He was Adjutant General from 1978 to 1981 when he retired from the British Army.

He was ADC General to Queen Elizabeth II from 1980 to 1981. He was awarded a CB in 1973, a KCB in 1977 and GCB in 1981.


  1. Journalist recalls Bloody Sunday BBC News, 16 May 2001
  2. a b c Bloody Sunday report published BBC News, 15 June 2010