Bloody Sunday: In search of scapegoats

The threat to prosecute soldiers for their part in Bloody Sunday should come as no surprise. It seems to be the habit of the British army to abandon its faithful servants to their fate – or, worse, seek scapegoats to shoulder all the blame.

That’s what happened to Eldred Pottinger after the destruction of the ‘Army of the Indus’ which set out bravely for Afghanistan and ended up being massacred by tribesmen.

Pottinger was one of the lucky ones, he came out of it alive. The down-side was that he ended up becoming the scapegoat. When he got back to India from months of privation in captivity, he was put on trial, court martialled for cowardice.

This is the theme which runs through ‘The Trials of Eldred Pottinger’ and, having chronicled his tribulations, I can imagine how terrible the four members of the Parachute Regiment must feel today as they await their fate.