We’ll be speaking to John Burns and his sister Patricia on today’s program, John sent me his family’s story:
“My father died 13th July 1972 after being shot from a British Army observation post in the “Bone” area of North Belfast, where we lived at the time. He was 32 years old. My mother Kathleen was left to raise us 4 children, aged from 3 years to 11 years.
This devastated my mother, though she never spoke to any of us about what had happened, it impacted her so much that she never spoke to any of us again about my dad. The only time he was talked of was between us children, it was too painful for mum.
My own memories of dad are very patchy, I only have 2 memories, maybe not surprising as I was not quite 5 years old at the time. I remember dad coming home from work on one occasion and my other memory is of his funeral.
Apart from the traumatic effect this had on us all, following dad’s murder we lost contact with my paternal grandparents and the entire family on dad’s side, i.e. his brothers and sisters. Fortunately for us we had our maternal grandparents and mum’s brothers and sisters who did their utmost to help and we owe them our gratitude.
My mum was awarded compensation a few years later, as were we [ us 4 children were roughly awarded between £600 and £2000, dependant on our age at time of dad’s death]. None of us ever accept that money can in any way replace a loved one, or make up for the loss of our dad. What we would like is truth.
To be honest the thought of further financial compensation has never occurred to us as a family, we would though appreciate truth, it is too late for our mum, she passed away in February 2007.
Finally when I think of the soldier that shot my dad, I have no interest in him being punished, I don’t want him tried in a court of law, simply an acknowledgement that he “got it wrong”. “