Monklands motorcyclists were part of a peaceful protest across Scotland showing support for a former British soldier facing murder charges over Bloody Sunday killings.
Berni Wilkins, daughter of Coatbridge Second World War hero Jim Bradley, and ex-military man Duncan Lang, of Airdrie, were involved in the “Rolling Thunder Scotland – The Return Ride; End The Witch Hunt Now” event which saw hundreds descend on St Andrew’s Square in Edinburgh.
The ride-out – which travelled across Harthill, Dundee, Arbroath and Glasgow – was staged to back “Soldier F”, a 77-year-old army veteran who has been charged with murder after killing two civil rights demonstrators in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
The event followed on from a previous demonstration in April which attracted thousands of bikers to Edinburgh, London, Belfast and Cyprus, simultaneously.
Berni, 65, whose dad Jim was awarded the prestigious Medal of Ushakov for his service with the Arctic convoys in World War II, said: “The demonstrators aimed to keep awareness of their anger over the unfair treatment of veterans at the forefront of all politicians’ minds.
“They also wanted to register their disgust with members of the UK Government who have failed to stop the prosecutions; they believe Scottish members of parliament are complicit in the effects their lack of action and support has had, and continues to have, on the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of veterans and their families.”
Airdrie man Duncan Lang, 55, was keen to take part in the latest Rolling Thunder protest, telling the Advertiser: “I did several tours in Northern Ireland with the Army Air Corps.
“It is wrong to pick on an old man [Soldier F] after all this time by persecuting him for doing his job.
“I have taken part in all four Rolling Thunder events held in Scotland and feel it is very important to raise awareness of this issue; voices are being heard, but the more attention ‘Soldier F’s’ case gets the better.”
Alan MacNamara, who organised the Scottish Rolling Thunder event, added: “People involved helped us to raise more than £1300 for the charity Who Dares Cares, who help veterans with PTSD.
“This was an incredible amount of money and shows we don’t forget the charitable side of things.”
“Soldier F” will face charges for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney and the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O’Donnell.
On January 20, 1972, 13 civilians and another 15 were wounded when troops from 1 Para fired at demonstrators in the Bogside area of Londonderry.
The day became known as Bloody Sunday and is remembered as one of the darkest days of the Northern Ireland Troubles, with some relatives of those killed long campaigning for justice.