Make History. Follow the Paper Trail.

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What Is Social Enterprise?

We only ever wanted to found Paper Trail as a social enterprise but what is this? Social enterprise is defined by Government as: A business with primarily social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profits for shareholders and […]

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Jean Smyth-Campbell Murder: Independent Investigation Ordered

The Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland has ordered an independent investigation into the murder of Jean Smyth-Campbell. Jean Smyth-Campbell was a single mother who was shot dead in an unprovoked attack in June 1972. The Royal Ulster Constabulary told her family that she was murdered by the local members of the […]

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Michael Leonard Murder 1973

Response to Inaccurate Police Reporting of Michael Leonard’s Murder

Solicitor Pat Fahy and Paper Trail respond to the police’s false reporting of Michael Leonard’s murder. It is with great dismay that the family of Michael Leonard read that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is now claiming that their classification of the killing of Michael Leonard as murder, as reported in the Irish […]

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Michael Leonard Murder 1973

Police Admit To RUC Murder of Michael Leonard

As his family has long believed, the RUC did murder Michael Leonard. In an astounding admission, the Police Service of Northern Ireland has admitted that the shooting dead of civilian Michael Leonard on 17th May 1973 by members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary was in fact murder. Read Connla Young’s front page report in the […]

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Press Release: Solicitors for the Family of Jean Smyth-Campbell

Kinnear & Co. Solicitors represent the family of Jean Smyth-Campbell, who was killed in a drive-by shooting by the undercover British Army Unit (the MRF), in June 1972. At the time Jean’s family were told that the IRA had carried out the attack. The RUC then parroted this falsehood to the inquest in November 1972. […]

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Special Order of the Day by Freeland 15th August 1969

Special Order of the Day: GOC Freeland, 15th August 1969

From the archives: Special Order of the Day by the General Officer Commanding Freeland on 15th August 1969. GOC Freeland: “We are rapidly moving into an operation which might be one of the trickiest that you have experienced.” And so began Operation Banner, one of the longest, continuous deployments of British Army forces in its […]

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Where Was MRF When McGurk’s Bar Was Bombed?

For over 10 years, the families have asked police investigators where was the British Army’s death-squad, MRF, when McGurk’s Bar was bombed. Every investigation by the police and Police Ombudsman’s Office in the 46 years since the atrocity, which claimed the lives of 15 civilians, have failed to even prove the existence of the Miltary Reaction […]

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Patsy Kelly Truth and Justice Campaign

Kelly Murder Remains a Dark Stain On Policing and Justice Systems

Pat Fahy, solicitor for the family, writes in the Irish News about the murder of Councillor Patsy Kelly. The murder of Trillick, Co Tyrone councillor Patsy Kelly, in 1974 remains a dark stain on our policing and justice systems. This was an abduction and killing widely believed to have been carried out by members of the Ulster Defence Regiment in uniform. That […]

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Patsy Kelly Truth and Justice Campaign

Patsy Kelly Murder, 1974 – Startling New Information Uncovered

Statement by the family of Patsy Kelly on the discovery of startling new information which points towards a cover-up by the British state. Startling new information relating to the 1974 abduction and murder of Independent Councillor, Patsy Kelly (right), from Trillick, Co. Tyrone, has been uncovered following a freedom of information request on behalf of […]

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Podcast 7 Britain’s Man in Maynooth

In this Paper Trail Pro podcast, we out Britain’s Man in Maynooth. We examine the rather cosy relationship between a highly influential Irish Monsignor at Maynooth College and a British covert spy and propaganda unit. At first glance, the file I found was a brief, quite nondescript information report from one British civil servant in the Dublin […]

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Podcast 6: Brian Nelson – Diminishing Responsibility?

In this podcast, we examine the early career of British soldier and Loyalist paramilitary, Brian Nelson. When the murky history of the Troubles is written, Brian Nelson’s name is assured of a place. His name has become synonymous with the word “collusion” as he was a double agent run by British military intelligence at the […]

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Green Howards worried about MRF October 1971

Earliest Record of Operational MRF?

Is this the earliest record of an operational Military Reaction Force (MRF)? A British Army 39 Brigade Commander’s Diary from October 1971 could have uncovered the earliest operational record of the clandestine Military Reaction Force. We have other records naming the main players like Captain Arthur Watchus and Sergeant Clive Graham Williams from the beginning […]

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Consultation for Addressing the Legacy of the Past

Consultation Deadline: Addressing the Legacy of the Past

The consultation for Addressing the Legacy of the Past is closing on 5th October 2018 so record your views now. The consultation regards the proposed legislation and mechanisms for dealing with the legacy of the conflict. It follows the signing of the Stormont House Agreement in 2014 and the absence of action since then. The consultation […]

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Podcast 5: The Myth of the Orange Pimpernel

In this Paper Trail Pro podcast, we examine the Myth of the Orange Pimpernel. Secret British archives prove that Gusty Spence did not escape from police custody when he was the most wanted Loyalist in the north of Ireland. The police simply released him and helped create the Myth of the Orange Pimpernel. Government Line […]

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Podcast 4: The Murder of Jean Smyth-Campbell

In this Paper Trail Pro podcast, we examine the murder of Jean Smyth-Campbell and her family’s campaign for truth. Jean Smyth-Campbell was a 24-year-old mother of a young child who was murdered in west Belfast on June 8th 1972. The state’s police force told her family that she was killed by Republican paramilitaries but British […]

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Spy in the Sacristy – Bruno Heim

Our Archive of the Week uncovers a Spy in the Sacristy during a critical period of the first Hunger Strike in 1980. Archive of the Week: Spy in the Sacristy – the Pope’s Apostolic Delegate, Bruno Heim, was Britain’s spy who divulged significant information at a crucial juncture of the first Hunger Strike in 1980 […]

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McGurk's Bar Commander's Diary 5th December 1971

The History Thieves of McGurk’s Bar

Investigative journalist and author, Ian Cobain, has led the way in uncovering the lengths to which the British state will go to bury evidence of its human rights abuses and dirty secrets in books such as Cruel Britannia and The History Thieves. Most recently in the Guardian, he informed us that the British Government admits […]

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Podcast 3: General Frank Kitson – War Hero or Director of Terrorism Pt 2

In this Paper Trail Pro Podcast, author Ciarán MacAirt discusses the legacy of General Frank Kitson. This is the second part of a two-part podcast examining the legacy of General Frank Kitson in light of his development of the covert British Army unit, the Military Reaction Force, which was guilty of dozens of murders and attempted murders […]

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Podcast 2: General Frank Kitson – War Hero or Director of Terrorism?

In the second of the Paper Trail Pro Podcasts, author Ciarán MacAirt discusses the legacy of General Frank Kitson. General Frank Kitson (right) is a renowned British Army military strategist and counter-insurgency expert. His books include Gangs and Counter-Gangs and Low Intensity Operations: Subversion, Insurgency and Peacekeeping. Kitson was last deployed to the north of […]

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Podcast 1: World Wars and Local Memories

In the first of the Paper Trail Pro Podcasts, author Ciarán MacAirt discusses World Wars and Local Memories. This personal journey finds him trudging from the killing fields of World War 1 to the back-streets of Belfast where death-squads roamed. He discusses his work with the McGurk’s Bar campaign and his family’s service in British […]

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Daniel McAreavey mural, Lower Falls

Shoot-To-Kill: Vol. Daniel McAreavey

British military archives discovered by the charity, Paper Trail, prove that IRA Volunteer, Daniel McAreavey, was killed in a planned ambush and not shot by an accidental British Army patrol. Vol. Daniel McAreavey was shot and killed by the British Army in disputed circumstances in the Lower Falls area on 6th October 1972 during an […]

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Kelly’s Bar Cover-Up Exposed After 45 Years

The 45th anniversary of the Kelly’s Bar attack and cover-up just passed. A startling archive find from British military archives proves that a member of the Parachute Regiment alerted his superiors to the names of two Loyalist suspects involved in the bombing of Kelly’s Bar. At the time, the British Security Forces and government blamed […]

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Historic Legal Win for the Family of Jean Smyth-Campbell

The family of murdered mother, Jean Smyth-Campbell, won an historic legal battle against the Police Service of Northern Ireland on Friday (3rd March 2017). The application for Judicial Review centred on: The failed Historical Enquiries Team’s (HET) review of the murder of Jean Smyth-Campbell and its review of other Military Reaction Force (MRF) killings The […]

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A pensive Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde and History

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Paper-Trailers: Supporting Research

Last year we completed research into the dire need that victims and survivors have for truth and acknowledgement. This research became the foundation of Paper-Trailers, funded by the Executive Office’s Good Relations Fund and managed by Paper Trail. After individual meetings and interviews with key stakeholders, we canvassed the anonymous views of 109 individuals using […]

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Kelly’s Bar Atrocity: Foreknowledge and Preventability

British Prime Minister Files prove that the British army expected the bomb car and could have prevented attack on Kelly’s Bar on 13th May 1972. Secret files – one signed by the British Prime Minister Edward Heath – prove that the British officer in charge of an observation post overlooking Kelly’s Bar was “warned to […]

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The Anniversary of the Death of Bobby Sands

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the death of Bobby Sands who was a volunteer in the Irish Republican Army. He died after 66 days on hunger strike, protesting within the British prison system for status as a Republican prisoner of war and not a criminal. He had been elected as a Member of the British […]

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The Killing of 11-Year-Old Francis Rowntree

There have been many disturbing facts at this week’s inquest into the killing of Francis Rowntree by a British soldier, and not only because he was an innocent 11-year-old child and his family are only getting this semblance of justice 44 years later. Francis was shot in the face/head with a rubber bullet fired from […]

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Online Survey: Public Records and the Past

Paper Trail needs YOU!.. to complete a short online survey and share it with your friends and contacts. We are canvassing views on the importance of the retrieval of legacy archives in Britain and Ireland, especially for: People impacted by events detailed in the public records, and Those who work with these people The short […]

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The British Prime Minister and the New Lodge 6

Previously unpublished Prime Ministerial records relating to the New Lodge 6 killings were released on the anniversary of the atrocity by Paper Trail. We tracked the files over the last couple of years before releasing them to the New Lodge 6 families and their legal representatives. They prove that: The British Prime Minister was told […]

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Jean Smyth-Campbell

Belated Police Investigation Into MRF Is Cynical Window-Dressing

News that the Police Service of Northern Ireland will finally investigate a clandestine unit of the British army that murdered civilians in the north of Ireland in the early 70s has been labelled as cynical window-dressing by the family of one of the victims.   Young mother, Jean Smyth-Campbell, was murdered in June 1972 and […]

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Special Forces… and a Casual Cover-Up

A secret but seemingly innocuous British Ministry of Defence (MOD) file discussing a civil litigation case in 1975, not only confesses that a serious crime was carried out as part of Special Force duties, but also records how casual cover-up permeated the British system.   On April 12th 1974, three British soldiers, William James Simpson, […]

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Gusty Spence and the Myth of the Orange Pimpernel

Secret archives show that the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) helped create the myth of Gusty Spence, “The Orange Pimpernel”. The documents found at Kew National Archives by Paper Trail regard the RELEASE of Gusty Spence by RUC in October 1972 even though he was on the most wanted list after his first “escape” from prison custody […]

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In Memoriam: Jean Smyth-Campbell

I write this on the 43rd anniversary of the murder of young mother Jean Smyth-Campbell. My thoughts are with her daughter, Sharon, and all of the Campbell family this evening, and I remember Jean as I write.   Jean Smyth-Campbell was shot dead on the Glen Road just before midnight of 8/9th June 1972. The car […]

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Hope and History Rhyme

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Make History. Follow the Paper Trail

A new charity and social enterprise which helps seekers of truth access information relating to conflict and social upheaval across Ireland and Great Britain over the last 50 years and more. Paper Trail offers specialized and targeted research of legacy archives to the legal profession, the media and academia. The records it targets can help build legal […]

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Follow the Paper Trail

Make history. Recover historic records from our troubled past. Conflict-related research for seekers of truth in British and Irish archives. Specialized and targeted research of legacy archives: Make history. Follow the paper trail.

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