David Eastwood

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David Eastwood (1919-2010) was an Army and MI5 officer.[1]

Acccording to Nigel West, He served as director of intelligence in Northern Ireland from 1971 until 1973.[2] This strongly suggests that Eastwood was the MI5 officer who testified to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry as 'David'. Eastwood's date of birth in 1919, would appear to match 'David's age of 84 at the time of his testimony to the inquiry in 2003.

Early life

Herbert David Eastwood was born in Bangor, Wales, on 27 January 1919. He was educated at All Saints Bloxham and St Edmund Hall, Oxford.[1]

Early Army career

Eastwood was commissioned into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and posted to India on internal security duties.[1]

Second World War

After the fall of France, Eastwood's unit was recalled to England to become part of the 31st Independent Infantry Brigade Group and later the 1st Airlanding Brigade Group. Eastwood was appointed GSO3 (Air) and took part in the allied landings in Sicily. On his return to England, he was asked to brief Operation Overlord planners on mistakes made during the operation. He then served with 21st Independent Parachute Company at Arnhem, where he earned the Military Cross, and in Norway.[1]


After the War, Eastwood joined the Malayan Civil Service serving during the Emergency. He became district commissioner for Trengganu, before being posted to Malacca.[1]

Minstry of Defence

Following Malayan independence in 1957, he joined the Ministry of Defence in 1959. He subsequently served in Jamaica.[1]

Northern Ireland

In his initial February 2000 statement to the Saville Tribunal, 'David' said:

I am a retired member of the Security Service and am aged 81. In 1970 I was appointed as the Security Liaison Officer for Northern Ireland.
Some three months after arriving in Northern Ireland, I was appointed Director of Intelligence for Northern Ireland. I was based at the Army's headquarters in Lisburn and was given an equivalent military rank of Major General.[3]

Eastwood is probably the individual referred to in the following comment by Christopher Andrew:

The Security Service officer appointed as SLO in Belfast in July 1970 later recalled that when he arrived 'the scene was chaotic, with mutual distrust between the police and the army, the Home Office was responsible, but not in effective political control.'[4]

'David's 2000 statement to the Saville Tribunal continued:

The Director of Intelligence was a comparatively new post and there was no established procedure for how I was supposed to operate. My task was to co-ordinate the intelligence gathering effforts of the various elements of the security forces operating in Northern Ireland at the time. My role was to oversee a department consisting of Security Service and military officers. I had to liaise with the police, and in particular the Special Branch of the RUC. The people in my department both received intelligence from the RUC and obtained intelligence themselves. The intelligence was collated and assessed for inclusion in reports that were then disseminated within Whitehall and the Intelligence community. A lot of the documentation would be addressed to me as Director of Intelligence but such was the volume at the time that there was much that I would not have seen. It was my job to ensure that this collation and dissemination was done as efficiently as possible.
My priority was to improve Special Branch where necessary through the provision of training and assistance. I also tried to ensure that the Army and Special Branch did not fall over one another in their operations. My role included assessing security and ensuring that agents were not killed through sloppy handling. My department created various intelligence reports and if there was time I would try and check them to see that everything was being done properly but I was never the originator of the intelligence they contained. I personally would rarely have received the individual Brigades' internal intelligence summaries nor those reports prepared by the Army or Ministry of Defence in London, although members of my department could well have seen them.
Special Branch were a lot better at intelligence work than they were given credit for. Although I had army officers within my department only one, my deputy, was from the Army Intelligence Corps.[5]

In a second 2003 statement, written with the assistance of current MI5 officers, 'David' said:

One of my chief roles was to try to encourage both the RUC and the Army to exchange intelligence and to report to my office any significant intelligence of whatever nature they had. I would have a meeting each morning with senior army and MOD civilians. I would start with an intelligence briefing of what I had learnt in the previous 24 hours. I would not only be giving information at that meeting, but I would frequently receive intelligence that I was not aware of The other meeting I tried to have every day was with the head of SB and the MILO in the RUC. These meetings normally took place at Knock. My role was to build an effective intelligence structure so there would be as free an exchange of intelligence between the Army and the RUC as possible. This required each side to have confidence in the other and confidence in me to resolve any problems.[6]


According to Simon Winchester, interrogators at Ballykinler Army Barracks were effectively under Eastwood's command.[7]

Bloody Sunday

In a February 2000 statement for the Saville Inquiry, 'David' stated:

I have been shown a document headed "The Situation in Londonderry as at 7th January 1972" written by the then Commander of Land Forces for Northern Ireland, Major General Robert Ford. In that document Ford says that I went to Londonderry on 6th January 1972 to gather intelligence on the planned NICRA march due to take place there. I do not remember doing so.
I have been asked if there was any intelligence of which I was aware that specifically predicted that the IRA would attempt to exploit the NICRA march in Londonderry on 30 January 1972 as cover for attacking the Army. I do not remember any intelligence specific to the march in question to that effect but I do remember that it was endemic at that time that the IRA would join marches, demonstrations and any civil disturbance to exploit opportunities to cause trouble to the security forces. In any event, Special Branch Londonderry would more than likely have collected what intelligence there was on the march at a local level at the time and would have given their information directly to the local Brigade commander without it ever coming to my attention.
I have also been shown the minutes of a meeting of the Director of Operations Committee held at Headquarters Northern Ireland on Wednesday 26 January 1972. The minute shows that I was in attendance at this meeting but I have no recollection of it. In any event any tactical decisions were not my province as I was concerned with intelligence. I would have had no input into how to deal with the march itself
Some telex messages addressed to the Director of Inte11igence detailing information about IRA drilling and operations in the Bogside gathered by an informer have been shown to me. I have no knowledge or recollection of the informer in question. I have been informed that Julian and James, members of Security Service staff in my department have made statements saying that they were involved in handling this informer. I do not remember this specifically but Julian and James did run agents and could therefore have run this informer. I do not remember seeing these papers and as I have said just because a document was addressed to me did not necessarily mean that I would have seen it. My staff would disseminate mail addressed to me for others to deal with. Such was the volume of paperwork going through my office at that time that I could not possibly read it all.
I have been asked if the Secret Intelligence Service were operating in Northern Ireland at that time. I have no knowledge of their activities. They would have been operating outside my brief and I was certainly never consulted or asked to clear any of their operations.[8]

In his second 2003 statement, 'David' said:

I have been asked to confirm my role on the day of Bloody Sunday. I confirm that I was not present in Londonderry at any time on that day. I attended church in Lisburn in the morning, as was my custom and I recall seeing General Ford leaving Lisburn by helicopter for Londonderry. After church, I believe that I went to lunch at home and that on my way to the office after lunch I visited the military ops room, I was a frequent visitor there because I made it a habit to visit it when I had been away from my office for more than a few hours. I would therefore normally visit ìt on my way to the office on a Sunday. That ops room received reports from military commanders across Northern Ireland. It was not my habit to spend long in the ops room when I visited, but simply to obtain an update on events from the senior officer on duty there.
As I have indicated, it was my normal practice to go to work In my office on Sunday afternoons as far as I can recall, this is what I did on the day of Bloody Sunday. I cannot now recollect precisely how I earned of the shootings that occurred but I believe that I must have been telephoned in my office. I have been shown the telegram that I sent to London summarising events in the week beginning 25 January, including Bloody Sunday and its aftermath. I believe that I would have then set in motion the preparation of that telegram that evening. At no point was I involved, on Bloody Sunday or any other day, in giving any tactical direction to the Army in Londonderry or elsewhere in Northern Ireland. This was the responsibility of the Army operational commanders on the ground.
Finally, I would like to say something about the general situation in Northern Ireland around the time of Bloody Sunday, in order to set events on that day in context. It must be understood that reports of violence and killings in Northern Ireland came across my desk every day. This is evident from the contents of the telegram to which I refer in paragraph twenty-six above. That telegram catalogues the number of deaths among the security forces, in particular the RUC, which occurred in the preceding week alone. Separately, I have asked current Security Service staff if they could identify any further documents, apart from that telegram, which would illustrate the point that I made in my first statement about it being "endemic at that time that the IRA would join marches, demonstrations and any civil disturbance to exploit opportunities to cause trouble to the security forces." They have shown me three JIC papers, already disclosed to the Inquiry, which illustrate this point. Paragraph four for JIC(A)(71)(SA)108 states that intelligence indicated that street disorders in Londonderry had been instigated by the IRA, "with the aim of drawing the Army into a position where they could be attacked by grenades, nail bombs and fire arms". Paragraph one 0f JIC(A)(71)(SA)llS states that evidence suggested that the IRA intended to "create disorder in Londonderry by the use of hooligan elements, and thus to provoke retaliation by the security forces". Paragraph two of JIC(A)(71)(SA)118 indicates that recent disturbances in Londonderry were inspired by the IRA. Paragraph three indicates that the IRA planned to "organise disturbances in Londonderry designed to draw the security forces into the Bogside and there attack them."[6]

'David's 2003 statement also addressed a number of specific evidential issues:

The "Signal" Document

'David' said in his 2003 statement:

The first document I have been shown has been described to me as the 'signal document' dated 27 January 1972. As I said in my previous statement, I do not remember any specific intelligence relating to the march on Bloody Sunday and I do not recollect this particular document. However, I believe that it is genuine; I recognise my signature on the covering letter and the format is a standard one that I used. I find it surprising that I did not initial this document before it was sent; that was my normal practice. However, while I do not recollect sending this document, it is unlikely that any of my staff would have issued it in my name, without first clearing it with me.
I have been asked where the information contained in the signal document might have come from. I believe, based on the wording of the covering letter, that the information on which this document was based would have been sent to me in Northern Ireland by Security Service headquarters in London, although I do not recollect this particular information. I cannot say from where the Service had obtained this information, but it may have been from a human source, given the terminology used within the document (for example, "source believes that.,.he expects that.. in paragraph four). I have seen Julian's latest draft statement in which he describes the agent who he believes provided the intelligence contained in the signal document. While I cannot recall this case myself, I understand that based on Julian's recollection the Security Service have identified the agent (described in Julian's statement as Observer C), and as a result have disclosed to the Inquiry documents (a) - (t), as described in Julian's latest statement. I comment on them below.
The intelligence contained within this document would have been classified as 'operational", by which I mean intelligence about possible criminal acts or law and order issues, which might require immediate police or army action. For myself I would have been more interested in security intelligence; operational intelligence would require immediate action to prevent an incident occurring, whereas security intelligence would assist long term, strategic understanding of the general threat from and capabilities of the IRA. lt would have been less usual to receive operational intelligence from London. The type of operational intelligence in the signal document would have been of no great Interest to me and I would not have been in a position to judge its significance, but I would have been concerned to pass it on as quickly as possible to those who would be able to assess its value i.e. the Army and the RUC, I note from my covering letter that I passed the signal document to Commander 8th Infantry Brigade. I also obviously passed it to the RUC. I note that there is a hand-written annotation at the top of the letter which reads 'this has been read by ACC Ops and CC and by Ch/Insp Donnelly". I believe this refers to the Assistant Chief Constable of the RUC responsible for operations, whose name I cannot recall, to the Chief Constable and to Chief Inspector Donnelly, who I believe was head of Special Branch in Londonderry. This is not my annotation.
The covering note also refers to a "planning meeting" being held that morning (i.e. 27 January 1972). I have been asked to what this refers. I do not recall the specific meeting, at which I would not have been present, but the Army held regular planning meetings, as necessary, to consìder their response to forthcoming events such as civil rights marches and for their own operational purposes. I assume that this is the type of meeting to which I was referring in my covering letter. As the letter indicates, I would normally have sent this kind of information to the RUC first, but because of the time scale on this occasion, I sent the information directly to the Army. I do not find this surprising in the circumstances,
I have been asked whether I can recollect anything of the reliability of Observer C. I cannot. I note that the document contains no assessment of the source's reliability; this may be because Brigadier McLelland was already aware of this source (as indicated in paragraph one of the document). However, it would have been unusual for the Service to disclose details of a source to someone outside the Service. Normally, we would simply have given an assessment of the source's reliability. After so long, I simply cannot remember why this was not done in this case, but all this does suggest that Brigadier McLelland knew Observer C's identity.
I have been asked whether, despite the fact that I cannot remember Observer C, I can say anything, based on my experience of dealing with intelligence matters, about his comment that he "expects the IRA will be armed with sticks and stones and will use the crowd as cover. As I cannot remember Observer C, I cannot comment on whether he had first hand knowledge to this effect, or whether this was speculation.[6]

Other Documents relating to Observer C

'David' said in his 2003 statement:

As I have indicated, although I have had the benefit of viewing Julian's fourth statement in which he sets out the background to the agent case and describes the documents disclosed to the inquiry, I do not recall this case.
I cannot recall seeing any of documents (a) - (t) (as listed in Julian's statement) before. As Director of Intelligence, I would not have been copied an agent handier's notes of meetings with their agents:Nor would I have had access to the agent files, held in London, as I had no need for it. Furthermore, as I explained in my first statement, while much of the documentation would be addressed to or referred to me, such was the volume of correspondence at that time there was a lot that 1 would not have seen. However, while I cannot say whether 1 read any of documents (a) to (t) during my time as Director of Intelligence, I have no reason to doubt their authenticity. After 30 years I simply cannot remember these documents or the sequence of events they record. I find it difficult to concentrate on detailed text for long periods and I can only say that these documents seem to give a good indication of the manner in which tasking and intelligence were routinely communicated between London and Northern Ireland at the time.
I do recall the general practice that Julian describes in paragraph 7 of his latest statement, whereby Security Service case officers visiting their agents in Northern Ireland would often brief me in person or by telephone prior to travelling back to Head Office in London. This practice facilitated the quick dissemination of time critical intelligence.
As I have stated previously, I do not remember seeing any specific intelligence reports warning that the IRA would infiltrate the march and use the crowd for cover. It therefore follows that I cannot say for certaìn whether these documents form the basis of the information contained within the "signal document". I can only say that, given the similarities in detail between the intelligence from Observer C and the wording of the "signal document", it seems highly likely that they do.[6]

Specific Comments on the Documents

'David' said in his 2003 statement:

I have commented below on the two documents which have been particularly drawn to my attention. I have used the same references as appear in Julian's statement.
(i) Note for File by Julian dated 31 January 1972
I do not recall ever seeing this note, but the first paragraph shows that Julian had passed its contents to me verbally by telephone on the evening of 26 January. This would have been entirely consistent with normal practice and precisely the type of operational intelligence I would have wanted to pass on to the Army and the Police as soon as possible.
(j) Note For File by James dated 31 January 1972
I do not recall ever seeing this note, but it is James' record of a telephone conversation I had had with him earlier that morning. According to James, I had called him and requested that he pass to the MOD the gist of the intelligence about the IRA plans for the march in Londonderry on 30 January that Julian had given to me the previous week when he was in Northern Ireland. I do not remember having this conversation with James.[6]

The Evidence of INQ2241

'David' said in his 2003 statement:

I have been told about the evidence given by INQ2241 to the inquiry. I understand that his evidence suggested that I was responsible for intelligence about Londonderry and for co-ordination with the Army's intelligence officers. What I believe 1NQ2241 meant was that my role was to improve intelligence gathering and co-ordination across Northern Ireland. I was responsible for co-ordination and ensuring structures worked effectively; I was an advisor, However. I was not involved in day to day intelligence gathering in, or about, Londonderry (or anywhere else in Northern Ireland). i did not run any agents myself 1NQ2241 also stated that I approved his intelligence summaries before they were issued; I cannot recollect specifically, but I believe this to be true.
I understand that INQ2241 also says that the signal document simply reinforced other reports from low-level sources and from SB. By 'low level sources" I understand 1NQ2241 to mean individuals who provided single snippets of information to the Army, rather than agents or informants who were met on a regular basis. I believe this is possible, but cannot recollect any specific reports. As I have said, I do not recall the signal document or its contents. I therefore do not recall discussing it with 1NQ2241.
It is important to place the signal document in context. There were many other incidents of potential security significance at that time. As I said in my original statement, "such was the volume of paperwork going through my office at that time, I could not possibly read it all". I cannot recall anything more about this document because of the huge amount of information that was coming in at the time.[6]

The Joint Security Committee

'David' said in his 2003 statement:

I have been asked about the minutes of the Joint Security Committee meeting on 27 January 1972. My attention has been drawn to a passage in paragraph four, in which it is stated that 'the operation might well develop into rioting and even a shootìng war" . I have been asked whether I passed this committee any intelligence on which this passage might have been based. I cannot recall any specific intelligence that rioting or a shooting war might develop. I have been asked whether I can remember the IRA using civilians at marches as cover to shoot at soldiers. I cannot recall any specific instances of this, prior to Bloody Sunday, but as I said in my original statement, "it was endemic at that time that the IRA would join marches, demonstrations and any civil disturbance to exploit opportunities to cause trouble to the security forces".
I was not a formal member of this committee, although I and the head of SB attended on occasion, by invitation, when intelligence input was required. I did not attend this particular meeting.
I have been asked to describe the role of the Joint Security Committee. My recollection is that it was made up largely of Stormont Government ministers and civil servants and was responsible for considering tactical law and order issues.
I have also been shown an example of the records of the Director of Operations' Intelligence Committee meetings: the record of the meeting held on Monday 10 January 1972 at HQNI. I recall the Director of Operations' Intellìgence Committee, which I chaired. it was responsible for pulling together ail the intelligence received in the previous week and looking ahead to the next one.[6]

The Evidence of Colin Wallace

'David' said in his 2003 statement:

I have been asked whether I recall an army press liaison officer called Colin Wallace. I remember his name, but did not work with him. I have been told that Colin Wallace has given evidence to the Inquiry, suggesting that the Army were engaged in 'psychological warfare operations' (psy-ops). I do not recollect any such operations. I have been told that, according to Wallace, there was an operation called CLOCKWORK ORANGE, which was designed to target sectarian assassination groups by psychological means, to reduce their effectiveness. I do not recall any such operation. Nor do I believe that Wallace had access to any secret intelligence. It is likely that, in his role as press officer, Wallace received information about forthcoming Army operations, in order to be able to deal effectively with questions from the media. However, that ìnformation would not have included sensitive intelligence, the dissemination of which was extremely limited. I understand from current Security Service staff that records have been checked and that Wallace was never an employee of the Security Service.[6]


Eastwood was awarded a CBE in January 1973, with the London Gazette describing him as a 'senior technical advisor' in the Ministry of Defence.[9]

External Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 David Eastwood, Telegraph, 9 December 2010.
  2. Nigel West, Historical Dictionary of British Intelligence, Scarecrow Press, 2014, p.192.
  3. David witness statement, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, 17 February 2000.
  4. Christopher Andrew, Defence of the Realm, The Authorized History of MI5, Allen Lane, 2009, p.618.
  5. David witness statement, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, 17 February 2000.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 David witness statement, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, 11 April 2003.
  7. Simon Winchester, Northern Ireland in crisis: reporting the Ulster troubles, Holmes & Meier, 1974, p.171.
  8. David witness statement, Bloody Sunday Inquiry, 17 February 2000.
  9. London Gazette,Supplement 45860, p.8.