On 12 August, thousands of Apprentice Boys prepared to march through a Derry seething with anxiety and discontent.
As the march passed the Bogside, it was greeted by jeering and stone throwing. The police, backed by loyalists, tried to force the protesters back.
As the fighting raged, the DCDA appealed for support, asking on the evening of 13 August for “every able-bodied man (sic) in Ireland” to come to Derry to defend the Bogside – “We need you, we’ll feed you” – and calling for protests across the north to “take the pressure off Derry”.
The appearance of British troops was viewed as a victory over the police and unionism. Free Derry celebrated with the Freedom Fleadh. Some warned that the British Army had come to save Stormont, but to most who had been on the barricades, it meant the end of the fighting and a buffer between themselves and the police, B Specials and loyalists.