He rose from a typical pre-war middle class family and as was more normal then did not go up to university but rather became an articled clerk and then solicitor in 1933. Obtaining his territorial commission just prior to the outbreak of war, he had a 'good war' as a gunner, where his 'administrative' skills were valued. He accumulated 'headquarters' medals including the OBE, Croix de Guerre and some Belgian order but the MC or DSO eluded him. He finished as a Brigadier.
After the war he upgraded to the Bar, and a combination of good luck, being in the right place at the right time and establishment toadishness secured him promotion, eventually to the job of Lord Chief Justice. It has never been suggested that he was particularly clever, or legally gifted. The most that commentators grant is that 'he was good at administration'.
His whitewash findings into Bloody Sunday, overturned by Saville, were no surprise to anyone.
He continued to sit long after dementia had eaten into his 'administrative' mind; wig askew, 'he keeps up a muttered commentary of bad-tempered and irrelevant questions – 'What d'you say?', 'Speak up', 'Don't shout', 'Whipper-snapper', etc.'
His lies and distortions were also responsible for decades of hatred and mistrust, and his whitewash report no doubt fuelled further violence in the Province and cost many lives.