Lord Bramall said it is ‘absurd and grossly unfair’ that former British soldiers should be questioned by police over their involvement in Bloody Sunday.
He accused the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) of ‘harrying’ veterans, who are now in their seventies, about their actions 46 years ago.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said the questioning ‘greatly abuses these hapless soldiers, who should not have been there in the first place.’
Lord Bramall said it is ‘absurd and grossly unfair’ that former British soldiers should be questioned by police over their involvement in Bloody Sunday
He added: ‘Whatever their shortcomings, they were trying to do their duty as they thought fit in aid of the civil power, as the Army has generally done most successfully over so many years.
‘In the interests of justice, fair play and even-handedness, the Government must, by whatever means, put a stop at once to this macabre charade.’
The former Army chief wrote about how he previously opposed the prosecution of British soldiers over their actions in Northern Ireland eight years ago.
He added that it would be difficult for police to gather enough evidence to bring charges against the veterans because of the length of time that has passed.
Lord Bramall’s comments came after it was revealed a former paratrooper is being investigated for the attempted murder of two protesters injured by falling debris during Bloody Sunday in 1972.
The 76-year-old, who can be identified only as Sergeant O, was awarded a medal for bravery on the same tour of Northern Ireland five decades ago.
Sergeant O is one of hundreds of military veterans who face prosecution over their actions during the Troubles.
The PSNI has sparked anger by re-examining every British Army killing between 1968 and 1998. Some MPs say the situation amounts to a ‘witch-hunt’.
The Commons defence committee is to launch a formal inquiry into whether veterans could be granted amnesty from prosecution.
The former British Army chief is pictured at the Imperial War Museum
The investigation, which is expected to last around six months, could put further pressure on the Government to include such a provision in any proposals addressing the legacy of the Troubles.
The committee will summon high-ranking officials, including Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, to give evidence.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph last week, Sergeant O said: ‘The Government has mishandled this so badly. I feel very badly betrayed. It is absolutely scandalous.’
Sergeant O, who has suffered a major stroke, is among 18 soldiers facing possible charges over Bloody Sunday Police began a criminal inquiry in 2012 and completed interviews with soldiers in 2016.
A 12-year inquiry led by Lord Saville and costing £200million concluded in 2010 that paratroopers had ‘lost control’, causing the deaths.
In June it was revealed a former British soldier will be prosecuted for shooting a man dead as he walked through an Army checkpoint during the Troubles more than three decades ago.
David Jonathan Holden said his finger slipped on the trigger of his heavy machine gun as his hands were wet.
Following the incident in February 1988, the then 18-year-old was initially charged with the manslaughter of Aiden McAnespie, 23, only for the case to be dropped two years later.
However, Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service announced in June it is to charge the former Grenadier Guardsman, now 48, for gross negligence manslaughter.
The decision was criticised by Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander in Afghanistan, who accused the Government of conspiring in a ‘vendetta against our troops’.
In May defence minister Tobias Ellwood broke ranks to demand a statute of limitations for Northern Ireland veterans, even though the Government had already ruled it out.
Speaking to John Pienaar on Radio 5 Live, he said: ‘I served in Northern Ireland, I was on operations, I knocked over a few milk bottles when I was there, to put it lightly. I don’t want somebody knocking on my door.’