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Pirschjaeger
08-15-2006, 08:22 PM
Britain to pardon WWI soldiers
Tue Aug 15, 6:16 PM ET

LONDON - British soldiers who were executed by the military for cowardice during World War I will be pardoned, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday, following a lengthy campaign by the family of one such soldier.

Defense Secretary Des Browne said the government would seek parliamentary approval to issue pardons for the 306 soldiers who were executed.

The decision comes after a public effort by the family of a 25-year-old Pvt. Harry Farr who was shot by firing squad in 1916 after he refused to return to the frontlines.

Relatives, who have battled for decades to clear Farr's name, said their lawyers had received the news from the government.

"We are over the moon," said Farr's granddaughter, Janet Booth.

The decision is part of a wider decision to seek pardons for more than soldiers who were executed for cowardice during World War I, the Defense Ministry said.

Farr was shot at dawn in October 1916. Many of those executed are believed to have been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of trench warfare.

The government has expressed regret for the executions in recent years, but has rejected several campaigns to have the soldiers officially pardoned, arguing it is no longer possible to determine their guilt or innocence.

Farr's daughter, Gertrude Harris, went to the High Court last year to press the case for a pardon, arguing that Farr had been diagnosed as suffering from shell shock a year before he was executed.

"I am so relieved that this ordeal is now over and I can be content knowing that my father's memory is intact," 93-year-old Harris said in a statement.

"I hope that others now who had brave relatives who were shot by their own side will now get the pardons they equally deserve," she said.

More than 703,000 British soldiers were killed in World War I, while 1.6 million were wounded.

Pirschjaeger
08-15-2006, 08:25 PM
Imagine, having fought and killed someone else's sons, brothers, fathers, cousins, and best friends for your nation, in someone else's land, having been injured, and in the end to be executed in shame by your own bretheren. Try to imagine how many people through history had to accept this as their final fate.

Just another aspect of war.http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/51.gif

Fritz

marc_hawkins
08-15-2006, 08:35 PM
They'd better. For me, however we may occasionally revise the military competence of the first world war generals, nothing shows their sheer brutal heartlessness like the execution of these people. The excuse they used against going 'soft on 'deserters' rings as true to me as the claim that parachutes would make cowards of the RFC/RAF.

Feathered_IV
08-15-2006, 09:14 PM
WW1 generals should be posthumously stripped of their honours, their bodies disinterred and the remains flung on the nearest sh*t heap http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

LEXX_Luthor
08-15-2006, 09:57 PM
War, Football, and the 1914 Christmas Truce. A wonderful, sad yet inspiring article about the 1914 truce held by soldiers in the trenches, against orders, and the movie War Game, directed by Dave Unwin...

~> http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/jul2003/xmas-j17.shtml


This short animated film follows four young men from their village in southern England as they join up to serve in the British Army at the outbreak of the First World War to the battlefields of the Somme. With an almost playful innocence they join the ranks. At first they liken the possibility of fighting on the front to a game of football, which they all enjoy playing. But their initial enthusiasm is soon drowned out by the slow, drudging misery of trench warfare.

On Christmas Day, drawn by empathy for the men in the trenches of the opposing side, both the German and English soldiers cautiously emerge from their dugouts. At first they exchange gifts, then a football is produced, and the two sides come together to play an historical game in No Man€s Land.

Alarmed generals order both sides to resume hostilities. On the German side, the friendlier Saxon Germans are replaced by battle-hardened Prussian troops. In a final hopeless attack amidst a colossal loss of life, all four young men are killed.
:
:
etc...

The 1914 Christmas Truce is one of the sadest yet most inspiring stories in all Hristo-ry, and a great part of history that seems to be hidden from people today.

Viper2005_
08-15-2006, 10:04 PM
So what would you have done?

It's very easy to suggest that WWI generals were incompetant; it's not quite so easy to come up with a viable alternative. Trench warfare was nothing if not effective from a defensive point of view.

The same may be said of shooting soldiers for cowardice. What sane man would risk death at the hands of enemy machine guns if he didn't know that the alternative was certain death at the hands of his own comrades? What risk would you take to avoid a year in prison? If you know that you stand a 20% chance of death from enemy gunfire, and perhaps a further 20% chance of being maimed, would you rather fight or take a 10 year prison sentence? What if the sentence were 5 years? What if it were 20? What if the chance of death was 33% and the chance of injury a further 33%? Where do you draw the line?

In the modern world consider the case of Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Kendall-Smith).

Here is a man who joined the RAF, but felt unable to continue to fight in Iraq given the legal position with respect to international law. They took his savings away, sent him to prison for 8 months and discharged him from the Service. Presumably this will reduce the chances of other officers following in his footsteps...

On the one hand, Nuremburg makes individual members of the armed forces accountable; on the other they are still expected to fight irrespective of their conscience. This seems somewhat unfair to me, in that either way, the soldier, sailor or airman as the case may be is subject to Victor's justice.

Maybe in a century we'll have another round of pardons...

skarden
08-15-2006, 10:29 PM
yeah i remember watchin a doco on that football game while bored at home one chrismas.it even had some footage of them playing soccer and using both german and english helmets to mark the goals.


I remember that the english command was not happy at all with their carefully constructed image of the "evil huns" being shattered by opposing soldiers giving each other chrismas preasent's and showing pics of there loved ones back at home.

It's pretty insiring stuff i think.

AlGroover
08-16-2006, 01:03 AM
There's an excellent TV series with the unremarkable title of 'The First World War' by Jonathan Lewis that's been out on DVD for a while. Get hold of a copy if you can.

Feathered_IV
08-16-2006, 01:50 AM
What would I have done? Negotiate a ceasefire and try to sort the whole mess out. The opposing forces weren't so ideologically opposed that there was no possible room for anything other than the most shameful human squander the world has ever seen.

p1ngu666
08-16-2006, 02:10 AM
if i remmber it was because a chain of events unraveled too fast for anyone to say stop!, and then the fighting started and no one wanted to stop http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

its good there being pardened..

DmdSeeker
08-16-2006, 02:54 AM
A pardon is just so wrong.

If the convictions had been overturned; that would be one thing; but to confirm the convictions; and then pardon them; is a disgrace and an insult to the millions that did fight on.

A sad day for Britain.

WTE_Googly
08-16-2006, 03:57 AM
Originally posted by DmdSeeker:
A pardon is just so wrong.

If the convictions had been overturned; that would be one thing; but to confirm the convictions; and then pardon them; is a disgrace and an insult to the millions that did fight on.

A sad day for Britain.

I DO see where you are coming from, but do you not think that it would be a bit damn unfair to get shot for something like shellshock or post traumatic stress? Some of those blokes who were shot probably had medals and a good record, but unfortunatly counted for nothing when they could not handle it any more - not because they were cowards, but because of the stress of combat.

DmdSeeker
08-16-2006, 04:24 AM
Originally posted by WTE_Googly:
I DO see where you are coming from, but do you not think that it would be a bit damn unfair to get shot for something like shellshock or post traumatic stress? .

But that's my point. If the conviction for cowardice had been overturned; possibly (for example) being replaced with a medical discharge; then that would be fine.

However a pardon is to admit that the offense occurred; but that the guilty escape the consequences of their actions.

With this "solution":

1) The men's names are never cleared of cowadice.
2) Because the original conviction still stands; the goverment avoid any liability they may have had should the original convictions be found unsafe.
3) Instead of the military recieving the message that they need to rethink the way they handle serving soldiers; serving soldiers recieve the message that cowardice can be expunged.

As I said; a sad victory for "feelgooders" which does nothing to address the sins of the past nor repare for a better future.

Breeze147
08-16-2006, 05:55 AM
I wonder how many of you "philosophers" have actually been in combat? You can't even begin to imagine the insanity and the incompetence and the stupidity that can conspire to get you killed or maimed.

Desertion is one thing. Refusing to continue in a hopeless situation is quite another. Some units in Vietnam were known to go out in the bush and lay down until an appropriate time came to return to base camp.

Odd how Americans are excoriated for executing murderers and other societies condone the execution of soldiers who have suffered beyond the point which they can endure.

leitmotiv
08-16-2006, 06:22 AM
Pardons---another shining example of feel good politics. Rather than a thorough investigation into the matter, just pardon the lot 88 odd years later and all kiss and make up. Before I'd shoot the generals, a traditional and Sassoonian solution, I'd have lined up the British Foreign Office and shot the Francophile nitwits to a man for convincing Asquith and the Cabinet that the Empire had a stake in yet another smash between Germany, France, and Russia. Then I'd have shot Grey, Asquith, Lloyd-George, and Winston. The more you study the actual tactics and operations, the less black and white the issue of the generals becomes. Look at BATTLE TACTICS OF THE WESTERN FRONT by Paddy Griffith and the enormous output of John Terraine. I recommend a look at Niall Ferguson's superb THE PITY OF WAR for the large picture of the war. He places the blame for the four year long slaughter squarely on Britain for not clearly informing Germany of her intentions (would have been difficult because the Cabinet didn't have a clue from one day to the next), and for producing a situation where the sides were so closely matched the conflict could not have been resolved without attrition warfare fueled by the gigantic financial power of the British Empire. Without the British in the fight, France and Russia would have been knocked out in the fall of 1914 and the war would have ended, for better or for worse, without millions of dead, without Bolshevism in Russia, without a ruined Germany and a Hitler, and the British Empire might have passed through the 20th century without going bust and falling to being a third-rate power. The Ferguson book is absolutely necessary reading.

ploughman
08-16-2006, 07:35 AM
Oh right, so now Hitler's our fault. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

CHAV_
08-16-2006, 07:50 AM
I was given a year in military prison for disobeying orders in Kosovo , I had a letter in my pocket from the doc which said I shouldn't be sent on live operations because I was going to hospital for rehab on a spinal injury. I had got to the point I could no longer go on.
In 1918 I would have been shot, in 1942 I would have been given 10 years, and in 2000 I got a year.
After three weeks in jail I was given a quash, which means I wasn't guilty of anything and let go free.

leitmotiv
08-16-2006, 08:25 AM
No, not Britain's fault---the fault of a clique in the FO who captured events to direct the country to war. The Empire did not benefit from the war, that goes without saying. The question is which d---ed fools have the most responsibility for the car wreck---Ferguson put the generals down levels from the FO and the addle-pated politicians, and I heartily agree. Can't blame an entire nation for the actions of a tiny fraction of the population.

Von_Rat
08-16-2006, 08:53 AM
in case anyones interested.

the brits executed alot more men for cowardice than the germans did. i can look up the numbers, but i seem to remember it was alot more, as in one helluva lot more.

makes you wonder why cowardice was much less of a problem with the germans. were germans braver?, no way.

were germans smarter in handling soldiers in trench warfare conditions? id say yes.

if your army is having cowardice problems, its a sign of a badly lead army. i dont blame the soldiers one bit, i blame muddle headed generals.

AWL_Spinner
08-16-2006, 08:58 AM
It was about 300.

In a war where almost a million British soldiers died.

Trying to transpose today's morals on the actions of previous generations is not particularly wise, encourages revisionism, and usually leads to a flamefest on this forum.

Von_Rat
08-16-2006, 09:13 AM
not 3 million, slighty over 900,000 died. but thats irrevelant, were talking executions compared to germany.

according to myths of the great war. 346 brits executed for cowardice, the german army executions during the war were hardly a tenth of britains or frances. it doesnt give the exact german figures.

ploughman
08-16-2006, 09:14 AM
25 Germans I think. Compared to 300 or so British and Commonwealth troops. On the other hand, which nation's troops mutinied in large numbers? Not that I'm advocating shooting folk to encourage les outres, but this is a relatively small number of people out of millions of soldiers, tragic and wrong as it was. Within the context of that war, well it's hundreds of tragedies amongst millions.

I remember watching a news item a couple of months ago on the BBC news about executions during World War One and this old soldier was talking about his experiences and how 'they' shouldn't have been shot and then he came out with a jaw dropping revelation, he said something along the lines of "it wasn't right them shooting them, they were tired and had all their kit on and the officers still shot them so's no one else would stop." The interviewer completely missed the import of what the old guy had just said and carried on as if he was talking about post-courts martial execution before firing squads. I was staggered that what the old soldier was recounting was the summary execution of troops in combat by their own officers to maintain the momentum of an advance.

Leit. I shall look out for Nial's book.

leitmotiv
08-16-2006, 09:30 AM
"Corelli Barnett, a military historian, said last night that the mass posthumous pardon was 'pointless' after all these years. 'These were decisions taken in the heat of a war when commanders' primary duty was to keep the Army together and to keep it fighting. They were therefore decisions taken from a different moral perspective,' he said.

'For the people of this generation to come along and second-guess decisions taken then is wrong.

'It was done in a particular historical setting and in a particular moral and social climate. It's pointless to give these pardons. What's the use of a posthumous pardon?'

Those who were shot for cowardice or desertion were by and large treated fairly, according to the standards of the time, he added."

Entire article here: http://tinyurl.com/jefd6

One of the greatest early '60's English films was KING AND COUNTRY (1964) starring Dirk Bogarde and Tom Courteney. It's about the circumstances pertaining to an execution for desertion during WWI.

AWL_Spinner
08-16-2006, 09:41 AM
Von_Rat, thanks for the correction, post edited!

That'll teach me to trust the first result Google returns! Must distinguish between "casualty" and "fatality"...

Von_Rat
08-16-2006, 09:42 AM
its funny that the famous rigid prussian disapline only had to execute less than one tenth as many soldiers.

leitmotiv
08-16-2006, 09:53 AM
A useful volume on this subject:

THE UNKNOWN ARMY: MUTINIES IN THE BRITISH ARMY IN WORLD WAR I. Gloden Dallas and Douglas Gill. The Thetford Press, Thetford, Norfolk, 1985. ISBN 0 86091 814 9

A fascinating book on the war by an outstanding scholar which rubbishes most of the current beliefs about the "climate of opinion" of the period:

REDEMPTION BY WAR: THE INTELLECTUALS AND 1914. Roland N. Stromberg. The Regents Press of Kansas, 1982. ISBN 0 7006 0220 8

Niall Ferguson (PITY OF WAR) has a great deal of very interesting information about why the British Army fought as well as it did under circumstances most moderns would consider impossible (one tidbit: he notes that a not inconsiderable number of poorer men thought they were better off in the army because there they were fed, clothed, and relatively well off, except for the war, compared to the near-starvation they faced in civilian life---this is, of course, a crushing condemnation of social conditions of the time).

Pirschjaeger
08-16-2006, 10:10 AM
I think the decision means nothing to us either way but it obviously means something to the surviving relatives. That's good enough for me.

Weren't the Soviets most infamous for shooting their own?

Fritz

Worf101
08-16-2006, 10:14 AM
Originally posted by leitmotiv:
(one tidbit: he notes that a not inconsiderable number of poorer men thought they were better off in the army because there they were fed, clothed, and relatively well off, except for the war, compared to the near-starvation they faced in civilian life---this is, of course, a crushing condemnation of social conditions of the time).
This is without a doubt the most disturbing/damnable thing I've read in a while. Industrial England was THAT bad? I can't get my mind around it. The trenches almost preferable to the poor house.

Da Worfster

stathem
08-16-2006, 10:31 AM
Originally posted by Worf101:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by leitmotiv:
(one tidbit: he notes that a not inconsiderable number of poorer men thought they were better off in the army because there they were fed, clothed, and relatively well off, except for the war, compared to the near-starvation they faced in civilian life---this is, of course, a crushing condemnation of social conditions of the time).
This is without a doubt the most disturbing/damnable thing I've read in a while. Industrial England was THAT bad? I can't get my mind around it. The trenches almost preferable to the poor house.

Da Worfster </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, absolutley. Although it does depend on precisely what time frame he's talking about. Once the news of what really went on, and mass conscription started, well, it may have been different.

The classic example of this is the Boer War. In the push for recruits, large numbers of men from hte Northern Industrial areas had to be turned away because they very literally too small, too malnourished since childbirth, to cope with the rigours of army life.

It should be noted in a discussion of why the British felt the need to execute more men than the 'Prussians' did, that Britain, unlike the continental Armies, had never had conscription prior to WW1. The Battlions that were blooded on the Somme weren't soldiers, they were civilians with Rifles. And were the finest Army in the world by summer 1918.

leitmotiv
08-16-2006, 10:33 AM
There were so many ill-fed people in the north during the '30's the British Army was rejecting more men for military service in WWII than in WWI because they had been ruined by malnutrition. George Orwell wrote about the dire straits of these people in THE ROAD TO WIGAN PIER.

ploughman
08-16-2006, 10:51 AM
An obeserver of the war in France, 1940 noted the relative differences in physiques of the British and German armies. The German troops were largely healthy and stout looking lads, the product of 7 years of Nazi regime, Hitler Youth camps and social schemes designed to improve the general health of the nation. The BEF on the other hand were a much sorrier looking lot.

Kernow
08-16-2006, 11:16 AM
'Cowardice' could simply be taking shelter in a shell hole. That may only have been true for the Somme - which is the context in which I read this - but maybe it was a general order. So you're weighed down with so much kit you can barely walk, let alone run and you've got to walk towards the enemy machine guns and if you take cover you'll be shot for cowardice.

I was going to say that whilst that might have been the theory, no doubt more sense was shown on the actual front, but...


Originally posted by Ploughman:
...this old soldier was talking about his experiences and how 'they' shouldn't have been shot and then he came out with a jaw dropping revelation, he said something along the lines of "it wasn't right them shooting them, they were tired and had all their kit on and the officers still shot them so's no one else would stop." ...what the old soldier was recounting was the summary execution of troops in combat by their own officers to maintain the momentum of an advance.

... maybe not.

leitmotiv
08-16-2006, 12:04 PM
Officers did not necessarily carry Webleys or Lugers or Colts for shooting the other side. There is an anecdote in George Stein's book on the Waffen SS about some SS infantry showing little zeal for an assault. The redoubtable Panzer Meyer, the leader, pulled the pin on a grenade and dropped it at his and their feet. Instant action.

steve5539
08-16-2006, 01:39 PM
I also agree that this shooting of so called deserters during WWI is a blight on the history of the British Army and a disgraceful event. A posthumous pardon for the victims means nothing without their names/records being cleared also. And what of the shame, real or perceived, the parents,families and friends of these executed soldiers had to endure till the end of their lives. God, i bet a lot of these parents actually went to their graves thinking their sons were guilty. No pardon can alter what they endured. Enough to make you wanna weep.



Originally posted by leitmotiv:
The redoubtable Panzer Meyer, the leader, pulled the pin on a grenade and dropped it at his and their feet. Instant action.

If i remember rightly he was also decorated for his actions.

leitmotiv
08-16-2006, 01:52 PM
Over and over. Doubtlessly the most gung-ho of a very gung-ho organization. His autobiography has recently been reprinted (GRENADIERS by General Kurt "Panzer" Meyer).

dragonfly1971
08-16-2006, 02:42 PM
Hi all
My personal view is that sleeping dogs should be left to lie.
Its too distant to say who was suffering from shell shock and who was a coward who may have cost the lives of hes fellow soldiers by his actions!Think about it ,one of your relatives might have been killed by one of these men leaving his post on a lewis gun in a german attack ,and the platoon he was defending was wiped out !We dont know so how can we pardon the lot.
Put this into context out of 5 millon men in khaki during the war 306 were shot for cowardice ,a tiny percentage.
Some of you earlier say how its the generals fault,and the normal stuff about the terrible incompetance of the british army at the time etc.I think you should know if you look up the casualty figures the total dead of the whole of the British Empire was roughly 900,000.France,Germany and Russia lost on average twice as many ,these are facts so why the myths.
The British did more to win the Great war than any other nation,by the end we had the most efficient all arms force in the world ,and we defeated the most highly trained and best equiped army head on .A feat that cost the red army 20 years later 10-20million dead!
Also your dear "butcher" Haig who was running this show actually pardoned 89% of the men who were recomended to be shot.As the ultimate signature had to come from him.
As someone else said the germans only shot 29 men for cowardice,this must be taken into context that due to the nature of the german army before the war men were used to military discipline and training as routine,the British army was not ,it was mostly civilians by the later stages of the war.They were different times and that was the way we kept order and won.Dont forget the french mutinied the russians had a revolution and the german armies morale broke in 1918 ,ours didnt.I myself had several relatives who fought in ww1 ,some were killed and others fought all the way through to victory.Im sure they were scared as hell at times but they did what they had to ,and didnt let anyone down ,just like the 5 million other british soldiers who have no need to be pardoned after the event!

leitmotiv
08-16-2006, 04:29 PM
Well said. You get my vote.

Taylortony
08-16-2006, 04:46 PM
Originally posted by DmdSeeker:
A pardon is just so wrong.

If the convictions had been overturned; that would be one thing; but to confirm the convictions; and then pardon them; is a disgrace and an insult to the millions that did fight on.

A sad day for Britain.


Whoo you are so wrong I do not know where to start............ Have you ever been shot at? Have you walked round, musket in hand knowing the populace would cut your throat as soon as say hello to you...I can tell you it is not nice... this WAS NOT COWARDISE it was simply Shell shock or worse..... the people that should have been shoved up against a wall were the likes of the chiefs of staff.... Some of these so called cowards had fought throught some of the worst battles of the war and had seen things you would not wish on your worst enemy... you did not see this in subsequent wars as it was then recognised as what it was..... shell shock and trauma... these people were whisked away quite rightly to recover as best they could... some of the so called cowards were probably used as scapegoats for the failings of the attacks..............

far from a discrace, this is the correct thing to do and I do hope you are never put in this position in your lifetime, you may then have a respect for these people you so obviously lack..

Treetop64
08-16-2006, 07:23 PM
I don't think this pardon means much now to the guys who were shot...

BfHeFwMe
08-16-2006, 07:54 PM
I'd have liked to serve with the Diggers, they refused to execute anyone and took their men who were in British stockades at the end. Many were on death row, the Aussie Command simply responded 'haven't you had enough blood and killing'.

On the other hand, the Brits were downright civilized compared to what the French did, mainly to their forcably conscripted African troops. They executed roughly 12,000 African soldiers. That's an entire division worth, desperately trying to get them to fight a war which wasn't theirs, with no stake whatsoever in it.

Guess shooting them was easier than paying, or offering something like citizenship or land back home. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Pirschjaeger
08-16-2006, 08:34 PM
Originally posted by Worf101:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by leitmotiv:
(one tidbit: he notes that a not inconsiderable number of poorer men thought they were better off in the army because there they were fed, clothed, and relatively well off, except for the war, compared to the near-starvation they faced in civilian life---this is, of course, a crushing condemnation of social conditions of the time).
This is without a doubt the most disturbing/damnable thing I've read in a while. Industrial England was THAT bad? I can't get my mind around it. The trenches almost preferable to the poor house.

Da Worfster </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

We have to keep in mind that WW1 was something new, at least in scale. I think the trenches were a new thing to, but not sure.

We are looking at this in hindsight. These men probably didn't know what they were getting into. Basically, it was "Anything has got to be better than this life". But once they spent some time in the trenches they probably realized they had made a mistake.

I no expert on the subject, it's just my guess.

Fritz

marc_hawkins
08-16-2006, 08:39 PM
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.


Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!€"An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime.€"
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.


If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,€"
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

DmdSeeker
08-17-2006, 03:39 AM
Originally posted by Taylortony:
Whoo you are so wrong I do not know where to start

this WAS NOT COWARDISE it was simply Shell shock or worse..... ..

You completely miss the argument of my post taylor.

I could readily agree that many of the shot were not cowards; but ill. PTSD; shell shock; call it what you will. However; this is not the course the goverment has taken. In pardoning these men; instead of squashing thier convictions; they have reconfirmed the original verdict, i.e. that these men were cowards; and absolved them from the punishment with a pardon.

You see; the goverment hasn't said: " These men weren't cowards; but ill". What the govement has said is that the original verdict was correct; but that the punishment was too severe.

And that's the root of my objection; because :

a) I don't believe that many of the verdicts were correct; but
b) In the case of a conviction for cowardice in the face of the enemey by a serving soldier; I don't think the punishment was too severe.

In accepting the goverments position; you have accepted their judgement that these men WERE cowards; but that the punishment for the offense was too severe.

However I'm not sure if that's what you really believe; as you also post:



this WAS NOT COWARDISE it was simply Shell shock or worse
..

So do you agree with the goverment pardoning (and thereby confiming the guilt) these cowards; orwould you agree that many of these men were not cowards; but ill; and that they therefore should not be pardoned for an offense that they didn't commit; but exonerated from the offense by having the conviction not pardoned; but over turned?

Now who's talking respect for thier grandfather's generation?

Pirschjaeger
08-17-2006, 06:19 AM
DmdSeeker, I see your point and also agree with you.

By simply pardoning them, they are condemned to be eternally guilty of cowardice.

Basically, the government has upheld it's previous decision while making "live" voters happy. This really has little to do with the dead, especially since they went to their graves marked as cowards.

A true pardon will only be possible if the government admits its wrongs. Don't hold your breath.

Fritz

Pirschjaeger
08-17-2006, 06:22 AM
Besides, I think it's pure BS to punish someone for being afraid to kill or die. But maybe that will change when I become old, wealthy, and in politics.

Old men talk, young men die.

Fritz

Von_Rat
08-17-2006, 08:26 AM
Originally posted by dragonfly1971:

Some of you earlier say how its the generals fault,and the normal stuff about the terrible incompetance of the british army at the time etc.I think you should know if you look up the casualty figures the total dead of the whole of the British Empire was roughly 900,000.France,Germany and Russia lost on average twice as many ,these are facts so why the myths.
!


actually the germans lost less men fighting on all fronts, than the allies did fighting on just the western front.

1.6 million germans all fronts.

france 1.4 million nearly all west front.

britain 750,000 west front.

on the west front allied losses to german were at least 2 to 1, some sources say higher.

the germans lost slighty more men than brits on west front, but also managed to kill 1.4 million frenchmen along with those 750,000 brits.

sounds like pretty crappy allied generals to me.


and before you say, well allies did most of the attacking.

true,,,but,,,,

i also have figures that show that when the germans chose to attack, their losses were no way near as bad as the allies were when they attacked.

someone pointed out aussies did not execute anyone for cowardice, and they were probaly the best troops west front, again i say if you have to stoop to executing troops by the hundred your not running your army well.

Pirschjaeger
08-17-2006, 08:47 AM
Von Rat, if what you say is correct, and, if what I heard is correct, that Germany lost due to lack of equipment, ammo, and fuel, then it would seem to me that the Allied generals had no quams about sacrificing men to waste enemy ammo.

That could easily link why the Allies shot so many more "cowards" than the Germans.

If this were the case, then the Allied governments would have to take 100% of responsibility for murdering "cowards".

What are your thoughts on this?

Fritz

Von_Rat
08-17-2006, 08:58 AM
Originally posted by Pirschjaeger:
Von Rat, if what you say is correct, and, if what I heard is correct, that Germany lost due to lack of equipment, ammo, and fuel, then it would seem to me that the Allied generals had no quams about sacrificing men to waste enemy ammo.

That could easily link why the Allies shot so many more "cowards" than the Germans.

If this were the case, then the Allied governments would have to take 100% of responsibility for murdering "cowards".

What are your thoughts on this?

Fritz

hi pirsch

imo, germany, after 1918 offensives failed, still had a chance at negotiated settlment. but the arrival of 2 million american troops convinced them that the war was lost.

the allied generals are reponsiable for the deaths of men executed for cowardice, because if you have to resort to hundreds of executions your not running your army the right way

ploughman
08-17-2006, 04:12 PM
the allied generals are reponsiable for the deaths of men executed for cowardice,

Yes, you are absolutely right...upon which I shall now elaborate, but seen as here we are speaking specifically speaking of Britain and the Commonwealth allow me to focus only upon them. 3,080 men were sentenced to death amongst the Commonwealth Armies for various reasons of which 346 were executed. 322 were executed on the Western Front. Of the 346 exectuted 25 were Canadian, 291 were British Army, 5 were New Zealanders, and 4 were BWI Regiment. As for the Australians, 113 Australian troops were sentanced to death for various reasons, of which three were sentenced to the same for cowardice, but, alone amongst the Commonwealth troops, the confirmation of death sentances was the preserve of the Governor of Australia who was, at the time, Sir Ronald Ferguson (a Brit, rather than an Australian) who commutted all sentances.

The most significant aspect of this is the number of Canadians who became subject to the severest penalty. 25. You attest that the Australians were the finest troops on the Western Front, most histories endow this honour on the Canadians, and yet they endured as many death sentances as the entire German Army. Perhaps, therefore, the link between executions and an army's performance that you suppose is rather tenuous when it actually comes down to it.

ploughman
08-17-2006, 04:40 PM
Of the men shot 18 were shot for cowardice, 3 for mutiny, 266 for desertion, 37 for murder, 6 for striking or using violence to a superior, 5 for disobedience to a lawful command, 2 for sleeping at post (Mesopotamia only, not Western Front), 7 for quitting a post without authority, 2 for casting away arms.

rfap
08-17-2006, 07:54 PM
There is a bit of a statistical anomaly with Irish troops serving for the Britsh forces as well.

Country % of the Army % of Condemnations

England 67 65
Scotland 9 11
Canada 8 8
Australia 6 4
Wales 5 3
New Zealand 2 1
Ireland 2 8
South Africa 1 0

Feathered_IV
08-17-2006, 08:03 PM
Originally posted by marc_hawkins:
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.


Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!€"An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime.€"
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.


If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,€"
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.



Was that Wilfred Owen?

joeap
08-18-2006, 02:52 AM
Yes it was. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

TC_Stele
08-18-2006, 12:28 PM
Did anyone ever watch the movie "Paths of Glory?" It was a story of a French unit that refused to advance under the command of a French general due to fire in the battlefield that prevented them from moving from their position. The French general had 3 men of the unit executed as examples of cowardice that reflected the unit. The French government banned this movie from being shown in the country.

During WWI many generals were behind the times of the warfare and some orders were nearly impossible to carry out, and for that they were punished for it.

I'm not claiming to know every situation of the men pardoned in Britain, but I'm sure there are unique cases where they definately should have been.

Von_Rat
08-19-2006, 02:48 AM
Originally posted by Ploughman:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">
the allied generals are reponsiable for the deaths of men executed for cowardice,

Yes, you are absolutely right...upon which I shall now elaborate, but seen as here we are speaking specifically speaking of Britain and the Commonwealth allow me to focus only upon them. 3,080 men were sentenced to death amongst the Commonwealth Armies for various reasons of which 346 were executed. 322 were executed on the Western Front. Of the 346 exectuted 25 were Canadian, 291 were British Army, 5 were New Zealanders, and 4 were BWI Regiment. As for the Australians, 113 Australian troops were sentanced to death for various reasons, of which three were sentenced to the same for cowardice, but, alone amongst the Commonwealth troops, the confirmation of death sentances was the preserve of the Governor of Australia who was, at the time, Sir Ronald Ferguson (a Brit, rather than an Australian) who commutted all sentances.

The most significant aspect of this is the number of Canadians who became subject to the severest penalty. 25. You attest that the Australians were the finest troops on the Western Front, most histories endow this honour on the Canadians, and yet they endured as many death sentances as the entire German Army. Perhaps, therefore, the link between executions and an army's performance that you suppose is rather tenuous when it actually comes down to it. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

i did not mention the canadians because the other poster didnt. but you are correct. the canadians were also among the best troops.

perhaps the reason they had so many death penaltys for cowardice is because they had same crappy british generals that the british army suffered from.



this following is speculation, but i bet if i could find the numbers of executions for cowardice in napoleons army, they'd be less than the british army before wellington.

im also willing to speculate that after wellington took control of brit army, the number of executions for cowardice dropped.

panther3485
08-19-2006, 11:58 AM
IIRC, unlike many armies of the conflict, the Australians were an all-volunteer force. There were no conscripts.

Low_Flyer_MkVb
08-19-2006, 02:04 PM
Facts and figures here:
http://www.shotatdawn.org.uk/

Sad stories. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif

kdmorris001
08-19-2006, 07:51 PM
Imho,in that silly, silly war, no man who had refused to fight, put down his rifle and gone home could possibly be considered a coward.
This was the most pointless, idiotic war to date. It was never worth fighting in the first place and wasn't worth the death of a single hamster let alone millions of human beings. Occasionally history presents causes worht killing and dying for... this wasn't on of them. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

panther3485
08-20-2006, 08:44 AM
Originally posted by kdmorris001:
Imho,in that silly, silly war, no man who had refused to fight, put down his rifle and gone home could possibly be considered a coward.
This was the most pointless, idiotic war to date. It was never worth fighting in the first place and wasn't worth the death of a single hamster let alone millions of human beings. Occasionally history presents causes worht killing and dying for... this wasn't on of them. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

By my reckoning, that's true of most wars. Wars that were truly fought for good reason and/or just cause are in the minority, IMHO. So it looks like we agree on this!

Pirschjaeger
08-20-2006, 08:53 AM
Old men with no access to viagra are the ones to blame.

Fritz