Britain rejects pardon for executed soldier

#2
So he,and others shot unarmed Prisoners of War,because they were ordered to do it?

I seem to remember the same excuse being trotted out at Nuremberg,and also in Japan.
 
#3
The report says that not only did they shoot 12 prisoners but also a German witness. They admitted the shootings, and now, like many cases today, the convictions are being appealed on 'technical' grounds, not because they didn't actually do it.

As far as I can see, they were guilty as charged and asking for an appeal does nothing but bring the crime back into the public eye.
 
#4
What is the motivation to have the convictions overturned? There is no mention of the usual family connections with people wanting their ancestors names cleared. Personally I think we have far more important things on our plate then to waste time. resources and effort on a case trying to clear the name of an officer who killed 12 prisoners of war too long ago to matter
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
Wasn't there some hoo ha becuase the British tried Aussies without actually telling the Aussie Goverment
I though that this was why Aussie troops couldn't be tried and shot by British Courts Martial in WW1

Didn't the only English officer present at the shootings also walk?

Too many people believe the film versions like Gibsons Gallipolli "The Brits are sitting drinking tea now hurry up and die"
 
#7
Wasn't there some hoo ha becuase the British tried Aussies without actually telling the Aussie Goverment
I though that this was why Aussie troops couldn't be tried and shot by British Courts Martial in WW1
My understanding was that they were serving as auxiliaries to British Imperial Forces rather than as an Australian contingent. That would put them fair and square under BIF jurisdiction and subject to their penal code - including the death penalty.

To my mind, they were caught fair and square, sentenced after due process (which they didn't avail their prisoners of) and executed 'under rule .303'. I do like a bit of petard-hoisting, me.
 
#8
Does this now mean that the Nazis etc.will sooner or later be found innocent? 12 people ended up murdered,under the law at the time they were found guilty and paid the price.
 
#9
'Commander James Unkles, an Australian military lawyer, and Nick Bleszynski, a Scottish-born writer, sent a petition to the Queen...'

Laying the groundwork for a co-authored book perhaps, for which Unkles provides the specialist advice and Blatheration does the writing? They'll need a catchy title, how about; Travesty! How Our Breaker Was Murdered by Pommy Bastards!

If they get a move on, they might get it in the shops in time for Christmas, how clever of them. Does anyone really give a rat's?
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
I think this is partly fallout from the ill-considered block pardon for those executed in WW1, so this team are trying it on for their man on the assumption we are a soft touch.
 
#12
IIRC most of the true facts of the case are now lost to history, and the main "Breaker Morant" story that caught the public imagination was in fact initially written as fiction.

One of the conveniently overlooked ironic facts is that Morant, of course, wasn't even serving in an Australian unit - he had deliberately enlisted in a British unit....
 
#13
To my mind, they were caught fair and square, sentenced after due process (which they didn't avail their prisoners of) and executed 'under rule .303'.
Really? My bold. I suggest you do some reading on the matter and you will find the court martial was a farce. There is very little doubt that they executed the prisoners, as charged, but claimed it was being done under orders from above, a long way above. The court martial denied every attempt to prove the point as well as being called at very short notice. The defence was given one day to prepare following the laying of the charges.

There is also a very strong suggestion that HMG was being strongly pressured by Germany (a German pastor was also one of the executed under the belief he was a spy) who was threatening to take a much closer interest in what had become a very dirty war. It has been suggested that in order to keep the Germans out orders were sent that some executions would not go astray.

Whatever the facts, and they are very confused and uncertain as the original court martial records seem to have been mislaid, I would argue that there are insufficient grounds for a pardon and the matter should be left for historians to argue over.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#16
I would imagine that if the UK gobment actually gave these chaps a posthumous pardon, they'd then have to give a posthumous death sentence to a bunch of other chaps guilty (but not Australian) of the same acts, which would in turn lead to lots of legal wrangles on legal aid for the descendents of the dead people facing a death sentence.

Is a pardon after you've been killed actually any use? Personally, it would be far more important if I was still breathing when pardoned so I could enjoy the restoration of my good name.

This is akin to having a court session now and sentencing Hitler to death.
 
#17
Biped, according to the sources I have read, you are correct. There were a lot of reported instances of prisoner executions among the irregular units. It was, after all, a full-on counter insurgency war by the time all this happened.

It would also appear that Morant and Handcock's mistake was to shoot the Boers after they had surrendered. There is some evidence that a senior officer commented that they should have shot them before accepting their surrender which may also have equated with Kitchener's order. On such fine lines hang a legal distinction.
 
#18
Was Not Harry "Breaker" Morant a British emigre to Australia and as has already been pointed out elsewhere in this thread, the Bushveld Carbiniers, an Imperial unit of Mounted Infantry which included British, Australian, Canadian and South African irregulars ?

Why all the fuss - if a mistake was made, like both the Germans and Soviets made mistakes of a few million here and there, surely it should be confined to history.

Has everyone forgotten about the 1 million Aborigines killed in the name of the British Crown - I haven't seen an apology for that one yet
 
#19
What is the motivation to have the convictions overturned? There is no mention of the usual family connections with people wanting their ancestors names cleared. Personally I think we have far more important things on our plate then to waste time. resources and effort on a case trying to clear the name of an officer who killed 12 prisoners of war too long ago to matter
Free beer for life in any pub with an aussie in it lol
 
#20
Has everyone forgotten about the 1 million Aborigines killed in the name of the British Crown - I haven't seen an apology for that one yet
Must have forgotten, when have 1 million Abo's been killed in the name of the British crown?
 

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