Photos that make you think.

When I was a young soldier there was a Nuffield Centrein London and we used to travel up from Aldershot on week-ends to get cheap/free cinema and theatre tickets tickets.
I looked that up, another wonderful thing that he did, he was a generous and honest man, and made his money by providing quality motor vehicles that were built by craftsmen to a high standard but affordable as well ( we have had over 10 morris cars in our family and still 2 are in the family today

The Nuffield Trust (for the forces of the crown) - "The first fifty years"
 
The battles will have been bad enough, but what about then being wheeled out to shoot someone who might have been a mate, or who you had shared a beer or three with? That must have been a hell of a job!
From what i'm led to believe, a lot of the 'executions' were done by fellow 'confinees'.
There's a fair few books on the subject, many of them very leftie, but some which point out that the executions for desertion-in-the-face-of-the-enemy were most often because their leaving the line was endangering their fellow troops/the mission.
In fact, the ratio of being charged, IIRC, and being executed was a quite astounding 20-1.
I'll do some digging, and get back to you.
 

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From what i'm led to believe, a lot of the 'executions' were done by fellow 'confinees'.
There's a fair few books on the subject, many of them very leftie, but some which point out that the executions for desertion-in-the-face-of-the-enemy were most often because their leaving the line was endangering their fellow troops/the mission.
In fact, the ratio of being charged, IIRC, and being executed was a quite astounding 20-1.
I'll do some digging, and get back to you.
I appreciate that and we can't inflict the mores of today's society on those of a century ago, although there are many nowadays who try to do just that.

There was an officer shot just a few days after him, but he was reported as "Died of wounds". Certainly did!

Execution of first British officer in WW1 - December 10 1916
 
I appreciate that and we can't inflict the mores of today's society on those of a century ago, although there are many nowadays who try to do just that.

There was an officer shot just a few days after him, but he was reported as "Died of wounds". Certainly did!

Execution of first British officer in WW1 - December 10 1916
The amount of executions actually carried out in all theatres over the course of the war was only in the low hundreds. And out of these, the vast majority of those executed were those who had committed capital crimes under civil law.

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The amount of executions actually carried out in all theatres over the course of the war was only in the low hundreds. And out of these, the vast majority of those executed were those who had committed capital crimes under civil law.

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A fair amount for face-of-the-enemy, as discussed above.
But yes, the whole 'nobody understood PTSD then' lobby makes out that the 'victims' were shellshocked etc etc etc.
A difficult call to make - yes, men were scared, all were, unless they were idiots, but the main things was NOT to show it.
Easy for folk to comment, unless they've been under fire.
A discussion for another thread perhaps?
 
The amount of executions actually carried out in all theatres over the course of the war was only in the low hundreds. And out of these, the vast majority of those executed were those who had committed capital crimes under civil law.

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Figures taken from 'For the Sake of Example' by Anthony Babington.

From the outbreak of war until the end of March 1920, figures published by the War Office show that in that time 3,080 men had been condemned to death, and 346 of them had been executed.

Desertion 266
Murder 37
Cowardice 18
Quitting Post 7
Striking or Violence 6
Disobedience 5
Mutiny 3
Sleeping on Post 2
Casting away Arms 2
 
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The battles will have been bad enough, but what about then being wheeled out to shoot someone who might have been a mate, or who you had shared a beer or three with? That must have been a hell of a job!
There was a post on here or Navy Net a few years back.
A poster wrote that when he was working in the RN Historical Branch, a former Royal Marine contacted them asking details of an execution in Italy in the closing stages of WW2.
He had been part of the firing squad but they were given no details at the time, of the offence or of the executed man (a sailor)
There was no doubt that the execution had taken place and it was almost certain that the enquirer was genuine.

It would be nice to think that the opportunity was taken to record for posterity, the viewpoint of a member of a firing party but somehow I've an idea that didn't happen.
 
My grandfather took part in one in Ireland. He didn't outline the circumstances why the guy was shot but Grandad was in the newly formed Free State Army and I suspect the victim was anti-Treaty IRA. He said to me that the procedure was, word for word, identical to the British Army method as they were using British manuals in the new Army as Irish/English manuals hadn't yet been written. He said the rifles were loaded out of sight of the firing party, with one weapon loaded with a blank (which he scoffed at, because everyone knew the difference between the recoil of a live round and a blank). They were briefed by an Officer, marched out by a Sergeant, collecting a rifle as they went and as soon as they halted, were turned to face the condemned man, immediately brought to the loading position and ordered to aim and fire. Scarcely had they fired, they were immediately ordered to shoulder arms, turned and marched back inside, the rifles being immediately removed from them.
The next part is the incredible part; each man was individually marched into an office where the original Officer told them that they were to be charged with Murder but that as they had been ordered to do their duty, the charge was immediately dropped and they were free to go. He said that the entire procedure was conducted as fast as possible. The party was then reformed outside, marched to a canteen, having been warned not to speak of the event to anyone (of course they did) and then given drink and allowed off for the rest of the day. They all got shitfaced (everyone knew why).
Consequently, the procedure of charging people with Murder was dropped as the Army soon found itself running out of volunteers and it probably had no basis or substance in law anyway. Also, Ireland being a small place, members of the firing squads were often aware of the identity of the IRA men being shot and in some cases, knew them personally. Several of Grandad's mates refused to continue to serve on firing squads, despite a mix of threats and pleas from the Army for men to serve on them. He said that quite a few became alcoholics as a consequence.
 
Figures taken from 'For the Sake of Example' by Anthony Babington.

From the outbreak of war until the end of March 1920, figures published by the War Office show that in that time 3,080 men had been condemned to death, and 346 of them had been executed.

Desertion 266
Murder 37
Cowardice 18
Quitting Post 7
Striking or Violence 6
Disobedience 5
Mutiny 3
Sleeping on Post 2
Casting away Arms 2
According to "Mud, Blood and Poppycock" the vast majority of those executed for desertion had deserted several times beforehand and had made arrangements to stay away rather than run away in panic. The rank and file approved (generally) of the sentences on the grounds that if they had to stick it, so should everyone else. The 2 shot for Sleeping on Post were caught at a listening post. They had taken blankets etc into the post with them, thus indicating that it was a planned action rather that (as often trumpeted) exhausted soldiers falling asleep.
 
The next part is the incredible part; each man was individually marched into an office where the original Officer told them that they were to be charged with Murder but that as they had been ordered to do their duty, the charge was immediately dropped and they were free to go.
I believe that the official hangman was treated in exactly the same way. He had obeyed a lawful order but the matter was always formally raised. Someone will no doubt now pop up to tell me this a folk myth.
 
I believe that the official hangman was treated in exactly the same way. He had obeyed a lawful order but the matter was always formally raised. Someone will no doubt now pop up to tell me this a folk myth.
Reading Albert Pierrepoint's book, " Executioner Pierrepoint"
Nowhere in the book does he allude to being charged with murder, and instantly acquitted. He dispatched 608 civilians and war criminals.
 


...the joys of running around in a riot while carrying an A41...the little chap in the middle certainly dipped out there eh?
 
A fair amount for face-of-the-enemy, as discussed above.
But yes, the whole 'nobody understood PTSD then' lobby makes out that the 'victims' were shellshocked etc etc etc.
A difficult call to make - yes, men were scared, all were, unless they were idiots, but the main things was NOT to show it.
Easy for folk to comment, unless they've been under fire.
A discussion for another thread perhaps?
Most of those who were executed for their actions in the face of the enemy were repeat offenders.

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I believe that the official hangman was treated in exactly the same way. He had obeyed a lawful order but the matter was always formally raised. Someone will no doubt now pop up to tell me this a folk myth.
I was about to say the same thing: memories of law lectures many, many moons ago.
Charged with murder , as it was a premeditated action, but summarily tried with an automatic verdict of 'judicial execution'.
 
Reading Albert Pierrepoint's book, " Executioner Pierrepoint"
Nowhere in the book does he allude to being charged with murder, and instantly acquitted. He dispatched 608 civilians and war criminals.
there was no such post as official hangman, there were however a list of qualified men who could do the job and were invited to undertake an execution,in otherwords they could only be asked and not ordered to do it.
 
I believe that the official hangman was treated in exactly the same way. He had obeyed a lawful order but the matter was always formally raised. Someone will no doubt now pop up to tell me this a folk myth.
It's a folk myth.

At least in the UK.

During the Apartheid years in South Africa the official hangman was charged with the murder of every person that he hanged.

And in some American states the cause of death on an executed persons death certificate is listed as homicide.

Also, the last person in the UK to have "judicial execution" as cause of deathon their death certificate was, I believe, Farzad Bazoft in 1990, a name Granby veterans may be familiar with.
 
A fair amount for face-of-the-enemy, as discussed above.
But yes, the whole 'nobody understood PTSD then' lobby makes out that the 'victims' were shellshocked etc etc etc.
A difficult call to make - yes, men were scared, all were, unless they were idiots, but the main things was NOT to show it.
Easy for folk to comment, unless they've been under fire.
A discussion for another thread perhaps?
A few SAD threads on here and Great War Forum. Seek them out and digest, again not black and white even then. Some cases are a bit odd and I have compassion for. Others? March the guilty b#stard in.
Blindfold and Alone, For examples sake and a few others give a good overview. You need to understand the wider context in each case, it can open your eyes.
 

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