Posthumous pardons

#1
I have just heard (Radio 4) that a number of posthumous pardons are to be granted to men shot for "military offences" in the Great War. I myself make no bones about my opposition to this but I would also let it be noted that in my personal remembrances on the 11th November I make no distinction in my mind for all the dead.

This is a very major departure for the government and shows that they have one view of changing government policy for "anti-military" causes and quite another when it comes to discussing pensions, pay and other issues particularly those of FEPOWs. Of course the difference is pardons for those "Shot at Dawn" cost nothing, whereas acting for the benefit of FEPOWS and other veterans still alive might cost money.
 
#2
This is a very major departure for the government and shows that they have one view of changing government policy for "anti-military" causes and quite another when it comes to discussing pensions, pay and other issues particularly those of FEPOWs. Of course the difference is pardons for those "Shot at Dawn" cost nothing, whereas acting for the benefit of FEPOWS and other veterans still alive might cost money

Exactly! It doesn't cost anything and it'll make them look good in the eyes of the relatives and the great uninformed British Public. Meanwhile the system of Military justice is undermined yet again and the loyalty and sacrifice of all those men who didn't run way or absent themselves from the firing line is diminished. A cheap tawdry gimmick and utterly typical of this appalling, historically- illiterate Government. :evil: :evil: :evil:
 
#3
The Beeb news website is saying that Pte Harry Farrs family are saying that he will receive a pardon, but then the beeb go onto say John Reid will review the pardon. Does this mean it can still be refused?.....thats how I see it. The sky news website goes on to quote Farrs grand daughter saying that she didnt know if he would receive a full or conditional pardon.
What would be the difference between the two types of pardons in a case like this?

FM
 
#4
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4796313.stm
WWI soldier to be granted pardon

Private Harry Farr was executed aged 25
A soldier who was executed during World War I for cowardice is to be granted a pardon, his family has announced.
Private Harry Farr from Kensington, west London, was 25 years old when he was shot at dawn in 1916 after refusing to return to the front line.

His family had always argued that the soldier, of the 1st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, was suffering from shell shock at the time.

Pte Farr's granddaughter said lawyers had told them of the decision.

The family had been appealing a High Court decision not to grant a conditional pardon posthumously.

Pte Farr's granddaughter Janet Booth said: "We don't know if it's a full or a conditional pardon yet. We are over the moon."


Another example of todays standards being foisted onto those of the past in my view.
 
#5
IMHO it appears that the knowledge of PTSD was somewhat lacking back in the days of old. It seems that although there were clear instances of cowardice in battle there is also some evidence of examples being made of boarderline cases. I feel that if there are to be pardons they would need to be on a case by case basis not a blanket pardon. This would also riase the issue of evidence available after the passage of so much time.
 
#6
IIRC Pte Farr's family's request for a pardon was based upon his having been shot, when due to previous "nervous strain" he shouldn't even have received the death penalty. Now that is what I call a clerical error...

I am afraid that this is a very retrosepctive action, based on "modern" views. Imagine if we suggested Christie should not have been hanged because he was slightly unwell mentally then?? Yet you can now see psychologists argue this point in respectable academic forums - if of course there are such things!
 
#7
How far back is this revisionist nonsense supposed to go? Is someone presently trawling through summary dealings of the Napoleonic era, or having a look at the Reformation? Whilst the study of history is vital, the application of our standards and knowledge to past apparent injustices is particularly dangerous.

A logical extension of this model of looking at history is to make reparations to countries which suffered from the slave trade - which is also mooted in some corners. That will be far more costly than ceding to a vocal set of (by my estimate third generation) relatives.

You'd also think that the MoD was rather too busy at the moment but then it is flush with civvy commissars tasked with this sort of nonsense.
 
#8
Jaeger said:
This is a very major departure for the government and shows that they have one view of changing government policy for "anti-military" causes and quite another when it comes to discussing pensions, pay and other issues particularly those of FEPOWs. Of course the difference is pardons for those "Shot at Dawn" cost nothing, whereas acting for the benefit of FEPOWS and other veterans still alive might cost money

Exactly! It doesn't cost anything and it'll make them look good in the eyes of the relatives and the great uninformed British Public. Meanwhile the system of Military justice is undermined yet again and the loyalty and sacrifice of all those men who didn't run way or absent themselves from the firing line is diminished. A cheap tawdry gimmick and utterly typical of this appalling, historically- illiterate Government. :evil: :evil: :evil:
My views exactly Jaeger. The courage of hundreds of thousands of anonymous men sacrificed for cheap political brownie points.
 
#9
Patrius Homus of the 4th legion stationed on Hadrian walls fell asleep on duty and was executed - lets hope in these liberal times he will also be pardoned - so pleased we can play with history - what a load of nonsense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
#10
Scnellimbiss said:
Patrius Homus of the 4th legion stationed on Hadrian walls fell asleep on duty and was executed - lets hope in these liberal times he will also be pardoned - so pleased we can play with history - what a load of nonsense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But we must also debunk the chain of command at the time - let's not forget how unfeeling and arrogant Hadrian was. He was surely aware of 'Hadrian's Wall' syndrome - the soporific effects of keeping the picts at bay and having nothing to read but the Vindolanda Reader's Wives Tablets.
 
#11
Victorian_Captain said:
How far back is this revisionist nonsense supposed to go? Is someone presently trawling through summary dealings of the Napoleonic era, or having a look at the Reformation? Whilst the study of history is vital, the application of our standards and knowledge to past apparent injustices is particularly dangerous.

A logical extension of this model of looking at history is to make reparations to countries which suffered from the slave trade - which is also mooted in some corners. That will be far more costly than ceding to a vocal set of (by my estimate third generation) relatives.

You'd also think that the MoD was rather too busy at the moment but then it is flush with civvy commissars tasked with this sort of nonsense.
Absolutely; St Tony of Freetown has already apologised to the Irish for the Potato famine, no doubt the Zulus are about to get a visit from Rhodri Morgan to say sorry for Rourke's Drift, the Indians and Pakistanis are to be told to divvy up the Kohinoor diamond as soon as it's dismounted from the crown, and Mandelson's going to fellate Jacques Delors to make up for imprisoning Napoleon on St Helena.

It's enough to make a cat laugh.

Back to the isue at hand; what possible good will come of these posthumous pardons? All that I can see is that a few relatives will able to say to themselves that Grandad wasn't a coward - do they really need a piece of paper to say that? Trying to legislate against the past is somewhat like Canute and his coastal O-group - pointless.
 
#12
I'm a little concerned that it's John Reid who'll be reviewing the pardon and not Swiss Toni (Mr Browne). Does this suggest that it's being dealt with as a quasi civpol matter?
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#13
Step 1. Pte Farr et al get pardoned.

Step 2. The families ask the MOD for back pensions.

Step 3. The MOD refuse.

Step 4. Various 'human rights' lawyers get involved and launch legal actions.

Step 5. The courts award back pensions to the descendants of the executed soldiers, together with compensation for hurt feelings, loss etc, and costs against the MOD.

Step 6. The MOD decides it can't afford new body armour/patrol equipment etc etc...
 
#14
Don't forget retrospective courts-martial for the relatives of those who (using these new principles) obeyed an unlawful order and did the shooting.
 
#15
I'm always very wary of sticking my oar into judgements about valour and cowardice, never having had to place myself in danger and challenge my own moral fibre, but these men were judged by the standards of the time, thus it's improper for those judgements to be revised using today's standards because we'd then have to do that for every conviction back to the year dot. I also think that something the families of these 'Shot at Dawn' men forget is that their relatives were not the only ones to suffer from battle-fatigue, shell-shock and other mental conditions, but an awful lot of men struggled through by some means and did their duty.
 
#16
The tendency to impose current values and opinions, instead of the values and thinking of the time when looking back at cases such as Pte Farr's is a hazardous one.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
This has got nothing to do with resolving a miscarriage of justice ninety years ago but everything to do with putting pressure on an institution and value system which the current powers that be find threatening and have little or no time for.

My understanding, based on 'The Pity of War' and 'Mud, Blood and Poppycock', is that those executed had form and first offences were generally commuted. Does anyone know what the full background was in this case?
 

Sixty

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#18
DozyBint said:
I'm always very wary of sticking my oar into judgements about valour and cowardice, never having had to place myself in danger and challenge my own moral fibre, but these men were judged by the standards of the time, thus it's improper for those judgements to be revised using today's standards because we'd then have to do that for every conviction back to the year dot. I also think that something the families of these 'Shot at Dawn' men forget is that their relatives were not the only ones to suffer from battle-fatigue, shell-shock and other mental conditions, but an awful lot of men struggled through by some means and did their duty.

Very emotive subject, Dozy. I'm torn both ways; I don't think I could have gone through the trenches (that's not false modesty or self-depreciation, just a statement of fact)

However as Awol points out above, many hundreds of thousands went through the Great War and served until the end. Difficult one. Perhaps best left to those who have been under fire (of which I'm not one)

In general, I'd go with Cpunk and Cuddles but with a heavy heart. Couldn't speak for how I'd react though having never been in that position but can appreciate why some of the lads found it too much and cracked.
 
#20
Well, I disagree with all of you. Are you seriously arguing that because the authorities refused to recognise shell shock that we shouldn't recognise it for those that suffered from it 90 years ago? But that it's OK to recognise it as a valid medical condition now, when any one of us could be/have suffered from it?

How very convenient for you and me!! How very inconvenient for those poor bastards who were shot for it instead.

For those who argue that "well, that's how it was in those days, tough" - how very courageous your stance is, taken at a comfortable distance in the safety of your computer chair - easy to be brave and spout machismo sh*t without having to suffer for it.

I presume that all of you who ever break down whilst serving will be quite happy to be executed for it? No, I didn't think so - you bloody hypocrites.
 
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