Shot at Dawn: Cowards, Traitors or Victims?

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Shot at Dawn: Cowards, Traitors or Victims?

Berichtdoor Tandorini » 01 jul 2012, 14:25

Expectations of war

World War One soldiers knew their king and country expected them to fight to the death. Such was the expectation of their military commanders, their political leaders and even their loved ones that there was no question that if mortal danger came, they should face it like men. It was the only way for good to triumph over evil.

But this conflict quickly became the most brutal war in history and not even the most seasoned serviceman was prepared for the scale of carnage that unfolded before him. For many the horror proved too much. Hundreds were unable to cope, many were driven insane and several simply ran away.

But the army could no more afford to carry cowards than it could traitors, and many of those who did flee faced instant retribution with a court martial and death by firing squad.

British and Commonwealth military command executed 306 of its own men during the Great War. Those shot brought such shame on their country that nearly a century on, their names still do not appear on official war memorials.

Relatives and supporters of the executed men are fighting to win them a posthumous pardon. Their Shot at Dawn campaign claims the soldiers were blameless because it was severe psychological trauma, not cowardice, that rendered them physically unable to cope with the shocking scenes they had witnessed.

But others believe it is impossible to condemn the events of a century ago from a modern-day perspective. Whatever the rights and wrongs, they say, a pardon is inappropriate and impossible.

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NEC JACTANTIA NEC METU ("zonder woorden, zonder vrees")

Avatar:De Siciliaanse vlag,oorspronkelijk uit 1282,de triskelion (trinacria) in het midden,is van oorsprong een oud Keltisch zonnesymbool.

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