Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Shot at dawn


This very moving memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum commemorates the 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers who were shot  for desertion or cowardice during World War I. There is a wooden stake set in the earth for each one of them. Today it is recognised that most of them were underage boys and suffering from shell-shock, but at the time they were condemned and only given a brief summary trial with little opportunity to defend themselves. In 2006 they were formally given a posthumous pardon. The statue, by Andy Decomyn, is modelled on Private Herbert Burden, 1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers,  who was shot at Ypres aged 17.

7 comments:

  1. Such a dark period in our history : it deserves such a memorial.

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  2. I have never seen a memorial in the USA like this. Even now, I suspect most Americans would have little sympathy for deserters.

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  3. Very appropriate to honor those who were so maltreated in life.

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  4. Interesting to know who 'pardoned' them Jenny..probably some General sitting in an office that never faced the horrors of actually being on the battlefield. I feel there is nothing to pardon, it was a nightmare war. I pray that my son will never have to face what those young men had to.

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  5. What a horrible story! Glad they have been pardoned even if it is too late for them to know.

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