Shot at Dawn Memorial

by duncanr

my partner and I took a trip to the National Memorial Arboretum this afternoon

set in 150 acres, and with 300+ memorials to view – – we could visit just a few in the time we had available

it was a sobering experience to read the names of so many who had given their lives for their country inscribed on fine stone edifices

but what had the most impact on us was a much simpler memorial – no names inscribed on stone but . . .

a series of posts in a clearing, each with a simple metal plaque recording the name, rank, and age of the 306 World War 1 british and commonwealth soldiers who were tied to a post, hands behind their back, blindfolded, buttons ripped from their tunics and shot at dawn having been convicted of cowardice

most of these shot were young men, teenagers and early twenties – suffering from shell-shock or what we now recognise as PTSD – shot one suspects in part as an example to others to deter anyone else questioning the madness of war and refusing to obey orders and fight

made me quite angry and upset to view this memorial and read the names of those shot !

[after a lengthy campaign, these 306 men were granted a posthumous pardon in 2006 – ]


4 Comments to “Shot at Dawn Memorial”

  1. So many pertinent song lyrics for this madness:-

    “Forward!” he cried, from the rear, and the front rank died – Roger Waters.

    But when the sky darkens and the prospect is war
    Who’s given a gun and then pushed to the fore
    And expected to die for the land of our birth
    When we’ve never owned one handful of earth?

    We’re the first ones to starve the first ones to die
    The first ones in line for that pie-in-the-sky
    – Ed Pickford.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mother fucker! (That bears repeating) MOTHER FUCKER!

    There’s nothing I can add that could possibly elaborate upon my outrage, sadness, and shock. I have personal experience with PTSD and any moron who doesn’t get it makes me wanna release an angry honey badger on their nuts.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. All of those boys and young men…..

    Liked by 1 person

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