Friday, August 18, 2006

Another Lincs soldier shot at dawn


Private Kirman was not the only soldier of the Lincolnshire Regiment to be executed for cowardice in the First World War (see my blog yesterday).

I've been surfing the net and found the tragic story of another Private soldier, 20-year-old George Collins HERE

The account does not say which part of our county Collins was from. He was serving with the First Battalion The Lincolnshire Regiment in November 1914 when he disappeared after getting completely drunk while preparing for the trenches.

When caught, his trial lasted 15 minutes. He was not represented and he was sentenced to death.

The day after his execution, the Adjutant General, General Headquarters, circulated a memorandum giving reasons for agreeing to death sentences.

Ironically, The Adjutant General said:

"The Commander-in-Chief wishes to be assured that a good fighting man is not shot for absence arising out of (for example) a drunken spree."

So even by the draconian rules of the day, Collins never should have faced the firing squad.

But the real disgrace is that it has taken more than 90 years for Private Collins - and 300 other Tommies who faced the firing squad - to be offered an official pardon.

2 comments:

Brynley said...

Agree with your sentiments, Phil. One of the reasons it took so long was that John Reid would not challenge the traditionalists when he was Minister for Defence.

fairdealphil said...

by traditionalists, i assume you mean the civil servants who advised him that it couldn't be done.