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Shot at dawn

60 second histories

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A description of a firing squad of a young seventeen year old who, although probably suffering from shell shock, was shot for desertion

It’s something a soldier never want’s to do, firing squad. We all understand why it’s done, discipline. How else do you think they would keep us in this hellhole, but some soldiers crack and run away, like the poor beggar we just shot. We all knew he was under age, only seventeen he was, but they still had him shot. I heard his court martial was so quick and they hadn’t given him any representation. We were marched into a courtyard in Poperinge, and laid our rifles down. The military police loaded them, some with blanks and some with live bullets, so you didn’t know what you had in your rifle. We stood to attention and they brought him in and tied him to a wooden post by the wall. I think he was drunk as he staggered a bit and had to be held up. They blindfolded him and tied a white handkerchief just over his chest for us to aim at. His family will be informed he was shot for desertion and will have to live with the shame, bless them, he was only a boy.
20th Century
Crime & Punishment
WW1 British infantry soldier
Key words: 
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