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Coward or wronged hero?


shambles
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Should he be remembered on the memorial?  

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  1. 1. Should he be remembered on the memorial?

    • Yes
      16
    • No
      5


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On Midlands Today this evening there was a piece about a woman who's grandfather was shot as a deserter during WW1 and she has persuaded Dudley council to add his name to the war memorial in Dudley. He now has his own plaque on this memorial meaning his name stands out from all the other names. Personally, I don't want to seem like a heartless basket, but I question whether he deserves to be on the memorial at all, let alone standing out from folks who gave their lives during the great war.

Thoughts?

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As far as I'm aware, he was not suffering from shell-shock.

Well of course no one would be able to say that he was or wasn't.

I, personally, would judge anyone who lost their life in war as a victim of that war.

Why does someone need to be a hero to be part of a memorial?

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one of the most poignant and sad stories to come out of that horror was the tale of the stretcher party in No mans Land who came across two bodies, both no more than seventeen years old, one German, one British, two boys embracing each other in death, bewildered, lost and in terror before they died, their badges and uniforms meaning nothing, their humanity and brotherhood meaning everything. Says it all really, put the boy on the memorial, what the hell does it matter anyways so long ago, they were lads most of them,, no shame in being afraid at that age, the whole thing was a colossal waste of human life anyway.

RIP

cheers, Gary

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with the above post, I am not saying cowardice in action is fine, but unless you personally have been through the nightmare of Verdun, Ypres or the Somme, you have no right to make much of a judgement. None of you can conceive of living rough in the worst weather for months at a time surrounded by the rotting remains of your friends and being shelled morning noon and night for weeks on end, watching your mates being blown into tiny meaty bits day after day, there is no way we can condemn. Insanity would be a welcome relief.

War is hell, war is a racket, and the biggest money maker on the planet. A special place in hell awaits the war mongers.

Gary

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I said in another thread that you can not put today's standards on incidents 90 years ago

most of the soliders who desertedwould be shell shock r post truamatic stress

however as unplatable as it seems back the if one or two had been let out just how many would have walked considering the carnage around them

Hindsight in these cases can not be applied as at the time they were shot legally as abhorent to us that seems now

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As far as I'm aware, he was not suffering from shell-shock.

Well of course no one would be able to say that he was or wasn't.

I, personally, would judge anyone who lost their life in war as a victim of that war.

Why does someone need to be a hero to be part of a memorial?

I absolutely agree.

I'd add that I won't blame anyone for deserting in war. You want to stop fighting? Go ahead sir, I salute you.

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one of the most poignant and sad stories to come out of that horror was the tale of the stretcher party in No mans Land who came across two bodies, both no more than seventeen years old, one German, one British, two boys embracing each other in death, bewildered, lost and in terror before they died, their badges and uniforms meaning nothing, their humanity and brotherhood meaning everything. Says it all really, put the boy on the memorial, what the hell does it matter anyways so long ago, they were lads most of them,, no shame in being afraid at that age, the whole thing was a colossal waste of human life anyway.

RIP

cheers, Gary

have you read birdsong mate? your words remind me of a certain scene in that book by sebastion faulkes. I think youd enjoy it - purey based on your intelligent and thoughful response to this thread.

Until one is put in that situation we shouldnt judge others on their actions. Who are we to pass judgement on people who were forced to fight for their country and kill likeminded young soldiers purely for being german. We have it much easier than they did - and thats because of their dedication. No shame in being scared in that situation. He should be remembered.

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why is cowardice from 90 years ago suddenly redefined just because we live in a world gone mad /soft /pc

if you had 100 men in a trench 90 years ago and 3 ran off then it's cowardice regardless of if they suffered from stress from a yet to be defined illness by some fancy doctor 85 years later ..surely it was the same for everyone and the 97 that didn't run deserve more recognision than the 3 that ran ...

what next Howard Shipman being pardoned 90 years in the future because it turns out according to some smart doctor "it wasn't his fault"

i don't dispute people may have been scared ...heck I'm sure i wouldn't sit in a trench being led by some barking mad general ..but by forgiving those that ran we sour the memory of those that did not

The British Empire is the greatest thing that ever happened to the world ..and it wasn't built on soft discipline and cowardice

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why is cowardice from 90 years ago suddenly redefined just because we live in a world gone mad /soft /pc

if you had 100 men in a trench 90 years ago and 3 ran off then it's cowardice regardless of if they suffered from stress from a yet to be defined illness by some fancy doctor 85 years later ..surely it was the same for everyone and the 97 that didn't run deserve more recognision than the 3 that ran ...

what next Howard Shipman being pardoned 90 years in the future because it turns out according to some smart doctor "it wasn't his fault"

i don't dispute people may have been scared ...heck I'm sure i wouldn't sit in a trench being led by some barking mad general ..but by forgiving those that ran we sour the memory of those that did not

The British Empire is the greatest thing that ever happened to the world ..and it wasn't built on soft discipline and cowardice

I'm assuming that you've experienced what these people went through?

No - you're someone who is sure that they wouldn't have put themselves in this situation in the first place.

I doubt that your objection would have been conscientious. :(

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I'm assuming that you've experienced what these people went through?

of course not , but if you're in an environment say down the pub and a fight goes off with some friends of yours ..would you run and leave them to it or would you stay and fight with them regardless of personal safety .. now I'm not a violent person , i avoid it at any cost BUT i would NOT run and leave my friends regardless of the concequences ..indeed i can say 100% i've never run and i've stood toe to toe and taken some hits ... ok no-one is throwing grenades down my local pub or driving tanks but the principal is the same and in that I can say , Yes , i would stay and fight ..but of course the 2 don't comapre and i wouldn't even dream to compare myslef to some of the heroes that fought for our country

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Tony,

I can see that stiff upper lip from over here...

The fact you brought up a bar fight (although you did say it didn't compare, it was pretty clear you were intending it to be compared...) indicates you have no idea of the pure horror that was the western front in the First World War. Your touting of the glory of the Empire rings mighty hollow if you actually spend a few hours reading about the reality of Passchendaele, Amiens, Arras, Verdun and so many other locations soaked in the blood of a generation. Tony, the entire First World War was a completely insane waste of human potential. It should never have been fought, and the perpetrators, the Kings, politicians, generals and strategists ON BOTH SIDES should have been the ones shot against a wall, for the human catastrophe they created, for every teenage boy lost in muddy pits, bleeding and mad from the incessant din of the guns, for the countless thousands maimed forever, in body and mind. For the troubled old men who awake screaming in the middle of the night with nightmare visions that no man should ever experience, and mostly these evil men should have been punished for all the stinking lies, the odour of which would obscure the perfumes of heaven herself if it were possible, these mealy mouthed silk tongued theives, swindlers and peddlers in human misery, these ruiners of families, takers of youth and breakers of hearts, the smug arms merchants, wreathed in the smoke of the best cigars, the "public servants", incanting about the needs of state and the necessities of history, of territorial destiny and the balance of power. The broadsheet purveyors of spectacle and manufacturers of propaganda, the mouth of the beast itself.

War, Ahhhh isn't she magnificent? In all her armour plated, camouflaged, blood mired glory, shedding her obscuring cloud of acrid cordite smoke, trampling indiscriminately civilian and soldier, grinding the flesh and bone to grim ashen nothingness, deaths so numerous the numbers lose their meaning. Cities wasted, row upon row of beautifully bleach white crosses, so delightfully uniform in their sanctified rows....

But we won of course, yes, we won alright, gave the nasty boche bastard the beating he deserved didn't we? For the glory of the empire of course, God save the Queen and all that.. Shame about old Uncle Ted though, he's never been the same after that gas attack in Loos, lost all his mates he did, eight weeks at the front before he lost his eyes, never been the same after that..

Some f*ckin bar fight Tony.

Gary

nothing personal here mate, Great Grandad was in the first, grandad was in the second, no glory, just got home in one piece thanks. Never again, for no empire, for no flag, bugger 'em all.

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All were heroes, all were victims and we all owe our freedom to them and their sons.

As a few posters have picked up on already shell shock, PTSD etc were not even thought of back then and the sheer horror those men went through cannot be imagined. I would not criticise their conduct when faced with hell, Indeed it only deepens my respect for those who stood fast.

They should all be recorded on our Cenotaphs. More worrying to me is the dwindling attendances on 11/11; as a nation we seem to remember less and less.

Edit to add: I'd strongly recommend a walk around the national memorial arboretum by Alrewas on the A38 to anyone who hasn't been. A humbling place and if you have kids, educational.

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One way or another he was a victim of the war so i'd say he deserves to be remembered on the memorial. (though definitely not on his own special plaque)

He probably wasnt a soldier, just an ordinary guy who was put into an extreme and prolonged flight or fight situation and at some point caved.

I dont really think any of us are in a position to make damming moral judgements over someone in these circumstances.

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Tony,

I can see that stiff upper lip from over here...

The fact you brought up a bar fight (although you did say it didn't compare, it was pretty clear you were intending it to be compared...) indicates you have no idea of the pure horror that was the western front in the First World War. Your touting of the glory of the Empire rings mighty hollow if you actually spend a few hours reading about the reality of Passchendaele, Amiens, Arras, Verdun and so many other locations soaked in the blood of a generation. Tony, the entire First World War was a completely insane waste of human potential. It should never have been fought, and the perpetrators, the Kings, politicians, generals and strategists ON BOTH SIDES should have been the ones shot against a wall, for the human catastrophe they created, for every teenage boy lost in muddy pits, bleeding and mad from the incessant din of the guns, for the countless thousands maimed forever, in body and mind. For the troubled old men who awake screaming in the middle of the night with nightmare visions that no man should ever experience, and mostly these evil men should have been punished for all the stinking lies, the odour of which would obscure the perfumes of heaven herself if it were possible, these mealy mouthed silk tongued theives, swindlers and peddlers in human misery, these ruiners of families, takers of youth and breakers of hearts, the smug arms merchants, wreathed in the smoke of the best cigars, the "public servants", incanting about the needs of state and the necessities of history, of territorial destiny and the balance of power. The broadsheet purveyors of spectacle and manufacturers of propaganda, the mouth of the beast itself.

War, Ahhhh isn't she magnificent? In all her armour plated, camouflaged, blood mired glory, shedding her obscuring cloud of acrid cordite smoke, trampling indiscriminately civilian and soldier, grinding the flesh and bone to grim ashen nothingness, deaths so numerous the numbers lose their meaning. Cities wasted, row upon row of beautifully bleach white crosses, so delightfully uniform in their sanctified rows....

But we won of course, yes, we won alright, gave the nasty boche bastard the beating he deserved didn't we? For the glory of the empire of course, God save the Queen and all that.. Shame about old Uncle Ted though, he's never been the same after that gas attack in Loos, lost all his mates he did, eight weeks at the front before he lost his eyes, never been the same after that..

Some f*ckin bar fight Tony.

Gary

nothing personal here mate, Great Grandad was in the first, grandad was in the second, no glory, just got home in one piece thanks. Never again, for no empire, for no flag, bugger 'em all.

Actually, what he said (with more paragraphs though ;) ) Excellent post.

Was it just me who read Tony's post and 'Rule Britannia' started playing in their heads halfway through? And a strange mental image of a man draped in union jacks saluting nothing in particular whilst typing with the other hand...

Probably was just me. :?

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