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Coward or wronged hero?


shambles
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Should he be remembered on the memorial?  

21 members have voted

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

    • Yes
      16
    • No
      5


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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.

Thanks for that - I haven't been but will try at some point.

I'd recommend to anyone a trip to Ypres not only for the Menin Gate but to drive around the countryside in that area. You still get the impression (or at least I did) that those fields remain blood soaked even this long after the event.

I'm not going to even try and compete with Gary's excellent post but just say that if, Tony, you think standing toe to toe with a mate or some mates in a drunken pub fight is of any relevance to a discussion about the horrors of WWI (I concentrate on the great war here) then your historical education obviously wanted for a lot.

Just to put it in perspective in terms of numbers (and only in terms of the UK):

In the great War, the UK lost 887,282 (409,774 with no known grave).

In WWII, the UK lost 382,677.

That's four hundred thousand with no known grave - whose dead bodies decomposed on Flanders fields while the mindless battles continued on around them. Think on that, Tony, when you're sitting in judgement on those who were actually there or standing toe to toe with your mate whose pint has just been spilled.

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

I'd say there's nothing cowardly in wanting to stop fighting, and fighting in a meaningless war at that.

The British Empire is the greatest thing that ever happened to the world

According to who?

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Many of them are still with us. Think on that when you laugh at the mobility scooter rider, get huffy because the old duffer at the front of the checkout can't sort his money out, or get irritated by the slow old driver in front when you are in such a hurry to get to that important destination of yours. If they weren't enlisted they were living on rations at home, feeding their families on rations at home, men and women in factories & on the land. Or they were kids themselves living on rations. Rations, that means you are only allowed a certain amount of food a week, that makes for a healthy old age don't you think?

Enough to say that the generations that are old and dying off now deserve all the help they can get from all of us. Give them some dignity. It's more than a once yearly visit to the Cenetaph, a plastic poppy or a trip to Alrewas, its 365 days a year 24 hrs a day.

If you ever have the honour of talking to just one of them, and you get past the stories (which are fascinating) ask them how they sleep. As norton65ca said, they don't sleep too well.

Shot for cowardice?, **** off, put his name up.

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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

isn't is funny that people only see what they want to see when throwing the holier than thou abuse around

lectured by people younger than me that i don't know what the war was about as i wasn't there ..can you see the irony in it

none of us here , know what it was like but I at least have visited Waterloo , the crimea , WWI and wwII , not to mention dived on the wrecks of WWII vessels ...so i've seen some of the conditions and read the history ..a lot of history , maybe you have the same level of interest in history , maybe you don't ..doesn't make me an expert , but then i'm not the one preaching

i have the war memorial near me at Runnymede for people that died defending their country , there is no bigger sacrafice ..wonder if some of them would have lived if the man guarding their flank hadn't turned tail and ran ??

I lived in Hungary where people dissapeared in the night, grassed up by a neighbour so they could survive , where jews paid guards to remove other jews from the "money train" , just so long as they survived ... you think that was ok to do you or would you be disgusted by those people ? my own nan in law (is that a correct terminology ??) , took a raping from Russian soliders while she protected her hidden 2 younger sisters , that is courage ..and so you think about that when you judge which some of you seem to have turned it into an art form . Personally i respect the hungarians that didn't betray their neighbours , who lived with courage whatever the cost ... not the ones that took flight at the first loud bang

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Where's the betrayal in not wanting to fight a war over nothing?

Your analogies are way off, Tony.

I thought this little work of art could be apropriate here.

A hill in the deep forest green

Tracing of sparrow on snow-crested brown

Blankets and bedclothes the child of the mountain

Sleeps unaware of the clarion call

On the side of a hill a sprinkling of leaves

Washes the grave with silvery tears

A soldier cleans and polishes a gun

War bellows blazing in scarlet battalions

Generals order their soldiers to kill

And to fight for a cause they've long ago forgotten

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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...

well as we are posting on posters , nah forget it , some of us have dignity and don't resort to cheap shots

I don't own any union jacks , i don't salute anyone or anything ...however I am proud of my country and it's history .. and it would seem you are not ,but i'm not seeking your acceptance just as i'm sure you wouldn't seek mine

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Where's the betrayal in not wanting to fight a war over nothing?

Personally , I wouldn't call WWI nothing ..and neither did the majority of people who in fact volunteered

if you think wwi was just about keeping some king on his throne then you are sadly mistaken

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Where's the betrayal in not wanting to fight a war over nothing?

Personally , I wouldn't call WWI nothing ..and neither did the majority of people who in fact volunteered

if you think wwi was just about keeping some king on his throne then you are sadly mistaken

So what were they fighting the war over, Tony? If you can find any sensible, let alone just, cause for WWI, that would be more than a number of distinuished historians ever managed.

What was merely a local conflict in the Balkans turned into a shameful display of inhumanity and cruelty, and for what? A power struggle between the ruling classes of Europe who thought their "jolly war" would resolve some of the tension they had created between themselves. It was not a war of the people of Europe, they were just dragged into the mess through propaganda and conscription.

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So what were they fighting the war over, Tony? If you can find any sensible, let alone just, cause for WWI, that would be more than a number of distinuished historians ever managed.

there you go with the patronising again ..how can i offer you any explanation when to do so would be impossible in your eyes

actually a number of historians CAN offer a viewpoint on the war and it's cause ...it's not somethig i can put into a short paragraph but obviously I have to try

so the short version : the whole history of Europe has been about wars and alliances , Ferdinands death was just a spark ...Hungary declared war on serbia who in turn were under the protection of Russia ..whose actions resulted in Germany coming to the defence of Hungary ..France under treaty to Russia became involved as did Britian at this point due to a moral obligation (Entente Cordiale)... now it was a similar basis that led to us being involved in WWII , and WWII was NOT about keping the king on the throne , so therefore the same moral obligation that entered us into wwII , was equally as valid in WWI

you have to factor in Bismarks actions in trying to unify prussia , which the Kaiser then expanded with the Schlieffen Plan ..which was to fight a war on 2 fronts , France and then Russia (seem familair ?? ) ...but the German plan took no real account of Britain's entry into the war. The German government gave no credence to the possibility that Britain would ignore her own commercial interests and would instead uphold her treaty of obligation

The First World War has sometimes been labelled a family affair , so i can see where you may have got your opinions from but to my mind The alliance system was as much at fault as anything in bringing about the scale of the conflict caused in effect by Austro-Hungarian determination to impose its will upon the Balkans, a German desire for greater power , a French desire for revenge against Germany and Russia's need to restore some national prestige after a battering at the hands of the Japanese military in 1905.

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Sorry if I came across as patronising in any way, Tony, that certainly wasn't my intention. I hope you know I respect your opinion and think of you as one of the more interesting and intelligent contributers to this site.

And your outline of the chain of events that led to the WWI is pretty much spot on. I have no problem finding a sort of chain of causality in the war, and perhaps Europe had come to a stage where war was inevitable given the mindset of the people who were in charge of things back then.

Yet I can see no sense, and certainly no justification in the tragedy that was WWI. Therefore, I do not see anyone who didn't wish to fight in it as a villain or traitor in any way - quite to the contrary, I would understand and support such a decision. Knowing that you'd be shot for deserting, I see it as an example of bravery in its own right.

WWII was something very different, at least morally.

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but hatever the rights and wrongs of it you can not go back and puts today's standards on it

Alliances caused it but the Germans and Austro-Hungarian empires were ready for it

and at the outbreak there was overwhemingly public support for it

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Sorry if I came across as patronising in any way, Tony, that certainly wasn't my intention

yeah sorry ,wrong choice of words by me so sorry about that, coped a fair bit of flack on the last few posts so guess i got a bit touchy , i am trying to spark a debate ..can hardly do that if i play mr conformist can I , just didn't expect peoples reaction ... well i did but i was expecting a deabte not abuse (maybe abuse is a strong word , but you know what i mean ) ....guess i'll need to learn to put my arguments over differently

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You also have to realise that the term desertion was used to cover many sins. After sending men over top on the pointless attempts to gain a few yards of mud at a cost of thousands of lives, quite often those going over would be running right into the face of solid rifle fire. Those who turned back were shot by their own officers from the trenches. The families would be told they were deserters.

All well documented.

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OT

Funny thing, Kosovo will declare independence from Serbia tomorrow and the Russians are making sinister noises about a plan to deal with it..

The Royal Welch are on NATO spearhead in the UK and are on standby to go out at the moment. Not enough blokes to do much if it really kicks off, but enough to start a war if they all got killed.

Same cast, same location and a century on, same sh*t. Sad isn't it?

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but hatever the rights and wrongs of it you can not go back and puts today's standards on it

May I ask why not? Is morality relative to time and space?

and at the outbreak there was overwhemingly public support for it

That's a simplification. There was a lot of patriotism and a lot of public support for the mighty Britannia. People's image of war was that of something noble and gentleman-like with shiny uniforms and splendid cavalry - at the outbreak people were presented the idea of a "jolly war".

There was no "overwhelming public support" for what the jolly war turned out to be - WWI, one of the first things to happen to humanity.

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yeah just read this on skynews , will be interesting as Serbs see Kosovo as the birthplace of Serb identity for want of a better word and not sure how they will feel about it becoming a sort of mini Albanian sate

was planning on going to Belgrade shortly , might just hold of a while in case things do turn a bit iffy out there ....

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but you only have the support at the time

remember WW1 redefined the notion of war, it became mechanical with guns capable of firing huge shells at large distances, hence it became a trench warfare.

thing is Mich, you can not judge on what our standards our now

so called cowards were shot to prevent mass rebeliion which say the other armies had

not nice but that was he life back then.

remember ost of our army were volunteers

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was planning on going to Belgrade shortly , might just hold of a while in case things do turn a bit iffy out there ....

Yeah, a group of people from my student union are going there in a few weeks - I wonder if some of them regret signing up for the trip now.

It will certainly be interestig to see what happens next. Hopefully it will be resolved peacefully.

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