Injustice or Justifiable? First World War Executed Soldiers

NMAguide [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Milton Keynes Branch of The Western Front Association

Friday, 15th November 2019 at 7.30 pm
Roman Park Residents Club, 1 Constantine Way, Bancroft Park, Milton Keynes MK13 0RA

Of the 200,000 or so men court-martialled during the First World War 20,000 were found guilty of offences carrying the death penalty. Of those, 3,000 actually received it, and of those sentences, 346 were carried out. It is alleged that soldiers accused of cowardice were often not given fair trials; they were often not properly defended and some were minors.

The usual cause for their offences has been re-attributed in modern times to post-traumatic stress disorder, or shell shock, not properly understood at the time, and that the decisions to execute were taken in the heat of battle, when the commander’s job was to keep the army together and fighting.

Dr John Sutton ( explores this emotive and sobering but compelling subject. Dr Sutton is a keen amateur historian particularly of the Great War, women’s rights, and the justice system during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Meetings are open to the general public. A donation towards the cost of room hire and refreshments is welcome – £4 is suggested (no donation requested from those attending for the first time, those under 16, or in full time education).

The Branch’s future meetings