I’m not sure how much coverage during the centenary has been given to those poor men who were shot by their own side during WW1 – executed for “cowardice” or desertion.
But this is part of a letter written by a young man and smuggled out to his family on the eve of his execution.
Albert Troughton from Coventry had simply obeyed his Co’s last order:”Every man for himself”
He fought clear of the Germans and was then told one of his brothers had been killed and wandered off in shock. When arrested most of those who could vouch for him were dead or captured.
“Dear Mother and Father, Sisters and Brothers,
Just a few lines to let you know I am in the best of health and hope you are mother.
I am sorry to have to tell you that I am to be shot tomorrow at 7 o’clock in the morning.
….I shall die like a solider, so goodbye mother, father, sisters and brothers – if any left.
…I thought the most they would give me would be about ten years. It is worse than waiting to be hung.
..I am only a common soldier and all civilians should know that I have fought for my country in hail, sleet and snow. …..all my comrades have been slaughtered which I think everyone should know….this is the punishment I get for getting clear of the Germans.
I have been silly to go away but if you knew how worried I was, and almost off my head. Think how we had been slaughtered at the beginning of the war….you think they would have had a bit of pity for those who are living and dying for their country. Goodbye to all at home.
The same age as my son.