Oooh great - rhymning games
When the British Army went into action in the summer of 1914, a number of offences were punishable with death. This included mutiny, cowardice before the enemy, self-inflicted wounds, disobedience of a lawful order, desertion or attempted desertion, sleeping or being drunk on post, striking a superior officer, casting away arms or ammunition in the presence of the enemy, leaving a post without orders, abandoning a position, and treacherously communicated with or in any way assisting the enemy.
Brigadier-General Frank Percy Crozier admitted he ordered the shooting of sentries who fell asleep while on duty. He also described the execution of Private James Crozier of the Royal Irish Rifles: "There are hooks on the post; we always do things thoroughly in the Rifles. He is hooked on like dead meat in a butcher's shop. His eyes are bandaged - not that it really matters, for he is already blind... A volley rings out - a nervous volley it is true, yet a volley. Before the fatal shots are fired I had called the battalion to attention. There is a pause, I wait. I see the medical officer examining the victim. He makes a sign, the subaltern strides forward, a single shot rings out. Life is now extinct... We march back to breakfast while the men of a certain company pay the last tribute at the graveside of an unfortunate comrade. This is war."
Victor Silvester was a member of one firing-squad in 1916: "The tears were rolling down my cheeks as he went on attempting to free himself from the ropes attaching him to the chair. I aimed blindly and when the gunsmoke had cleared away we were further horrified to see that, although wounded, the intended victim was still alive. Still blindfolded, he was attempting to make a run for it still strapped to the chair. The blood was running freely from a chest wound. An officer in charge stepped forward to put the finishing touch with a revolver held to the poor man's temple. He had only once cried out and that was when he shouted the one word mother. He could not have been much older than me. We were told later that he had in fact been suffering from shell-shock, a condition not recognised by the army at the time. Later I took part in four more such executions."
At total of 304 men were executed during the First World War, while another 18 suffered the same fate while waiting to leave the army after the signing of the Armistice. Of those executed, the vast majority, 286, committed the offence while in the trenches on the Western Front.
Executions in the British Army: 1914-1918
Sleeping on post: 1917 - 2 executions, Silly Warspite1-Newblette & Terminus.
Germany's unforgivable crime before the Second World War was her attempt to extricate her economy from the world's trading system and to create her own exchange mechanism which would deny world finance its opportunity to profit.
— Winston Churchill