Shot At Dawn

More than 300 British and Commonwealth soldiers were executed ‘for the sake of example’ during the First World War, for crimes from desertion to striking a superior officer. In this episode, we look at the background to military discipline, the process of Field General Courts-Martial, and what was involved when a soldier was executed by firing squad. And we discover how the inscription on an executed soldier’s grave – ‘Shot At Dawn’ – remains as powerful as when his father chose it in the 1920s. 

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13 Comments on “Shot At Dawn

  1. An excellent and informative account of a grim and emotive subject. It was awful to hear of how it impacted on the lives of their relatives back home.

    Was the incident in the Boer War and the Australians connected with Breaker Morant?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A really interesting and sensitively handled podcast about a highly emotive subject; thanks Paul. On the subject of mixing blank with live ammunition in a firing party, perhaps it has less to do with introducing doubt at the appointed hour as to who had fired live rounds and more to do with enabling participants to claim at a later date that they hadn’t fired a live round, even if they had.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting pod, thank you , my grandad has listed as going Awol for 2 weeks christmas 1915 on his records any way of finding out what his punishment was ( obviously not shot as he survived all of the war )

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have just discovered your wonderful podcast and I’m currently ploughing through the episodes. I visited Perth Cemetery (China Wall) about 4 years ago to visit a relatives grave (AIF). I discovered that six executed British soldiers are buried there and made sure that I visited their graves. One of the executed soldiers was awarded the 1914 medal.

    Liked by 1 person

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