Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Lancashire Fusilier

Shot at dawn - British WW1 Military Executions.

Recommended Posts

auchonvillerssomme

While I have no real doubt they were the same man, unfortunately I can't find a record for the executed Herbert Francis Burden, I have been looking at this one for some time, specifically since he was chosen as the subject for the NMA. His story is quite strange, he deserted and disappeared from the East Surrey Regt around January 1915 and signed up using the same details in the Northumberland Fusiliers, a regt far enough away not to set alarm bells ringing I suppose. Whether he was a coward/deserter or just young and a pain in the a*se we will never know, although I bang on here about not making assumptions about motives and changing history, part of me wonders if he really knew the seriousness of his position because at any time he could have given his real age, we have to accept the army assumed he was of age.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
auchonvillerssomme

The man I am most concerned about being named on the NMA list is Ahmed MM (despite someone elses assumption those are his initials not an award). I have no other motive than interest in wondering why this man was chosen, he was not tried for cowardice or desertion, during a riot he beat an officer unconscious plus other issues which can be easily looked up. I am sure it isn't tokenism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John_Hartley

Mahmoud Mohamed Ahmed has recently been accepted for commemoration by CWGC. He was "discovered" by a forum member and Ivor Lee happened to have his service papers which confirmed that the sentence was carried out. In From the Cold Project was able to make the submission on behalf of Ivor and the other member (apologies there - I've forgotten who it was and can't find the earlier thread).

As I recall Ahmed's offence was mutiny. Presumably included in the "military offences" for which pardons were sought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
auchonvillerssomme

Interesting about the discovery, in Shot at Dawn the authors state they had contact with CWGC and they weren't forthcoming with information, have they given a burial or memorial place?

The selection by NMA is a bit odd, pardoning mutineers who incite and use violence. I'm not sure he was convicted specifically for mutiny.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roughdiamond

The man I am most concerned about being named on the NMA list is Ahmed MM (despite someone elses assumption those are his initials not an award). I have no other motive than interest in wondering why this man was chosen, he was not tried for cowardice or desertion, during a riot he beat an officer unconscious plus other issues which can be easily looked up. I am sure it isn't tokenism.

Checked my list I made in 2009 and I'd made a note about Pte Ahmed, it was to the effect that although his offence is listed as Mutiny in "Blindfold and Alone" and "Shot at Dawn", the latter makes the case that as he'd knocked the Officer unconscious, his offence could have been "Striking a Superior Officer". Oram's "Death Sentences passed by military courts of the British Army 1914-1924 list his offence as "VIOLENCE" not "MUTINY".

Another man listed in "Shot at Dawn" and "Blindfold and Alone" as executed for "Violence" was Pte Samuel Sabongidda, 2nd Nigeria Regt, Executed 27/07/17 in East Africa.

I noted in my list, the Official Figures do not include "Violence" as an offence which led to execution, however they do list the figure of "SIX" men executed for "Striking a Superior Officer" whereas "Shot at Dawn" and "Blindfold and Alone" state only "FOUR".

I also noted the official figures were "THREE" executed for Mutiny whereas "Blindfold and Alone" listed "FOUR" including Pte Ahmed, neither include 7144396 Pte JJ Daly Connaught Rangers executed 02/11/20 for Mutiny in India, possibly because they and the Official figures did not count him as a "Great War Execution".

From that I surmised Pte Ahmed and Pte Sabongidda were included in the figures for "Striking a Superior Officer" rather than Mutiny for the former and Violence for the latter, that would explain the anomaly's in the Official and the figures in the 2 books, this may explain why Pte Ahmed is on the "NMA list" (what is it?) is Pte Sabongidda on it? and are the 3 listed as executed for Mutiny during the Great War Pte Braithwaite, Gnr Lewis and A/Cpl Short included?

NB I should add where I quote "Official Figures" these were given by "Blindfold and Alone".

Sam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
grantowi

While I have no real doubt they were the same man, unfortunately I can't find a record for the executed Herbert Francis Burden, .

Do you mean his service record or the record of the execution ?

Grant

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John_Hartley

Interesting about the discovery, in Shot at Dawn the authors state they had contact with CWGC and they weren't forthcoming with information, have they given a burial or memorial place?

Now he's been accpted for commemoration, he'll be included on the new France (1914 -1918) Memorial, as & when it is built (names to go on that currently stand at 217 - most of them IFCP "finds"). Until then, his commemoration is only in CWGC's online database.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
W.J.Caughey

Hi

I believed Pte 12069 George Hanna Royal Irish Fusiliers Date of Death: 06/11/1917 came from Belfast

and i trying to locate his last known address in Belfast.

Apart from looking in these books that are mention in thread i have tried to search the

internet but without any success. If anyone can help it would be appreciated.

Kind regards Walter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
themonsstar

There are 7 in the files I have for Striking and Superior Officer:-

Fox

MclIheney

Hamilton

Mullany (He was charge on the same CM for ND with Pte Fox)

Clarks

Sabongida

Ahmed

Pte HB Burden file is WO71/424

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
auchonvillerssomme

Do you mean his service record or the record of the execution ?

Grant

Service record, have you found it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MickLeeds

Hi

I believed Pte 12069 George Hanna Royal Irish Fusiliers Date of Death: 06/11/1917 came from Belfast

and i trying to locate his last known address in Belfast.

Apart from looking in these books that are mention in thread i have tried to search the

internet but without any success. If anyone can help it would be appreciated.

Kind regards Walter

Hello Walter,

From the CWGC his age should be 20 years old in 1911. These are all the men around that age in the 1911 census of Ireland.

http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/search/results.jsp?census_year=1911&surname=hanna&firstname=george&county=&townland=&ded=&age=20&sex=&search=Search&relationToHead=&religion=&education=&occupation=&marriageStatus=&birthplace=&language=&deafdumb=&marriageYears=&childrenBorn=&childrenLiving=

The nearest candidate looks like George Hanna (19 yrs), 2 Locan Street, Falls.

http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1911/Antrim/Falls/Locan_Street/174056/

Mick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
W.J.Caughey

Hi Mick, that link could be a candidate, never noticed age on CWGC, also you give idea for aged 10 in 1901 Census and that comes up

with a Donegall road George Hanna, i will try to check these two out, i have nothing that i can see in my files (still updating) seen this George Hanna

on a website and says "believed to be a Belfast man" and would like him included in my Belfast database i am building.

Walter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roughdiamond

There are 7 in the files I have for Striking and Superior Officer:-

Fox

MclIheney

Hamilton

Mullany (He was charge on the same CM for ND with Pte Fox)

Clarks

Sabongida

Ahmed

I don't have McIlheney and he's not in Shot at Dawn, Blindfold and Alone or Death Sentences passed by military courts of the British Army 1914-1924, in the latter I can't find him even listed as sentenced to death and the sentence commuted, when and where was he executed? Do you have full name, number etc for him?

Death Sentences passed by military courts of the British Army 1914-1924 lists only Clarke, Fox, Hamilton and Mullany as executed for Striking, Ahmed and Sabongidda are both listed as executed for Violence.

Sam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roughdiamond

Hi

I believed Pte 12069 George Hanna Royal Irish Fusiliers Date of Death: 06/11/1917 came from Belfast

and i trying to locate his last known address in Belfast.

Walter

Death Sentences passed by military courts of the British Army 1914-1924 lists this information on George Hanna:

Sentenced to Death age 25 with the 2nd Bn R Irish Fus 15/12/1916 for Desertion, commuted to 7 years Penal Servitude which was suspended. Then Sentenced to Death age 26 again for Desertion this time with the 1st Bn R Irish Fus on 19/10/1917, executed as you say 06/11/1917, his parents are listed as Henry and Elizabeth Hanna as they are on CWGC.

Could this be him in 1901http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1901/Antrim/St__George_s_Ward_Belfast/Donegall_Road/955320/ and 1911 http://www.census.na...crandal/298074/

Sam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
W.J.Caughey

Sam/Mick, just seen another website about shot at dawn and three of his brothers were believed to have died during WW1 war, so if this is true

the Donegall Road, Belfast family on 1901 Census with David, Henry, Benjamin being the brothers born in Co Down look likely to be them, the 1911

Census in Armagh Father and Son, there ages, name's, tie in but they seem to be born Armagh.

Thanks for your help and time checking

Walter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roughdiamond

HANNA, DAVID LOFTUS

Rank:Private

Service No:3642

Date of Death:09/08/1916

Age:32

Regiment/Service:Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers1st Bn.

Grave Reference VII. D. 33.

Cemetery LIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY

Additional Information:

Son of Henry and Elizabeth Hanna.

HANNA, GEORGE

Rank:Private

Service No:12609

Date of Death:06/11/1917

Age:26

Regiment/Service:Royal Irish Fusiliers1st Bn.

Grave Reference E. 16.

Cemetery NEUVILLE-BOURJONVAL BRITISH CEMETERY

Additional Information:

Son of Henry and Elizabeth Hanna.

I don't see Benjamin or Henry, but parents are right so almost certainly the right family in 1901.

Sam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
W.J.Caughey

Sam, yes that Hanna looks good, will be doing a lot more digging around, I will trawl though my newspaper files for Hanna.

HANNA, DAVID LOFTUS

Rank:Private

Service No:3642

Date of Death:09/08/1916

Age:32

Regiment/Service:Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers1st Bn.

Grave Reference VII. D. 33.

Cemetery LIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY

Additional Information:

Son of Henry and Elizabeth Hanna.

Private G Hanna – 1 st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers

Information on File

Private Hanna was charged and convicted of desertion on two prior occasions in early 1915 and late 1916 and sentenced to death – both were reduced to penal servitude.

On 16 October 1917 Hanna faced a FGCM on the charge of deserting when previously informed of moving forward to the trenches. It was alleged that on 28

September Private Hanna was one of a battalion told to parade that evening in preparation for proceeding to the trenches. When parade was called Private Hanna

was absent. On 1 October 1917 Private Hanna was apprehended when asking for food and declared himself to be an absentee. In his defence Private Hanna stated that he had

no intention of deserting – he had been on service for 3 years, and had lost 3 brothers in that time to the war. His last leave

was in December 1914 and he had since heard from his sister in Belfast who was not well. He absented himself because he was upset at not being able to go and see “hispeople”.

Private Hanna was found guilty and sentenced to death. The sentence wassubsequently confirmed and he was executed on November 6 1917, in Ytres.

Comment

Private Hanna’s absences seem to stem from family problems, in that he had apparently lost three brothers to the war and was understandably worried about his

family in Belfast. At the time of his execution he had not been home in almost three years and this undoubtedly influenced his decision to attempt to get back to Belfast

and see his family. While there is no challenge to his claim that he had lost three brothers in the war, neither is there evidence on file that any attempt was made to

verify his claim. Nor is there evidence that the military hierarchy thought twice about taking a fourth son from the family by executing Private Hanna.

Source: http://foreignaffairs.gov.ie/uploads/documents/shotatdawnreport.pdf

Walter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lancashire Fusilier

Saw this text and photograph, which may be of interest to members, who like myself, had not seen it before, and did not know it still existed

LF.

" Our first stop in Poperinge was a solemn one. In a small yard some short way from the road we gathered before a wall in front of which, shielded in a plastic sleeve, was a wooden post. It was to this post that soldiers condemned to be shot at dawn were tied. The wall still bears the pockmarks of bullets that missed their target, either intentionally or through surprisingly poor marksmanship considering how close the firing squad must have been to their target. It was here, during the course of the war, that sixteen British soldiers faced the firing squad for a variety of crimes. Nearby are the cells where the condemned men had passed their last hours, out of sight of the wall but not out of earshot. The walls of the cells bore photographs that reminded us that it was not only the British Army that made use of the death penalty. All the nations involved in the war (with the single exception of the Australian Army) had recourse to it. "

post-63666-0-76471500-1328890808.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dycer

LF,

I have a lot of "baggage",acquired through personal experience, over 60 years,of non-Military life,coupled with being Christian-named "after" the Brother,of my Father, "lost",through action, in WW1.

You have clearly identified that my Father's Brother's Battalion(8th Royal Scots) had a "man" executed in 1917, and it remains clear, to me,that my Uncle,as he was killed in 1918, would have known of the fact and as a Sgt.,of the Battalion, may have even attended,directed,and even participated in the execution of one of "his own" through "Orders" and his desire to protect "His" Battalion's good name.

So what, after 90 years, does a preserved WW1 execution post prove?Apart from the fact it is still there and signifies that " some WW1 broken British men" were executed by "their own" often unfairly, with the benefit of hindsight,descendant pressure,studious research,etc, in defence, of their Country's greater good.

George

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lancashire Fusilier

LF,

I have a lot of "baggage",acquired through personal experience, over 60 years,of non-Military life,coupled with being Christian-named "after" the Brother,of my Father, "lost",through action, in WW1.

You have clearly identified that my Father's Brother's Battalion(8th Royal Scots) had a "man" executed in 1917, and it remains clear, to me,that my Uncle,as he was killed in 1918, would have known of the fact and as a Sgt.,of the Battalion, may have even attended,directed,and even participated in the execution of one of "his own" through "Orders" and his desire to protect "His" Battalion's good name.

So what, after 90 years, does a preserved WW1 execution post prove?Apart from the fact it is still there and signifies that " some WW1 broken British men" were executed by "their own" often unfairly, with the benefit of hindsight,descendant pressure,studious research,etc, in defence, of their Country's greater good.

George

George,

Your uncle did his duty to his Country, his Regiment, his comrades, and to himself.

The photograph is of an historical artifact, and it will certainly have a different meaning to different people, it does however have a direct link to the subject matter of this thread, and was/is part of WW1 history.

The text was in fact taken, as I understand it, from a " Guided Tour " of WW1 places of historical interest, and I am sure that some members will have visited the location as part of such a tour.

LF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paul Reed

As I mentioned in the above quoted thread myself and Julian Sykes were the first British historians to ever see this post, when we carried it out of the Poperinghe Museum to photograph it in the mid-80s. The post we saw then was certainly genuine, contained bullet holes and blood stains.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lancashire Fusilier

As I mentioned in the above quoted thread myself and Julian Sykes were the first British historians to ever see this post, when we carried it out of the Poperinghe Museum to photograph it in the mid-80s. The post we saw then was certainly genuine, contained bullet holes and blood stains.

Paul,

Is the wooden Post you reviewed, in your opinion, the same Post as that shown above ?

Regards,

LF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Paul Reed

It is reputed to be but I have no way of verifying that, all I know is that what I saw all those years ago was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lancashire Fusilier

It is reputed to be but I have no way of verifying that, all I know is that what I saw all those years ago was.

Many thanks,

LF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×