Friday, 16 December 2011

1914 - The Christmas Truce

Across the freezing Flanders fields a most unusual calm befell the war-torn land.  Troops from both Germany and Britain met in no-man's-land to exchange gifts, sing carols and enjoy a day of peace amid the hell of war.

There are many accounts of the event and earlier this year I visited one of the sites where the Truce took place close to Ploegsteert Wood (called Plugstreet by the British Troops).



This short, unofficial armistice, should be an example to us - if only all hostilities could be halted this Christmas would indeed be a blessing.

December 1914

Night turned a clear frost,
the moon’s harsh splendour
veiling the sleeping green.
Belonging to no-one
but those
whose eternal slumber
hopeless strewn
stilled the darkness
between.

Torn fields fell silent,
hushed
and eerily still.
Anguished limbs cradled,
sore, weary bodies
resting on mud
and damp straw.
Wood from trees,
shelled and torn
kindled fires
slowly coaxed into life
on the eve of Christmas morn.

A mouth-organ rendered
a carolling tune.
Flames leapt higher
to warm
frost-fastened mud.
A combatant choir
merried the night
distant gunnery rumbles
accompanying
served to remind.

A radiant host shone
beyond the sleeping green.
Glistening stars of light
danced along enemy lines.
Edging the trenches
with brightness, and then
in a language strange and deep
the singing of carols
echoed
the earlier refrain,
on the eve of Christmas morn.


Sleep was evasive,
in the frozen fields,
until darkness
slowly crumbled away.
In the mist-filled dawn
myriad lanterns
still sparkled and shone.
Then a greeting was called:
Frohe Weihnachten,
A Christmas Day wish
from the adversary.

Grey soldiers moved forward
their hands held no guns,
Maxims were muted,
calumet, quiet;
the fallen had been laid to rest
in the snow dusted earth.
Howitzers were hushed and calm.
Tommys walked out to welcome:
 “Come and join our celebration,”
Peace was the holy day’s gift.

An unforeseen barrier
broken down
language of gesture was seen.
The Kaiser’s cigars
for tobacco exchanged.
A button, a belt badge,
offered in trust.
Princess Mary’s puddings
a Eucharist shared,
all around
cold gusts thrilled the air.

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Voices faded and fell back
behind the lines.
Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund
The hour of salvation strikes
for us.
Christ, der Retter ist da!
Christ, the saviour is here.

With gladness they moved,
to sleep soundly that night
gifts and souvenirs
held safe
in frozen hands.
Reminders of sharing
an armistice day;
Friede auf erden,
wohlwollen für alle menschen.
A Christmas Truce, indeed.

Karen Ette  December 2011



To read a cracking time-travel story, click here


A very good website is http://www.christmastruce.co.uk/ where you can read letters from the men who experienced the Truce


© Karen Ette

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Journey's End


I have just had the privilege to experience Lee Menzies’ production (in association with Jeremy Meadows, Suzanne Rosenthal and the Shaftesbury Theatre) of R. C. Sherriff’s deeply moving and poignant play: Journey’s End.

Sherriff’s play was first performed in 1928, just ten years on from when the drama is set, with a twenty-one year old Laurence Olivier playing Captain Stanhope. This production began its tour in February 2011 and Director David Grindley’s powerful production is moving, funny and devastatingly heartbreaking.

Journey’s End is set in the trenches at Saint-Quentin and the entire story takes place in the officers’ dugout over four days. It opens quietly on Monday, 18th March 1918. Second Lieutenant Raleigh arrives, a very young officer who requested to be with this particular company as he hero-worshipped the company commander, Captain Stanhope at their public school and still does.

The humour lies mainly with Private Mason, the cook who does his best with the rations he is given. When asked what kind of soup he is serving he replies: “yellow soup, Sir.”  Mason never seems to sleep as he always has the task of waking each officer in time for his watch.

One poignant conversation between Stanhope and Lieutenant Osborne (who everyone calls Uncle) is when they discuss Lieutenant Trotter’s lack of imagination and they imagine worms on the other side of the dug-out walls, wondering if they know which way is up and working their way through the earth around tree roots and….. There is a heavy silence and we think about the soldiers’ bodies lying in the earth beyond the walls of the dugout.

Osborne and Raleigh are sent on a raid with ten chosen men. Osborne removes his wedding ring and leaves it on the table saying he doesn’t want to lose it. The tension whilst the two men wait for eight minutes before leaving is painful. Sadly Osborne doesn’t make it back, "but at least the Brigadier is happy,” Stanhope remarks when the Colonel congratulates the company on the raid and sends Champagne and cigars.   

In the final scene, the German attack on the British front-line approaches and the theatre is filled with the sound of shellfire. Raleigh is injured by a shell which has broken his back and he can’t walk. Stanhope orders that he be brought back into the dugout to await the stretcher bearers. Raleigh tells Stanhope that he’ll be all right in a while; he had a similar injury when he was playing rugby, “but it went off after a while.”  Raleigh tells Stanhope he is cold and it is getting dark and he wants a light. Stanhope moves the candle to his bedside and goes to find another blanket. Raleigh cries desperately, then falls silent and his arm drops down. Stanhope returns with the blanket, but, of course, it is too late, Raleigh has died. He covers Raleigh and shells continue to explode. The Sergeant-Major rushes into the dugout and tells Stanhope that Lt. Trotter says he is to come. Stanhope doesn’t go straightaway and the Sgt Major shouts that he is needed now. He puts on his tin helmet, pauses on the steps and looks back into the dugout. He then runs up the steps and the bombardment grows louder. Osbourne said at the very beginning that Stanhope was the best commander the company had ever had. He didn’t have to leave the dugout, but he did. And that’s what all the front-line soldiers did in the Great War, they heroically went into battle knowing they probably would be killed.

A black curtain slowly descends and the audience is left in the dark with the ear-splitting sound of shells exploding and bombs hitting the trench. The intensity of the bombardment laid bare that no-one would have survived.

Then silence followed by The Last Post. When the curtain was raised the cast  stood in a rigid line and behind them the backdrop was like so many memorial faces, Thiepval, Menin Gate, Tyne Cot, a list of names – the missing.

I have never felt so emotionally drained after a visit to the theatre.

Everyone involved in this production is to be congratulated, especially the superb cast who portrayed Sherriff’s drama so brilliantly.

Topping!

"They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."    
                                                                                                           Laurence Binyon
 
© Karen Ette

Friday, 11 November 2011

Call of Duty - Remembrance

REMEMBRANCE

"They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."    
                                                                                                           Laurence Binyon
 
11-11-11-1918                                                                                 11-11-11-2011

So many have lost their lives under the tainted banner of war.  They gave the ultimate sacrifice and in return we can wear our poppies with pride and remember them.  Without their courageous acts, we would be living very different lives today.

Symphony of Sacrifice

For King and country
I took the pledge,
accepted the King’s shilling;
you cheered and waved us on.
Exhausted we marched
through gory, bloody mud,
syncopated shellfire pounded
its pitiless claim on the weary and lost.
Missing, you were told.
Just a name carved in stone
is all that remains
of the life I once had.
   Please remember me.

For King and country
allegiance I affirmed.
Never said my goodbyes;
would always return.
Spitfires and Hurricanes
soared, ducked and dived.
Airfields waiting,
anticipating
a joyful home-coming flight.
I should have said goodbye.
My name now carved
on a cenotaph somewhere.
Please remember me.

For Queen and country
I put out to sea
with shipmates to glory
we sailed.
Our vessel, the Sir Galahad,
carved through strong waves.
The eighties were good,
for you maybe,
but bombs and missiles
rained down.
The knight was burned and lost at sea,
 becoming our watery grave.
Please remember me.

For Queen and country
I took the pledge.
Ready to serve
on a mission for peace.
In Helmand I prayed,
but it wasn’t to be.
A sniper was waiting
his sights steadily held.
*Out of nowhere
the bullet silently flew,
engraved with my name.
Please remember me.

 Karen Ette  11 November 2011

In World War 1 about 880,000 men from the United Kingdom, plus a further 200,000 from other countries in the British Empire and Commonwealth died, many never found but are remembered on memorials to the missing.

Thiepval Memorial
Somme


 
Menin Gate, Ieper (click to see more images)



                   







There  were 382,700 British military deaths in  World War 2


255 British military died in the Falklands war

On 11 November 2011 there had been 385 British deaths in Afghanistan since operations began there in October 2001.

On 11 November 2012 the number of British military deaths rose to 438.

           On 26 April 2014 the number of deaths became 453
after 

Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas, 26 of 3 Military Intelligence Battalion
Corporal James Walters, 36 of the Air Corps
Warrant Officer, Class 2, Spencer Faulkner, 38 of the Air Corps
Flight Lieutenant Rakesh Chauhan, 29 of the RAF Intelligence Branch
Captain Thomas Clarke, 30 of the Air Corps

died when their helicopter crashed in Kandahar Takhta Pul district


          



For the full story, please click here




The UK lost 179 servicemen and women during the campaign that followed the invasion of Iraq on 
20 March 2003, including 

Senior Aircraftman Christopher Dunsmore

Age: 29             Died: 19 July 1997Served with: RAF 504 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment
Senior Aircraftman Christopher Dunsmore was one of three RAF servicemen killed in a mortar attack on their base in Basra. The three men had been on a break from duties when it was hit.










To read Laurence Binyon's  poem To the Fallen in full, please click here
 *To read Out of Nowhere please click here


© Karen Ette

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Shot at Dawn - Rifleman 14218 James Crozier

In April, I visited the grave of Rifleman 14218 James Crozier, 9th Bn. Royal Irish Rifles, executed for desertion 27/02/1916. He is buried in Sucrerie Cemetery which is about 1¾ miles south-east of Colincamps on the north side of the road from Mailly-Maillet to Puisieux. (About 6 miles north of Albert.)  Sucrerie Military Cemetery was initially called the 10th Brigade Cemetery and then re-named after a close-by ‘sucrerie’ or sugar beet factory.


A cellar at Auchonvillers, which the troops called ‘Ocean Villas’, has a carving on the wall, believed to be attributed to James Crozier.  In the village Avril Williams runs a guest house and tea rooms, aptly called Ocean Villas and there is also a museum and trenches, as well as the cellar, and is well worth a visit.



In a book called Shot at Dawn by Julian Putkowski and Julian Sykes, James Crozier’s execution is clearly recounted, together with some background information regarding General Field Courts Marshal. 

There is also a similar account of James Crozier’s trial and punishment on a website entitled: In Memory: ‘West Belfast Volunteers, Lest We Forget, 9th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles’ and in a more recent book, Forgotten Soldiers: The Irishmen Shot at Dawn by Stephen Walker. These accounts all cite an additional source: The Men I Killed by Frank P. Crozier. Frank Crozier’s account gives the lad the name of Johnny Crockett.  As British court-martial records of the First World War stayed closed for sixty years, the identity of Johnny Crockett remained unknown.  In 1989 he was identified as James Crozier.

The Public Records Office also has an account of the events and execution [WO 71/450] which is the most accurate.

On the In Memory website mentioned above, where there is also a photograph of the Sucriere cemetery, it states that the inscription on his gravestone reads :'Remembered with Honour'.  Sadly, it does not as you can see from these photographs of James’s grave.

14218 Rifleman
J. Crozier
Royal Irish Rifles
27th February 1916

I placed a poppy cross on Rifleman Crozier's grave

James Crozier was recruited by a Major Crozier - no relation, but uncomfortably coincidental and it might have been even more bizarre if James Crozier had been underage. When asked their ages, boys often lied. They may initially have said they were seventeen, but when prompted by an officer would say they were older so that they could go abroad.  When researching James Crozier’s age I found conflicting records. The West Belfast Volunteers website states eighteen and his War Graves Commission grave states unknown.  However, I found his birth record which gives his date of birth to be: 6 August 1894.  This made him just twenty when he joined-up and twenty-one when he died.  His mother accompanied her son to the recruitment office and this is especially poignant, because as he was executed she would not have received any allowances which would normally have been paid had he been killed in action.  Frank Crozier states that Johnny Crockett was seventeen, but told to say eighteen so that he could join-up.

Private James Crozier did receive a posthumous pardon.

Frank P. Crozier’s career escalated and he became a Brigadier General. A sniper’s bullet never did find him.

Last Orders is a piece of fact-based fiction about James Crozier, the inspiration coming from the carving in the cellar wall which may have been done by James’s  friend and it is from his viewpoint that the sad tale is told.  



© Karen Ette

Please click here to read Last Orders - which does contain strong language. 

Shot at Dawn: Last Orders - Rifleman James Crozier executed for desertion February 1916

** Contains strong language**


Last Orders  
           
“Officer approaching!” 
I stand to attention.  The Lieutenant walks over to us.  He salutes.  We respond.  He walks up to me and I feel his hand on my shoulder.  I look up into his rheumy eyes and hand over his rum-tainted water bottle.  He turns and walks away, all eyes on his retreating back.
 “Thank God we had enough rum,” I breathe to Alf Driscoll.  He nods.  I hand him his water bottle.  The sweet, heavy smell of the Pusser’s Rum still clings to it.   
We sit in an uncomfortable silence, shocked and yet thankful for what we had managed to do.  It’s half-past-eight, breakfast-time, and a watery sun is trying to break through the gloomy clouds.  I close my eyes and take a deep drag on my Woodie.  What a bloody awful start to the day.


 “I’m gonna sign up tomorra. You comin’?”  Jimmy looked me in the eye as if daring me to jump into the Musgrave Channel churning near the Belfast shipyard.
“What’s ya’ hurry?” I asked.
“There’s a war goin’ on!  Every other buggers goin’, come on, let’s us go for the crack.”
“Why not today?” I asked, “if you’re that keen.’
“Me mam wants to come with us.” 
It was then I saw the child in him, bursting with patriotic eagerness, but still needing his mam’s blessing.
“Best tell Mr Harland we’re off then,” I said as he grinned, happy with his own recruiting.

I turned the corner into Donegall Square and saw a line of young men snaking round from the door of the City Hall.  There was almost a carnival atmosphere seeping through the narrow streets; like it does when a travelling fair comes to town.   Then I heard a woman’s voice:
“Don’t go son. Please.”  Jimmy’s Mam was struggling to keep up with him. 

Gradually creeping closer to the front, we stood for nearly two hours in that line.  The City Hall recruitment place whiffed of sweat and tobacco.  Jimmy strode up to the desk where a Major Crozier was enlisting. 
“Name?”  he asked.
“James Crozier Sir.”   The Major smiled.
“That’s an honourable name. How old are you?”
“Twenty Sir.”
“You don’t look it.”
“I am, Sir. Godsoner.”
 “Go through there,” the Major pointed towards a door in the far corner of the room. “Take the oath and get your kit.”
“No!” wailed Mrs Crozier. “He’s only a boy, can’t you see, please don’t let him go.”  The Major stepped forward and put his hand on her arm, and in doing so, pulled it from her son’s.
“It’s all right ma’m, I shall personally see that he is well looked after.”

            In France, the winter of 1915 was bitter; colder than any I had ever known.  On the last day of January we were sent into the frontline trenches near the Redan.  I was worried about Jimmy.  He had already been given No.1 Field Punishment for disappearing from his billet and he was missing again. The Corporal was steaming.  He came striding down the trench towards me.  I stood to attention.
            “Where’s that lazy bastard?” His spit showered my face.
            “Don’t know Corporal.” He narrowed his eyes and stared into mine.
            “If you do know, you’ll be on a charge,” he growled.
            “I don’t.”
            “Well go and find him, you ugly fucker.” I felt his spit shower me again.
            “Yes Corporal.” I saluted and ran down the trench to where Jimmy should have been.  The rest of the working party were hard at it in the snow.  One of them shouted to me:
            “Where’s that bastard mate of yours?  Shirking again?”
            “Don’t know,” I called across.  “Has he been here?”
            “Yes, then he said he had gut ache and cleared off.” 
I waved and headed towards the latrines taking care to keep my head down – I had seen too many men take a sniper’s bullet.
            I found Jimmy huddled behind a stack of unarmed shells.  He didn’t move when he saw me. He was shaking.
            “Are you sick?” I asked.
            “Me legs hurt an’ me belly aches,” he moaned.
            “You should see the doctor,” I told him, but he just shook his head.
           
That night there was heavy shelling.  Fritz must have known we were going to attack the Redan and they were trying to force us back.  I was in a dugout with Jimmy, trying to keep warm.  Corporal Todd came in at half-past-eight and we stood to attention.
            “You,” he stabbed me in the chest with his bony finger, “go and get tomorrow’s rations.  You,” he roared at Jimmy, “stay here; you’re going on sentry duty at nine o’clock.”
            “Yes Corporal,” we answered.
            When I got back, Jimmy had gone.
             “Shite,” I said, looking round the dug-out. There were heavy footfalls on the duckboards outside.  The Corporal pushed aside the sacking and came in.
            “Where’s that little bastard?” he growled.
            “Don’t know Corporal,” I replied.
            “Stay there,” he ordered and left.  I heard him shouting:
            “Crozier, get back here now you shirkin’ fucker.”  When I heard his footsteps on the duckboards again I prepared myself.  I was already standing to attention as he strode back into the dimly lit shelter.
            “Come with me,” was all he said, so I followed him.  Corporal Todd banged on the door of a hut which stood well back from the third line trenches. 
“Come,” a voice called. Todd pushed me in first and followed, closing the door against the biting wind.  CSM Hill[1] looked at us from under his bushy eyebrows.  The snow had clung to our overcoats and was beginning to melt in the warmth of the room.
            “Well?”  he barked.
            “Man missing Sarn’t Major,” Todd replied.
            “Who?” CSM Hill asked. 
            “Private 14218 Crozier, Sir.”
            “When was he last seen?”  
I told him I had fetched the rations and that Jimmy was gone when I got back.
            “I’ll go and look for Crozier. You get back to your men,” the CSM decided.  CSM Hill didn’t find him.

            It was fourteen days before I saw Jimmy again.  He told me he had been returned to the unit to face a Field General Court Martial for desertion.
            “Christ! You know what’ll happen if you’re found guilty don’t you?”  I was knocked for six.
            “Yeah, but I was ill.  I ended up in the field hospital,” he argued.  Jimmy was convinced he would be all right.

We were paraded in a make-shift quadrangle behind the third-line trenches.   Brigadier General Withycombe took charge of the proceedings.    When the recently promoted Lieutenant Colonel Crozier spoke, we couldn’t believe our aching ears.
            “From a fighting point of view,” his voice was steady and cold, “Private Crozier is of no value.  For the past three months he has been a shirker and I am firmly of the opinion that the crime was deliberately committed with the intention of avoiding duty in the Redan.”  Then his words became slower for greater effect:  “I recommend, therefore, without hesitation, that the death sentence should be carried out.”
What a bastard. That man, who had told Jimmy’s Ma he would personally look after him, was going to have him shot.

Then Jimmy was paraded out-front and asked to account for his absence.  I could see that he was shaking, and doubted it was from the cold we were all experiencing in this god-forsaken corner of France.  He started to speak, but I couldn’t tell what he was saying.  Brigadier General Withycombe stepped forward.
“Speak up, Private,” he bellowed.
“Sorry, Sir.” Jimmy raised his voice and continued: “I didn’t know what I was doin’.  When we were in the trenches I felt really ill.  I had pains all over me body.”
            The Brigadier looked at him accusingly and said:
            “Corporal Todd told you to wait in the dugout for your sentry duty didn’t he?”
            “I don’t remember, Sir.”
            “What time did you leave the dugout?” the Brigadier questioned.
            “I don’t remember leaving the dug out or the trenches, Sir, I was too ill.”  The Brigadier narrowed his eyes and sighed.
            “Was there any bombardment nearby when you felt ill?”
            “There was some, I think rifle grenades were going off about twenty or thirty feet away, but I had been ill for a long time, before we even reached the trenches.  Then it got much worse. The cold was too much, Sir, and it made me really bad.”
            “Did you report sick?”
            “No, Sir.”
            “Why not?”
            “Don’t know, Sir.”
            The Brigadier took some papers from a table and read them. Then he continued:
“Your record sheet says that your character is indeed bad,” he almost spat the words, “and there are two other charges of absence against you; one from a working party and one from your billet. Is this true?”
“Don’t know, Sir.”      
“When you were found, twenty-five miles away, you didn’t have your rifle or cap badge.  You said you had run away.”
“Can’t remember, Sir.”
“Get back to your unit.”  Jimmy marched back again to join the ranks.
            Then Withycombe addressed his Brigade:
“I recommend that the extreme penalty in the case of Rifleman James Crozier be carried out.  My reasons are that the accused deliberately avoided duty in the trenches and to serve as a deterrent to a repetition of offences of this nature.”
A ripple of astounded breath ran through the unit.  Then a piercing “Dis-miss!” rang out and we marched back to the front line. 
Corporal Todd came into our trench when we were having tea. Jimmy was huddled on the fire-step, shaking and refusing food.  I pushed a warm cup of tea into his frozen hand.
“What happens now, Corporal?” I asked.
“You’re going to see a doctor,” he said to Jimmy, “seeing as you say you’re ill.”
“When?” I asked, knowing Jimmy wouldn’t.
“Tomorrow, first thing after roll call. Be ready,” and he turned and marched back towards his dug-out.
“Well, that’s good,” I tried to sound hopeful for Jimmy.
“Is it?” he croaked.
I didn’t answer.
           
Twelve days later, we were once again told to get to the parade ground to hear Jimmy’s sentence promulgated.  We stood to attention in heavy silence which was shattered by the CO’s voice:
“Following a medical examination by Lieutenant Colonel Fawcett, Private 14218 James Crozier was found to be perfectly fit in both mind and body.  I, therefore, concur with Brigadier General Withycombe’s opinion at the Field General Court Martial on the fourteenth of February, that, in the interests of discipline, the sentence should be carried out at dawn tomorrow.”
            I felt sick.

            We sat together in the locked and guarded cellar of the dressing station at Auchonvillers.    Alf Driscoll and I had managed to get the rum ration into our water bottles.  Then we borrowed another six and filled them too.  We hardly spoke that night, except to coax Jimmy to drink the rum.  I took out my penknife and carved a memory to Pte 14218 into the cellar wall. 
           
At seven o’clock the next morning the Chaplain came in.  I tipped the last of the rum down Jimmy’s throat, but he was so drunk he hardly noticed. I left Jimmy alone with the Chaplain and hurried to join our battalion as they marched towards the village of Mailly-Maillet, coming to a halt in front of a Villa’s high wall.   The Lieutenant, who would be commanding the firing-squad, looked pretty fresh.  Ernie Potter told me that he had been ordered by Lieutenant Colonel Crozier to eat with him last night so that he wasn’t drunk this morning.  I wished I was. 
           
My blood ran cold when I heard my name called.  Alf was summoned to be part of the firing squad too. The bastards, talk about turning the screw.  He was my best mate and now they wanted me to shoot him. 
           
We were marched into the garden and I saw the execution post with its ugly great hooks.  I retched and noticed Alf turn and puke, too.  I just hoped we had done a good enough job of getting him senseless, poor sod.

            Then through the dimness of the dawn, I saw the guards carry Jimmy out.
            “Thank God,” I breathed when I saw that he couldn’t even stand up.  He was hooked on the post like meat in a butcher’s shop, and tied in place.  A guard strapped a blindfold round his eyes, but he was blind-drunk anyway.  We stood in a ragged line about thirty feet away, waiting.
            We heard the CO[2] call:
            “’Ten-shun!” followed by the stamp of feet coming together on the other side of the wall.  The men wouldn’t see anything, but they sure as hell would hear it.  The Lieutenant gave the order.  Together we squeezed the triggers. A volley rang out. I knew I hadn’t hit poor Jimmy.  I’d fired wide.  I think we all had, no-one wanting to chance their bullet being the single blank.  The MO[3] walked across the grass to make his examination.  He shook his head and raised his arm to signal the Lieutenant.  The junior officer strode forward.  I couldn’t bear to look.  I heard a single shot ring out. 
Someone called:
            “Life extinct.”
The guards moved forward to remove Jimmy’s body.

He was buried there in Mailly-Maillet while we stood in silent tribute to a boy whose Mam didn’t want him to come to fight this fuckin’ war.  There’s a Pusser’s-stained water bottle on the fire-step, its surface scratched with the numbers 14218. And I sit, with a breakfast before me better than we’ve seen in months.  None of us feel like eating, but we know we have to.  It’s Crozier’s sick joke to feed us like this.  We heard him telling the Subaltern to record his death as ‘killed in action’.
I hope a sniper’s bullet soon slaps into that fuckin’ bastard.






[1] CSM Company Sergeant Major
[2]   Commanding Officer
[3]  Medical Officer



1 [Anon.], ‘In Memory: West Belfast Volunteers, Lest We Forget, 9th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles’ <http://www.freewebs.com/thewestbelfastvolunteers/inmemory.htm> [accessed 5 May 2011]. The original source for these comments can be located in the Public Records Office, shelfmark WO/450.

2 [Anon.], ‘In Memory: West Belfast Volunteers, Lest We Forget, 9th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles’ <http://www.freewebs.com/thewestbelfastvolunteers/inmemory.htm> [accessed 5 May 2011] (words added by Brigadier General Withycombe to the court documents). The original source for these comments can be located in the Public Records Office, shelfmark WO71/450.


Copyright:  Karen Ette