During World War I, Britain executed 306 of its own soldiers, some as young as 14 years of age.
From an article by Harvey Thompson at WSWS 16 November 1999:
A typical case is that of Harry Farr, who joined the British Expeditionary Force in 1914 and fought in the trenches. His position was repeatedly shelled, and in May 1915 he collapsed with strong convulsions. In hospital, his wife Gertrude—who was denied a widow's pension after the war—recalled, “he shook all the time. He couldn't stand the noise of the guns. We got a letter from him, but it was in a stranger's handwriting. He could write perfectly well, but couldn't hold the pen because his hand was shaking.”
It is now thought that Farr was possibly suffering from hypacusis, which occurs when the eardrums are so damaged that the auditory nerve becomes exposed, making loud noises physically unbearable. Despite this, Farr was sent back to the front and fought at the Somme. After several months of fighting, he requested to see a medical orderly but was refused. In Farr's Court Martial papers, the Sergeant Major is quoted as saying “If you don't go up to the f*****g front, I'm going to f*****g blow your brains out” to which Farr simply replied “I just can't go on.”
The Court Martial was over in 20 minutes. Harry Farr had to defend himself. General Haig signed his death warrant and he was shot at dawn on October 16, 1916.
Those soldiers in the firing squad ordered to carry out the execution were often tormented by the experience for the rest of their lives. John Laister, who died two months ago at the age of 101, recalled how he and a number of others were marched into the woods and told they were to be part of a firing squad. Speaking on the BBC television's programme Everyman (screened last Sunday evening), Laister said he was still haunted by the moment that he looked in the direction the rifles were pointed and saw a mere boy stood with his back to a tree. “There were tears in his eyes and tears in mine.”
The Blair government is resisting appeals for a “Millennium Pardon” for the 306 men.
UK killed up to 13 million people? Media stayed silent?
THE BRITISH ARMY - LONG HISTORY OF USING TORTURE