Henry Farr Executed For Refusing – 10/16/1916

History |

In the morning of October 16, 1916, a British soldier by the name of Private Henry Farr, who deployed with the second Battalion of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), and fought in the trenches of the Western Front. He was executed for cowardice after he withdrew himself from going further into the frontline on the Western Front during WW1. 

According to his wife Bertudda, Farr had culvus

He joined the Bef in 1914, and in May of the following year, was sent to Front in France. Farr collapsed with convulsion on the battle field, and was immediately rushed to the hospital for treatment. After recovering, he joined his fellow soldiers in the war front and participated in the Somme Offensive. However, in the September of 1916, Farr refused to go with the rest of the troop into the trenches, but was dragged along and after he was able to break free, he ran back. Consequently, in October 16, he was court-martialed and given a death sentence for cowardice.

There were 306 British soldiers who were executed for cowardice during World War 1, and Farr was one of them. However, his family fought so hard to have his name cleared from the list. They argued that Henry Farr was suffering from acute shell-shock, which usually includes severe shaking and inability to concentrate, and he was damaged due to the physical and psychological experience of the war coupled with the heavy bombardments he and his fellow soldiers were subjected to. Sadly enough, little was known of the medical condition at the time. However, in 1917, the term shell-shock was first used by a medical officer named Charles Myers. Charles explained that the medical condition symptoms include anxiety, nightmares and sicknesses such as diarrhea and loss of sight. When the ended, British army already had 80,000 cases of such illness, including soldiers who had never witnessed a direct bombardment. In addition, only one-fifth of the affected men were able to resume military duties.

Farr's family and other affected families pleaded for their loved ones to be pardoned and honored with the rest of the soldiers who were killed in WW1 were rejected for several years. Finally, after 14 years of struggles, British High Court in August 2006, granted a pardon to Farr, hours later, the government announced it would pardon all 306 soldiers that were executed for cowardice after seeking Parliament's approval.

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