BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Sunday, 18 February 2007, 17:55 GMT
Recognition for pardoned soldiers
War memorial
Pte Farr and Pte Swain's names are added to the war memorial
Two World War I soldiers who were shot dead for cowardice but pardoned 90 years later have been formally honoured on a war memorial.

The names of Privates Harry Farr and James Swaine were unveiled on Sunday in a ceremony at the Wealdstone war memorial, in north-west London.

The two men were among 300 soldiers to receive posthumous pardons last year.

Pte Farr's 94-year-old daughter Gertrude Harris said the service for her father was "the icing on the cake".

'Brave man'

"I have always argued that my father's refusal to rejoin the frontline, described in the court martial as resulting from cowardice, was in fact the result of shell shock," she said.

"I cannot believe that his name is now going to be remembered for future years, proving that he wasn't a coward but a very brave soldier."

Pte Farr, 25, of Kensington, west London, was stationed with the 1st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment.

The names of the two soldiers will be carved onto the wall memorial this summer.

Pte Swaine first served in the army in 1900 in the Royal Horse Artillery aged 34.

Pte Harry Farr
Pte Harry Farr was honoured in the ceremony

He left three years later but re-enlisted as a driver at the beginning of World War I

He served on the frontline for 17 months but failed to return from his home leave after falling sick.

Pte Swaine was then arrested and sent back to France and later found guilty of desertion and was then executed by firing squad at dawn.

His grandson, Terry Morrish, only found out about his grandfather's fate after his mother died in 1975.

He said: "No one knows what he went through but the fact that he volunteered for active service as well as serve 17 months is testament to the fact that he was a brave man whose only crime was being human."

The service for the two Privates was led by the Bishop of Willesden, the Rt Rev Peter Broadbent, and was attended by representatives of the Royal British Legion.


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific