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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 August 2006, 08:44 GMT 09:44 UK
MP asks for WWII Scottish pardons
WWII battle scene
The MP believes the men's bravery should be honoured
An MP is asking the UK Government to investigate pardoning soldiers who took part in the biggest mutiny of WWII, BBC Scotland has learned.

Anne Begg, who represents Aberdeen South, believes almost 200 Scottish soldiers who refused orders at Salerno in Italy in 1943 were not cowards.

Every man involved would have been court martialled, imprisoned and some were sentenced to execution.

Ms Begg spoke out after it emerged shot WWI soldiers would be pardoned.

The infamous WWII incident happened when hundreds of soldiers lined up for parade in a field in southern Italy.

They were to reinforce the US Army which was in a battle at the city of Salerno.

Anne Begg
These were not cowards, these were men of bravery and given awards which were then taken away
Anne Begg
Aberdeen South MP

Many did so, but 190 stood their ground in what would become known as the Salerno Mutiny.

Six years ago Labour MP Ms Begg asked the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to clear their names.

She was refused, but this week's decision to pardon WWI deserters has prompted her to try again.

'Raise again'

She told BBC Scotland: "The soldiers were doing the right thing, standing up for their comrades. The more I delved in the more I realised the men were right.

"These were not cowards, these were men of bravery and given awards which were then taken away.

"When I raised the issue I was told it was unlikely they would be given a pardon because it would set a precedent.

"But now the government appears to have changed their mind and it's something I will raise again with the MoD and government to see if they can give these men a pardon."

The MoD has said it will look into any requests for pardon.

More than 300 soldiers who were shot for military offences during WWI will receive formal pardons, the MoD confirmed this week.

It is thought 306 British soldiers were shot for cowardice, desertion or other offences in the 1914-1918 war.


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