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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 August 2006, 18:31 GMT 19:31 UK
WWI soldier to be granted pardon
Private Harry Farr
Private Harry Farr was executed aged 25
A soldier who was executed during World War I for cowardice is to be granted a pardon, his family has announced.

Private Harry Farr from Kensington, west London, was 25 years old when he was shot at dawn in 1916 after refusing to return to the front line.

His family had always argued that the soldier, of the 1st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, was suffering from shell shock at the time.

Pte Farr's granddaughter said lawyers had told them of the decision.

The Ministry of Defence refused to confirm the news, but said an announcement on the matter would be made on Wednesday morning.

The family had been appealing against a High Court decision not to grant a conditional pardon posthumously.

'Complete common sense'

Pte Farr's granddaughter Janet Booth said: "We don't know if it's a full or a conditional pardon yet. We are over the moon."

The family's lawyers Irwin Mitchell said Defence Secretary Des Browne was now looking at pardoning all those executed during WWI for "cowardice, desertion and comparable offences".

John Dickinson, of Irwin Mitchell, said it was "complete common sense and rightly acknowledges that Private Farr was not a coward, but an extremely brave man".

I hope that others now who had brave relatives who were shot by their own side will now get the pardons they equally deserve
Gertrude Harris

"Having fought for two years practically without respite in the trenches, he was very obviously suffering from a condition we now would have no problem in diagnosing as post traumatic stress disorder or shellshock as it was known in 1916."

Pte Farr's daughter Gertrude Harris, 93, said she was relieved that the ordeal was over and "content knowing that my father's memory is intact".

"I have always argued that my father's refusal to rejoin the frontline... was in fact the result of shellshock, and I believe that many other soldiers suffered from this.

"I hope that others now who had brave relatives who were shot by their own side will now get the pardons they equally deserve," she said.


SEE ALSO
Battle to clear the 'cowards'
11 Nov 99 |  UK News
No pardon for 'deserters'
24 Jul 98 |  Politics

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