Ian Hislop / Not Forgotten

I’ve just been watching an intelligent TV programme about the recent blanket pardons for Great War deserters. It was presented by Ian Hislop as an addendum to his Not Forgotten series, investigating war memorials.

It was a very even-handed programme. First we heard about some hard cases, and met relatives who felt a deep injustice had been done. These included the descendants of Harry Farr, a hard case, but one where one can see how the military authorities felt the death penalty was justified.

The next section of the programme explored the other side of the question, making the crucial point that Haig commuted nearly 90% of death sentences. Hislop asked the right question: “It was tragic, but was it unjust?”

In the last section he met descendants of Private Longshaw, who had a long record of minor disobedience, and had finally deliberately deserted, together with his friend, Private Ingham. The descendants hadn’t heard of their relative’s story, but went to France to see where the two men were buried. Ingham’s gravestone is the one which his father had insisted should bear the words: “Shot at Dawn / One of the First to Enlist / A Worthy Son of his Father.”

The nice lady (wife of Longshaw’s great-nephew) gave a deeply felt verdict – that after all this time they should be pardoned. She felt the tragedy of the whole business, and probably she spoke for England.

Hislop finished by reminding us that a pardon wasn’t a declaration of innocence. It was a gift of mercy. So he just about came down on that side of the argument. My final decision would be just on the other side – because I don’t like the implied retrospective adjustment of history (or the easiness of the political gesture) – but I thought this was an intelligent and serious programme. And it was good to see and hear Haig’s son.

2 Comments

  1. Posted October 15, 2008 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Hi My name is Sam Betts
    Attached is a pic of a bronze memorial plaque that I bought on a car boot sale, it has since been in the papers and has been lost for some time I found out through a internet search quite a lot of people were looking for it.
    The plaque is to a first world war VC recipient called Stanley Boughey, it went missing when the old Blackpool Victoria hospital was demolished where it was on the wall there. Also Stanley Boughey,s brother Leslie Boughey set up the Boughey transport and distribution net work of nationwide hauliers called Boughey transport. Stanley Bougheys grandaughter is living in America and although she has heard her relation was a VC recipient she is appealing on the internet for further information. I have tried to contact her but I have had no success, I am sure she would like to know of the plaques excistance.
    I have a folder of information on Stanley Boughey , it turns out he was the only former boy scout VC and the scout museum has a memorial to him,they also had a bronze plaque made themselves. I notice Ian Hislop is doing a tv program on this type of topic, if he wanted to document Stanley Bougheys acheivment I would gladly hand over the plaque to yourselves, to but once again restored to a place where the nation could read of this brave deed. The plaque is approximatley 3 ft long by 2 ft wide. There is a whole section on Stanley Boughey to be found under a google search of that name.
    Please reply.
    Regards
    Sam Betts

  2. robert tucker
    Posted March 17, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Greetings,
    Can anyone tell me, where and when was Stanley Henry Parry Boughey VC, born. Was it in Liverpool or Ayrshire, Scotland??
    Please someone get back to me. Thank you.
    Robert


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