Find My Past: Harry Farr

The producers of a TV series called Find My Past have sent me an email alert about a progamme to be aired next week.

The show brings together descendants of various men who were involved in the 1916 execution of Harry Farr for cowardice.

Farr’s is one of the most disturbing of the ‘shot-at-dawn’ cases. He was traumatised by battle, lost his nerve, and was arrested. According to military law he was guilty – but no-one in the chain of command seems to have recommended commutation of the sentence.

It was Farr’s family who agitated most strongly in the campaign for pardons for deserters. What might be interesting in this programme is that it includes another set of descendants – those of RSM Haking, who reportedly told Farr: ‘You are a fucking coward and will go in the trenches – I give fuck all for my life and I give fuck all for yours, and I’ll get you fucking well shot.’ Farr refused, and Haking arrested him. It’ll be interesting to see how the programme deals with this. Another of the participants is a grandson of Douglas Haig. The presenter is a bloke who was on Strictly Come Dancing. You can find a video trailer by clicking here.

The episode airs on Thursday 1st December on Yesterday at 9pm, and will be repaeted through the week.



  1. John R Cornwall
    Posted November 30, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I’ll make sure I see that, George. At times that programme is more than wearisome.

  2. Posted December 3, 2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    “The presenter is a bloke who was on Strictly Come Dancing.”

    What were his ancestors doing then, I wonder?

  3. RG
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    RIP to Harry & ALL the other Soldiers who were killed in this cruel way, when they were ill!
    They were Lions led by Donkeys!!!

    Funny how Officers who had the same condition, did NOT have the same fate!?
    No they where sent to a Hospital to recover, & Never got shot for Cowardice etc.!
    Thus hypacritacle, Double standards!!!
    WW1 a Class/Royal war! Just becos, an Archduke got shot!

    • Posted January 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      In fact three officers were executed – two for desertion and one for murder. An account of the saddest case (that of Edwin Dyett) can be found here:

      • RG
        Posted January 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        Hi Thanx for the info., I did not know that…But still 306 Soldiers as apposed to 3 Officers shot, that was a Big difference!

  4. Barry J
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Just watched this episode and I actually shed a tear at this tragic story. I think the girl who was Harry Farr’s relative showed as much courage as Harry did and I actually felt sick to my stomach when she had to face the other two at the end of the show. Irrational, I know, but god knows how she felt at that point…. 😦

    • RG
      Posted January 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Yes I felt the same!

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