NZ WW1 Vets Pardoned
The British government has officially pardoned more than 300 Commonwealth soldiers executed for discipline breaches during WW1, including three NZers shot for cowardice or desertion. The legislation is the result of a 16-year campaign by Briton John Hipkin, who was moved to act after learning that four of those shot at dawn were just 17 years old. “This is not about rewriting history,” says Defence Secretary Des Browne. “I do not want to second guess decisions made by the commanders at the time. I believe it is better to acknowledge that injustices were clearly done in some cases – even if we cannot say which – and to acknowledge that all these men were victims of war. I hope that pardoning these men will finally remove the stigma with which their families have lived for years.” The three NZ soldiers were pardoned in a bill passed in NZ in 2000.