Letter: Guilty secret

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The Independent Online
Sir: With reference to Stephen Ward's article about soldiers executed for cowardice and desertion during the First World War (5 January), Ptes Louis Harris and Ernest Jackson were undefended, their pleas were ignored and nothing was achieved by executing them at a time when the German army was in full retreat.

These are yet further examples of cases, whose belated disclosure by an embarrassed and secretive establishment, continues to sustain the demand for posthumous pardons.

These men's families deserve our sympathy and support via the campaign to secure such pardons. The Prime Minister's response that 'we cannot rewrite history' begs the question, if it is simply a matter of history, why have these cases been kept secret for so long?

Yours sincerely,

ANDREW MacKINLAY

MP for Thurrock (Lab)

House of Commons

London, SW1

5 January

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