Letter: Poignant truth in a war photograph

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The Independent Online
Sir: I can shed some light on Mr Parrott's puzzlement (18 August). The picture is genuine - it is one of a sequence taken of a raiding party drawn from B Company, 9th Battalion, the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) emerging from a sap to undertake a daylight raid on German trenches. The object of such raids was to take prisoners from the opposing front lines in order to identify units and gain intelligence. It was taken near Cuthbert Crater, on the Western Front near Arras, on 24 March or 6 April 1917. The sequence from which this photograph is taken has added poignancy since shortly after it was taken a British shell fell short and exploded among the party, killing seven men.

In the context of your article on the case for pardoning at least some of the British soldiers executed during the Great War, one wonders how the members of this particular raiding party, who were only 'doing their bit', would have responded to such a suggestion?

Yours sincerely,


Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire

19 August