Britain to pardon WW I deserters

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Britain's Ministry of Defense will grant pardons to 306 soldiers executed by the British army for cowardice or desertion during World War I.

Defense Secretary Des Browne said emergency legislation would be waiting for parliament when it resumes in the fall to clear the names of the Commonwealth soldiers who were executed, The Telegraph reported.

The government faced several challenges to issue pardons by the soldiers' survivors. One of the lawyers representing a family praised the blanket pardon, saying his client's grandfather "was very obviously suffering from a condition we now would have no problem in diagnosing as post traumatic stress disorder, or shell-shock, as it was known in 1916," The Telegraph said.

However, Correlli Barnett, a military historian, disagreed with the government move, telling The Telegraph: "It was done in a particular historical setting and in a particular moral and social climate. It's pointless to give these pardons. What's the use of a posthumous pardon?"

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