Hope of pardon for Admiral Byng, shot on his quarterdeck

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Exactly 250 years after Admiral John Byng was executed for failing to "do his utmost" to save Minorca for the British before the Seven Years' War, the prospect of a formal pardon may be at hand.

Descendants of the admiral have written to the Ministry of Defence to demand that their "wronged" ancestor receives the same treatment as the 306 First World War soldiers shot at dawn who were pardoned last year...

But the gesture was not extended to Viscount Torrington, a descendant of Byng who feels that his ancestor was dealt an injustice. Byng was shot on the quarterdeck of his flagship in 1757, after failing to retake Minorca for the British before the Seven Years' War -- a conflict that signalled Britain's emergence as the dominant colonial power.

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