“Widnes Indignant” The Widnes Weekly News Editorial from 1917

OBSERVATIONS

By

“The Man On The Bridge”

A good deal of Indignation has been aroused in Widnes by the needlessly heartless way in which the notification of a son’s death for a military offence has been landed upon his unsuspecting parents by the military authorities.

On a recent morning they received in terms officially formal and precise the announcement that their son, a lad of 23  had been court martialled in Mesopotamia for sleeping at his post, and that sentence had been duly carried out on February 19th. The justice or the military expediency of such a sentence no one, recognising the necessary rigour of war, will question, though it may be said that this soldier had not long left hospital after a long spell of sickness and that he was one of the survivors of the fateful Gallipoli campaign. Ruling all this out and accepting the sentence as right and proper under circumstances which a court martial might be entitled to judge, it appears gratuitously cruel to reveal to parents what happened on February 19th in all its crude and distressing reality. The resources of the military should at least in these cases be capable of devising means of conveying the intimation of death without inflicting such a blow or depriving parents of the consoling belief that their son met a soldierly death in the course of his duties. There are some grounds for the opinion that it is quite a new decision that these deaths should be notified as they in fact occur. If so, it is a decision which should be quickly revoked, and to that end ought well form the subject of a question in Parliament.

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