Field Ambulance commander complaining because 4 men were executed against the dressing station wall
A quote from Robert Graves – WW1 Poet - re executions. Also Article.
During the war the executions were kept silent. Robert Graves: "I had my first direct experience of official lying when I arrived at Le Havre in May 1915 and read the back-files of army orders at the rest camp. They contained something like twenty reports of men shot for cowardice or desertion.
Yet a few days later the responsible minister in the House of Commons, answering a question from a pacifist, denied that sentence of death for a military offence had been carried out in France on any member of His Majesty's Forces" (in Goodbye to all That, 1929).
Reasons: Though most were shot for desertion. Other reasons cited were murder, cowardice, disobeying a command, sleeping while on duty, striking a superior officer, mutiny, leaving their post or discarding their weapons. Cowardice (even if it was caused by shell shock or other mental affections), and other breaches of discipline.
by cyngast moderator
Officially, they might have been covered up, but I expect everyone in that dressing station knew about these four!
Also, in the 1st East Surrey Regiment, executions of men from the brigade or division were written up in the daily routine orders to be read out to the men at parade. They were used as examples for deterring others.