Somerset-born Morant – the subject of the film Breaker Morant starring Edward Woodward – sailed to Australia in 1883 at the age of 19 and became a skilled horsebreaker.
He was among thousands of men from Australia who volunteered to fight against Dutch settlers in South Africa. In 1902 he was convicted at a court martial of murdering 12 Boer prisoners.
During a savage guerilla campaign, when numerous atrocities were committed by both sides, Morant is said to have intercepted a group of eight prisoners being brought in for questioning. He ordered them to be shot at the side of the road.
Later other Boers who had waved a white flag of surrender were also disarmed and shot under Morant's command.
Now a petition has been sent to Australia’s Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, by military lawyer James Unkles, who claims shooting prisoners was Army policy and Morant and codefendant Peter Handcock should be pardoned.
He claims Lord Kitchener, the British commander, ignored recommendations for mercy because he wanted the pair shot to discredit claims he had ordered the execution of prisoners to speed up peace talks with the Boers and appease Germany, which was considering entering the war. --- read the complete article HERE and another in the Sydney Morning Herald here.
Shall we - or shall we not...no...we shall not! I agree with Derek from Durham saying the following in the comments on the first link - link of the Mail Online.
"Sounds to me he commited war crimes then and by any stretch of the imagination would have been founld guilty then and at any time since.
A war crime is a war crime in no matter what era or by any country .
What next shall we pardon members of the SS, or maybe even Goering or Rudolf Höss the Commandant of Auschwitz,
I was just carrying orders , mmmm sounds a lame excuse sure the SS used something like this in their defence."
See also these links:
Australian Goverment NOT to support the Pardon of Breaker Morant! - update 2012 http://breakermorant.com/blog/?p=388 http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/287483
A new book published in South Africa has Australians-Breaker Morant-supporters furious. Well, it's only about the truth, isn't it? http://www.beeld.com/Boeke/OnlangsVerskyn/n-Legende-ontmasker-20120603