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Remembered Today:

British shooting of fleeing Portuguese


Chris_Baker
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There is much anecdotal evidence that British troops shot at Portuguese troops fleeing from the German attack of 9 April 1918. A very great deal of this "evidence" can be dismissed, as it is hearsay, sheer bravado or bulls**t. I now have copies of every key unit war diary, relevant personal memoirs at the IWM (except sound recordings which I shall examine next week), published work on both sides, etc ... and there is still no hard evidence.

That is, until yesterday when I finally found someone who had put in writing that he had ordered his men to shoot and had seen Portuguese troops shot. This was in a 1932 letter to the Official Historian. The officer concerned was in 101st Brigade, 34th Division, and was near Erquinghem. Again, this could be, shall we say, memory playing tricks but it is the nearest I have found to a clear statement.

I would be grateful if anyone has seen or has copies of any official documents, letters or unpublished memoirs that refer to such incidents. Not hearsay, but apparent statements of fact, preferred.

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Well Crozier has been discussed at length at different time on this forum.

Mick

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Thanks for that. Mick. You are right of course but Crozier always strikes me as "bravado and bullsh*t" and without some corroboration of what he says I wouldn't use his evidence.

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Chris,

From the memoirs of 4585 Pte J.M. Marchbank,8th Royal Scots.

"The position on the right was the same one since the Portuguese had fled.Unfortunately they suffered casualties from our fire as they wore field grey uniforms and were mistaken for the Germans."

George

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Chris - I wonder if this is the same guy from 34th Division? F Haydn Hornsey Hell on Earth (1930) pp 90-91 apparently describes shooting of Portuguese. This is refered to by Harvey Muse of Fire (1998) p156-157 who seems to regard it as an afterthought to the memoir in response to the author having seen the recently-published Brass Hat ... by Crozier. I think I mentioned 'Muse ...' the last time I saw you.

As you know, Crozier is currently my focus and I must say that there is a very intense pacifist agenda driving The Men I Killed which makes it (as you know) totally unreliable as a source (although interesting as a window into FPC's thinking).

Sorry for the delayed response to the post but have been away.

All the best

Mike Taylor

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