The memorial at Poperinge contains details of some of the English soldiers from the World War One conflict who were shot at dawn, in addition to Eric Poole.
Eric Poole, aged 31. Second Lieutenant in the 11th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. Admitted to hospital with shell shock in July 1916 (around the time of the Battle of the Somme). Despite his panic attacks he is sent back to the Front.
On 5th October 1916 Poole’s platoon arrives at the Front Line near Flers in France. However the 2nd Lt has disappeared. Poole is arrested days later and sentenced to death for desertion. He is the first officer in the British Army to be actually executed.
The execution took place on December 10th 1916 at 7.25am at Poperinge jail. Shot at Dawn.
It was a poignant moment on the fifth and final day of our tour of Flanders when we went to Poperinge a few miles from Ieper. In a courtyard there is a metal post that now serves as a memorial to soldiers killed there for breaking military law.
Several years ago a former President of the National Union of Journalists George McIntyre led a campaign to clear the names of WWI British soldiers court martialled e.g. for desertion and shot at dawn by a firing squad.