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GUEST,Huw Lyr Add: Shot at Dawn / Ballad of Harry Farr (8) Lyr Add: Shot At Dawn 29 Aug 06

Shot At Dawn [ The Ballad of Harry Farr]
by Huw Pudner

At five in the morning
As daylight was dawning
Harry Farr was taken out
From his cold cell
He'd been filled up with morphine
Oh the sights that he'd seen
But Harry was sick
Of the sound of the shells

At first light we are told
He refused a blindfold
He stared at his comrades
And he stood brave and tall
The order was given
His life cruelly taken
And Harry was shot
An example to all.

Damn all the generals
In their headquarters
It would have been better
If they'd never been born
A sick man they accused
A brave man they abused
He was tied to a post
And shot dead at dawn

The fat swarms of flies
The curses the cries
The dead and the dying
Out in No Mans Land
The artillery fire
The rolls of barbed wire
The bearers with stretchers
Barely able to stand.

Up there in the trenches
In the mud and the madness
The shock of the shelling
Made him sick of the fight
Last night he was sentenced
By a drumhead court martial
To be tied to a post
And shot at first light.


Oh, his wife sits at home
She sits all alone
They took her war pension
To rub salt in her grief
On Remembrance Day Morn
Harry's still shot at dawn
And the veterans march past
Their commander in chief.

So many years on
The soldiers have gone
Young Harry's been pardoned
With the stroke of a pen
But what of the leaders
Who send men to the slaughter?
They are still free
To start wars once again.


Private Harry Farr was executed at the Somme in 1916 after refusing to teturn to the trenches.He had fought for two years before being hospitalised for shell shock.He refused to go back to the front and was sentenced to be shot at dawn after a short court martial.He was pardoned in August 2006 after a long campaign by his family and the Shot At Dawn Campaign.

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