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From: steve becker
Time: 11:17:28 AM
Remote Name: 188.8.131.52
You seem to think that Morant had no blame for the murders of his prisoners, that it was all a nasty plot by Kitchener.
To answer your reply, I beleive you are right about Taylor, he was the so called puppet master at Fort Edward at that time. He had his finger into everything and as Kitchener's intell officer you would think he should have. That he had influence over Robertson and Morant there is no question but to carry out and unknown policy of murder is beyond the surreal. The lists of prisoners taken by Robertson in A Sqn and Morant with B Sqn and Morant and Hunt at A Sqn are on record, there are no murders untill the shootings of the six than a long break till Morant went on his spree, we don't know why they were shot, Taylor never said as far as I know? There is no record that Taylor loaded up Morant pointed him in the direction of the Boers and then fired him at them. He may have fed his need for revenge against the Viljoen commando as you say he took a interest in them. As for Hesse he was British not German.
Now Col Hall, you may know that Hall was the Britsh Area commander at Pietersburg and not the direct commander of BVC, Maj Leneham was. Hall would have received the reports of the shootings via RHQ BVC, we don't know how they were worded by Morant to Leneham or Leneham to Hall. so if Hall knew, only what he was informed by the BVC or other sources. To say that his non appearence at the trial was a conspirency may in part be right. but what would he have said about the shootings?
Question did you known of the shootings at Fort Edward? Answer. "Yes I was told prisoners were shoot during capture? Question why didn't you do anything about it? Answer, "I was told it was during capture on inquries to there Commanding officer? Question did you know of, or order any shootings at Fort Edward Answer, "No!.
There goes your case, there was no need to return Hall as he would give no information other then just I have surmizied. And as a Regular Britsh Officer you would expect noting more of him. You slander his award of a decoration and promotion as a plot, he received these after a long and successfull tour as Area commander there in Pietersburg. Units under his command including the BVC captured large numbers of prisoners and gained control of the district for the Crown, and of those units only A Sqn BVC (as far as I know) shot any prisoners.
Maj Leneham, as you may know was regimental commander, he was in direct control of Morant and was around during the shootings, being at Fort Edward during one such incident. All reports were sent to him at RHQ where they were colated before going up the chain of command.
You know he was reprimanded and discharged then sent home. Did he testify? And what would he have said?. You know of his trouble in Australia on return, his fight with Barton the PM trying to clear his name, did he ever confirm this so called policy to shoot prisoners? not that I've read!.
Now the crutch of your case, this so called order to shoot prisoners, your last note said it all, Morant only shot men from Viljoen commando why? and thats the sad note to the whole problem, the trial and rest is just smoke and mirrors. Morant went out of his way to kill, not by any order did he go to the Waterburg, not by any order, (wearing a Britsh uniform) did he grab Viser, not by any order did he get a firing squad together, not by any order did he then shoot him. Again if you get away from the smoke it was revenge! the so called rule . 303, we find them then and we shoot them.
As for my coment on the SS, I was referring to the numbers of occastions they were involed in the shootings of Allied prisoners of war not the death camps. As for allied cause, the German order to shoot captured British commandos is well known but no order to shoot prisoners is know by me? so they shot prisoners by verbal order. The USA did have such and a written order to shot Germen avators once they bailed out of there planes, of cause this order refered to German Jet pilots only not any other kind of German Pilot but allied pilots being what they were chose to interperate this order as they saw fit.
Why I mention the last is this, your odd note in diaries or coments by soldiers about this so called order to shoot prisoners was not some plot by Kitchener but the misunderstanding of the order to shoot prisoners wearing Karki with the intent and so on.. Did the men say they had seen this order by kitchener or were they informed by officers with the intent to decieve there own men? You said Morant was critizised by Hunt for not shooting prisoners, your sourse sir is questionable at best, an off the cuff coment does not become and admonishment.
If fact your whole case is full of guest work in inuendo, a badly worded telegram by kitchener, some coments by officers and soldiers (which could mean anything), These men are on longer with us and any detective work is frort with danger, what we see as the answer can offen be another question, that it was know that there was an order to shoot prisoners doesn't constatute a positve only a negitive: What type of order, did you see this order, how were you informed about this order, what did you do about this order? the questions go on.
Again I say there were few known cases of soldiers in SA shooting prisoners, of the thousands of men and hundreds of units there. That it happen is well known but to say there was a plot by Kitchener to shoot all prisoners is ..... The retaliation from the Boers not to mention goverments (which is exacly what happen) remember what help start the whole Morant thing was soldiers so sicken by their actions they had to blow the whistle. And if you start a policy of Murder sooner or later it will blow up in your face. Kitchener may as stated have wanted problems deal with by shootings and used this order to do it but to think masked riders traveling across country to certain units with this instruction is ...
Barry what ever the problems of the trial and there may have been many it does not detract from the basic, Morant shot prisoners Morant is guilty. Hunt didn't go to the Viljeon farm house to capture and shoot prisoners and the same as Morant didn't capture Kelly to shot him.
I look forward to your reply.