Memorial to George Macintyre
George Macintrye - © Nancy Macintrye
2 May 2017
A memorial for the former NUJ president George Macintyre was unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum near Lichfield, Staffordshire, to honour the man and his campaigning work, which resulted in posthumous pardons for 306 men executed during the First World War for desertion and other offences.
George was a founding member the Shot At Dawn campaign, which successfully won pardon for the men, some as young as 17, with the passing of the Armed Forces Act 2006.
The bench in George's honour is located at the Shot At Dawn section of the arboretum and overlooks the 306 wooden posts representing the 306 British, Irish and Commonwealth servicemen who were executed by firing squad after courts-martial during the war. Chris Morley, Northern and Midlands organiser, said:
"This was a really moving and apt celebration of the amazing passion and energy George put into a remarkable campaign that did so much to lift the burden of unfair shame felt by hundreds of families whose ancestors died so tragically in the First World War.
"The dedicated bench looks over the symbolic 306 wooden stakes forever standing as a tribute to these true victims of war, killed by their own side when severely traumatised and suffering incalculable stress and fatigue in battle. It was highly appropriate that this new symbol, both of George's own courage and tenacity to champion an unpopular cause and his Scottish roots, had the honour of a lone piper playing who happened to be the creative artist behind the memorial.
It was also fitting that a bottle of single malt was produced afterwards and all those attending drank a wee dram to George's great spirit."
The photograph shows (l-r ) Nancy Macintyre, George's widow; Ken Smith, Newcastle NUJ branch; Ian Wilson, former NCJ Media journalist; Laurence Macintyre MBE, George's brother; Julian Putkowski , author of Shot At Daw; and Andy DeComyn, piper and artist creator of the Shot At Dawn memorial.