Shot at Dawn Re-opening

  • 21 June 2024
  • 12 Noon
  • Free

On Friday 21 June we will be joined by sculptor Andy Decomyn, and Janet Booth, granddaughter of Harry Farr who was executed for cowardice in 1916, for the re-opening of the Shot at Dawn Memorial.

The Shot at Dawn Memorial commemorates 309 British and Commonwealth soldiers who were shot for desertion, cowardice, striking a senior officer, disobeying a lawful order, casting away arms, mutiny and sleeping at post during the First World War. Most of them were sentenced after a short trial at which no real opportunity for defence was allowed.

Today, it is recognised that some were underage when they volunteered and that many of them were suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which was not recognised as a medical condition until 1980. In 2006 they were officially pardoned by the British Government.

Deliberately located at the most easterly part of the Arboretum where the sun rises first, Shot at Dawn, first dedicated in 2001, was showing its age, exacerbated by repeated winter flooding from the adjacent River Tame.

Members of the public are invited to observe the re-opening which will begin at 12noon, for approximately 20 minutes, at the memorial. Entry to the Arboretum is free (parking charges apply), and can be booked in advance below.


In addition to the re-opening event, members of our volunteer team will be present at the memorial throughout the weekend (21-23 June) to deliver our free Shot at Dawn daily talk, and answer questions from visitors upon the re-opening of this significant memorial.

Book Your Visit

Since the memorial closed on 6 May 2024 just over 20 years since it first came to the Arboretum, we’ve received over 900 donations towards a £45,000 public fundraising appeal to fully restore the memorial, and create a future maintenance fund. An army of nearly 200 volunteers from local businesses have worked with our team to support the restoration and ensure the memorial will be preserved for future generations.


To find out more about the restoration project, or to donate towards the fundraising campaign, click here.