5 July 1945 – Harold Joseph Pringle

Harold Joseph PringleThe only Canadian to be executed for military crimes during WW2 died on this day 1945.

Private Harold Pringle was a good soldier who served in the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment of the Canadian Army. Shortly after his battalion broke through a series of fortifications in Italy known as the Hitler Line, Pringle, bitter at having seen so many of his friends die, decided to desert.

When in Rome

He wound up joining the Sailor Gang in Rome and enjoyed a good life for a time. However, his newfound friends were always drunk and fighting and during one such fracas one of their number was shot.

Although they tried to take their injured cohort to hospital he died on the way and, in an attempt to avoid blame and make it look like a mafia execution, Pringle dumped him in a ditch and riddled the lifeless corpse with bullets.

The plan failed and he was convicted of the murder, along with the other gang members, and the 23-year-old was shot by a firing squad made up of members of the Canadian Army in Italy.

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