Days like These

Article excerpt

25 october, 1415

JEHAN DE WAVRIN,

a French knight, describes Henry V's war crime - the execution of the French prisoners of war at the battle of Agincourt: "At the hour when the English feared the least there befell them a perilous adventure, for a great gathering of the rearguard and centre division of the French, in which were many Bretons, Gascons and Poitevins, rallied with some standards and ensigns, and returned in good order, and marched vigorously against the conquerors of the field. When the King of England perceived them coming thus he caused it to be published that every one that had a prisoner should immediately kill him, which those who had any were unwilling to do, for they expected to get great ransoms for them. But when the King was informed of this he appointed a gentleman with 200 archers whom he commanded to go through the host and kill all the prisoners, whoever they might be. This esquire, without delay or objection, fulfilled the command of his sovereign lord, which was a most pitiable thing, for in cold blood all the nobility of France was beheaded and inhumanly cut to pieces. …