3 Octobre “Shooting a few if necessary”

October 3

Robert Merriman’s Second Diary covering October 3, 1937

The October 2 discussion carries over to the following days.  The return of the 13 deserters, including several who stole ambulances to make a break for the French border, forced the Command to put a stop to desertions.     Merriman assesses the morale of these men and realizes that there is little he can do to return them to action and that examples needed to be made.   Details on these trials will come out over the next few diary pages and must have had a hard impact on Merriman.

General Walter suggested shooting some of the deserters.  Copic and Merriman disagree (which is no surprise).  It is quite likely that Copic agreed with Walter.  Merriman puts it to a trial and each will be brought up in front of the men.  After politically setting the stage for the fact that this will be a decision of the men, the vote goes for stern discipline and potentially death sentences.

Merriman rides out the day by drinking overnight with Moise Sapir who (we find out on the next diary page) also gets heavily drunk.  Like two morose comrades, they literally cry on each other’s shoulders.    Merriman reveals to Sapir his feelings about Copic and the next day brings back more sober reflection of their situation.