It is entirely possible that Lord Kitchener or someone equally powerful ordered 'take no prisoners' during the second Boer War according to this report from down under:
Historians have argued there is no evidence the British ordered troops to kill prisoners during the Boer war.As for Kitchener's role in the less than copacetic trial:
However, military lawyer James Unkles, a commander in the Australian Naval Reserve, believes he has uncovered fresh evidence that demonstrates such orders were made.
The evidence includes a legal opinion and British parliamentary transcript from 1901 that refer to evidence of orders to take no prisoners.
Mr Unkles has spent the past two years researching the incident, after re-watching the 1980 film Breaker Morant. He has brought the families together and led the push for an inquiry.
But the British government rejected a petition for pardons last year, arguing that the lack of official documents and courts martial transcripts were a significant obstacle to a review.
Mr Unkles said he believed the British government did not want to expose itself to the "unpalatable truth" that one of its commanders had given orders to shoot prisoners. He said an independent inquiry was needed.
"Whether errors in the administration of justice were made a year ago or 100 years ago, to me it matters little," he said. "I believe this is a case of Australian military history that has never been settled in a judicial sense."
Mr Unkles said the Australian government could not grant pardons because the men were serving under the British military and were therefore subject to British military law.
However, he said it could conduct a judicial inquiry and send the findings and recommendations to the British government.
If the government refused to hold an inquiry, Mr Unkles said he would seek leave from the British High Court to appeal against the original court martial decision.
Mr Denton, who is acting pro bono and has been briefed by Mr Unkles, said the case for an independent inquiry was compelling. In his legal opinion, which was sent to Mr McClelland earlier this month, Mr Denton argues that the convictions were unsound for a number of reasons, including that the men did not receive a fair trial because they were not given proper time to prepare for the court martial.
The defendants were placed in solitary confinement for three months and denied contact with relatives in Australia and government representatives. Their first opportunity to consult with their defending officer, Major James Thomas, was the night before the court martial began.
Major Thomas, a lawyer from the NSW town of Tenterfield, had no criminal law experience and was "loaded up" with five accused to defend.
The men were also denied an opportunity to appeal against their convictions and sentence. They had the right to petition the King prior to their sentences being carried out.
However, Lord Kitchener made himself unavailable following the sentences and did not appear to have delegated his authority to deal with the convictions. Mr Denton said this was a grave miscarriage of his duty as commander, for which he could have been court martialled.
The film: "Breaker Morant"