After an evening of heavy drinking, on JANUARY 26th, 1941, Private David Millar Jennings, 21, grabbed his rifle and 10 rounds of ammunition, telling another soldier he was leaving their Dorchester barracks to go “on a break.”

First he broke into a recruiting office in the town, but failed to open the safe although he fired four bullets at its keyhole. Then he went to a nearby NAAFI canteen where he fired five shots at the lock of the side door. They all missed, and he was then disturbed by a shout from inside the building.

As he ran away, he was later to say, he turned and saw that the canteen’s front door had been opened. So he fired his last shot at the entrance to scare anyone who might be about to pursue him.

His bullet struck and killed the NAAFI caretaker, and a cartridge found nearby indicated that it had been fired at a much closer range than Jennings admitted. Most of the canteen’s £2 float was found to be missing.

Arrested and charged with murder, Jennings was alleged to have robbed the canteen’s till after he shot the caretaker — he had given another soldier 37 shillings, asking him to settle a five-shilling debt with it and keep the rest for him until later.

Following his conviction at Dorchester Assizes, Jennings’s appeal was dismissed and he was executed.