Private soldiers shouldn’t argue with sergeants – at least they shouldn’t have done so in the mid-nineteenth century. Private Robert Hackett made that mistake when he took offence at a remark made by Sergeant Henry Jones, 33, at Millbay Barracks, Plymouth.

“Only the fact that you’re a sergeant, and I’d get 40 lashes for it, stops me from giving you the beating you deserve!” snarled Hackett. He stalked off, but returned 15 minutes later with his rifle and shot Jones dead. The hot-headed soldier was hanged on Saturday, March 30th, 1861, outside Exeter Prison.