IN the dark days of the First World War, when Henry Allingham’s generation went into battle, so-called deserters were brought before firing squads.

As Mr Allingham, one of Britain’s last veterans from that war was laid to rest at the age of 113 yesterday, Lance Corporal Joe Glenton was making a stand which will lead to a court martial and the ignominy of being branded with that dreaded word – “deserter”.

But L Cpl Glenton is certainly not a coward.

He has already served with bravery in Afghanistan and his decision to make a public protest about the war must have taken a different type of courage.

With public opinion turning against the war, he will applauded by many for refusing to return to the front line.

But he will also face condemnation from comrades who have to carry on the fight against the Taliban.

We do not join in that condemnation.

L Cpl Glenton has done what he believes is right, spoken from the heart, and called for an end to what he has come to see as an unjustified war.

But for all that we understand his motives and strength of feeling, we cannot support what he has done.

Soldiers join the Army in the knowledge that they will be expected to obey orders and do their country’s bidding.

It may, at times, be extremely difficult to obey those orders because personal beliefs get in the way.

But joining the Army is a huge decision – and it has to be taken in the full knowledge that orders have to be followed, no matter how unpalatable they may seem.

Otherwise, there is no point in signing up in the first place.