A soldier who was shot for cowardice during the First World War is to be granted a pardon, his family was told last night.

Private Harry Farr was aged just 25 when he was executed after refusing to fight, but relatives have always claimed that he was suffering from shellshock at the time.

The family have been fighting a battle in the High Court for him to be given a conditional posthumously.

Pte Farr's granddaughter Janet Booth said their solicitor had been informed last night that their wish had been granted.

The move could open the door for hundreds of other soldiers shot for cowardice to be pardoned.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence refused to confirm the news, but said it w ould be making an announcement today.

The family's law firm Irwin Mitchell said Defence Secretary Des Browne was looking at pardoning everyone executed during the First World War for "cowardice, desertion and comparable offences".

He is also in talks with Commonwealth-linked countries to include their troops.

The move would require an amendment to the Armed Forces Bill currently going through Parliament.

John Dickinson of Irwin Mitchell said: "This is complete common sense and rightly acknowledges that Private Farr was not a coward, but an extremely brave man.

"Having fought for two years practically without respite in the trenches, he was very obviously suffering from a condition we now would have no problem in diagnosing as post traumatic stress disorder or shellshock".

Pte Farr volunteered for 1st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment in 1914 and served in France until he was executed in October 1916, taking part in bloody engagements at Neuve-Chappelle and the Battle of the Somme.

In 1915 he was briefly evacuated to Boulogne suffering shellshock, and counsel for the family told the High Court last year that as a result, the law as it stood then, should have prevented him being sentenced to death.