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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

James H. Jenkins, Royal Warwickshire Regiment


Lynne Storry

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Hi, I am hoping that one of you learned people out there may be able to help me translate my late Gt. Uncle's Medal Card. This is what it says:

James H. Jenkins, R. War. R., Private. Regtl No. 42482

Medal Roll Page

Victory L/104 B/19 3925

British do do

This man also suffered Field Punishment No. 1 and was tied to the gun wheel whilst being fired. He came home with liver damage, etc, and was a nervous wreck. My Mother can't remember what he said that he had done to deserve this punishment, but said he was a very mild mannered gentle man. I would dearly love to know what happened. I hope someone can help.

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Lynn, Your g/uncle has 3 medical pages on Ancestry, I dont know how to load them onto this site though, perhaps another member can help. The first page dated 1921 says TACHYCARDIA. No other service records that I can see. Ralph.

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Lynne

Have a look at this link explaining Field Punishment No 1:

http://www.firstworldwar.com/atoz/fieldpunishment.htm

Your man may have been tied to a wheel but it is highly unlikely that if it was an artillery piece that it would have been fired at the same time.

regards

Mel

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Lynne

Thanks to the help of Ralph and Garry it can be established that James was conscripted on 2 September 1916.

It is unclear which of the UK based units he served with but he was transferred to the 4th Battalion (home based) of the Royal Warks on 23 May 1918 and allocated his new service number of 42482.

You are fortunate that the service papers of Charles Heydon 42481 have survived. He was also transferred to the Warks 4th Battalion on 23 May 1918.

He was sent to France on 8 September 1918 and allocated to the 1st Battalion on 11 September at the Infantry Base Depot in Rouen. He joined the Battalion in the field on 15 September.

you can virtually guarantee that James followed exactly the same path.

Regards

Mel

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Just to confirm service with the 1st Battalion and the timing of entry into France, here are a list of casualties in the same sequence numbers:

42383 25/10/18

42394 24/10/18

42395 24/10/18

42406 8/11/18

42488 25/10/18

42490 24/10/18

42502 9/11/18

42516 8/11/18

42526 3/11/18

All bar two served with the 1st Battalion.

Regards

Mel

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Gentlemen, I can't express how deeply touched and impressed I am by your expertise and kindness in helping me find out about Uncle Jim's life in the army. I just never imagined that I would ever find out anything further on him. I am having the Medical History Reports and Pensioner's Record Card blown up and passed to a Doctor friend to decipher and interpret. I have one last question for you. Do you think there is any way that I can find out why he was given Field Punishment No. 1?

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Lynne

The 1st Battalion Warks as part of the 4th Brigade of the 10th Division participated in the advances in Flanders and Picardy during the final phase of the war. I am surmising but with the Battalion constantly on the offensive and faced with the influx of 'green' reinforcements, discipline may have been stringent.

Any infringement of discipline may have resulted in a disproportionate sanction as an example to others. I doubt whether you will be able to establish the reason for the punishment - it could be anything such as the accidental discharge of a rifle - but I would suggest that you post a separate topic in units to see if anyone has the war diary between 15 September - 11 November 1918 so that you can at least appreciate the context.

Regards

Mel

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Hi Mel, Thank you for painting the picture for me. I will do as you say, and put a post on another section covering war diaries. I have had another thought. On his medal card it says he is a private, which was presumably filled in when the war ended in 1918? However, on his Pensioner's Record card which was filled in in 1921 it says that he was a Corporal? I was wondering if the Medal Card might have actually been filled in after the Pensioner's Record Card, and that he had been demoted and that might have brought about Field Punishment No. 1. What do you think?

Regards

Lynne

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Lynne

The MIC purely records the rank of the soldier at the date of entry into the theatre of war and it is these details that would have been inscribed on the pair. James would probably have been appointed L/Cpl post armistice so these details would not have been recorded on the MIC and the medals.

Regards

Mel

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Lynne

This official explanation of the use of Field Punishment No 1 might be of interest to you. It is by McPherson, the Financial Secretary to the War Office, Hansard 19 December 1916:

I must, in the first place, protest against the term "crucifixion." By its continued use, unfair and unnecessary prejudice is introduced. In accordance with the intention indicated by my right hon. Friend the present Prime Minister, reports were sought from all the General Officers commanding Armies in the field. I would remind the House that it is upon these officers and not upon any of those who sit here that the responsibility—I must say the very onerous responsibility—lies of maintaining effective discipline without which, not only the safety of the Armies, but also the success of operations will be jeopardised.

All the responsible commanders consulted except one agree that it is impossible to do away with field punishment. The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief in France, whose experience in this matter, of course, covers the widest field, strongly desires that this form of punishment should be retained, and in particular thinks that the abolition of Rule 2 b would have disastrous and far-reaching consequences. He attributes the rapid building up of discipline in the New Army units largely to the judicious use by commanding officers of the power of awarding field punishment, and he fears that the result of its abolition must inevitably be that recourse to the death penalty would become more frequent. I am sure that the House will recognise that civilian standards of what is suitable form of punishment are quite inapplicable to the necessarily stern conditions of active service. In such conditions punishment must be summary and concentrated; it must not, by being spread over a long period, deplete the fighting line and provide men, even men of good character, with a chance they may find it difficult to resist of getting away from field conditions. The essentials in field punishment are the infliction of physical discomfort and the stimulation of the sense of shame.

The desire of the military authorities to use the necessary power of awarding exemplary punishment for its just objects, and for no more than its just objects, has, I think, been conclusively shown in the Army (Suspension of Sentences) Act, the provisions of which are well known, but in regard to which it may not be equally well known that the principle and details of the measure were suggested by the then Commander-in-Chief in France.

Although, therefore, field punishment cannot be abolished, the Army Council see their way to provide some additional safeguards and to standardise the carrying out of the punishment when it is inflicted, but this requires some further consideration, and I am not in a position to furnish any details today.

I have my own opinions on such a statement and I'm sure that you have.

Regards

Mel

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My goodness Mel. I had to have a strong G & T after reading the report in Hansard. I found it difficult to put myself into their mindset at first, but after rereading and rereading, found myself actually understanding certain of their comments. I am just so very sorry that my Gt. Uncle Jim had to be punished so. Thought you might be interested to know that our Dr. friend has read through the medical records which do say he had heart problems brought on during his time in the army, but he also said it gives a description of what he called "floating kidney", which could well have resulted from him being tied to a wheel of a gun that was actually fired. Well, I suppose we will never know now. Thank goodness that they did eventually stop using these punishments, or should I say tortures. My thanks again to all of you for your input on my Uncle.

Regards

Lynne

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