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Shot at dawn - British WW1 Military Executions.

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Muerrisch
2 hours ago, John_Hartley said:

Are you suggesting that a tiny number of soldiers had a characteristic that predisposed them to desert (often more than once)?  I would understand that it might be the case - as the vast majority of men went through the same experiences without deserting. But it is, surely, a very tenuous proposition and impossible to back up.

 

Not suggesting it, but raising the possibility that this may be so. And virtually impossible to substantiate, regardless of elapsed time. It might be an elephant in the corner.

My daughter and son-in-law spent long and successful police careers ["exemplary service" with commendations]. They are quite clear that knife carrying [which is crime, never mind stabbing] is racially skewed. But who in public life would even hint at it?

Edited by Muerrisch

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Guest
1 hour ago, roughdiamond said:

 

I came across the following eye witness account in "Diary of an Old Contemptible" by Eric Roe a pre-War Regular and mobilised reservist then serving with the 6th East Lancs on Gallipoli.

 

"11th December: Execution of Pte Salter at 7.15 am. The youth barely 19 years of age was shot by 12 of his comrades for taking 'French Leave' from his Regiment on two occasions and attaching himself to the Anzacs.

Not by any stretch of the imagination could my colleagues or I catalogue it as desertion as twas impossible to desert from the Peninsula even had he so desired. Our position in comparison to the position that the Anzacs held was as heaven compared to hell. He therefore did not seek safety; he absconded because his life was made hell by the CSM of my Coy (D). In barrack room parlance he was 'sat upon'.

I was one of the firing party; he was marched from the dugout about 80 yards away, to a kind of disused quarry where the final scene was enacted. A clergyman proceeded the doomed youth and his escort reading prayers for the dying (the mockery of it all). The doomed youth was tied up to a stake, his grave already dug. His last request was 'Don't blindfold me'. What followed I'll leave to the readers imagination, in other words, I'll pull the pall of oblivion over the ghastly scene - 'If I can ever forget it'. I only wish that the distinguished person who signed the death warrant, without taking into consideration extenuating circumstances, would leave his comfortable island residence and visit the men under his command who were 'going through it'. Well we'd have a bit more faith in our leaders and confidence in ourselves. I don't suppose for a moment that the executed Salter ever heard the sentence ending read out to him - 'Death or such less punishment' - as in this act mentioned".

 

Sam

 

A few minor points in this madness...

 

1. There were and are no quarries at Suvla Bay.  Div and Corps HQs were at Lala Baba a tiny knoll on a bare spit of land next to a flat Salt lake. The geography and geology does not tally with this account.

 

2. A man (sic) aged 19 was not considered a"youth". Not even by the British Army. Boys went down the pits ages 13 and 14.  I suspect this was written years after the events.

 

3. "Doomed Youth" is a paraphrase of Wilfred Owen's poem , and I would suggest a motive force in this account. It was published in March 1917, more than two years and nine months after the execution. 

 

I doubt the "eye witness" was within a Gallipoli country mile of events.

 

We know Salter was SAD, but I suspect this account is utter nonsense. I have transcribed the Bn and Bde diary and 220 other Gallipoli diaries.... unless Roe was at GHQ (which I severely doubt given the circumstances of holding the line ahead of evacuation  a week later) this is unlikely. Extremely unlikely Is there any context from the prior dates?   This smacks of "Me Me Me Mitty-gatiion" in my opinion. On this day the Battalion was being shelled at Chocolate Hill having been there since the 1st Dec 1915. Theymoved to Lala Baba on 12th. - still no less exposed to constant shelling. It is akin to suggesting an execution happened in the Front Line. 

Edited by Guest

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Gunner Bailey

LF. Have just read through the thread.

 

I realised that any list based upon Commonwealth War Grave Cemeteries would be incomplete as many SADs were buried in unmarked graves that were subsequently lost. I've always regarded lists such as in Blindfold and Alone to be the best source.

 

Apologies if this is old news!

 

 

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roughdiamond
38 minutes ago, QGE said:

 

A few minor points in this madness...

 

1. There were and are no quarries at Suvla Bay.  Div and Corps HQs were at Lala Baba a tiny knoll on a bare spit of land next to a flat Salt lake. The geography and geology does not tally with this account.

 

2. A man (sic) aged 19 was not considered a"youth". Not even by the British Army. Boys went down the pits ages 13 and 14.  I suspect this was written years after the events.

 

3. "Doomed Youth" is a paraphrase of Wilfred Owen's poem , and I would suggest a motive force in this account. It was published in March 1917, more than two years and nine months after the execution. 

 

I doubt the "eye witness" was within a Gallipoli country mile of events.

 

We know Salter was SAD, but I suspect this account is utter nonsense. I have transcribed the Bn and Bde diary and 220 other Gallipoli diaries.... unless Roe was at GHQ (which I severely doubt given the circumstances of holding the line ahead of evacuation  a week later) this is unlikely. Extremely unlikely Is there any context from the prior dates?   This smacks of "Me Me Me Mitty-gatiion" in my opinion. On this day the Battalion was being shelled at Chocolate Hill having been there since the 1st Dec 1915. Theymoved to Lala Baba on 12th. - still no less exposed to constant shelling. It is akin to suggesting an execution happened in the Front Line. 

 

Wow seriously? Tell you what, with an attitude like that, if you're looking for context from prior dates you can buy the book.

 

 

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John_Hartley
2 hours ago, Muerrisch said:

But who in public life would even hint at it?

Anyone who has worked in the criminal justice system would probably tell you that certain groups within society have a leaning towards certain types of crime.  The last research project I undertook before I retired was to try to identify any characteristics amongst the prolific burglars in our area. It was difficult because of the relatively small numbers involved but, FWIW, my recollection is that all of them were white, mainly youngish (mid 20s to mid 30s) with about 50% committing the crimes to fund a drug addiction and the other 50% regarding it, more broadly, as their way of earning a living.

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Guest
On 11/6/2017 at 20:12, roughdiamond said:

 

Wow seriously? Tell you what, with an attitude like that, if you're looking for context from prior dates you can buy the book.

 

 

 It is not "an attitude". I am simply pointing out parts in this account that don't actually fit the established facts. There is no quarry at Suvla. Trust me. I have walked the area on five occasions. It is not a criticism of you. I am merely questioning the account that appears to be at odds with some basic facts. I have a fairly forensic knowledge of the Gallipoli campaign and the ground. I will happily buy the book. 

 

One of the challenges of Great War history is that so little is done to corroborate so called "eyewitness" accounts. On closer inspection we occasionally discover them to be nothing of the sort. Some historians have built careers on regurgitating alleged first hand accounts that have not been stress-tested against other accounts. Consequently some authors who don't do the necessary due diligence on their sources have a distorted view of key aspects of history. There are VC actions from 1914 for example where the official citations are completely at odds with other multiple accounts. 

 

In emotive suspects such as SAD this is even more important. What is lacking from most assessments on SAD is the view of those who served alongside the deserters, murderers, recidivist etc which might provide important context. It would be a useful substitute for the modern morality that is often back-fitted into an era where the odds were slightly more binary than our comfortable world; an environment where discipline and morale were fragile, finely balanced and if they failed they might just have catastrophic consequences; the kind of consequences that resulted in the loss of many hundreds of lives. If we are served up 'eyewitness' accounts that are demonstrably at odds with basic known facts, it is reasonable that they might be challenged. 

 

The 6th East Lancs were part of 13th Div; a formation with no published history which is largely reduced to a series of footnotes in two sets of Official histories of Gallipoli. Aspinall Oglander, the British Official Historian of this period was forced by the Govt to rewrite his first draft as it was highly critical of the Australians. What resulted was 'Official but not history" to paraphrase one critic. Consequently it is extremely difficult for the layperson to get any realistic idea of the British contribution at ANZAC. The 13th Div was a British formation that had the misfortune to be fragmented and subsumed in the ANZAC zone and it's brutal destruction is hardly known or remembered. I have transcribed all their diaries from Battalion to Brigade and Division level; the process provides a rather detailed forensic understanding of their rather ghastly experience. Large parts of this division were completely overrun due to slack discipline; men asleep at their post and men deserting the line; the sort of events that led to disaster and the same sort of events that were on occasion punished under Military Law. If one was looking for acute examples of why the death penalty was used as a deterrent, one could hardly find a better example than the disastrous experiences of the 13th Div.  Battalions were annihilated, massacred and broke en masse. At one stage they resorted to machine gunning their own men to attempt to stop a major route that would have resulted in a complete collapse of the northern edge of ANZAC. This is not widely known or understood and (I think) is very important context given the SAD case being discussed. This is a formation that saw 68% casualties in less than two weeks; a formation that shot at its own men and a formation that completely lost any form of cohesion; the kind of context that might help us better understand SAD as a mechanism to restore order and prevent potential annihilation. 

 

In the last few days It has been alleged that the the British Army was racist, anti-Catholic and anti-Irish and this is allegedly proven in the stats; these are views that have incidentally formed parts of some publications on SAD. On closer inspection it seems that the cold hard facts provide no support to these wild allegations. In fact one could argue the complete opposite on the data presented.  It would appear that more men from Yorkshire were SAD than Irishmen, yet no-one is making hysterical suggestions that the Army was prejudiced against Yorkshiremen. This discussion shows how emotions can obfuscate objective analysis. Unless we challenge some of the so called received wisdom the earth would still be flat. MG

Edited by Guest

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Guest
11 hours ago, John_Hartley said:

Anyone who has worked in the criminal justice system would probably tell you that certain groups within society have a leaning towards certain types of crime.  The last research project I undertook before I retired was to try to identify any characteristics amongst the prolific burglars in our area. It was difficult because of the relatively small numbers involved but, FWIW, my recollection is that all of them were white, mainly youngish (mid 20s to mid 30s) with about 50% committing the crimes to fund a drug addiction and the other 50% regarding it, more broadly, as their way of earning a living.

 

A number of academics have expended considerable time and effort on the study of criminality in the Irish communities in Britain between 1851-1901.

 

Roger Swift "Heroes or Villans?: The Irish, Crime and Disorder in Victorian Britain (1993)

D M McRaild "Irish Migrants in Modern Britain 1750 -1922 (no date)

H Peavitt "The Irish, Crime and Disorder in Chester 1841 -1871" (2000)

L P Curtis "Apes and Angels: The Irishmen in Victorian Caricature (1971)

 

Their work has been tabulated for 8 major English cities and indexed  for the level of over-representation  of "Prosecutions of Irish-born in selected towns 1851-1891". In addition there is a study of the House of Commons Papers, Judicial Statistics England and Wales 1861-1901 cited by D Fitzpatrick "A Curious Middle Place? The Irish in Britain 1871-1921" in Roger Swift's & S Hilley's "The Irish in Britain 1915-1939" (page 26.) The latter article tabulates Irish-born committals to Prison 1861-1901 for England & Wales, Lancashire and Middlesex (London) and also has an index of over-representation, being the extent to which prosecutions of Irish-born was greater than their proportion of the population. The Censuses from 1851,1861,1971,1881,1891 and 1901 (which all recorded place of birth) are used as the base data and police stats (ditto) as the base study data for prosecutions.

 

There is a considerable amount of data, and all of it without exceptions shows that Irish-born were consistently over-represented in criminal prosecutions across the 50 year period. For example in England and Wales they were 5.6 times over-represented in 1901. Whether this simply means law enforcement officers were more likely to persecute Irish-born or whether the Irish-born were more inclined to commit crime is a point of debate. 

 

Timothy Bowman refers to Roger Swift's work  and quotes Swift: "Irish criminality was highly concentrated in the often inter-related categories of drunkenness, disorderly behavior and assault (including assaults on police)..." Bowen also refers to work by J V O'Brien showing that "by 1911 .... only Liverpool and London had higher numbers of people proceeded against for indictable or non-indictable offences than Dublin and faction fight were regular events not only in Belfast but in much of the Irish countryside"

 

Bowman continues: "These high crime rates amongst the Irish in the Victorian and Edwardian periods obviously had an impact on the number of men from Irish units tried by courts martial. Firstly it should come as no surprise that offences such as drunkenness which were common in Irish civil society were also common in Irish regiments. Secondly the stereotypical image of the Irishman in the early twentieth century Britain may have meant that officers were prepared to have men serving in Irish regiments tried by courts martial for crimes such as drunkenness more more readily than their counterparts in English, Scottish or Welsh regiments...."

 

Bowman's work includes a study of all 5,645 soldiers tried by Courts Martial serving in Irish units on the Western Front between Aug 1914 and Nov 1918 from papers held in the national Archives. It is the definitive study. See  "Irish regiments in the Great War: Discipline and Morale" by Timothy Bowman.

 

MG

 

Edited by Guest

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Muerrisch

Well said Martin, the voice of reason.

You will have taken on board the thoughts of Dr Dunn quoted by me upstream?

He was concerned by the lack of discipline that he witnessed in a unit that was "regular", had a fine reputation, had suffered much less than many contemporaries and yet was showing signs of unreliability. Other than exerting the iron hand of discipline, how was the war to be brought to the conclusion willed by Parliament and the people?

100 years later, those of us who have studied many aspects of the war for years would not profess to understand the mind set of those days, but we know enough to agree with JP Hartley. Many people relatively new to the study can see only through contemporary eyes. Insight comes hard earned and slowly. The insight is eneormously aided by work such as yours, if only people would read it without prejudice.

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Steven Broomfield

On the subject of contemporaneous views, I refer (again - I may even have mentioned before in this thread) to Frederic Manning's Her Privates We, in which a deserter is captured and returned to unit. he runs again and is (I am working from memory) excuted. The men have no sympathy at all, and - IIRC - comment that he should have been shot the first time.

 

Manning served in the front line on the Somme and Ancre in the KSLI (7th Battalion?) and his book is a largely autobiographical novel.

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Guest

One last thought on the 6th East Lancashire SAD case at Gallipoli.

 

He was executed less than two weeks before the mass evacuation of the Suvla and ANZAC areas and less than three weeks before the complete evacuation from Gallipoli in the Helles area. The Staff Officers who planned this evacuation estimated that if things went wrong it might result in 40% casualties. For those not familiar with the campaign that would translate into tens of thousands of men.  One tiny mistake in arguably the most challenging phases of war- evacuation while in contact with the enemy - could end in complete disaster. It is this kind of context and these kinds of odds that were probably weighing very heavily on the decision to execute the unfortunate soldier. 

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roughdiamond

Another piece of perspective on the Irish statistics if I may? 

As I posted before 17 men of the Connaught Rangers were sentenced to death and 1 executed between 1914 and 1924.

 

Of those 17 sentences 13 were handed down to men who'd taken part in the mutiny at Jalandhar and Solan in June/July 1920, James Daly being one of those and the only Ranger executed.

 

Of the other 4

8243 Pte Joseph Patrick Dowling was sentenced for "aiding the enemy x 3 whilst a POW" 08/07/18, reduced to penal servitude for life.

He'd joined Roger Casement's Irish Bde and was captured after landing in Ireland (Forum member Corisade has a load of information on him on his website) http://www.irishbrigade.eu/recruits/dowling-j.html

 

Lt Philip Ernest Murray 4th Bn was sentenced for Desertion in South Africa 19/03/18., reduced to Cashiered + 3 years penal servitude.

 

Pte Michael J Murphy 6th Bn was sentenced for Mutiny 05/10/16, reduced to 10 years penal servitude after taking part in the Blargies Prison riot.

 

Only one Ranger who I believe is

3767 Pte Michael Masterson 5th Bn (later Northumberland Fusiliers, AOC and RAOC) sentenced for Desertion + Escaping 20/12/15, reduced to 10 years Penal Servitude. Seems to have commited his offence "In the face of the enemy".

 

Perspective is everything!

 

Sam

 

 

 

 

Edited by roughdiamond
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Guest

For anyone interested in exploring this Irish thematic, Timothy Bowden's original PhD is available online and can be downloaded.  Part II includes details of over 5,000 Court Martial cases of all the men serving in Irish units in the Great War. It is a truly remarkable piece of research

 

The discipline and morale of the British Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders 1914-18, with particular reference to Irish units

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voltaire60
12 hours ago, QGE said:

For anyone interested in exploring this Irish thematic, Timothy Bowden's original PhD is available online and can be downloaded.  Part II includes details of over 5,000 Court Martial cases of all the men serving in Irish units in the Great War. It is a truly remarkable piece of research

 

The discipline and morale of the British Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders 1914-18, with particular reference to Irish units

 

      What an interesting piece of work-  and how curious a first impression of the data comes across:

 

1)   The massive amount of drunkenness  in France- but comparatively  less when at home bases.  One would think it would be the other way around.  (A rural society within an industrialised system of warfare?)

 

2) The comparative lack of "real"criminal offences, particularly theft. 

 

3)  The  increasing occurrence of distinctly non-Irish names from c.April 1917- which,at a guess, correlates with the inability of Irish units to reinforce from Irish recruiting.

 

            And quite what happened with 3 RIR in December 1918 is something I would like to know-  a large number of desertions from one unit while in England (Durrington=Durrington Walls??)    set against the General Election and the breakaway Dail

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Gunner Bailey
21 hours ago, Steven Broomfield said:

On the subject of contemporaneous views, I refer (again - I may even have mentioned before in this thread) to Frederic Manning's Her Privates We, in which a deserter is captured and returned to unit. he runs again and is (I am working from memory) excuted. The men have no sympathy at all, and - IIRC - comment that he should have been shot the first time.

 

Manning served in the front line on the Somme and Ancre in the KSLI (7th Battalion?) and his book is a largely autobiographical novel.

 

An outstanding book Steve. One of my favourites.

 

On contemporaneous views, one of my grandfathers was a sapper and was at the Battle of Loos and afterwards based at Mazingarbe for a while, before moving to the Somme. Mazingarbe features in many SAD cases. He hated deserters with a vengence. Apparently it was one of the few things he talked about post war. He always said "Shooting was too good for them". Being based at Mazingarbe he may have either witnessed some of the executions or as a sapper had to prepare graves / posts etc. There is nothing in the company diary to say this though.

 

As a sapper he always said he spent more time in the trenches than the infantry, they never got as long a break as the regiments, so he probably saw desertion as the worst thing anyone could do to his mates.

 

I wonder if his view was typical.

 

John

 

 

Edited by Gunner Bailey

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Gunner Bailey
On 11/6/2017 at 19:03, John_Hartley said:

Are you suggesting that a tiny number of soldiers had a characteristic that predisposed them to desert (often more than once)?  I would understand that it might be the case - as the vast majority of men went through the same experiences without deserting. But it is, surely, a very tenuous proposition and impossible to back up.

 

I think in this context it's worth considering the SADs who never got to the front line at all. People who under no circumstances would fight, get shell shocked or do their duty. From memory there were a few of them.

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John_Hartley

John

 

I'm not sure you're correct there. I can't think of anyone who was convicted and executed for, say, desertion, without having been in the forward zone. Doesnt a phrase like "in the face of the enemy" appear in military law?

 

John

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healdav
1 hour ago, John_Hartley said:

John

 

I'm not sure you're correct there. I can't think of anyone who was convicted and executed for, say, desertion, without having been in the forward zone. Doesnt a phrase like "in the face of the enemy" appear in military law?

 

John

This can be a rather difficult concept. In the Cruel Sea, Monsarrat, and he is quite right, talks about the seaman Gregg who doesn't appear when the ship is due to sail. He says, rightly, that if he turned up withing five days, he would be charged with overstaying his leave, if more than five days with desertion, and should the ship go into action, either against a plane or a submarine, he could be charged with cwardice in the face of the enemy, and was liable to be shot. This despite the fact that he wasn't on board and so could not be a coward directly.

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Gunner Bailey
1 hour ago, John_Hartley said:

John

 

I'm not sure you're correct there. I can't think of anyone who was convicted and executed for, say, desertion, without having been in the forward zone. Doesnt a phrase like "in the face of the enemy" appear in military law?

 

John

Having read a few books on this I'm sure there were a couple who deserted on arrival at a French port. Deserted again after release and never got to the front line. I'll have to have a look at the lists. Being 'in theatre' in France would have been technically enough rather than in a trench.

 

John

Edited by Gunner Bailey

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John_Hartley
10 minutes ago, Gunner Bailey said:

Being 'in theatre' in France would have been technically enough rather than in a trench.

Yep, fair point - I think you're right. There are certainly men executed who deserted when there were orders for their unit to move forward to the combat zone - I'd have to look up how far back in reserve they were at the time. 

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Muerrisch

I think desertion can be defined after a man is "warned for duty" and that may well include being sent with his unit on active service. If there is demand I will look at the Manual of Military Law.

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John_Hartley

I'm sure I recall the phrase "warned for duty" (or similar) being used in the context of men I was thinking of in my previous post.

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ss002d6252
1 hour ago, John_Hartley said:

I'm sure I recall the phrase "warned for duty" (or similar) being used in the context of men I was thinking of in my previous post.

The Manual of military law states
Capture.PNG.b204ca8123c033bf36544f953880f724.PNG

 

Capture2.PNG.2cc89f27710eab2ec133d184d84275ad.PNG


The phrase 'warned for duty' is only used in the manual in the context of drunkenness.

Craig

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Guest

Military Law is one thing, but I suspect the interpretation of Military Law was fraught with problems. Many sitting on the FGCMs would have little or no training in Law.  Bowman's book highlights an example where there was a sharp change in conviction levels when an Officer who had been a Barrister in civilian life turned up. The conviction rates plummeted and he was swiftly moved. This little episode might hint at the primary aim of some FGCMs was to send a message rather than to dispense justice. My speculation. Having worked on a fair number of War Diaries I have been struck by the frequency that Officers were dragged away to sit on a FGCM. Given the enormous turnover in Officers in 1914-15 it stands to reason that most Battalion Officers were not Staff Trained and may have had next to zero training in Military Law.

 

I have looked at the fist 532 cases of Irish FGCM (around a 9.5% sample of the total) starting in Aug 1914. Clearly dominated by the Old Contemptibles who, it seems, were no strangers to the bottle. Drunkenness was a factor in exactly 60% of all FGCM in the sample. Punishment for simple 'Drunkenness' (44% of all charges) ranged from 14 days FP No. 1 to 2 years imprisonment with Hard Labour. Clearly there are other unseen factors at play (the magnitude of the drunkenness, circumstances etc.) but it illustrates how the 'Charge' covered a myriad of factors. Analysis and comparison is therefore fraught with subjective interpretation. 

 

12% of the punishments were either commuted to a lower punishment or remitted. The data includes a few 'blocks' of FGCMs on men from the same unit on the same date. In most 'group' cases the punishments were reduced by significant factors: 6th months Hard Labour reduced to 3 months FP No. 1,  or in one example of 19 men from 2nd Bn RDF charged together in Oct 1914 their punishment of 9 months Hard Labour was never confirmed. If memory serves, the process would always have a second stage whereby the charges were confirmed, meaning there was at least one review.  For capital punishments there was of course a further referral. 

 

At least one man's punishment was not carried out as he had left or the front. 

 

What is remarkable about the data is that it is dominated by social behavioural crimes such as drunkenness (60%) and absenteeism (9% - and possibly linked to drunkenness) rather than capital offences which were few and far between. Petty crime such as theft was almost non-existent. Desertion, Leaving a post and Cowardice accounted for only 5% of all charges. It will be interesting to see how this changed through 1915 when desertion peaked. 

 

For all 5,647 cases, drunkenness was a factor in 2,301 cases (or 41% of all cases), Absence in 1,418 cases (25.1%) and Desertion cited in 1,421 cases (25.2%). Combined they account for 91% of all charges.  988 of all sentences were commuted (17.5%) and 852 were remitted (15.1%) and 180 quashed (3.2%) meaning a third of all punishments were either reduced or struck out. This is during the period that covered First Ypres when the Old Contemptibles  (and others) were holding the sky on their shoulders. This itself suggests a mechanism that involved a review of sorts. To my mind this is important as the SAD narratives sometimes seem to suggest a more limited judicial process.  Bowman reminds us that the Civilian judicial process rarely involved trail by Jury in 1914-18 although I suspect ones involving capital charges probably did. 

Edited by Guest

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voltaire60
1 hour ago, QGE said:

Military Law is one thing, but I suspect the interpretation of Military Law was fraught with problems. Many sitting on the FGCMs would have little or no training in Law.  Bowman's book highlights an example where there was a sharp change in conviction levels when an Officer who had been a Barrister in civilian life turned up. The conviction rates plummeted and he was swiftly moved. This little episode might hint at the primary aim of some FGCMs was to send a message rather than to dispense justice. My speculation. Having worked on a fair number of War Diaries I have been struck by the frequency that Officers were dragged away to sit on a FGCM. Given the enormous turnover in Officers in 1914-15 it stands to reason that most Battalion Officers were not Staff Trained and may have had next to zero training in Military Law.

 

     2 comments on this:

 

1)   The more serious offences were subject to review and confirmation of sentence-up the chain. Somewhere, a professional assessment ought to have kicked in. Perhaps some analysis of the qualifications of reviewing officers might elucidate some of the inconsistencies a bit more.

 

2)   Still perplexed as to why the proportion of drunkenness offences diminished at home.

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Muerrisch

QUOTE:

Military Law is one thing, but I suspect the interpretation of Military Law was fraught with problems. Many sitting on the FGCMs would have little or no training in Law.  Bowman's book highlights an example where there was a sharp change in conviction levels when an Officer who had been a Barrister in civilian life turned up. The conviction rates plummeted and he was swiftly moved. This little episode might hint at the primary aim of some FGCMs was to send a message rather than to dispense justice.

 

May well be so, but the Manual itself is written in good enough English for an officer [presumably educated sufficiently to be an officer] to understand the meaning and the intention and the definitions.

If so, a case depended on "was he guilty as charged?", which is hardly a matter for interpretation.

Sentencing and review are totally sparate considerations I believe.

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