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Shot at dawn - British WW1 Military Executions.


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On 11/14/2017 at 00:23, Wexflyer said:

 

I am very happy to agree that you have done many years of admirable work on original material, such as war diaries. I also complimented your  writing style, such as your summaries and introductions for such diaries. But I think our present discussion illustrates how your learning may blind you to other perspectives. Yes, many of the officers may have started off as other ranks (but remember that this was required in some divisions, so could be more than a bit artificial). But even in those cases where the officers truly started at the bottom, when they were commissioned they ceased to be the social or actual peers of enlisted soldiers. They were now officially gentlemen - by royal fiat - and a caste apart. They were no longer the "peers" of the enlisted soldiers.

 

Unfortunately you are displaying your ignorance of social class in the British Army. Commissioned men from the Ranks were made Temporary Gentlemen and once the War was over they were sent back to the class where they had come from. One heroic Officer spent a decade fighting for their rights and parliament spent a considerable amount of time debating whether these Temporary Gentlemen should receive Officers' pensions or pensions of the Other Ranks they were promoted from. It was a scandal at at least 50,000 (that's not a typo) were represented in one debate alone.  Parliament actually commissioned a report on the scandal ( I have a copy).

 

Edit: The Report is "Ex Ranker Officers. Report of the Committe on the Claims of Professional Ex-Ranker Officers" Presented to Parliament by Command of His Majesty . 1924.  It runs to 70 pages. The Officer in question was Captain F D Bone who represented the organisation of Army Pensioned Ranker Officers. The core issue was the treatment of pensions. Thousands of officers were being paid Other Ranks' pensions having served as Officers. One case study cited "as one of hundreds" was a Warrant Officer who was commissioned and was a Brigade Commander. Ex rankers as Commanding Officers and Brigade Commanders were not rare. These are the kind of men who would have dealt with disciplinary cases almost on a daily basis. 

 

At best these were the sad rump of many more Other Ranks who stepped into the shoes of Officers, did remarkable service and were subsequently treated in a disgraceful manner. I have researched this in detail and would estimate, based in the requirement that OCTU candidates after early 1916 had to be NCOs with front line experience at least half of the Officers in the British Army had served in the Ranks. That is an extremely conservative estimate. There were simply not enough public schoolboys to make up the difference. It is simple arithmetic. The idea that FGCMs were mostly or wholly presided over by men of a different class to the ORs is at best misguided and at worst highly mis-informed in my opinion. 

 

But I guess you already knew that. Simply exhausting. I surrender to your meticulous research.  MG. 

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8 hours ago, voltaire60 said:


   

 

    I am with you on that. I thought Peter Barton was a good exposition of the matter in his documentaries on the Somme. But it does grate with the historical memory of the savagery of the German military code and it's exercise in 2 world wars.  (eg Northern France in WW1,around Sedan-known through family links, the stay-behind soldiers shot as spies-even the defenders of the Danzig Post Office who defended in September 1939 and were shot by the Germans as franc-tireurs). The low,low figure is very,very suspect.

 

The German military penal code operated in a different manner to that followed laid down in the Army Act and King’s Regs. Decisions were taken at a much lower level, a point made by Peter Barton. Death sentences were confirmed by the Regimental Commander and had to be carried out the same day. This clarified minds enormously. The people who passed the death sentences probably had first-hand knowledge of the accused and there was no question of passing a death sentence which then had to be confirmed, as required  by the British system. In the British Army FMCG would pass death sentence on the expectation that they would be overturned on review. They were not.

 

it was not a question of the savagery of the German military code which was in fact less so than German civil code, under which soldiers, foreigners and civilians could also be tried. The civil code provided for summary execution and for this reason it was decided before the war to take many cases out of the German civil code and transfer them to the penal one.

 

British civilians who who fell foul of the Germans were tried under the penal code, despite the fact they were civilians. Captain Fryatt was tried and shot the same day. Nurse Cavell too, was tried under the penal code, though in her case there was a delay between sentence and execution because of international representations and the fact that a weekend fell between sentence and execution.

 

Franc tireurs were not subject to either of the penal codes - they were dealt with under the (unwritten) ‘customs of war’, that is, summary execution.

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8 hours ago, stiletto_33853 said:

 

Hedley, I must admit to being staggered regarding that remark. Did not every SAD have to be ratified by the C-in-C before confirmed. I may also say that many officers faced Court Martials as well. Strange, it would seem that you have a downer on officers although an Army could not function without them and it's military laws and codes etc.

 

Decisions were taken by FCMG and reviewed by officers. Many officers faced FCMG, but only two were shot. It is a staggering statistic and one that has not been addressed in this thread. . Why was shooting officers apparently bad for morale, whilst shooting other ranks was good for it? Any army requires officers, but it also requires one which is blind. This did not happen.

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7 hours ago, QGE said:

 

Hedley. None of the academics who have studied this in excruciating detail agree with your biased, religious, racial, class based rants. Really. Not one. The stats don't support any of your claims. None. It is noticeable that as each of your increasingly bizarre allegations gets systematically demolished that you conveniently ignore the arguments and swiftly start new, even more bizarre allegations. It has ceased to be a debate and has become a pantomime. It is possiby the most bizarre thread I have ever participated in. I have to leave it and agree to disagree with your rather bonkers arguments. Next you will be telling me McGeevy knows what he is talking about. He is about as ill informed as you are in my view. Good luck. MG

 

Nope. I simply think you have no idea what you are talking about. MG

 

 

Which academics have studied this subject in any detail? Please try to avoid personal abuse. Play the ball and not the man.

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2 hours ago, Hedley Malloch said:

 

Which academics have studied this subject in any detail? Please try to avoid personal abuse. Play the ball and not the man.

 

Hedley I think you well know who the academics are. Most of the books on the subject are the by-products of academic studies. Some are PhDs; off the top of my head - Oram, Chen, Bowman. All three address the accusations that you make on the Irish and conclude there is no bias. The bibliographies in the papers these submitted will provide more. Babington (a trained barrister) might also be a good reference point for someone with an informed view of the subject. Putkowski lectures at universities according to his online profile. 

 

I have seen some of your work relating to the Irish with McGreevy. His book "Wherever the Firing Line Extends: Ireland on the Western Front" on the Irish is sadly undermined with factual errors; he overestimates the Irish in the pre-war British Army by 60% for example. This kind of basic error and exaggeration seems to blight much (but happily not all) of the literature on the Irish and the Great War as facts are subordinated to hyperbole. My default setting is to treat Irish 'facts' with extreme caution and this thread neatly illustrates why this is necessary.  The Irish persecution complex with regards to SAD seems to me to be another variant of this hyperbolic trend.  

 

I disagree with just about everything you have written on this subject so let's agree to disagree. Don't take it personally. 

 

 

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HM- Thank you for the references.  "Summary execution" is but a polite fiction for  extra-judicial killing.   

 

           I am ignorant of one aspect of the system of military punishments. I have just trawled up one Foreign Office reference at Kew to a volume that might have  other materials in it regarding the judicial punishment of British POWs during the war. Can anyone enlighten me as as to a good source of data on  the judicial treatment of German POWs in the UK or behind the lines in France? Presumably some of them were tried and executed-but under what regime (in the UK) or under what circumstances. All the figures quoted on the thread are for  the major combatants, not their POWs.  Might throw some light on  attitudes elsewhere.

 

2)  Another area of ignorance is the assumption of uniformity throughout the war- that the FGCM system worked the same in 1914 as it did in 1918. Figures chucked around on this thread are "whole war" totals. Although the MML may have been something of a constant reference, I am not sure that externalities may not have been a feature.  Performance of unit, forthcoming/past offensives, other disciplinary concerns of that man's unit,etc.  But does the treatment of  Irish deserters sharpen for the worse post Easter 1916?  A country effectively under military rule may have  generated either deliberate or unconscious harshness as part of larger concerns to "keep the lid on"

    (One small aspect on this-  I did some work on a local casualty from the Salonika theatre- the Foreign Office volumes that had material on him (he was a POW of the Bulgarians) had a lot of material on Irish troops and Irish units.-I was not aware of the strength of the Irish presence at Salonika. Could this have been deliberate? Is there a dispariity in the "Irishness" of Irish units away from the Western Front -OK heavy casualties led to a replenishment by  non-Irish.  But the maintenance of "Irish" units on the Western Front clashed with the (supposed) bias against Irish soldiers at FGCM. ( Could it be that the High Command strategies for dealing  with "The Irish Problem" influenced sentencing reviews up the command chain?)   Are any of the Irish desertions in reality sedition and political but tried as desertion to avoid martyrs. (Having just read some of the stuff on James Daly and the Connaught Rangers, I note-ahem- a "slight"  disparity in historiographical traditions in the Republic compared to the UK) I plead ignorance of having read Bavbbington, Oram et all years ago but there does not seem to be any great political concerns in FGCM -either the actions of the accused or the processes of the court. Is this so?

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Although the MML may have been something of a constant reference, I am not sure that externalities may not have been a feature.  Performance of unit, forthcoming/past offensives, other disciplinary concerns of that man's unit,etc. 

I'm sure you're spot on with the Mike - there were certainly periods of the war where other events could swing a decision, most certainly at the higher levels of the decision making. As is shown with the civilian courts, you can easily have 2 different decisions under the same laws and facts, the only difference being which way the court members swing.

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Steven Broomfield

Just an observation, but the commissions from the ranks thing: may not be statistically huge, but a reasonable number of these in wartime may well have been pretty middle- or upper middle-class: a few years ago someone in Stand To! published an analysis of commissions from the various London Regiment battalions, and my recollection is that the vast majority were from the 'Class' regiments (LRB, Scottish, Rangers, etc) and not from the rougher end of the market.

 

My thoughts then might be that although there were a lot of commissions from the ranks, many of these might not necessarily be from the wrong side of the tracks, but rather posh (or at least semi-posh) boys who had enlisted, shall we say, 'below themselves' and been raised to higher things. The nominal roll in the HAC history seems to reinforce that, and I guess the Artists' Rifles might also contribute.

 

I have absolutely no idea if this would sway the statistics, but I wonder if it is a factor to consider. Certainly in my day the LS was comprised of a pretty high percentage of chaps who would have been officers in pretty well any other unit.

 

I'm not saying that ALL commissions from the ranks were of 'officer material' from the lower deck, so to speak, but I might suggest that commissions from the ranks does not suggest that the new officers were necessarily attuned to the mores of the men under them.

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50 minutes ago, Steven Broomfield said:

Just an observation, but the commissions from the ranks thing: may not be statistically huge, but a reasonable number of these in wartime may well have been pretty middle- or upper middle-class: a few years ago someone in Stand To! published an analysis of commissions from the various London Regiment battalions, and my recollection is that the vast majority were from the 'Class' regiments (LRB, Scottish, Rangers, etc) and not from the rougher end of the market.

 

 

 This is correct.  The London Scottish were so exclusive they charged an entrance fee of £10, roughy equivalent to six weeks wages for the average earner.  They used the money to keep their machine guns upgraded.  The fee was specifically designed to exclude the lower classes.

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36 minutes ago, Steven Broomfield said:

Just an observation, but the commissions from the ranks thing: may not be statistically huge, but a reasonable number of these in wartime may well have been pretty middle- or upper middle-class: a few years ago someone in Stand To! published an analysis of commissions from the various London Regiment battalions, and my recollection is that the vast majority were from the 'Class' regiments (LRB, Scottish, Rangers, etc) and not from the rougher end of the market.

 

My thoughts then might be that although there were a lot of commissions from the ranks, many of these might not necessarily be from the wrong side of the tracks, but rather posh (or at least semi-posh) boys who had enlisted, shall we say, 'below themselves' and been raised to higher things. The nominal roll in the HAC history seems to reinforce that, and I guess the Artists' Rifles might also contribute.

 

I have absolutely no idea if this would sway the statistics, but I wonder if it is a factor to consider. Certainly in my day the LS was comprised of a pretty high percentage of chaps who would have been officers in pretty well any other unit.

 

I'm not saying that ALL commissions from the ranks were of 'officer material' from the lower deck, so to speak, but I might suggest that commissions from the ranks does not suggest that the new officers were necessarily attuned to the mores of the men under them.

 

      Steven-With you on this. Of my local casualty base, then LRB, LS (whoever they are) and HAC provide the strongest element of "commissioned up"-   10 RF is the strongest of the non-traditional socially exclusive (or inclusive, if you were a member) units.  A neighbour (ex Grenadier Guards and HAC) lovingly uses the old British Army term for the rest-"Fish and Chip Regiments". A socially exclusive Regular officer corps of the pre-war years must have reflected FGCM outlook early in the war. But post-Somme?  Experience of the ranks seems to have wisened-up many of the commissioned up of the latter part of the war, whether or not they were "middle class" in pre-war years. (eg The lovely plummy accent of Henry Williamson, LRB or Charles Carrington,R.Warwicks in the old BBC "Great War interviews- or Bill Slim's knowledge of the foibles of his men in the Middle East)  I do not know of  statistical analyses of the background of officers of FGCM in capital cases-but it would be interesting to see it if done. Similarly, the background of  defending officers.

    I have just re-read a board of enquiry report on a battlefield accident casualty (London Scottish actually)- I am struck that some of the complaints about FGCM from the SAD lobby seem much the same for the board-  speed (sat even before the LS man died- it was a grenade accident by the incompetence of an NCO)  Junior officers, rehearsed evidence by ORs=marched in,marched out, say the same thing in the same words) and review up the chain- interestingly, comments by Brigade and Division are at odds with Corps Commander (Haking)-but Haking prevails.  Considerations of the weaknesses of the FGCM system-as,in particular, being structurally unfair  per the SAD lobby should, I think, note the board of enquiry procedures and experiences as well- perhaps as a "control" that FGCM was knowingly biased or if much the same as boards for tougher purposes.

  

     

 

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Steven Broomfield
7 minutes ago, Hedley Malloch said:

 This is correct.  The London Scottish were so exclusive they charged an entrance fee of £10, roughy equivalent to six weeks wages for the average earner.  They used the money to keep their machine guns upgraded.  The fee was specifically designed to exclude the lower classes.

 

Many of the 'Class' units did the same. LRB certainly (read Mitchinson's book on the regiment)

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Steven Broomfield
3 minutes ago, voltaire60 said:

 

      Steven-With you on this. Of my local casualty base, then LRB, LS (whoever they are) and HAC provide the strongest element of "commissioned up"-   10 RF is the strongest of the non-traditional socially exclusive (or inclusive, if you were a member) units. 

  

     

 

 

 

10 RF were, I believe, also known as The Stockbrokers' Battalion as they initially recruited in the City, but before the Pals movement took off.

 

The 12th York and Lancs, too (Sheffield City Battalion) were specific about recruiting from office and shop workers and not from pit or steelmen, and I daresay quite a few other units were pretty well-heeled.

 

That's why I would caution against commissions from the ranks being used too freely as any form of evidence, one way or t'other.

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1 hour ago, voltaire60 said:

HM- Thank you for the references.  "Summary execution" is but a polite fiction for  extra-judicial killing.   

 

           I am ignorant of one aspect of the system of military punishments. I have just trawled up one Foreign Office reference at Kew to a volume that might have  other materials in it regarding the judicial punishment of British POWs during the war. Can anyone enlighten me as as to a good source of data on  the judicial treatment of German POWs in the UK or behind the lines in France? Presumably some of them were tried and executed-but under what regime (in the UK) or under what circumstances. All the figures quoted on the thread are for  the major combatants, not their POWs.  Might throw some light on  attitudes elsewhere.

 

2)  Another area of ignorance is the assumption of uniformity throughout the war- that the FGCM system worked the same in 1914 as it did in 1918. Figures chucked around on this thread are "whole war" totals. Although the MML may have been something of a constant reference, I am not sure that externalities may not have been a feature.  Performance of unit, forthcoming/past offensives, other disciplinary concerns of that man's unit,etc.  But does the treatment of  Irish deserters sharpen for the worse post Easter 1916?  A country effectively under military rule may have  generated either deliberate or unconscious harshness as part of larger concerns to "keep the lid on"

    (One small aspect on this-  I did some work on a local casualty from the Salonika theatre- the Foreign Office volumes that had material on him (he was a POW of the Bulgarians) had a lot of material on Irish troops and Irish units.-I was not aware of the strength of the Irish presence at Salonika. Could this have been deliberate? Is there a dispariity in the "Irishness" of Irish units away from the Western Front -OK heavy casualties led to a replenishment by  non-Irish.  But the maintenance of "Irish" units on the Western Front clashed with the (supposed) bias against Irish soldiers at FGCM. ( Could it be that the High Command strategies for dealing  with "The Irish Problem" influenced sentencing reviews up the command chain?)   Are any of the Irish desertions in reality sedition and political but tried as desertion to avoid martyrs. (Having just read some of the stuff on James Daly and the Connaught Rangers, I note-ahem- a "slight"  disparity in historiographical traditions in the Republic compared to the UK) I plead ignorance of having read Bavbbington, Oram et all years ago but there does not seem to be any great political concerns in FGCM -either the actions of the accused or the processes of the court. Is this so?

 

A good book on how the combattant nations managed their PoWs is Heather Jones, 'Violence against Prisoners of War in the First World War: Britain, France and Germany, 1914-1920', Cambridge University Press, 201.  Her conclusion is that the Germans were the worst offenders when it came to maltreating prisoners.

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13 hours ago, stiletto_33853 said:

Hedley, I must admit to being staggered regarding that remark. Did not every SAD have to be ratified by the C-in-C before confirmed.

Yes it did, and the regulations stipulated that the minute of confirmation had to be in the actual handwriting of the C-in-C.

 

Ron

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2 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

Can anyone enlighten me as as to a good source of data on  the judicial treatment of German POWs in the UK or behind the lines in France? Presumably some of them were tried and executed-but under what regime (in the UK) or under what circumstances.

The figures are given in Statistics. "Military Courts" were used abroad for the trial of POWs and civilians: there were 4,449 of them, just under 4,000 of which were convictions, including 55 for treason and 60 for "offences against inhabitants" which would have included murder. There were 22 death sentences inflicted in this category.

 

Civilians could be, and were, tried by courts-martial, but it appears that the only offences thus included were treason and breaches of DORA Regulations. There were ten death sentences by order of GCM, all of which were presumably among the 12 tried for treason. There were 151 men convicted by FGCM, all for treason and all in the year ended 30 Sept 1916, so presumably from the Easter Rising. Fifteen of these were executed.

 

Ron

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10 hours ago, johnboy said:

Out of interest does any one know if it was only OR's who formed the firing parties.? and is it known how many men refused to do so.

Firing parties were made up of other ranks, often from the man's own battalion. They were under the command of an officer, whose duty was to give the coup de grace by revolver if the attending medical officer confirmed that the volley had not killed the man.

 

Refusal to take part in a firing party was itself an offence, "refusing to obey a lawful order" and this itself could be a capital offence. There are certainly anecdotal cases of men pleading to be let off from the duty, but I know of none where the pleas were allowed. It was probably explained to them that the man was going to be shot anyway, and the men who did it were not those responsible for condemning him.

 

Ron

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thanks  Ron. I thought I had read somewhere that men could refuse to be part of a firing party. I will have to look again.

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1 hour ago, Ron Clifton said:

Yes it did, and the regulations stipulated that the minute of confirmation had to be in the actual handwriting of the C-in-C.

 

Ron

In which case the Civil Government could have stopped SAD if it had a will to, as was the case with the Australians. So, catch 22 really, who was to blame the Army or the Government?? I believe 74 people were hung in the UK during the war time period for capital crimes.

Paterson's pardon makes somewhat of a mockery of the whole pardon process, he was tried for murder as well as desertion and fraud, yet receives a pardon??

Yes Hedley not many officers were shot, most of the cases against officers were for drunkenness, hardly a firing squad crime is it.

I am not a proponent of the death sentence, however judging the morality of such a crime 100 years after events is also not right to my mind, todays times and morality is decidedly different from a century ago as has been stated many a time.

So, to makes these pardons valid, I would have thought a Judicial review on a case by case basis would have been the way to go (as John commented on earlier) not a blanket pardon, Paterson's case makes the whole idea of a blanket pardon somewhat tenuous in the extreme.

 

Andy

 

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According to SMEBE (page 235) there were 229,000 'combatant' commissions awarded during the War. (it excludes Chaplains  and RAMC).  To this we need to add the 28,000 serving on 4th Aug 1914. Total: 257,000 combatant Officers.

 

We know from the parliamentary report that 50,000  of these were men who had been in the ranks before the War (they had already earned their pensions as NCOs and WOs) That would account for at least 19%. Of the remainder it is anyone's guess the number who were commissioned from volunteers and conscripts who enlisted after the war started. 

 

SMEBE records that the OTCUs saw 108,000 pass through their ranks destined for the Army and 38,000 destined for the RFC and later the RAF. The vast majority of these would have to had served in the ranks as junior NCOs (the entry requirement for OCTUs). Add the 50,000 makes 196,000 of the 259,000 or somewhere in the region of 75%. Either way one tries to stretch the data it is an inescapable fact that most Officers had been in the Ranks at some stage regardless of background.

 

The proportion of those from Class Corps regiments of the London Regiment (HAC, London Scottish etc) combined could come nowhere close to the 146,000 put through OCTUs. There is a thread somewhere that attempts to quantify those commissioned from the Class Corps units. Separately, page 255 of 'Public Schools and the Great War' attempts to quantify the numbers who served. The 'approved' Schools for Officer recruitment align with the HMC schools of 1914. The book lists 94 schools which provided 114,000 ex-pupils who served. 114,000 as a % of 257,000 is 44%.  The implications are that 56% of Officers did not attend a school on the HMC list.  Not all the Public School boys served as Officers or indeed combatant Officers, (the 18,000 Chalplains and RAMC Officers would likely have been drawn from this group) so this ratio might well mark the potential extreme.  This is why some publications claim at least half of the Officers were 'ex-rankers' and not from privileged educational backgrounds. Incidentally 21% of them were killed or slightly less than 24,000. 

 

Regardless of the Officer's background, anyone who had served in the ranks and achieved the rank of an NCO (the requirement for OCTUs by 1916) would have appreciate the challenges from a soldier's perspective.

 

It is also worth noting that the Regular Amy, Special Reserve and Reserve of Officers in 1914 totalled 18,500 and were largely annihilated in 1914. Battalion officers in 1914 saw 40% fatality rates and 90% battle casualty rates a very low percentage returned to their former roles. Their replacements met a similar fate in 1915 as did the Officer cohorts of  K1 and K2, largely officered by Public School and University men with Cert A or B.  Officer fatal casualty ratios for the war were twice the rate of Other Ranks. The numbers become even more distorted when one isolates the infantry (where the vast majority of SAD cases happened) and even more so when dealing with the Regular Battalions. Random sampling of regular battalions indicates turnover of 3-4 times War establishment in Battalion Officers during the War for typical regular units.

 

Lastly there is some interesting data on Officers discharged at the end of the war and their civilian occupations which provides some proxy for 'class' of the Officer cohort of 1918-19. 

 

287,000 Courts Martial between Aug 1914 and Nov 1918 required the presence of 861,000 'members'.  It was a huge drain on resources. That they were largely presided over by middle class public school types cant be sustained on the data above. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Hedley Malloch said:

 

A good book on how the combattant nations managed their PoWs is Heather Jones, 'Violence against Prisoners of War in the First World War: Britain, France and Germany, 1914-1920', Cambridge University Press, 201.  Her conclusion is that the Germans were the worst offenders when it came to maltreating prisoners.

 

   HM-  Thank you. I knew I had seen a recent book floating past-and that was the one.  I had noted when looking up the local POW deaths in captivity that being a POW in Germany, particularly in the last few months of the war was rather dodgy. One had died as the result of a rather implausible "accident" and I had thoughts that the German populace, with the food shortages, might have instanced the odd equivalent of the "terror-flieger" killings of the next war.

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1 hour ago, Ron Clifton said:

Refusal to take part in a firing party was itself an offence, "refusing to obey a lawful order" and this itself could be a capital offence. There are certainly anecdotal cases of men pleading to be let off from the duty, but I know of none where the pleas were allowed. It was probably explained to them that the man was going to be shot anyway, and the men who did it were not those responsible for condemning him

 

     Thanks Ron- and for the references  to SMEBE, which (by some fluke) the London Borough of Redbridge still holds in it's main library.  

       One of the Great War interviews, just repeated, was of a chap from the Wiltshires who had refused to take part in a firing party.

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1 hour ago, Ron Clifton said:

The figures are given in Statistics. "Military Courts" were used abroad for the trial of POWs and civilians: there were 4,449 of them, just under 4,000 of which were convictions, including 55 for treason and 60 for "offences against inhabitants" which would have included murder. There were 22 death sentences inflicted in this category.

 

Civilians could be, and were, tried by courts-martial, but it appears that the only offences thus included were treason and breaches of DORA Regulations. There were ten death sentences by order of GCM, all of which were presumably among the 12 tried for treason. There were 151 men convicted by FGCM, all for treason and all in the year ended 30 Sept 1916, so presumably from the Easter Rising. Fifteen of these were executed.

 

Ron

 

   I will have to go and drill down in SMEBE-  The stats. appear to be for Military Courts" abroad-"  I was thinking more of figures for POWs in the UK.  

         The Irish (presumably) figures are interesting- No further treason convictions by military courts - or returned to the civil courts only?. Is this the difference between "martial law"  and "state of emergency".

      Interesting also for France and Flanders- Presumably, martial law was applicable to British forces but not to the territory itself. Presumably there were inter-allied agreements about what the French did and did not do (well, it was their country)-eg Offences by French civilians against British troops and vice versa. Many of the SAD cases were actually bandit renegades while on the run and presumably not much tolerated by the French civil population

     I came across a veiled reference to misconduct by British troops against the populace in the 1914 retreat in the privately published letters of Captain Loscombe Law Stable , RWF (KIA October 21st 1914)- he wrote to his parents not to believe all in the Press and that the Germans were no worse in their treatment of the civil population than the British Army. Interesting.  The application of law to the back areas of the Western Front is an unknown to me- Who enforced it, whether British or French and co-operation between the 2 sets of military police- Obviously, not all cosy estaminets, egg and chips and the Madamoiselle from Armentieres. Seem to remember some of the SAD cases were caught by the French and handed over.

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2 hours ago, Steven Broomfield said:

That's why I would caution against commissions from the ranks being used too freely as any form of evidence, one way or t'other.

 

     Yes,-exactly so.  Yes, 10RF-Stockbrokers-  or,more correctly, "Commuters" as many of the actual stockbrokers had gone off to commissions elsewhere (FT listing through 1914-1915)- the  ranks were the lower middle-class-the clerks. as the official historian of the HAC observed, the artillry battalion -used as an officer factory- had over 3000 commissions up during the war

     The group whose attitudes  would be the most interesting to me would be the pre-war Regulars commissioned up-  proper "jumping the counter"

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12 hours ago, QGE said:

Edit: The Report is "Ex Ranker Officers. Report of the Committe on the Claims of Professional Ex-Ranker Officers" Presented to Parliament by Command of His Majesty . 1924.  It runs to 70 pages. The Officer in question was Captain F D Bone who represented the organisation of Army Pensioned Ranker Officers. The core issue was the treatment of pensions. Thousands of officers were being paid Other Ranks' pensions having served as Officers. One case study cited "as one of hundreds" was a Warrant Officer who was commissioned and was a Brigade Commander. Ex rankers as Commanding Officers and Brigade Commanders were not rare. These are the kind of men who would have dealt with disciplinary cases almost on a daily basis. 

 

 

      And as a little aside here- the specific Act of the Dail in 1936 which set up pensions for the convicted of the Connaught Rangers, after they were refused pensions awards by the British 

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1 hour ago, stiletto_33853 said:

In which case the Civil Government could have stopped SAD if it had a will to, as was the case with the Australians. So, catch 22 really, who was to blame the Army or the Government?? I believe 74 people were hung in the UK during the war time period for capital crimes.

Not entirely with you here. The civil government could only have stopped "SAD" by amending the Army Act. The Australians technically did have the death penalty, but it required the concurrence of the Governor-General, who declined to do so, apparently on the grounds that all Australians were volunteers.

Paterson's pardon makes somewhat of a mockery of the whole pardon process, he was tried for murder as well as desertion and fraud, yet receives a pardon??

Paterson was pardoned for desertion, but not for murder. A purely technical distinction, but it meant that his conviction (and execution) for murder still stood.

Yes Hedley not many officers were shot, most of the cases against officers were for drunkenness, hardly a firing squad crime is it.

According to one of Gerard Oram's books, five officers were condemned to death by court martial, of whom only three were shot.

Ron

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