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Remembered Today:

Could convicted felons enlist in WW1?


RachelR

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My great great uncle Ralph Forster joined the army in 1901 ( York Lancs 3Btn ) and was discharged in 1905 ( Gunner in the Durham RGAM) on Conviction of Felony.

I wondered whether he'd have been allowed to enlist in WW1 or if that was it for his military career?

Thank you :)

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My great great uncle Ralph Forster joined the army in 1901 ( York Lancs 3Btn ) and was discharged in 1905 ( Gunner in the Durham RGAM) on Conviction of Felony.

I wondered whether he'd have been allowed to enlist in WW1 or if that was it for his military career?

Thank you :)

Hello,

I have a great uncle who was discharged from the Yorkshire RGA (Militia) in 1905. His militia papers state "discharged on conviction of felony". He re-enlisted in the Lincolnshire regiment in 1915 and served throughout the war.

I don't know the official line on convictions but obviously it was possible for men to serve again, though I don't know how serious the offence that he committed was.

Cheers,

Mick.

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Evening :)

Thank you for your reply!

It's nice to know that he could have perhaps had a second chance in the army seeing as your great uncle did, but you're right, I guess it does depend on how serious the offence committed was...

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Hello,

I have a great uncle who was discharged from the Yorkshire RGA (Militia) in 1905. His militia papers state "discharged on conviction of felony". He re-enlisted in the Lincolnshire regiment in 1915 and served throughout the war.

I don't know the official line on convictions but obviously it was possible for men to serve again, though I don't know how serious the offence that he committed was.

Cheers,

Mick.

If he trapped/shot and stole game/rabbits....he would be a Poacher. Most apt for the Lincolnshire Regiment :thumbsup:

Of the men I have studied, through my collecting of Lincolnshire Regiment medals, have so far shown up a bigamist, who joined for the duration of hostilities in September, 1914 and a renowned drunk/scrapper/occasional horse thief who was sent to a Naval boys punishment ship prior to WW1 and volunteered in June, 1915.

One of the earlier soldiers I studied, who fought in the Boer War, was a convicted poacher and on being caught, beat up the gamekeeper and a Policeman. He volunteered for WW1 and served as an older, less fit man in the Labour Corps.

From what I have seen, these sort of men would be allowed a chance to make amends for their misdemeanors. In fact all three men listed served with distinction throught their service in WW1.

One survived wounded, losing a leg in action and the other two survived, one being wounded twice.

Again, from what I have experienced, these types of rogues can be good for a unit :hypocrite:

RichardW

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Hello all

If a soldier lied about, or did not disclose, his previous record the Army would probably have accepted him on re-enlistment, especially in 1914/15 when it needed all the able-bodied men it could get. There was no ready way of checking the facts, although it was technically a military offence to "make a false answer on attestation."

I think quite a few men managed to rehabilitate themselves in this way.

Ron

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I don't know whether they were felonies but one of the St. Helens Pals (aged 34) admitted on his attestation to having been imprisoned 25 times! and he was accepted. He was discharged after 69 days as unlikely to become an efficient soldier.

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I don't know whether they were felonies but one of the St. Helens Pals (aged 34) admitted on his attestation to having been imprisoned 25 times! and he was accepted. He was discharged after 69 days as unlikely to become an efficient soldier.

I have a man who has been in court many times, certainly in to the double figures, and imprisoned on a good few of these times. He had been enlisted but was discharged not too long afterwards due to having previously convicted by the civil powers. His records have a letter from the police but unfortunately nothing to say what triggered the army to check his background.

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