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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Assistant Provost Marshal/Military Mounted Police/Traffic Control


Mike Chapman
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Hello, I am researching an officer who, while described in the Army Lists as serving in the Shropshire Yeomanry, and variously attached to the 7th and 10th Battalions King’s (Shropshire Light Infantry), turns out to have actually been “attached A.P.M. 3rd Division” in 1918, and on his death as attached to “Traffic Control 3rd Division”.

I have looked through the 3rd Division papers in the National Archives, and can find no record of the work of the A.P.M. or Traffic Control. A search of all W.O. files for “Provost Marshal” and similar terms only brings up a few references; interestingly most of them are now in the WO 154 series, and appear to have originally been extracted because they contained details of deserters and the like.

It seems strange if this important role was not documented, but so far I can’t find any evidence that the A.P.M. in each Division kept a record that has survived. Does anyone have any thoughts on this that would help? Thanks, Mike

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Town Major has just popped up in my memory.I seem to remember that they were responsible for efficient functioning of the military "machine" in towns etc. Whether you can get a handle on any files for these guys I am wondering if there might be references to APMs and their activities there ?

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Hello Mike, and welcome to the Forum!

Each division had a small detachment of military mounted and foot police, who were responsible for traffic control and the arrest and custody of military offenders. They were under the control of the APM.

Ultimate responsibility for discipline rested with the Adjutant-General's Branch, and for transport and movements with the Quartermaster0General's Branch. In a division these functions were combined in the AA&QMG so you may find in his diaries references to the APM and military police. You will already have noticed that most of the extracts in WO154 are from these A&Q files.

The references for all 3rd Division HQ's War Diaries at Kew are as follows:

3 DIVISION
WO 95/1375 Headquarters Branches and Services: General Staff 1914 Aug. - Oct.
WO 95/1376 Headquarters Branches and Services: General Staff 1914 Nov. - 1915 Mar.
WO 95/1377 Headquarters Branches and Services: General Staff 1915 Apr. - 1916 July
WO 95/1378 Headquarters Branches and Services: General Staff 1916 Aug. - 1917 Apr.
WO 95/1379 Headquarters Branches and Services: General Staff 1917 May - Dec.
WO 95/1380 Headquarters Branches and Services: General Staff 1918 Jan. - June
WO 95/1381 Headquarters Branches and Services: General Staff 1918 July - Oct.
WO 95/1382 Headquarters Branches and Services: General Staff 1918 Nov. - 1919 June
WO 95/1383 Headquarters Branches and Services: Adjutant and Quarter-Master General 1914 Aug. - 1915 Dec.
WO 95/1384 Headquarters Branches and Services: Adjutant and Quarter-Master General 1916 Jan. - 1917 June
WO 95/1385 Headquarters Branches and Services: Adjutant and Quarter-Master General 1917 July - Sept.
WO 95/1386 Headquarters Branches and Services: Adjutant and Quarter-Master General 1917 Oct. - Dec.
WO 95/1387 Headquarters Branches and Services: Adjutant and Quarter-Master General 1918 Jan. - Apr.
WO 95/1388 Headquarters Branches and Services: Adjutant and Quarter-Master General 1918 May - Aug.
WO 95/1389 Headquarters Branches and Services: Adjutant and Quarter-Master General 1918 Sept. - 1919 May

WO 95/1390 Headquarters Branches and Services: Commander Royal Artillery 1914 Aug. - 1915 June
WO 95/1391 Headquarters Branches and Services: Commander Royal Artillery 1915 July - 1916 Mar.
WO 95/1392 Headquarters Branches and Services: Commander Royal Artillery 1916 Apr. - Dec.
WO 95/1393 Headquarters Branches and Services: Commander Royal Artillery 1917 Jan. - Dec.
WO 95/1394 Headquarters Branches and Services: Commander Royal Artillery 1918 Jan. - 1919 June
WO 95/1395 Headquarters Branches and Services: Assistant Director Medical Services 1914 Aug. - 1915 Dec.
WO 95/1396 Headquarters Branches and Services: Assistant Director Medical Services 1916 Jan. - 1919 Oct.
WO 95/1397 Headquarters Branches and Services: Commander Royal Engineers 1914 Aug. - 1919 Oct.
WO 95/1398
WO 95/1398 Headquarters Branches and Services
WO 95/1398 Deputy Assistant Director Ordnance Services 1915 May - 1919 June
WO 95/1398 Deputy Assistant Director Veterinary Services 1914 Aug. - 1919 Oct.

I should have another look at those files next time you go to Kew.

Good luck!

Ron

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Major Westmacott, formerly an A.P.M.with the Indian cavalry and later 24th Division left some very interesting recollections which are at I.W.M., including on the murder of a tyrannical Indian N.C.O. and his own experiences in the Great Retreat of March 1918.

Michael

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