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Remembered Today:

Absentees Deserters


jemm
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Hi Can anyone tell me what would have been the outcome of a man being picked up for being absent without leave here at home for example. I know he was taken before our local Magistrate who ordered him to be detained to await military escort but what would have happened to him once the escort had arrived. :)

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Hi,

In simple terms -

He would be taken into Military custody for return to his unit where he would have been subject to disposal in accordance with military law either by his own CO or by Court Martial proceedings.

Steve Y

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Thanks Steve, do you know if civilian police were routinely paid for arresting absentees. The one in the newspaper article I have was paid 5s at the end of the magistrate case. I just wonder if this was a one of or if was routine. :)

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Speaking as a retired Police Officer.....same general rules apply now as then for deserters/AWOL cases.

Monetary Awards (very rare!) made to an officer by a court are not classed as "pay" .

Not aware if WW1 gave court power to routinely financially reward Police officers arresting deserters/AWOL but have never seen mention of the practice in any newspaper reports I have seen.

Without having sight of the newspaper article can't really comment further on your specific example.

Regards

Steve Y

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Hope you can read the last portion of the article ok.

post-4696-0-72539000-1402166784_thumb.jp

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Apparently my grandfather missed the boat back to France after being on leave, and the story goes that he was tied to a gun which was being fired (I assume in France)!

Does anyone know if this was a likely scenario?

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Hope you can read the last portion of the article ok.

Thats very interesting ,i have never heard of the Police being rewarded in money for doing their job,

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Field punishment could involve being fastened to an object, including a gun, but I've not heard of it being done to one that was firing.

Craig

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Thats very interesting ,i have never heard of the Police being rewarded in money for doing their job,

There are a couple of news clips on absentees ill have to go back now and see if other officers were paid :)

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Hi Can anyone tell me what would have been the outcome of a man being picked up for being absent without leave here at home for example. I know he was taken before our local Magistrate who ordered him to be detained to await military escort but what would have happened to him once the escort had arrived. :)

If you know the mans name and regiment, you may be able to find his service record. His conduct sheet should show the full story.

I am not sure when the police were asked to look for men. A week a month after due return date? When did AWOL become desertion.?

I have seen reports where the police have gone to the mans address or parents address and interview them.

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AWOL became desertion when intention not to return to unit had been established. The circumstances come into play, saying "I'm off" and dumping your uniform in the front line is clear desertion but the soldier would still be noted as AWOL first.

The homefront was more relaxed but after the soldier was confirmed as AWOL, his details then got passed in the Police Gazette.

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The circumstances come into play, saying "I'm off" and dumping your uniform in the front line is clear desertion but the soldier would still be noted as AWOL first.

Not so sure about dumping the uniform. It was normally the only clothes a man had.

In AWOL and desertion reports I have seen the kit listed that the man had in his possession and its cost.

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I have seen reports where the police have gone to the mans address or parents address and interview them.

Conscientious objectors refused recognition by a Military Service Tribunals were deemed enlisted, and reported as AWOL when they refused to comply with the inevitable call-up notice. They were routinely arrested by civiilian police and taken before the local Magistrates' Court, where they were handed over to a military escort. I have read numerous press reports of such hearings, but I have never seen one mentioning any payment to the police constable, nor have I ever heard of such a case from other sources.

It certainly appears odd that a constable should receive a special payment for doing a routine job in the course of his service for which he was paid. The only circumstance I can think of where this might have happened is where the constable was actually off-duty at the time, and took the opportunity to arrest because he recognised the man.

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It certainly appears odd that a constable should receive a special payment for doing a routine job in the course of his service for which he was paid.

I'm sure I've seen reference to this before but this was not in a WW1 time frame (slightly before).

Craig

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I have come across quite a number of reports of Policemen being rewarded 5 Shillings

for arresting a deserter

This constable was rewarded with half a sovereign

 

source N.E.D.G 14th March 1916

14196830800_5e64d31a73_o.jpg

and this one recommended 5 Shillings

Source Daily Mail 26th Aug 1916

14196830340_a98bb16dd5_o.jpg

recommended for a reward

Oct 30th 1916

14380045061_bcf37bf7a5_o.jpg

regards Ray

Edited by RaySearching
correction
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Thanks, Raysearcher, for the three examples. Possibly a pattern is emerging. Although none of the three cases fitted my earlier hypothetical scenario of a constable taking an opportunity when actually off duty, the first two cases comprise a constable using his initiative at a time when he was not looking for any specific AWOL. In the third case, the constable had been detailed to look for a specific AWOL, but used his initiative to go further than accepting the bland parental denial of the presence of the AWOL in the house.

The concept certainly appears odd by modern standards. Possibly it was a surviving vestige of the time when police pay was a pittance, and incentives were deemed to be needed.

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Field punishment could involve being fastened to an object, including a gun, but I've not heard of it being done to one that was firing.

Craig

The regulations for field punishment no 1 were very specific and would not include being tied to a gun that was in action , sounds very much like one of those stories that accreted embellishments with repeated telling

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A number of works covering railways in WW1 have some details of women railway police recruited by some companies. Part of their duties were to patrol stations and provide assistance to soldiers with genuine problems (trying to get home or back from leave), deal with those who had imbibed well but not wisely, but also to keep an eye open for AWOL/deserters. Presumably the latter would be less suspicious/wary of the novel WPCs than the usual male PCs.

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Thanks, Raysearcher, for the three examples. Possibly a pattern is emerging. Although none of the three cases fitted my earlier hypothetical scenario of a constable taking an opportunity when actually off duty, the first two cases comprise a constable using his initiative at a time when he was not looking for any specific AWOL. In the third case, the constable had been detailed to look for a specific AWOL, but used his initiative to go further than accepting the bland parental denial of the presence of the AWOL in the house.

The concept certainly appears odd by modern standards. Possibly it was a surviving vestige of the time when police pay was a pittance, and incentives were deemed to be needed.

A pattern has emerged it appears that the usual sum awarded for the arrest of a deserter was 5 Shillings

(This award made at the discretion of the presiding magistrate)

numerous examples of these awards can be found in the newspaper archives from 1914 to as late as 1919

so far from being unusual it appears to have been a regular practice to award constables for arresting deserters

I also came across an award of 5 shillings made in 1905 for the arrest of a pre war deserter

So the practice of awarding constables for arresting deserters started before the commencement of hostilities

Following are some further examples from newspaper clippings

14203385670_2a4f71b137_b.jpg

Little known facts about the great war emerging from the newspaper archives

Regards Ray

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Good stuff Ray.

All the reports concern Privates. I wonder if any officers were deserters?

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Good stuff Ray.

All the reports concern Privates. I wonder if any officers were deserters?

Do you mean other than Second Lieutenant John Paterson who deserted, killed the MP who tried to arrest him and was subsequently SAD?

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No. I don't mean anyone in particular. Just a general query.

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