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Re: HW Pearson and Military Crime


billbir
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Apologies, if this is the wrong forum.

ENQUIRY DETAIL: I have two newspaper articles dated 20 Jan 1917, which provide a summary of a Central Criminal Court case involving two Army personnel. One of them is named Harold William Pearson, Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant of a Training Reserve Battalion based in Wimbledon. I am 95% sure that this is my grandfather, but would like more details on the incident, to be sure. I believe that my grandfather was a Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant in the King's Royal Rifles and was with the 109 Training reserve at Banbury and Wimbledon. As two of the people involved, were in the Army, I suspect that this may have been the subject of a Court Martial, if so, I would like the details. Not sure if the Court Martial, would take place before or after the criminal trial period which would be 1916/7. The National Archives ref: for the trial was CRIM9/63. I would also like to know when my grandfather joined the Army and whether he saw action. Any assistance would be much appreciated.






Crime, Prisons & Punishment
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First name:
Harold William
Last name:
Pearson
Age:
32
Year of birth:
1885
Occupation:
Regimental Quartermaster-Sergeant
Date the court session started:
9 Jan 1917
Area of court:
Surrey
Record source:
Central Criminal Court: After Trial Calendars of Prisoners
The National Archives reference:
CRIM9/63
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A check for a Medal Index Card will show if he served out of UK & earned campaign medals. He was young enough & maybe after the legal stuff was over. Good luck in your research.

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Perhaps some clarification of the legal angle may help.

Normally, a charge against a soldier of fraud involving Army funds on Army premises would be dealt with by court martial.

However, if the case included civilians involved in the fraud, the civilians could not be dealt with by court martial, so the whole matter would be dealt with by the civilian police (possibly with some assistance from the Military Police) and brought before a civilian court, in this case the Old Bailey, as the Central Criminal Court has been popularly known.

Therefore, under the double jeopardy rule, by which a person may not be tried by two different courts for exactly the same offence, there would not ordinarily be a court martial.

Theoretically, the Military Police could decide to "throw the book" by bringing some purely military charge such as "conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline", but it would have to wait until the criminal matter had been dealt with, and if the man had already been convicted and sentenced at the Old Bailey, probably to imprisonment, that does not seem very likely.

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Thanks for your replies, but I still have not managed to confirm 100% that it was my grandfather. I really need something that confirms his birthplace or some similar evidence. Thanks anyway.

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You could try the C.C.C. (Old Bailey) office and see if they have reports of the case.

I know the ones up to 1913 have been put online.

I would love to see scans of the newspaper cuttings.

Zeb

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post-20192-0-70962800-1414423318_thumb.jpost-20192-0-95964600-1414423325_thumb.j

A Canteen Swindle. The Times (London, England), Monday, Jan 22, 1917; pg. 5; Issue 41382. (539 words)

© Times Newspapers Limited - not to be reproduced other than for personal/educational use

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FreeBMD.org reveals only one Harold William Pearson b. Dec. 1880-Dec. 1890 in England & Wales; birth registered Q3, 1886, West Ham so he must (???) be your grandfather.

Similarly, no death registered E&W, Dec. 1916-Dec. 1983; either still alive, or died overseas.

JMB

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HW Pearson married Emily Bertha Halls, registered Q1, 1907, West Ham.

Death was registered Q4, 1931, Coventry from E&W Death Index (apparently, FreeBMD missed him).

JMB

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1911 Census gives him as married (Bertha E. + 3 children) and an assistant secretary to a clergyman.

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HW Pearson married Emily Bertha Halls, registered Q1, 1907, West Ham.

Death was registered Q4, 1931, Coventry from E&W Death Index (apparently, FreeBMD missed him).

JMB

In the other Topic on Pearson, the OP says he met his wife at Banbury while the battalion was in billets there Feb-May 1916, so he may have re-married.

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Harold William Pearson is covered by these various topics (includes this topic):

Re: Harold William Pearson- Kings Royal Rifles

Re: HW Pearson and Military Crime

Re: Harold William Pearson- Court Martial Records 1916/7

Kings Royal Rifles, 109 Training Reserve

Newbie Question re Harold William Pearson

King's Royal Rifles - Training Reserves

In some of these topics, Bill also refers to a topic posted in the Photos section, but I haven't not been able to find that yet.

Also Pal @Phil Evans helped Bill on another Forum back in 2009: http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=389848.0

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HW Pearson married Emily Bertha Halls, registered Q1, 1907, West Ham.

..

1911 Census gives him as married (Bertha E. + 3 children) and an assistant secretary to a clergyman.

In the other Topic on Pearson, the OP says he met his wife at Banbury while the battalion was in billets there Feb-May 1916, so he may have re-married.

Thanks for your reply. Unfortunately, I cannot find a marriage certificate and I believe that he abandoned his wife and family, to create another life with my grandmother. It was said that they met, when he called at her house in Banbury, to billet troops.

I suspect that he may have been involved with the Army, before the War, but cannot prove it. Two of his brothers were professional soldiers, well before the war. In the 1911 census, his occupation was listed as Assistant Secretary for a Church, however, later on in the year, there was a tragic death, of his baby son, which had my grandfather's occupation, as Drill Instructor. This sounds to me a bit military, but may be I am adding 2+2 to make 5

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I've been digging for a lead on the officer who was implicated by Howe at the trial (see The Times extract above).

No luck so far, but that could be a good line of enquiry for further investigation.

An officer involved in the swindle could well explain why a man of otherwise good character went astray and may also be a factor in Grenfell's involvement.

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  • Admin

The card posted here - http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=94554&p=921726 - seems like a good possibility.

Although it shows private this is likely what he ended up as. 26/9/1914 date of enlistment could also tally with a discharged pre war man but I can't find an obvious matching entry on the medal rolls for more information.

EDIT:

Edited to correct as my brain isn't working today - I blame the wife who's kindly shared her cold with me.

Craig

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The card posted here

EDIT - details repeated here for convenience

Description Medal card of Pearson, Harold W

Corps Regiment No Rank

Labour Corps Home Service Employment Company ex King's Royal Rifle Corps 504807 Private

Date 1914-1920

Catalogue reference WO 372/15

seems like a good possibility.

Although it shows private this is likely what he ended up as. 26/9/1914 date of entry also tallies with a pre war man but I can't find an obvious matching entry on the medal rolls for more information.

Craig

Do we think it is possible he served his 18 months hard labour from his conviction for the canteen fraud in a Labour Corps unit?

That could also explain the omission of his QMS status, which presumably he forfeited.

The MIC above is for a Silver War Badge. Unfortunately the Labour Corps SWB roll does not appear to make use of the "Served Overseas"" column.

I suspect Pearson never went overseas in the Great War, hence the lack of campaign medals, although again, could he have forfeited his right to campaign medals on his conviction?

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Do we think it is possible he served his 18 months hard labour from his conviction for the canteen fraud in a Labour Corps unit?

That could also explain the omission of his QMS status, which presumably he forfeited.

The MIC above is for a Silver War Badge. Unfortunately the Labour Corps SWB roll does not appear to make use of the "Served Overseas"" column.

I suspect Pearson never went overseas in the Great War, hence the lack of campaign medals, although again, could he have forfeited his right to campaign medals on his conviction?

It's a difficult one to call isn't it - he was sentenced to 18 months but we don't know what he served (if anything) and once out of any sentence he'd have been liable for further military service.

The SWB roll doesn't help too much as it also doesn't have the age recorded and there's no obvious medal roll entry regarding any service medals.

Craig

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In the other Topic on Pearson, the OP says he met his wife at Banbury while the battalion was in billets there Feb-May 1916, so he may have re-married.

Sorry, but I did not mention 'wife'. I have found no marriage record and believe that they just lived together, as man and wife. His legal wife was Bertha Emily Halls. It was having two families, that caused him to defraud the government, (my opinion).

Bill

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It's a difficult one to call isn't it - he was sentenced to 18 months but we don't know what he served (if anything) and once out of any sentence he'd have been liable for further military service.

The SWB roll doesn't help too much as it also doesn't have the age recorded and there's no obvious medal roll entry regarding any service medals.

Craig

Hi Craig,

I do not know if this helps, but H W Pearson, my grandfather, had his first child, with my grandmother (not married), on 18 June 1917, son being called William Harold. At this time he had been sentenced to Imprisonment. The next child they had was my Aunt Marie, and that was in September 1919. It may be a coincidence but the timing, suggests that he was not available for procreation!

Bill

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Sorry, but I did not mention 'wife'. I have found no marriage record and believe that they just lived together, as man and wife. His legal wife was Bertha Emily Halls. It was having two families, that caused him to defraud the government, (my opinion).

Bill

The Times report also mentions an officer was involved who was clearly named in court by Howe, but whose name was not given by The Times.

Pearson may have been in a difficult position if he was under pressure from a corrupt officer.

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The Times report also mentions an officer was involved who was clearly named in court by Howe, but whose name was not given by The Times.

Pearson may have been in a difficult position if he was under pressure from a corrupt officer.

Yes, he was certainly between the rock and the hard place, with two families and a possibly corrupt officer. He may have thought that he had to go down this route.

Just another bit of detail:- His last child with Bertha Emily, was in 1916 and his first with my grandmother in September, so no wonder he was under pressure, from both sides!

Incidentally, how do I get photos on to this site, as I have not found any instructions.

Bill

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The card posted here

EDIT - details repeated here for convenience

Description Medal card of Pearson, Harold W

Corps Regiment No Rank

Labour Corps Home Service Employment Company ex King's Royal Rifle Corps 504807 Private

Date 1914-1920

Catalogue reference WO 372/15

seems like a good possibility.

Although it shows private this is likely what he ended up as. 26/9/1914 date of entry also tallies with a pre war man but I can't find an obvious matching entry on the medal rolls for more information.

Craig

Do we think it is possible he served his 18 months hard labour from his conviction for the canteen fraud in a Labour Corps unit?

That could also explain the omission of his QMS status, which presumably he forfeited.

The MIC above is for a Silver War Badge. Unfortunately the Labour Corps SWB roll does not appear to make use of the "Served Overseas"" column.

I suspect Pearson never went overseas in the Great War, hence the lack of campaign medals, although again, could he have forfeited his right to campaign medals on his conviction?

H W Pearson C/249 was in A Company of the 16th KRRC from 1914. He held the rank of CQMS and was the Orderly Room Sergeant. Before the war he worked at CLB Headquarters...in the stores maybe? He is pictured in The Brigade for January 1915 with the Lt. Col., the Major and a couple of others. Hope to put a picture up soon. Cannot help with any further information.

Over in one of the other topics, Pal @conijoni has come up trumps with an identification for Pearson from the CLB records.

A KRRC Service Number of C/249 would be an early enlistment into 16/KRRC and almost always from a Church Lads Brigade background as is definitely the case here with Pearson.

There is no MIC for C/249, so it looks like he did not go overseas, but remained behind with the Reserve companies that eventually became 19/KRRC and then 109th Bn., Training Reserve.

Thanks to Johnny, we can eliminate all of the various other Pearsons with KRRC and Labour Corps service.

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  • Admin
Do we think it is possible he served his 18 months hard labour from his conviction for the canteen fraud in a Labour Corps unit?

If he had a reduced sentence then it's possible he was released and then re-enlisted.

The problem with the LC man on the SWB is the enlistment date of 26/9/14 - the other 'C' numbers are pretty good at staying in date sequence.

C228 19 Sep 1914

C249 XX XXX 1914

C672 23 Sep 1914

C674 23 Sep 1914

C761 26 Sep 1914

C1139 10 Nov 1914

Craig

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