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Drunkenness stats, officers -v- ORs punishment


LinaMoffitt
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Are there any stats on men tried for Drunkenness or men tried for anything?

I'd be interested to learn how many officers and how many OR's faced FGCM for drunkenness and the difference in their punishments . So far, I've seen that OR's get FP1 and have their pay docked while officers get cashiered or slapped on the wrist.

not being a military person, I was also wondering whether this is the norm (i.e. post WW1)?

thanks Lina

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This won't directly answer your question, Lina, because the First Canadian Contingent was not a typical unit, having been hastily assembled from militia men, civilians and immigrants, with inexperienced officers. When it arrived on Salisbury Plain in England, discipline was a problem. One officer's wife reported that Salisbury looked as if it were in the hands of the Germans:

"A picket goes around every night dragging drunken Canadians out of pubs. The night I was there, there were 100 arrests, including 22 officers. The fault is with the officers. They have no control over the men, in fact are just as bad. Managers of London theatres have written to the authorities, demanding to know what they are to do with drunken officers; civilians they know what to do with and also the Tommies, but drunken officers they have no precedent for."
(N. M. Christie, editor, Letters of Agar Adamson, Nepean, 1997)
Drunkenness local to the Plain (where the Canadian camps were concentrated) appears to have consisted of Other Ranks being confined to camp, but when it occurred away from there offenders were dealt with by the civil courts.
The war diary of the Divisional Supply Train makes a rare reference to an officer being punished whilst based on the Plain. He was Lieutenant Geoffrey Lafferty who, having twice been charged with drunkenness, was ordered home to Canada.
Moonraker
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Lina

I an currently researching officers of the Inland Water Transport and have come across a number of officers who were in the UK waiting to go to Mesopotamia, or already in that theatre, who were dismissed from the service for being drunk ashore or had been drinking whilst in command of a vessel. There are a few others who faced disciplinary action for drink related offences, but because of problems with evidence, were forced to resign their commissions in any event.

TR

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... dismissed from the service ... forced to resign their commissions ...

TR

Without wishing to sidetrack the discussion so early on, my first reaction was that this could have been "an easy way out" of military service, but perhaps later in the war such officers were liable to be conscripted into the ranks?

Moonraker

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Without wishing to sidetrack the discussion so early on, my first reaction was that this could have been "an easy way out" of military service, but perhaps later in the war such officers were liable to be conscripted into the ranks?

Any officer who was dismissed or resigned his commission immediately became liable for military service (post Military Service Act, of course). I've come across a few cases of officers who were conscripted within weeks of losing their commissions.

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Lina,

At the National Archives there is a register of officers FGCM register under WO-90-6, although it does cover a few OR's, most or a lot of the cases are for drunkeness with penalties varying from dismissal, cashiered, seriously reprimanded of forfeiture of seniority. There are 2 registers, 1 for 1914-16, 2nd is 1917-18 and just cover overseas. These are large books so I am not sure how the attachment will come out, i.e. first page 1 Cowardice, 8 drunks and a few other lesser charges, 2nd page 11 drunkeness, 1 murder (not guilty), page 3 9 drunkeness, 1 disobeying an order, 1 absence and disobeying an order, 1 cowardice.

Andy

post-1871-0-97361200-1422275618_thumb.jp

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Any officer who was dismissed or resigned his commission immediately became liable for military service (post Military Service Act, of course). I've come across a few cases of officers who were conscripted within weeks of losing their commissions.

This is something that I posted on several yeas ago. This did not apply to theses men though because of their age.

TR

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Are there any stats on men tried for Drunkenness or men tried for anything?

I'd be interested to learn how many officers and how many OR's faced FGCM for drunkenness and the difference in their punishments . So far, I've seen that OR's get FP1 and have their pay docked while officers get cashiered or slapped on the wrist.

not being a military person, I was also wondering whether this is the norm (i.e. post WW1)?

thanks Lina

Drunkenness could be dealt with by General Courts Martial, District Courts Martial or Field General Courts Martial. The totals for Officers and ORs of all three during the war was 1,856 and 39,906 respectively. The numbers for FGCM only are 161 and 33,104 respectively.

In the list of offences, drunkenness was by far the most common offence for Officers, representing 31.2% of all proceedings followed by Miscellaneous Offences (24.8%). For ORs, drunkenness ran third to Absence (29.2% of proceedings) and Miscellaneous Offences (16.7%). Drunkenness represented 13.4% of all proceedings against ORs.

The most common punishment (all offences) for Officers was Reprimand (59.8% of all convictions) followed by Dismissal (18.2%)

The most common punishment (all offences) for Other Ranks (aside from imprisonment) was FP No.1 (20% of all convictions) followed by Dismissal (18.2%)

The data does not resolve the punishments against the offences.

The Manual of Military Law will set the limits of what punishment could be awarded for drunkenness.

MG

Source: SMEBE page 669-670

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Drunkenness could be dealt with by General Courts Martial, District Courts Martial or Field General Courts Martial. The totals for Officers and ORs of all three during the war was 1,856 and 39,906 respectively. The numbers for FGCM only are 161 and 33,104 respectively.

In the list of offences, drunkenness was by far the most common offence for Officers, representing 31.2% of all proceedings followed by Miscellaneous Offences (24.8%). For ORs, drunkenness ran third to Absence (29.2% of proceedings) and Miscellaneous Offences (16.7%). Drunkenness represented 13.4% of all proceedings against ORs.

The most common punishment (all offences) for Officers was Reprimand (59.8% of all convictions) followed by Dismissal (18.2%)

The most common punishment (all offences) for Other Ranks (aside from imprisonment) was FP No.1 (20% of all convictions) followed by Dismissal (18.2%)

The data does not resolve the punishments against the offences.

The Manual of Military Law will set the limits of what punishment could be awarded for drunkenness.

MG

Source: SMEBE page 669-670

thanks Martin, that information is very useful. I think it is also down to the attitude of the CO and the severity of drunkenness of the individual, whether they were off duty etc., whether they played up or kept a low profile, whether it hampered their ability to carry out duties.

regards, Lina

This won't directly answer your question, Lina, because the First Canadian Contingent was not a typical unit, having been hastily assembled from militia men, civilians and immigrants, with inexperienced officers. When it arrived on Salisbury Plain in England, discipline was a problem. One officer's wife reported that Salisbury looked as if it were in the hands of the Germans:

"A picket goes around every night dragging drunken Canadians out of pubs. The night I was there, there were 100 arrests, including 22 officers. The fault is with the officers. They have no control over the men, in fact are just as bad. Managers of London theatres have written to the authorities, demanding to know what they are to do with drunken officers; civilians they know what to do with and also the Tommies, but drunken officers they have no precedent for."
(N. M. Christie, editor, Letters of Agar Adamson, Nepean, 1997)
Drunkenness local to the Plain (where the Canadian camps were concentrated) appears to have consisted of Other Ranks being confined to camp, but when it occurred away from there offenders were dealt with by the civil courts.
The war diary of the Divisional Supply Train makes a rare reference to an officer being punished whilst based on the Plain. He was Lieutenant Geoffrey Lafferty who, having twice been charged with drunkenness, was ordered home to Canada.
Moonraker

Hi, thanks for your response. Was using the Canadians just an example? (as I wasnt just referring to Canadians). I wonder whether any particular nationality was worse than another - or is that what you were getting at?

regards, Lina

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It's just that I've studied the First Canadian Contingent on Salisbury Plain, Lina, and I was able to cut & paste from an existing document!. As I said, it was not a typical unit, its original 35,000 men having been hastily recruited shortly after war broke out. The familiarity between its officers and men was noted, and often frowned on, by the British Army. Many of them were also better off than their British counterparts, so had more money to spend in bars.

There are Canadian members of this forum who may understandably object to my singling out their countrymen, though it was suggested back in 1914 that the worst offenders were quite recent immigrants from Britain. By February 1915 a few dozen "bad eggs" had been returned to Canada, junior officers had been told of the errors of their ways and when the First Canadian Division (as it had then become) fought in Europe it quickly won a very good reputation.

Some men of the Australian Imperial Force also had a more relaxed view to discipline than their British counterparts, but I suspect that when in Wiltshire they were subject to sterner policing by provost officers and the like, and I have the impression that offenders were dealt with very firmly.

Moonraker

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A snippet from the 2nd Bn KOSB war diary on mobilisation:

5th Aug 1914. (5th-8th Aug 1914) About 700 reservists arrived, all sober and in good order and mobilization was complete on the 4th day (8th).
General surprise at the absence of difficulties and orderliness of the mobilization.
'Sober' can of course have different meanings, but I often wondered if the diarist had expected them to turn up drunk. Soldiers generally speaking were no strangers to the bottle. R A Lloyd (Life Guards) in his memoirs recalls Irish Dragoon Guards Reservists being roaring drunk during mobilisation and seeing the whole episode as an excuse for a liquid reunion.
I understand that Section D Reservists used to often see the quarterly payment of their salaries as an excuse for a knees up. It would therefore be hardly surprising that old comrades meeting for the firts time in years might want to mark it. I believe PPCLI was largely formed from British Army Reservists residing in Canada. They were in the first Canadian contingent but I think they ended up with a British Brigade pretty quickly. MG
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