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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Corruption at Grove Park


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I've been reading newspaper reports about a General Court Martial that took place in Westminster, in June 1917.


Essentially, they were charging recruits, or their parents, £35 each to ensure staff postings, in order to avoid going to the front.  Baker was apparently the ringleader. There were six cases mentioned, but I suspect that the scheme was much more widespread.


The men involved were;


Staff-Sergeant Walter Alfred Baker. Pleaded not guilty, but he seems certain to have been the ringleader.

Myer Cohen (father had recently given him a £4000 trust). Pleaded guilty.

J H Crane (aged 42, previous military service, son abroad with A.S.C.)


The newspapers promised to publish the outcome, but don't seem to have done so. I'm wondering what became of the men involved. 



Edited by IPT
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There is a Myer Cohen, who appears "in memorium", with a photograph, in the British Jewry Book of honour - "Pte Myer Cohen, R.A.S.C.and R.W. Kent Regt"





Also, G/28597 Myer Cohen, aged 40, died 15/11/1918 and is buried in Willesden Jewish Cemetery - http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/388492/COHEN, M


On the 1911 census, G/28597 appears to have been a commission agent for houses, living in a large house in Hampstead with wife Pearl, three daughters, a governess and three servants.


During the court martial, Cohen had expressed a wish to serve abroad, in order to become a credit to the uniform he wore. I wonder if this is the same man?

Edited by IPT
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Interesting story.


PS. Interesting avatar too by the way.

He looks a bit weird.

The sort that has his thumbnails on back to front.

Who was your last one by the way?

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5 hours ago, spof said:

This looks like them in the register of court martials held at TNA in WO 92. They were all acquitted.


That's them alright.  Bizarre that they were acquitted. Cohen had confessed, and there were numerous witnesses.


Perhaps that's why the outcome doesn't appear to have been promulgated.

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Bizarre case.

Cohen was unlucky wasn't he?  Died of wounds (Gas) 4 days after the armistice.

If they had been found guilty, might the Court Martial merely have ordered them to France for active service anyway?

And if he'd already expressed a wish to go, then a guilty verdict would have been rather superfluous?

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It wouldn't have looked good for the Army or War Office if this situation was proven by a guilty verdict. Even if they could keep the papers quiet with a D Notice (or equivalent) soldiers would have talked and it would be public eventually. Much easier to handle it with transfers.

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