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yperman

Impersonating a deserter

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yperman

The Army Act 1881 s153 and Naval Discipline Act 1866 s.25  (still current in 1914-18) stated " it is a summary offence to falsely represent oneself to be  a deserter".  I have struggled to find a reason why anyone would want to impersonate a deserter. The best guesses I have had are a) to facilitate the escape of the real deserter or b) to protect him by accepting his punishment. Do any members have an ability to shine a light on this offence?

 

Many thanks,

 

Yperman

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voltaire60
2 hours ago, yperman said:

The Army Act 1881 s153 and Naval Discipline Act 1866 s.25  (still current in 1914-18) stated " it is a summary offence to falsely represent oneself to be  a deserter".  I have struggled to find a reason why anyone would want to impersonate a deserter. The best guesses I have had are a) to facilitate the escape of the real deserter or b) to protect him by accepting his punishment. Do any members have an ability to shine a light on this offence?

 

Many thanks,

 

Yperman

 

     Yes- I have come across it locally-though as it was not directly related  to my local casualties, I have no note.  A local man deserted and the Provost came looking for him. The deserter had a younger-underage- brother who used the chance to impersonate his brother and serve with distinction in France- until the older brother was caught and his underage status meant he was booted out per KRs.  I do not think this was a unique case.

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yperman

 

2 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

 

    I do not think this was a unique case.

Thank you Voltaire60. It must have occurred fairly frequently for legislation to be passed. Whilst claiming to be older in order to join up  or using a false name to get a de facto divorce or to lose debts, a bad name or a criminal charge makes sense - to claim to be a deserter does seem to be a bit  extreme.

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Ron Clifton

My personal take is that, if you got a girl into trouble in Cornwall and her brothers came looking for you, claiming to be a deserter from the Argylls would get you a free train ride to Stirling with a police escort. You then told the Army that you weren't a soldier, and without that section of the Army Act there wouldn't be anything the Army could do - though the police might charge you with fraud and/or wasting police time.

 

Ron

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voltaire60
1 hour ago, Ron Clifton said:

My personal take is that, if you got a girl into trouble in Cornwall and her brothers came looking for you, claiming to be a deserter from the Argylls would get you a free train ride to Stirling with a police escort. You then told the Army that you weren't a soldier, and without that section of the Army Act there wouldn't be anything the Army could do - though the police might charge you with fraud and/or wasting police time.

 

Ron

 

      But on the other hand, the Provost and his successors are not known for their sweetness, Christian charity and spirit of goodwill and bonhomme to all men. I suspect the Provost would have taken great care to escort the said man all the way back to the Duchy- and right up to the door of the house where the brothers were -including knocking on the door.

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IPT

In 1939, Patrick Edward Lannen, aged 21, of Spencer Street, Newcastle, twice impersonated a deserter in an attempt to join the Army, and was sentenced at Newcastle to 21 days’ imprisonment for posing as a member of the Royal Tank Corps. 

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IPT

One more;

 

1957 - He Impersonated A Naval Deserter

A 22-YEAR-OLD civilian did not think he would be able to rejoin the Services because of ill-health, so when he met a deserter from the Royal Navy in a fairground at Derby he decided to impersonate him. Magistrates at Portsmouth heard this story on Monday when the civilian. Thomas William Foley. unemployed, of no fixed address, admitted that he fraudulently confessed to being an absentee from one of one of Her Majesty's ships, namely H.M.S. Uadlae. He was fined £5, after admitting three previous convictions.

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Ron Clifton
22 hours ago, voltaire60 said:

I suspect the Provost would have taken great care to escort the said man all the way back to the Duchy- and right up to the door of the house where the brothers were -including knocking on the door.

... and thereby laying themselves open to charges of assault, wrongful detention or kidnapping! I don't think the Army provost authorities had (or have) any rights over civilians except to eject them from military installations and, possibly, to hand them over to the local bobbies.

 

Ron

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voltaire60
9 minutes ago, Ron Clifton said:

... and thereby laying themselves open to charges of assault, wrongful detention or kidnapping! I don't think the Army provost authorities had (or have) any rights over civilians except to eject them from military installations and, possibly, to hand them over to the local bobbies.

 

Ron

 

   The get-out is that if he declared himself a serviceman, the the redcaps could do as they wish until they were satisfied that he proved he was a civilian. Which,basically, was at a time of their choosing.  In Union Street, Plymouth-the main drag towards Devonport and containing at least 32 pubs and attendant tarts, the civil police would not venture on Firday and Saturday night. It was left to the navy shore patrol-who would chuck any drunk in the back of a truck- if there were protests that the man was a civvy-well, all be sorted out in the morning,sonny.On your way

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Loader

I'm sure it many cases the paperwork would move very slowly through the system giving the MPs time to deal with the person in question in any way they deemed necessary.

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