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Zanah Martin

Court Martial and Prison

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Zanah Martin

The British Library has let me down and I'm hoping you can help.

 

In WWI, when a British Army officer was sentenced to three years hard labour following a field general court martial on the Western Front, to which British prison would he be sent? Bonus Question: what form of labor would the hard labor take?

 

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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seaJane

Previous thread on the subject here: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/151723-inprisonment-with-hard-labour/

And another here: https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/55845-military-prisons/

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Ron Clifton

Hello Zanah, and welcome to the Forum!

 

There is a technical point here, in that the maximum term of imprisonment, with or without hard labour, was two years. Sentences of three years or more were for what used to be called "penal servitude", which might also have involved hard labour. The first topic referred to by seaJane lists some of the (civil) prisons to which he might have been sent.

 

The hard labour would often involve rock-breaking and the like, but picking oakum and sewing mailbags were (and possibly still are) variations involved for forgers and pickpockets, because of the inevitable damage to their fingers.

 

Do you have a particular case in mind? Although the actual trial transcripts of FGCMs have not generally been retained, there are registers in the National Archives of trials and their outcomes.

 

Ron

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