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Craigellachie

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Craigellachie

I have been researching my family tree and recently discovered a few facts about my grandfather John Brockett on my local library's Ancestry account.

He firstly signed up on the 4th August 1914 in Glasgow and was in The RFA Artillery 35th Battery and joined up for 6 years. His number was 7884.

There is a fair number of questions about this but don't expect anyone can answer them....he said he was single! My grandmother was heavily pregnant and they had married a few moths prior. my grandmother wrote a letter to the army and provided marriage and both certificates. The story moves on and he is discharged on 31st October as he's "not being likely to become an efficient soldier. He had some issues in the the three months getting into trouble with the army authorities.

The next thing is he signs up again, this time at Fort George near Inverness. He signed up on 5th November 1915. His number is 10644. He gives his age as 5 years older than he is and states he had no previous service. Later on in his service he is transferred to the Machine Gun Corps.He was eventually discharged on 31st January 1919.

I understand that he was promoted to Lance Corporal and this stripe was taken from him for being AWOL. He was AWOL on a number of occasions and "jailed" several times. I have wondered how he was not shot for this due to the number of times he got into this kind of trouble. He was even sent back to Glasgow to work in Sir William Arrol's.

Any comments, advice or information would be greatly welcomed.

 

 

 

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Polar Bear

Hello and welcome to the Forum.

 

You have an 'interesting' relative. (I've recently discovered in my past someone with an only slightly improved disciplinary record!)

 

Other than the not being shot bit I'm not sure what you want to know about him. As to that it should be noted that contrary to public opinion 'only' 306 executions were carried out of the many that were sentenced. This is a staggeringly small percentage of the entire army. In other words one had to be incrediby unlucky to have it happen to you. Did it happen? Unfortunately yes, but as far as I understand it the sentences your relative received are far more in line with army regulations that anything worse. Not that being imprisoned by the army would be pleasant.

 

[Also as per forum rules could you attribute where you got those records - I know you hint that it was Ancestry, but could you make it clear]

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Craigellachie
Posted (edited)

Thanks Polar Bear. Yes these documents are from Ancestry. I am very interested by him. I think he was a chancer!!! 

His brother James McFarlane Brockett was a private in the Machine Gun Corp and died of wounds on 28th September 1918 and is buried in France ( this is all I know about James.

 His son John Brockett, Serjeant, 172 Battery, 58 Lt. A.A. Regiment, Royal Artillery. Died between 24th-27th May 1940. Son of John and Agnes Brockett, of Clydebank, Dunbartonshire. Age: 26.

He also had cousins who fought in WW1. His cousin was gassed at the Somme. There are not too many Brocketts who lived in Glasgow at this time and I wonder if this had an impact on my grandfather. 

 

 

Edited by Craigellachie

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Craigellachie

This is John Brockett's record sheet and other documents from Ancestry. I don't think you will see records like this Polar Bear

 

 

1 hour ago, Craigellachie said:

You have an 'interesting' relative. (I've recently discovered in my past someone with an only slightly improved disciplinary record!)

 

 

 

 

 

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miuk1914f_127425-00135.jpg

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Matlock1418
Posted (edited)

BROCKETT, John.  Spr., WR/352592 has a Pension Ledger - thanks to the WFA/Fold3

Gives year of birth as 1885

Pension from 1.2.1919

Treatment file opened 5.8.21

Notes to 1924

Heart disease DAH - Due to

181 Westmuir St., Parkhead, Glasgow

Edited by Matlock1418
addition

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Michelle Young

For clarification, DAH is disordered action of the heart.

Michelle

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Craigellachie
38 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

BROCKETT, John.  Spr., WR/352592 has a Pension Ledger - thanks to the WFA/Fold3

Gives year of birth as 1885

Pension from 1.2.1919

Treatment file opened 5.8.21

Notes to 1924

Heart disease DAH - Due to

181 Westmuir St., Parkhead, Glasgow

I know that this date of birth is wrong. When he signed up for the second time he said he was 26 when he was only 21. He changed a lot of details! 

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Matlock1418
4 minutes ago, Craigellachie said:

I know that this date of birth is wrong. When he signed up for the second time he said he was 26 when he was only 21. He changed a lot of details! 

What a lad!

Have you looked at Scotlands People?  https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

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Craigellachie
58 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

What a lad!

Have you looked at Scotlands People?  https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

I have fully researched Scotlandspeople and found out quite a lot about him. I am able to source a direct line back to approx  1790! There’s quite a lot of information on him in Ancestry war records but some are “burnt” and some difficult to read the handwriting. I also don’t know what the acronyms mean. Thanks for your comments. 

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Matlock1418
Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, Craigellachie said:

I also don’t know what the acronyms mean

There are a few!

 

FP No. 2 is a common entry for such a naughty boy = Field Punishment No. 2 - the subject of much previous comment on GWF and a quick web search will readily enlighten.

TLLT describes http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/a-soldiers-life-1914-1918/military-crimes-1914-1918-british-army/

 

Just list the ones you are interested in [typed or selected image clippings] and I'm sure the answers will quickly flow in.

Edited by Matlock1418

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Craigellachie
1 hour ago, Matlock1418 said:

There are a few!

 

FP No. 2 is a common entry for such a naughty boy = Field Punishment No. 2 - the subject of much previous comment on GWF and a quick web search will readily enlighten.

TLLT describes http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/soldiers/a-soldiers-life-1914-1918/military-crimes-1914-1918-british-army/

 

Just list the ones you are interested in [typed or selected image clippings] and I'm sure the answers will quickly flow in.

Thanks 👍

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FROGSMILE
Posted (edited)

‘Absent without leave’ (AWOL) is a charge used when a man absences himself by not returning to his accommodation (barracks, camp lines, or authorised billet) on the date and or time that he was required to.  This charge was often placed when a man did not return from leave, or from authorised walking-out from camp/barracks limits.  Such offences usually incurred a fine (deprivation of so many days pay), some days confined to camp/barracks, or field punishment.

It’s only if in the line and abandoning his post, or place of duty that a man risks a charge of ‘desertion’, for which the ultimate penalty was execution by firing squad (but relatively rarely carried out, as mentioned above).

Edited by FROGSMILE

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Craigellachie
39 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

‘Absent without leave’ (AWOL) is a charge used when a man absences himself by not returning to his accommodation (barracks, camp lines, or authorised billet) on the date and or time that he was required to.  This charge was often placed when a man did not return from leave, or from authorised walking-out from camp/barracks limits.  Such offences usually incurred a fine (deprivation of so many days pay), some days confined to camp/barracks, or field punishment.

It’s only if in the line and abandoning his post, or place of duty that a man risks a charge of ‘desertion’, for which the ultimate penalty was execution by firing squad (but relatively rarely carried out, as mentioned above).

Thanks for this information. Is there anyway I can get information about his “postings”. I thought I saw a reference him being in India. He was also in France. Thanks 

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FROGSMILE
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Craigellachie said:

Thanks for this information. Is there anyway I can get information about his “postings”. I thought I saw a reference him being in India. He was also in France. Thanks 

 
His personal movements were listed only in his ‘service record’, the vast majority of which were destroyed in WW2 bombing of the London docklands.  You might be lucky that his has survived, but it’s unlikely.  Unit movements have been recorded though, and many unit ‘war diaries’ have survived, but rarely mention names of those below the rank of commissioned officer.  Nevertheless, you can get at least a sense of what he probably experienced.

 

Edit:  I’ve just realised that you have at least part of his service record in the burnt series above.  Unfortunately the important  ‘Statement of the Services’ section is burnt all down the left side of its first page where the locations would be.  You can just see the word ‘depot’ on one part but the rest is all burnt away.

 

The sequence he served is clear; initially Royal Regiment of Artillery (RF and RHA), then Machine Gun Corps, and finally Royal Engineers.  His only operational service seems to have been with the MGC.  After training at the MGC Training Centre, Grantham (Lincs), he then served in France and Flanders. He spent less than a year in France, was first with 167 Company MGC  (spending most of his time in hospital) and then went to 12 Company MGC, where he fell out from a route march, which indicates he was still physically unfit.  
 

His disciplinary record was truly appalling, albeit a litany of relatively minor offences usually involving absence.  The fact that he was retained is a testimony of how desperate the Army was for manpower from 1916, when it was truly recognised that the country was in it for the long haul.  The overall impression is that he hated Army life and being told what to do and where to be.
 

All his service with the Royal Engineers was in Britain, seemingly with the Inland Waterways and Docks (IWD) division of the RE, and based at Bristol and Portbury Docks.  With two periods of AWOL he was the first time Confined to Barracks (CB) for a period of days and the second time sentenced to 28-days Detention, which he would have served in the unit or garrison cells (often at the back of a Guardroom), depending upon the local availability.  28-days was the maximum that a unit’s officer commanding (OC) could award under the manual of military law.  Above that would have required the sanction of a court martial. He had already served a period of 28-days detention a few months earlier.  He was hardly ever at work it would seem.

Edited by FROGSMILE

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Matlock1418

 

2 hours ago, Craigellachie said:

He was also in France.

As for his overseas service - I could only spot Boulogne [landed] and Le Treport [hospitalconvalescence]

But I am sure not just a seaside/beach holiday.

 

One might wonder if his falling out of a route march without permission and hospitalisation in France may perhaps have been an indicator of questionable health [as apparently accepted by his disability pension after discharge]

 

Couldn't find War Diaries for 167 and 12 Companies MGC at the National Archives.

[but there are others on GWF who are much better at finding such records if they still exist - if they can be found and are digitised they will be free to download at the present time]

 

18 hours ago, Craigellachie said:

I don't think you will see records like this

45 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

His disciplinary record was truly appalling, albeit a litany of relatively minor offences

Quite a record!

Perhaps good when he is good, and yet prone to being rather bad.

I think he got away somewhat lightly on his 'Particulars as to Character'.

On his discharge against the question "Is he reliable?" = "Fairly"

!!! ??? ;-)  :-/

:-) M

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FROGSMILE
Posted (edited)

Yes I think that he was already quite unfit when first enlisted with the RFA, but that is probably a reflection of the cursory medical inspections that became notorious in the early months of the war.

 

It’s strange that he ended up with the RE given that he was supposedly transferred to the W Class Reserve, which the longlongtrail states was:

 

“Class W Reserve and its Territorial Force equivalent Class W(T)

Introduced in June 1916 by Army Order 203/16 under Section 12 of the recent Military Service Act. This new class of reserve was ‘for all those soldiers whose services are deemed to be more valuable to the country in civil rather than military employment’. Men in these classes were to receive no emoluments from army funds and were not to wear uniform. They were liable at any time to be recalled to the colours. From the time a man was transferred to Class W, until being recalled to the Colours, he was not subject to military discipline.”

 

“Authorisation was given in early December 1918 for all classes of the P and W Reserves (with the exception of conscientious objectors in the latter case) to be discharged forthwith, irrespective of their original terms of engagement.”

 

I was also intrigued to read that he went to Inland Waterways and Docks in the Bristol and Portbury area, and wonder if he had some relevant skill from civilian life that was thought to have been potentially of some use there.

Edited by FROGSMILE

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Matlock1418
Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

It’s strange that he ended up with the RE given that he was supposedly transferred to the W Class Reserve

 

23 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

I was also intrigued to read that he went to Inland Waterways and Docks in the Bristol and Portbury area, and wonder if he had some relevant skill from civilian life that was thought to have been potentially of some use there.

 

It is interesting to note that he was supposed to go to Sir William Arrol & Co. = Apparently makers of bridges - especially iron/steel ones.

 

On his enlistment in 1914 he stated that his Trade or Occupation was "Hammerman" - I believe this is a name for someone who worked with the processing of steel / possibly drop-forging [as they used drop-forging 'hammers' to mechanically process and form it {no we are not talking about 2lb or lump hammers! - often many tons}] - would seem to suit a "W" Classification

Edited by Matlock1418
addit/clarification

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TullochArd
Posted (edited)

……..a striker, or forge striker was apparently known as a hammerman or smith's hammerman in Scotland.  His MIC shows the BWM/BVM on an RE Medal Roll?

 

 

Edited by TullochArd

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FROGSMILE
Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

 

 

It is interesting to note that he was supposed to go to Sir William Arrol & Co. = Apparently makers of bridges - especially iron/steel ones.

 

On his enlistment in 1914 he stated that his Trade or Occupation was "Hammerman" - I believe this is a name for someone who worked with the processing of steel / possibly drop-forging [as they used drop-forging 'hammers' to mechanically process and form it {no we are not talking about 2lb or lump hammers! - often many tons}] - would seem to suit a "W" Classification


I think that you’ve cracked it and that he probably was intended to work on the sluice gates and bridges that featured so strongly on the waterways.  I’ve read that another trade specifically sent to work with IWD RE was that of stone mason, who presumably would have been needed for slipways, steps and jetty’s, etc.

Edited by FROGSMILE

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Matlock1418
3 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

I think that you’ve cracked it and that he probably was intended to work on the sluice gates and bridges that featured so strongly on the waterways.

Seems likely.

For small stuff then a blacksmith would probably do.

But for big stuff you need a bigger hammer!

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FROGSMILE
1 minute ago, Matlock1418 said:

Seems likely.

For small stuff then a blacksmith would probably do.

But for big stuff you need a bigger hammer!


Well Bristol and Portbury were substantial and would have had some large structures connected with the waterways. I doubt that he ever did a days work going by his record though.

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Craigellachie
1 hour ago, FROGSMILE said:

Yes I think that he was already quite unfit when first enlisted with the RFA, but that is probably a reflection of the cursory medical inspections that became notorious in the early months of the war.

 

It’s strange that he ended up with the RE given that he was supposedly transferred to the W Class Reserve, which the longlongtrail states was:

 

“Class W Reserve and its Territorial Force equivalent Class W(T)

Introduced in June 1916 by Army Order 203/16 under Section 12 of the recent Military Service Act. This new class of reserve was ‘for all those soldiers whose services are deemed to be more valuable to the country in civil rather than military employment’. Men in these classes were to receive no emoluments from army funds and were not to wear uniform. They were liable at any time to be recalled to the colours. From the time a man was transferred to Class W, until being recalled to the Colours, he was not subject to military discipline.”

 

“Authorisation was given in early December 1918 for all classes of the P and W Reserves (with the exception of conscientious objectors in the latter case) to be discharged forthwith, irrespective of their original terms of engagement.”

 

I was also intrigued to read that he went to Inland Waterways and Docks in the Bristol and Portbury area, and wonder if he had some relevant skill from civilian life that was thought to have been potentially of some use there.

He worked as a Hammerman and steel erector prior to enlisting in 1914. 

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Matlock1418
22 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

I doubt that he ever did a days work going by his record though.

The strange irony is that if he had gone to Sir William Arrol & Co, rather than the RE, then he probably would have earn't more pay and the nation would probably also have got more work out of him!

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FROGSMILE
Just now, Craigellachie said:

He worked as a Hammerman and steel erector prior to enlisting in 1914. 


Yes, posts #17 onward refer...

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Craigellachie
24 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:


Well Bristol and Portbury were substantial and would have had some large structures connected with the waterways. I doubt that he ever did a days work going by his record though.

I think you’re right there! He went to America in the early 1920s and guess what....he ended up in hospital. His wife need to apply for poor relief with three children! 

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