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Mick M

On 15.2.15 private Richard Morgan and Lance Corporal William Price were shot for the murder of CSM Hughie Jobs Hayes. 

 

On 20th Jan 1915 the 2 offenders were drunk and shot CSM Hayes thinking he was their platoon sergeant, an account by Robert Graves he records in a letter home late in May was the 2 men reported to the Ajudent to confess the accidental shooting their intended victim being the Platoon Sgt (name not mentioned). The diary for that day had more about the Regimental goat dying of heart failure! But does name price....

 

On 6th Feb both men were convicted of murder sentenced to death and shot at Bethune on 15th.

 

HAYES was a professional and had retired after 18 years early in 1914, the pension was cancelled on call up. Very little info is available on the offenders but they have numbers issued at beginning of the war (Price 12942 - Morgan 11967) 11192 was issued on 20.7.14. Both men entered France on 30.11.14 and the Battalion received 2 large drafts in December to cover massive losses to date.

 

I am assuming the offenders arrived with 2nd in the field on one of the 2 dates mentioned in the diary but feel it's very quick for them to be new recruits. Graves story mentions 2 miners committing the murder and I am sure the diary mentions Colliers   (word very faint )...I am thinking that these 2 men were miners and reservists or special reservists embodied and after minimal training sent to France as replacements?

 

I find Graves account valid, I accept it is word of mouth and therefore likely to be affected by Chinese Whispers but it is relatively recent history, Graves joined the same Company as both the victims and offenders and wrote the account soon after arrival. He also mentions them shouting a Regimental cry of defiance when executed, would they have been shot together and would they use two firing squads etc....there is no mention of the trial or execution in the diary surprisingly but was supposedly witnessed by the men's platoon....

 

Ta

Mick.

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Steven Broomfield

Might be worth sending a PM to Forum Member Muerrisch (spelling?); he knows more about Graves and the RWF than anyone else here.

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Ron Clifton
31 minutes ago, Mick M said:

there is no mention of the trial or execution in the diary surprisingly

Actually, not that surprisingly. Material of a sensitive nature was withdrawn from war diaries before they were deposited at Kew, and placed in separate files in class WO154. I don't think that these files have been made available online.

 

I believe that the two men were either Regular soldiers or recalled reservists, so it is not likely that they were brand-new recruits. The versions of the story which I have read suggest that they were executed together, probably by a single (but larger than usual) firing squad.

 

Ron

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FROGSMILE
37 minutes ago, Steven Broomfield said:

Might be worth sending a PM to Forum Member Muerrisch (spelling?); he knows more about Graves and the RWF than anyone else here.


The incident refers to the Welsh Regiment,  not RWF Steven.

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Mick M
8 minutes ago, Ron Clifton said:

Actually, not that surprisingly. Material of a sensitive nature was withdrawn from war diaries before they were deposited at Kew, and placed in separate files in class WO154. I don't think that these files have been made available online.

 

I believe that the two men were either Regular soldiers or recalled reservists, so it is not likely that they were brand-new recruits. The versions of the story which I have read suggest that they were executed together, probably by a single (but larger than usual) firing squad.

 

Ron

Thank you Ron, I don't think regulars as their numbers were issued after 20th July, the CSM was still using his 4 digit regular number as were others who had been in for a long time...

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Mick M
46 minutes ago, Steven Broomfield said:

Might be worth sending a PM to Forum Member Muerrisch (spelling?); he knows more about Graves and the RWF than anyone else here.

Interestingly, Robert Graves was commissioned with RWF but was sent from IBD to Welch Reg to serve, I sense disappointment in his memoir, but I had read a quick brief somewhere about him and he was said in that to have served with RWF through the war....

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IPT
Posted (edited)

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FROGSMILE

According to Blindfold and Alone, by Corns and Hughes-Wilson, who in turn quote Shot at Dawn by Putkowski and Sykes, “there is no record of the trial, or sentence in the Registers of Court Martial, nor is the case included in the post-war statistics (implying that no records existed of the trial).”  Nevertheless, they concede that there appears little doubt that the murder and executions took place.

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Mick M
1 hour ago, FROGSMILE said:

According to Blindfold and Alone, by Corns and Hughes-Wilson, who in turn quote Shot at Dawn by Putkowski and Sykes, “there is no record of the trial, or sentence in the Registers of Court Martial, nor is the case included in the post-war statistics (implying that no records existed of the trial).”  Nevertheless, they concede that there appears little doubt that the murder and executions took place.

Interesting point, they both appear in CWWGC records, on Ancestry they both have medal roll and card hence the date of being in France. They both have register of effects but no legatee other than that it's as if they never existed.

2 hours ago, IPT said:

Thanks..

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Mick M
10 hours ago, IPT said:

That is a frightening account thanks another one for the shelf...

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ss002d6252

Morgan does have a pension card which states 'shot for murder'. Little else on the card.

https://www.fold3.com/image/669283098?terms=1019,11967,morgan

 

The card would tie in with their having been a relative looking in to a pension - even where one wasn't paid. The numbering etc is consistent with a widows claim having been made in 1915.


Craig

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FROGSMILE

The account makes for sobering reading and one can easily imagine Morgan being a bit dim and, in drink, not believing or mentally processing that his oppo, perhaps making drunken threats, was really going to use his rifle to actually shoot the sergeant.  To be shot as an accessory in such circumstances was a tough break.  It doesn’t seem as if he had a decent defence advocate either.

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ss002d6252

Price's soldiers' effects record shows that his unclaimed estate had been advertised in the London Gazette however no-one claimed the monies.

 

Craig

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sadbrewer
Posted (edited)

Welsh genealogy can be a real minefield, but combining the fairly scanty information on the tree and assuming the names and dates of birth are correct, this census return courtesy of Findmypast looks promising.

 

Screenshot_20200628-105017.jpg

 

Screenshot_20200628-104954.jpg

Edited by sadbrewer

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Steven Broomfield
17 hours ago, FROGSMILE said:


The incident refers to the Welsh Regiment,  not RWF Steven.

 

Thought I saw Graves' name mentioned. My mistake.

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FROGSMILE
3 minutes ago, Steven Broomfield said:

 

Thought I saw Graves' name mentioned. My mistake.


His name was mentioned.  The inquiry related to his attachment with the Welsh before joining his parent regiment for the first time and I wasn’t sure if you realised that when you made your initial post and mentioned RWF.  No slight intended.

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Mick M
5 hours ago, sadbrewer said:

Welsh genealogy can be a real minefield, but combining the fairly scanty information on the tree and assuming the names and dates of birth are correct, this census return courtesy of Findmypast looks promising.

 

Screenshot_20200628-105017.jpg

 

Screenshot_20200628-104954.jpg

Thank you

5 hours ago, IPT said:

Thank you

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Steven Broomfield
1 hour ago, FROGSMILE said:


His name was mentioned.  The inquiry related to his attachment with the Welsh before joining his parent regiment for the first time and I wasn’t sure if you realised that when you made your initial post and mentioned RWF.  No slight intended.

 

I believe (from memory) that Graves covers it in Goodbye to all that, which was why I thought Grumpy might be worth a punt.

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FROGSMILE
Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Steven Broomfield said:

 

I believe (from memory) that Graves covers it in Goodbye to all that, which was why I thought Grumpy might be worth a punt.


Yes, you’re quite right, that was the publication that first brought the story to light that otherwise would probably not have seen the light of day, nor degree of notoriety that it has.  I had been merely trying to avoid what seemed at first look to be potential confusion between RWF and the Welsh Regiment, particularly as the name of the regiment had not been mentioned in the initial post.

Regards....

Edited by FROGSMILE

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Myrtle

Graves didn't arrive in France until May 1915 so his account of Pte. Price and Pte. Morgan's executions would have been very much hearsay. He spoke of the Welsh Regiment being "tough and rough"  and it seems that he was disgusted when he found that he was to be posted to the 2nd Battalion. 

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Knotty

Price & Morgan lay side by side in Bethune Military Cemetery 

DSC_0939.JPG SAD for Murder.JPG

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

Graves didn't arrive in France until May 1915 so his account of Pte. Price and Pte. Morgan's executions would have been very much hearsay. He spoke of the Welsh Regiment being "tough and rough"  and it seems that he was disgusted when he found that he was to be posted to the 2nd Battalion. 


I’m not surprised given the number of rough and ready miners in the area from which they recruited.  It was by some measure the most common occupation.

Edited by FROGSMILE

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