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PV Sergeant??


tamiwell
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Hi, does anyone know what a PV Sergeant was? (in reference to a soldier who was serving as a military policeman for the 3rd Brigade Headquarters of the AIF)

Edited by tamiwell
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ah yes that rings a bell!  Thank you!

If a man was made Sergeant in place of ('vice') a Provost Sergeant in the Military Police at Gallipoli (during the landing - the PV was shot), would that mean he was made 'Provost' Sergeant also...or could it just have been Sergeant without the 'Provost' role attached to his promotion...?  Unfortunately the notes in the service records for the time at Gallipoli are not very detailed.

 

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9 minutes ago, tamiwell said:

ah yes that rings a bell!  Thank you!

If a man was made Sergeant in place of ('vice') a Provost Sergeant in the Military Police at Gallipoli (during the landing - the PV was shot), would that mean he was made 'Provost' Sergeant also...or could it just have been Sergeant without the 'Provost' role attached to his promotion...?  Unfortunately the notes in the service records for the time at Gallipoli are not very detailed.

 


If he was replacing the Sergeant that was acting in a Provost capacity man-for-man, as is implied by the term vice then yes, he would also be designated as Provost.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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3 minutes ago, tamiwell said:

wonderful thank you yet again Frogsmile!  I'll stop harassing this forum with questions when all my biographies are written up! : )


Glad to help tamiwell.  I very much admire your efforts to see that these biographies are properly recorded.

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Thank you, I appreciate your expertise, I don't have any experience in military history at all!  It's been quite a challenge, but this forum (and you in particular!) has been such a help.

Can I run something else by you?  If my man served as a military policeman at Gallipoli (he used to be a policeman back home in Australia before the war), but was transferred to the 10th Battalion in 1917 in France - would his service as a military policeman have likely ended at that point?  He was awarded a MM in September when he was 'in charge of carrying parties'.  He was awarded a Bar to the MM in 1918 when in 'command of a section' and 'commanding a patrol'.  He was a Sergeant during all of this.  There is no further reference to him as a policeman at all.  It is interesting because I think he preferred to be identified as a soldier of the '10th Battalion' later in life rather than a policeman for the 3rd Brigade Headquarters....

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1 hour ago, tamiwell said:

Thank you, I appreciate your expertise, I don't have any experience in military history at all!  It's been quite a challenge, but this forum (and you in particular!) has been such a help.

Can I run something else by you?  If my man served as a military policeman at Gallipoli (he used to be a policeman back home in Australia before the war), but was transferred to the 10th Battalion in 1917 in France - would his service as a military policeman have likely ended at that point?  He was awarded a MM in September when he was 'in charge of carrying parties'.  He was awarded a Bar to the MM in 1918 when in 'command of a section' and 'commanding a patrol'.  He was a Sergeant during all of this.  There is no further reference to him as a policeman at all.  It is interesting because I think he preferred to be identified as a soldier of the '10th Battalion' later in life rather than a policeman for the 3rd Brigade Headquarters....


Your question is well made and I can understand why things are not clear.  In essence there are two types of provost.  One relates to unit level appointees made by infantry commanding officers to oversee unit discipline and superintendent soldiers placed in confinement for short sentences as a punishment.  The other is organised at higher formation level and from the 1890s became a small corps in its own right.  These latter worked under the divisional formation staff officer responsible for discipline known as the Assistant Provost Marshal (APM).  The top man was at the level of each Army’s HQ and was a Provost Marshal (PM).  At the lowest, Brigade level was the Deputy Assistant Provost Marshal (DAPM).  The small corps that worked for these men became known as the Corps of Military Police (CMP) - much later becoming ‘Royal’.  To distinguish themselves these men adopted red cap covers and became known as ‘Red Caps’.  
 

As with all the Dominions forces this system was emulated and at some point ANZACs established their own system along similar lines, but with their own headdress.  Both types of Provost carried out their respective roles, sometimes coming into contact with each other, for example when a prisoner was handed over from his unit to be dealt with at a higher level.  
 

The unit level provost did not wear a red cap, but did generally wear an arm band with letters such as PS (provost sergeant) to mark him out, and he invariably also carried a stout walking length stick, or stave too.  He was in charge of a section of helpers known as regimental military policemen, who also wore an arm band (RP or RMP), and they assisted him with his duties.  Unit provost sergeants did not stay in that position permanently and would return to general duty when required, often when promoted or given a break from the role and replaced by another NCO from within the unit.  
 

The red caps carried out a similar role overseeing discipline, but at a higher level, looking out for deserters and men out of their unit lines or camp without permission.  During battle they looked for stragglers and controlled road and track junctions to ensure movement discipline compliance.  For these men the role was more permanent and became their career stream.  In peacetime they recruited only via transfer from other units, but in war it wasn’t uncommon for former civilian policemen to be recruited directly into this role.

 

It seems to me that your man was a formation level provost sergeant for a period, perhaps because he was a former policeman in civilian life, but then later returned to general duties with the infantry, as was entirely normal given that Australia didn’t have a specialised corps at that time.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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 Quote:- "It is interesting because I think he preferred to be identified as a soldier of the '10th Battalion' later in life rather than a policeman for the 3rd Brigade Headquarters...."

 

I don`t know about WW1 or the ANZACs but, in my time, the regimental police were not always among the most popular members of a unit!

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That's what I had figured PhilB.....especially amongst Australians!!  : )

Thank you so much Frogsmile! 

 

So I think that what likely happened then was that he was attached to 3rd Brigade Headquarters, as a military policeman, due to his previous work experience.  When the Provost Sergeant was wounded, he took his place, and likely continued to work in this position (unless relieved) at Gallipoli.  He continued to be attached to the 3rd Brigade Headquarters in an unknown capacity after Gallipoli, until transferred to the 10th Battalion when he likely served as a Sergeant in the regular fashion...  

 

I've attached the papers relevant to have a look at so you can see what I've been trying to decipher.  I think that the 'promoted Sergeant' in May 1915 might have been in error, as it was on the 25/26th of April that he was promoted to take the Provost Sergeants place (recorded on another page and in a letter he wrote), unless he was demoted again and promoted again....if so that doesn't appear in his records at all.  What you said about the unit Provost makes a lot of sense.  This letter he wrote (in July) mentions that a couple of his friends had joined him, but the way he worded it made it sound as though he was sort of in charge somehow....Thanks so much again!  Let me know if you think I've gone off anywhere after looking at the pages : )  I'm so grateful for your advice!

service record 1 - forum.png

service record 2 forum.png

service record 3 forum.png

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I think you’ve interpreted things very well and alongside the “promoted to sergeant” entry is a key aspect in parentheses - “MMP”.  I had omitted to mention that the formation level military policemen were divided in two, Military Mounted Police (MMP - formed from mounted duty units) and Military Foot Police (MFP - formed largely from infantry).  Both elements wore red cap covers in the British service and I suspect that the Australians found an equivalent, most commonly perhaps just an armband.
Your man was thus clearly able to ride.  As regards the point at which he was promoted he might well have been an Acting Sergeant initially and the later date of the two would mark the point at which he was granted the ‘substantive’ rank.  This latter qualifying endorsement was important as it marked the exact point from which his service in that rank became reckonable towards pension, and also his seniority date for any further promotion subsequently.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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wonderful!!  Thank you SO much, this has all come together very nicely!  He grew up on a farm in Scotland, working with horses, so that fits very well with his background.  Now I just need the Glasgow Police Museum to re-open so I can find out if they have anything on him....COVID has really thrown a spanner in the works!

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5 minutes ago, tamiwell said:

wonderful!!  Thank you SO much, this has all come together very nicely!  He grew up on a farm in Scotland, working with horses, so that fits very well with his background.  Now I just need the Glasgow Police Museum to re-open so I can find out if they have anything on him....COVID has really thrown a spanner in the works!


I’m glad to help.  Here are two images of Australian military policemen, then and now.

 

 

D9425D8D-4D8A-4A6F-B07B-7B818942913F.jpeg

A9591576-7AA7-401C-BABC-126D66CAE0B4.jpeg

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4 minutes ago, tamiwell said:

Wow what a great photograph, with the MP band on! and the stick!


Yes and he’s wearing the Stohwasser gaiters contracted by the Australian government since the 2nd Boer War, in the process (along with other, similar contracts), making the Stohwasser family (immigrants to Britain) extremely wealthy, although they lost sons to the war too.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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