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Captain Alfred Henry Willson RAOC - struck off Army List?


Douglas29
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Having previously sought advice on my great grandfather named above (brief details below), and assistance was kindly given, I now find myself as a final brick wall in his military life.

 

I have found a statement that he was struck off the Army List in 1929 & his pension forfeited, post his retirement due to a conviction (?) on a criminal or civil case - non military.

 

Where would I find any background  as to the reasons why he was struck off or the rules relating to such action to a retired officer?

Any  assistance would be greatly appreciated. 
 

Douglas

 

Background.

Sgt Major Alfred Henry Willson,  number T/14, later commission in June 1918 Lieutenant Assistant lnspector of Ordnance Machinery, RAOC

In Army List 1924 was stated as Lieutenant Assistant lnspector of Ordnance Machinery, RAOC, subsequently promoted to Captain and was the rank at which he retired.

 

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To save Forum Members having to re-research the details

 

This is the thread on him that you originally had

 

 

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This is the LG entry

 

willson.jpg.9af6d07f5c5a3164422e67db414cb6e9.jpg

 

I cannot find a conviction in BNA nor The Times

 

Was he living in the UK in 1929 ?

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Dear Corisande,

 

He was living at 77 Westminster Bridge Road,SE1 London with his partner Kate Selina 

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I don't think that I can solve the conviction, perhaps another forum reader can? A few thoughts

 

1) Have you got his post war service record from MOD, which should give more on this

 

2) I see that his family life was "colourful" as they say in the tabloids, producing children by at least 3 women

    a) Agnes Adams whom he married in 1896, and had children between 1898 and 1914. She lived until 1947 so he presumably left that family during WW1. Did he actually divorce her ?

    b) A child by Marie Delannoy in 1919 which is presumably a wartime liason

    c) Children by Kate Flippence from 1921 to 1929

    d) there is another marriage to a Dorothy Dimmock in 1923 that could be him, but I could not prove it

 

3) He died in 1931. Do you know from death Cert what he died from. Was it Natural Causes ?

 

An obvious thought was to do with his various relationships. But whatever it was , was kept out of the papers

 

In many ways he is an easy man to research with the "ll" in his name. On the other hand, newspapers may have misprinted has name as Wilson, which confuses the issue

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If I were a betting man I’d guess bigamy, which I suspect was in your mind too.  Were there not separate courts for that?

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Many thanks for providing colour and even the possible reason for the civil court case - I am of a like mind as to the direction of travel.

 

To answer Corisande‘s questions:

> I haven‘t as yet received his post war MOD papers as they claim they can‘t be found - I have asked for a relook

> Whilst the family story is that he did divorce, I have not found any evidence thatcher did, so assumption is he did not

> he actually died of a heart attack on his way to the hospital

 

Taking the assumption that he was found to be a bigamist, and proved in court, would that be sufficient reason for being struck off the Army List. Are there any clear regulations on this topic - or would it be put down as action unbecoming an officer - albeit retired.

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Certainly Bigamy would have got him removed from the Army List, as would any crime that involved a prison sentence or a suspended sentence. I am sure that @FROGSMILE knows more about the details of what crimes were unacceptable

 

If you read my write up of a man called Campbell Kelly on this link . You will see the sort of process that was followed

  • He won MM and MC in WW1,
  • was a high level British Intelligence Officer in War of Independence in Ireland for which he got an OBE
  • Was convicted of Fraud in 1928
  • He had married in 1917, had a family , left his wife, and re-married bigamously  in 1939
  • He was awarded a George Medal for air raid gallantry in Coventry in 1940
  • His wife found out from the GM publicity were he was & got him to court in 1941
  • The final result was quite light -  he was bound over for 2 years and ordered to pay his wife £2 per week.
  • He died of natural causes in 1942
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@IPT Those are two fascinating articles. The fate of his children with Kate, after his death is tragic

 

 

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1 hour ago, corisande said:

Certainly Bigamy would have got him removed from the Army List, as would any crime that involved a prison sentence or a suspended sentence. I am sure that @FROGSMILE knows more about the details of what crimes were unacceptable

 

If you read my write up of a man called Campbell Kelly on this link . You will see the sort of process that was followed

  • He won MM and MC in WW1,
  • was a high level British Intelligence Officer in War of Independence in Ireland for which he got an OBE
  • Was convicted of Fraud in 1928
  • He had married in 1917, had a family , left his wife, and re-married bigamously  in 1939
  • He was awarded a George Medal for air raid gallantry in Coventry in 1940
  • His wife found out from the GM publicity were he was & got him to court in 1941
  • The final result was quite light -  he was bound over for 2 years and ordered to pay his wife £2 per week.
  • He died of natural causes in 1942


I’m not sure what you mean.  You’ve covered it by saying that a criminal conviction in civil law carried a severe penalty for any commissioned officer in particular, but it also did for soldiers too.  A suspended sentence can lead to continued service, but I’m not sure if such alternatives to a custodial sentence were on the statute book back then.  There was also censure within the military in addition to the civil law aspect and an officer’s career would often be blighted even if he continued to serve.  Mud sticks, as they say.  This was especially so if women were involved, an example in case being the infamous matter of Colonel Valentine Baker and the lady in a railway carriage.  An incident that I’ve never understood.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Sorry. I was a bit vague :(

 

What I mean is , where was the line drawn

 

Were the repercussions of  fraud as severe whether £1 or £1000 were involved

 

My guess would be that Bigamy would get an officer thrown out, but times were different then

 

Or in the case of Willson, if he had failed to pay his (first) wife maintenance that a court had ordered was that enough

 

Or , to select something silly, if he were done for speeding.

 

I was really looking for where the line was drawn

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22 minutes ago, corisande said:

Sorry. I was a bit vague :(

 

What I mean is , where was the line drawn

 

Were the repercussions of  fraud as severe whether £1 or £1000 were involved

 

My guess would be that Bigamy would get an officer thrown out, but times were different then

 

Or in the case of Willson, if he had failed to pay his (first) wife maintenance that a court had ordered was that enough

 

Or , to select something silly, if he were done for speeding.

 

I was really looking for where the line was drawn


As far as I understand, it would be instant dismissal for any civil conviction that attracted a prison sentence.  It was also a military offence to commit a civil offence so there was double jeopardy too.  Matters of financial impropriety were especially chastised and these could include improper use of funds or government property, plain theft, and fraud.  Knowingly signing cheques that were unsupported by funds fell into the latter category and many profligate officers paid the penalty of being cashiered accordingly.  Bigamy was also a fraud of sorts and any kind of sexual offence would have the most severe consequences.

 

NB.  With regards to money, or value, it didn’t matter if £1 or £100, the matter of ‘trust’ and responsible behaviour was the issue, and considered sacrosanct.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Absolutely. "Responsible behaviour"

And in more recent times, the payment of RAF Mess bills "by the 10th of the next month" was absolutely mandatory, and payment by bouncing cheque was a huge offence. This even caused strife where officers were rushed to the Gulf War after receipt of the bill, but before payment. Financial probity was all. Any officer on leave and absent between 1st and 10th had to make arrangements for his bill to be paid. We got round that by asking for an estimate late in the month and overpaying, with any surplus carried forward.

 

Around the same time, four officers on an RAFG base were operating a scam involving buying top of the range cars, duty free, and re-selling on the UK market for a pooled profit as soon as the 6 months ownership criterion was met. They also involved their wives, so at any one time 8 cars were on the roundabout. They were found out [the matter was not illegal on a one-off, but this was conspiracy] and severely punished.

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Dear IPT,

Dear Corisande

Dear Frogsmile

 

Having had time to absorb your posts and to consider the limited information the family has, I can only concur that the likelihood of the Ciivil court case was related to matrimonial status or not as the question might be. So far no press articles have been found and the only avenue left open is to check the relevant civil courts operating within the vicinity of where he lived or hope that the MoD find his post war service record. Btw nothing was found at the Old Bailey records. Guildhall might just be one avenue once we are allowed back to do actual research.

 

As to the standing of an officer in such circumstances, your posts were very helpful - thank you all

Apologies missed Muerrisch  in the thank you

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My feeling is that it just the magistrate court that you want. It is probably not bigamy that he was done for - he seems to have avoided a second marriage, unless it was in France in 1918/19

 

It is more likely to have been a failure to pay maintenance. If his wife had tracked him down, and got a court order to pay to maintain their children, and he had failed to do that, then a magistrate would have gaoled him. I have seen a number of these cases

 

You say he was living at Westminster Bridge Road with Kate at that time. So it would be the magistrate's courts there that you need to look. The BNA on FmP is not served well with London papers, so you could work out what would have been the local paper and see if you can get an online version

 

It is also worth you while buying the marriage cert to Dorothy Dimmock in 1923 , to see if is was him. If it was then bigamy is  certainly the cause of his conviction

 

Given that his (first) wife appears to have got his assets when he died (IPTs link to the fate of Kate's children). Then she certainly knew where he was living

 

Also get his will to see if that has any clues

 

 

Edited by corisande
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