Court Martials and Field Punishment Centres

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by Belgian Dave, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. Belgian Dave

    Belgian Dave Well-Known Member

    Can anyone explain the following further please:

    What would happen during a Field General Court Martial (FGCM)?

    "Found guilty under section 5(7)AA", what would the section 5(7)AA refer to?

    Im looking for the location of these two camps. Field Punishment Centre 159TC and Field Punishment Centre 57. (The TC may be wrong, little difficult to read on service record)
  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    There are some audio accounts on IWM site worth listening to.
    This one for instance has first hand info about the procedures from both sides, dealing with men and also requesting a C-M.

    It's worth doing a search for C-M / audio / WW2 on that site.

    I also remember reading a brief account by an officer who once took part in a court martial; he said it was the practise not to be allowed to be in court to hear the finding/sentence, so he never learned of the actual outcome.
  3. snailer

    snailer Country Member

    If you're accepting guesses mine is; section 5, sub-section 7 of the Army Act.
    What that refers to I have no idea.


  4. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    The Army Act is the legal basis for disciplinary proceedings in the Army, from summary justice administered by a Company or Battalion Commander, through various levels of Court Martial. It is revised from time to time, therefore unless the date of the Army Act is shown, you can't actually find much out. In my time the Army Act 1955 was in force. About the only two Sections I can remember off hand were Section 69 'Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline' and Section 70 'Committing a civil offence'. While Field courts martial were not in vogue during my time, a General Court Martial would only be convened if an officer was charged or if the offence was extremely serious.

  5. mapshooter

    mapshooter Senior Member

    Yes AA means Army Act, depending on the date I think it could be one of two editions in WW2 but they weren't dramatically different as far as disciplinary offences went.

    There were two levels of Court Martial, 'District Court Martial' and for more serious offences 'General Court Martial'. In operational theatres this became the 'Field General Court Martial'. A CM was convened by order of a senior officer, typically a divisional commander, to deal with specific cases (ie it was not a standing court). As with all CM it was presided over by a President appointed for the court (ie not a permanent role), probably about a Colonel in rank for a FGCM, and several members (all officers), probably appointed by their units, which would have been told to nominate a member. There would then be a prosecuting officer and a defending officer. The president and members would decide guilt or innocence based on the evidence presented and decide the punishment.
  6. Belgian Dave

    Belgian Dave Well-Known Member

    Thanks all. Some very good information provided there.

    I omitted the date from my first post as I did'nt think it was relevent. It reads : 5(7)AA 3.10.43.
    Where would I be able to find the Army Act that this section refers to?

    Also, any one know about those Field Punishment Camps?
  7. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Section 5 Army Act 1884 deals with "Offences in relation to the enemy not punishable with death."

    My version of The Manual of Military Law was published in 1914 by The War Office ( 908 pp price Two Shillings ) and does not have a sub-section 7, only goes to sub-section (6), viz:-

    "5. Every person subject to military law who on active service commits any of the following offences; that is to say,

    (1) Without orders from his superior officer leaves the ranks, in order to secure prisoners or horses, or on pretence of taking wounded men to the rear; or

    (2) Without orders from his superior officer wilfully destroys or damages any property; or

    etc., etc.,

    shall on conviction by court-martial be liable to suffer penal servitude, or such less punishment as is in this Act mentioned."
  8. Belgian Dave

    Belgian Dave Well-Known Member

    Thanks Papiermache. Interesting info. Pity the sub-section 7 is not in your version.
  9. redtop

    redtop Well-Known Member

    May be it never got as far as a Court Martial
    My Father noted this getting lectures on discipline on Troopship heading for North Africa

    Every day lectures on discipline with nice little reminders like;
    ”If an order is not carried out, I will shoot you“ from an Officer or
    ”If you move or leave your gun we will shoot you“ just like that!

    Yours is not to reason why, yours is just to do and die“.

    The reference below was to punishment for overstaying leave prior to D Day.

    A weekend pass was not enough, (We had a good Knowledge of what we were about, but no talking) We knew, so I took additional days (AWOL) my mate Jock went to Scotland. And others took additional days, but we all returned to be grabbed by the Redcaps.
    We were marched in front of a new CO. Three at a time.
    “You will take my punishment;”
    “I order seven days field punishment.”
    I think that out of 72 some 40 went on the parade.
    It was May extremely hot, in full kit, Overcoat, valise, backpack, rifle, ammunition and kitbag with your personal gear. Rifle above your head. Right turn, left turn, double, about turn, and as one Sergeant got tired another took over, that went on from 5 AM.
    The following day the Redcaps that had “Brought us in “came and told the CO. That Field Punishment had been banned so we got Jankers. We could not go out anyway.
  10. Belgian Dave

    Belgian Dave Well-Known Member

    Thanks Redcap.
    It did get as far as a court martial......112 days detention in the FPC!

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