Result of Courts Martial in war Diary

Discussion in 'Unit History' started by 51highland, Jul 23, 2020.

  1. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Does anyone know how common / rare it is to find soldiers number, name and result of their Courts Martial in war diaries? for instance (I have omitted their names and numbers).
    July 2nd; "The result of the Courts Martial on *******Pte. M. ****** and ******* Pte. A. ******, the two self inflicted injury men, were published. They were sentenced to one year imprisonment without hard labour, and to be discharged with ignominy from H.M. Forces".

    The above was during their training period early 1940
    dbf likes this.
  2. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    As regards the RAF,full identity of such defaulters,their offences and the C.M findings were entered in ORBs.

    Revisiting these wartime events,in a former RAF station association recording these events for their magazine, the rank, offence and C.M findings were noted but the name of the defaulter was withheld.
  3. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    The 1944 6 RWK diary I have has big lists of them--and they weren't messing around with punishments either. If I recall correctly, all details of names, ranks, numbers, crimes and outcomes were published for everybody to see--presumably as a deterrent.
  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    If my memory hasn't failed me altogether: Courts Martial were mentioned in early diary for 1IG, beginning of war mobilisation - names were listed. Men from Republic of Ireland presented themselves for duty (some after considerable periods AWOL), and I believe they were more or less automatically charged / sentenced / taken back on strength.
  5. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    I was recently looking at 1st DWR for a gent whose paybook I have who was killed and I found him noted about 1-2 weeks earlier as being court martialled, unfortunately no idea of the detail - that WD seemed to list them in terms of who was to be tried which officer was responsible and arrange transport etc - I don't think I saw any direct unit results, but it did seem to show examples of CM charges and outcomes from across the theatre almost to show the men as a warning (from memory stealing rations - even small amounts - seemed to be the main theme)
  6. redtop

    redtop Well-Known Member

    Only a very little was all it needed.
    When I served in late fifty's we were told that going up for "seconds" at a meal time without being invited was classed as stealing another mans rations ,though to be fair never heard of anybody being charged.
  7. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    The same is referred to in a 1913 guide to army cooking, interestingly at the same time not eating up everything dished up to one was also an offence (wasting rations) and if constantly repeated could lead to a charge.
  8. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I read the 50th Div war diaries and I can't recall finding any CM records in them. I had to go to other sources to get them. That's not to say they might not have been in the war diaries at one time.
  9. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Any bean spillage on what those 'other sources' were?
  10. chrisgrove

    chrisgrove Senior Member

    My father told me of one of his soldiers who turned up after several months AWOL. On asked his reasons he replied that he'd had to serve his sentence for deserting the Irish Army before he could come back to ours! Not sure whether the sentence was recorded in the War Diary.
    dbf likes this.
  11. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Massive registers I found at the IWM, from the legal branch I think. The 9th Australian Div had its own legal branch with war diary so the Australian ones were much easier to find.
    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  13. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    Yes, Diane has it right as usual. The series are WO 213 and WO 86, held not at the IWM but at the PRO.
  14. hutt

    hutt Member

    If I search for 'court' through the transcriptions of my fathers units diaries (RASC) there are quite a few hits coming up. A mixture of Courts Martial, Courts of Enquiry and references to civilian courts for the period when in London during the blitz. The entries often include names.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
  15. Dr Chris

    Dr Chris Member

    The War Diary of 1st/5th Queen's Royal West Surrey for May 1940 (WO167/807) noted that on the retreat to Dunkirk the CO held an FGCM (Field General Court Martial) on 27 May. Sadly, no details of the reason for it, the participants or the findings are given. Doing this in the midst of battle suggests that the alleged offence must have been serious and is a reminder that not all British soldiers may have behaved appropriately at the time. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any details about it, so if anyone has any knowledge or tips as to where I might look (once it's possible to grab a slot at Kew!) I would be interested to hear it
  16. AB64

    AB64 Senior Member

    Some of the examples from the 1st DWR Diary I mentioned above, 1st is in the daily summary, the others are in Routine Orders that are attached to the WD, so whether you find Court Martial info may depend on whether the WD includes Routine Orders in the attachments . Pte Harris who is mentioned in 2 of the attachments is the one whose paybook I have, he was killed less than 2 weeks after his Court Martial. There are a couple of other entries which basically detail an officer to attend an FGCM at HQ.

    WO_175_497_0005.JPG WO_175_497_0041.JPG WO_175_497_0042.JPG WO_175_497_0053.JPG
  17. PackRat

    PackRat Well-Known Member

    One possibility - though a long shot - is this file:

    Field General Courts Martial (Abroad only), 1939 Oct. 16 - 1942 Apr. 13 [WO 213/35]

    It's a huge book showing name/unit of the accused, date of trial, charge and sentence, which is held on the floor below the main reading room at TNA. A couple of photos I took of it are below. Trial dates are not in order so would take some searching, but with luck there will be a limited number of trials on 27th May. Based on the unit of the accused, you might then be able to make a somewhat educated guess as to which one your 44 Div officer was involved in.

    From there you might be able to dig a little further:
    Courts martial and desertion in the British Army 17th-20th centuries - The National Archives

    Image00001.jpg Image00002.jpg
    Dr Chris and dbf like this.
  18. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Anyone interested in discipline with the BEF ought to read Edward Smalley's "The British Expeditionary Force 1939 - 1940"; It has a rather campaigning tone and he puts a lot blame for BEF failures on their disciplinary levels and that punishments were often at unit levels although personally, I'm not sure that drunkenness and fighting during the phoney war period would necessarily mean that a man would behave badly in combat.

    There are a lot of statistics about which units had the worst records and for which offences.
    dbf likes this.
  19. Dr Chris

    Dr Chris Member

    Many thanks for this tip. Now all I have to do is manage to secure a slot at Kew! Sometime next year maybe?
  20. Dr Chris

    Dr Chris Member

    Many thanks. I will try to find a copy.

Share This Page