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ZackNZ

Royal Navy Desertion Treatment

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Hi Pals

Can anyone help? I’m researching a WW1 soldier who prior to coming to New Zealand was enlisted with the Royal Navy. This man enlisted for 12 years on 17 Sept 1909. His file from Kew states that he ‘run’ from the Inflexible on 29 Dec 1910 and was recovered on 25 April 1911, tried for theft in a civil powers trial and the note on his Kew file states: “Not to be claimed for further service.”

Any advice gratefully received in terms of the following:

(1) The Inflexible at the time of desertion (29 Dec 1910) was at “Portland” – where is it? USA? UK? A Navy base? Dock?

(2) Is there likely to be a trial record somewhere I could get?

(3) What does the “Not to be claimed for further service” mean? (The obvious being the Royal Navy didn’t want him back!)

(4) What could some of the reasons be for why he run? (He had been enlisted for about 16 months before deserting and prior to serving on the Inflexible he served on Acheron(sp?) and Pembroke II.

(5) What types of ships were the above three ships?

Interestingly his ‘character’ is described on the same files as “VG” which presumably means “very good” (?). He eventually went on to fight at Gallipoli where he was badly wounded and returned to the UK, recovered and lived there for the rest of his life.

Zack

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Zack

Portland is the Naval Base at Portland, Dorset, near Weymouth - highly unlikely to be Portland, Oregon.

HMS Inflexible was a new Battlecruiser, one of two that took part in the Battle of the Falkland Islands on 1/12/14.

Acheron was at that date a training ship, a conversion of the old ironclad Northumberland, dating from the 1860's. A destroyer of that name entered service in 1911, so probably just too late to be the one your man was in. There many vessels called Acheron going back to the 17th century; the French also used the name - as in the film "Master & Commander". The last British one was a post WW2 submarine.

Pembroke II was a shore base, at Portsmouth I think.

We can only speculate as to the human story; there were many reasons not to take to Navy life at the time.

Adrian

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Many thanks Adrian.

Zack

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The only reason his character was still VG was, presumably, because he was never brought to trial by the RN and, therefore, the consequences of desertion are not reflected in his record other than being marked RUN. Had he returned to the service as a convicted thief, he might have been discharged SNLR (Services No Longer Required). Come WW1 his former service would have been declared on enlistment but accepted.

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Pembroke and Pembroke I Chatham barracks and accounting base.

Running from the stiltified atmosphere of the peacetime navy would not be regarded as the same as hostilities only conditions of service.

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