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Notes on Cowardice


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#1 themonsstar

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 09:51 AM

This is from a file presented from the J.A.G. Report 20.2.1920.

Notes on "Cowardice" ( section 4 (7) and "Shell Shock" cases.

My statistics show that during the whole war from 4.8.1914 - 31.12.1919 in all theatres of war total number of 551 officers and soldiers were convicted under section 4 (7) of the Army act of:-

" Misbehaving,or inducing others to misbehave before the enemy in such a manner as to show cowardice"

Of this number 186 soldiers were condemned to suffer death ( no officer was condemned to death) and in 18 cases the sentence was carried into effect, the remaining 168 cases being commuted to a lesser punishment.

First Dealing with these 18 cases in which the sentence of death was carried out:-
only in 3 cases did the accused allege "shellshock". In one of these cases his allegation was disputed at the trial by the medical officer who examined the accused within 17 hours after the act of cowardice was committed. In the other two cases a medical board was held on the accused after trial and before confirmation.

Secondly. Dealing with the remaining cases in this offence, where the death sentence was commuted:- In 22 cases only did the accused allege shell shock, nervous, or the like. In 15 of these cases either medical evidence was called at the trial or the accused was examined during or after trial, or enquiries were made as to the previous medical history of the accused.

These painful cases show as a rule, but great care has been taken over them, and, in the latter period of the war the accused has been defended and a C.M.O. has sat on the court.

In conclusion I would point out that the vast majority of the 7,140 convictions abroad ( in the field) for Desertion and the 6250 convictions for "Quitting Posts" were caused through officers or soldiers being afraid, but an examination of these proceedings is too heavy and is taking to be carried out during the present conditions.

H. Barnes
Maj
D.A.A.G.
20.2.1920





After reading this report I was taken back by the 7140 convictions for desertion in the field, and the 6250 convictions for quitting posts, these are both large numbers.

#2 auchonvillerssomme

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 09:53 AM

In HANSARD their are discussions up to about 1926 if memory serves, for and against execution.

#3 John Hartley

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 10:07 AM

After reading this report I was taken back by the 7140 convictions for desertion in the field, and the 6250 convictions for quitting posts, these are both large numbers.

Interesting stuff. Thanks Roy.

Not necessarily large numbers in the context of how many served during the war. I have it in mind I've read that the desertion rate was higher in WW2 (but I may be mistaken, of course)

#4 roughdiamond

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 11:24 AM

I have it in mind I've read that the desertion rate was higher in WW2 (but I may be mistaken, of course)


I'm certain in "Blindfold and Alone" the point is made that many British and American Generals were requesting the reintroduction of the Death Penalty, if I remember right General Alexander was at the forefront.

Post #5 in this thread from WW2 Talk http://www.ww2talk.c...during-ww2.html gives desertion figures for the British Army during WW2

Sam

#5 themonsstar

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 02:22 PM

Hi John, here are some statistics for you they are from the J.A.G. office, they relate to officers at Home, and abroad, soldiers at home, and abroad. First World War and Second World War.

Officers abroad

Soldiers at home

Soldiers abroad

WW1 & WW2

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