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Thread: Court Martial- Desertion & Discharge

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    Default Court Martial- Desertion & Discharge

    Hi,

    I was recently at Kew looking at District Court Martial (DCM) AIR21. I was looking for pre war RAF conscripts and came across an AC2 Trial in January 1945 for Desertion. He was sentenced to three years with a note about detention for eighteen months.

    The group of men he enlisted with were mainly discharged by early 1946. So I was wondering about his discharge. I remembered about RAF men who were sentenced to death for murder during WW2 being discharged before they were executed.

    So I thought was he discharged and then sent to prison. Then released no medals no demob suit etc.

    TIA

    Mark

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    That sounds right Mark, I noted that RAF men executed during WW2 were all discharged prior to execution and as such are not commemorated on the CWGC records (unlike Army, Navy and Commonwealth prisoners executed, they are to be found on Brookwood Memorial alongside men who were killed or died serving their country). I understand that "lesser" convictions resulted in imprisonment and effectively a "Services No Longer Required" discharge with no medals.

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    Pete

    Only Army personnel executed before discharge would appear on Brookwood, which is the residual memorial for those who don't fit the criteria for any other memorial. If there are any Naval Personnel they would appear on their respective Naval Memorial - Plymouth, Portsmouth etc. Is there any source for the suggestion that PoW's were executed by the Army, Navy or RAF.

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    Like today, it would be up to the board of the CM to sentence service personnel. These sentences would then be reviewed and ratified by higher authority. A period of detention would not necessarily mean automatic discharge. These days, the 'glass house' (MCTC) in Colchester does not hold people for longer than 2 years, unlike the US military system which can detain people for life. Anyone sentenced for a period of incarceration for longer than 2 years is usually discharged and transferred to a civilian jail very soon after sentencing. It makes sense that a similar system was used during WW2 - although I am not sure of the timelines involved. This prevented the military authorities holding large numbers of its own people for long periods of time.

    "Is there any source for the suggestion that PoW's were executed by the Army, Navy or RAF?" By the British Establishment? Yes. 5 x German Cat A PWs were tried and later executed at Pentonville Prison for murdering one of their own in Cultybraggan Camp in Scotland in 1945.

    Rgds

    Jonny
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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