Military Prison

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pinkshoes
Posts: 461
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:28 pm
Location: Yorkshire

Military Prison

Post by pinkshoes » Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:33 pm

This is a general enquiry arising out of general ignorance which I hope all the experts will forgive. :oops:

I have military records which show that a soldier was sentenced in February 1893 to two years in prison. He was serving in South Africa at this time. On 13 May 1893 he was in prison, on 14 May he is shown as "Home" and on 25 May was discharged with ignominy.

Two questions :
Would he be shown as "home" while en route from S Africa to Britain? I assume they had to show him as being somewhere, as oppose to nowhere :lol:
When discharged on 25 May he had only served a couple of months of the two year sentence. Is it likely he would have been transferred to a military prison in the UK to finish his sentence or, given that he's been discharged, is a civilian prison a possibility?

I have little knowledge of anything military, and any answers, ideas, suggestions would be welcome.

Thanks for reading.

Pinkshoes

StewL
Posts: 1396
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 12:59 am
Location: Perth Western Australia

Post by StewL » Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:29 am

Hi Pinkshoes

Your long lost probably didnt commit anything really serious to get off with only a few months of a two year sentence. Of it could be that other extenuating circumstances arose after he went to the military prison.
As for being transferred to a civilian prison back then, that is probably highly unlikely the military back then could look after their own. Most military camps/bases had the capacity to keep a certain number of offenders under lock and key who were not sentenced to more than a short period of prison. All those sentenced to over a certain period would then go to the main prison.
It is difficult to comment about the "home/discharge" on his file. I am not sure if the military paid for travel home in those circumstances back in the 1890's sorry I cant help there. but given such a short period it is also possible that they put home down, as he had been discharged on that date and that was that, he might have also lost all his entitlements as well.
Stewie

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pinkshoes
Posts: 461
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:28 pm
Location: Yorkshire

Post by pinkshoes » Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:34 pm

Hi Stewie, thanks for your reply. The soldier in question was imprisoned on five counts of embezzlement, two of forgery and one charge of offering a forged cheque. This earned him the two year sentence. A couple of years earlier he served a 28 day sentence for desertion, loss of kit, stealing and receiving stolen goods. I think it's unlikely he was let out after a couple of months, so your suggestion of transferring to the main prison makes sense. The last entry on his Statement of Services says :

Prior services to pension forfeited on discharge with ignominy - I wonder if that means he lost all his pension rights, because below there is a table that states "Total Service forfeited as above ... ... 2 yrs 20 days". I can't really get my head round the numbers on the form. He lost rights for desertion amounting to 55 days, plus 28 in jail, plus 33 awaiting trial for his second lot of offences, which comes to 116 days yet the total on the form is 2yrs 20 days.

From what you say, it seems possible he was sent home from S Africa and served the rest of his time in military prison here. He was in the York & Lancaster Regiment and I understand York Castle was used as a military prison so he may have been there. I've been in contact with the regiment, so if they can tell me anything further I'll let you know.

Thanks again for replying, I appreciate it.

Best wishes
Pinkshoes

bleckie
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Location: Perth

Post by bleckie » Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:20 pm

Hi Pinkshoes

I could be wrong but I will try and work through the numbers.

1 The 2yrs and 20days is probably the lenght of service he had done from the aged of 18 or over ie adult service.

2 when you go awol absent without leave or are sent to militry prison you do not get any wages this is shown on your service record.

the 2yrs and 20days would have been his total pensionable service up until his conviction for desertion.

what is the period between his period in prison for desertion and his period awaiting trial. It could be that he was trying to provide for next of kin.

your aye

Bruce

pinkshoes
Posts: 461
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:28 pm
Location: Yorkshire

Post by pinkshoes » Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:36 pm

Hi Bleckie

I think you're on to something here :lol:

He first joined up on 17 June 1886 age about 32. After his desertion and first foray into theiving, his Service towards limited engagement reckons from 6 May 1891. The two years 20 days is the period from 6 May 1891 to 25 May 1893 when he was disharged with ignominy.

So that's clarified the dates in terms of his forfeited service. But I'm still looking to find out where or even if he served the rest of his 2 yr prison sentence, and why he'd be discharged while in prison. Could he be officially no longer in the army, but still held somewhere in prison I wonder. His crimes seem serious enough to me :) I've also wondered what opportunity there would be for a soldier to get involved in embezzlement, forgery and fobbing duff cheques.

He wasn't technically an idiot, this guy. He was from a wealthy background, had a good education and studied in Edinburgh to become a vet. His studies were brought to an abrupt end when he married a girl who gave birth to their first child soon after the wedding, and he appears to have been cut out of the family fortunes. His wife and tribe of weans ended up spending some time in the poorhouse during his illustrious army career, but the story does have a happy ending for the wife and kids at least. I have, as yet, no definite idea of what became of him after he was chucked out of the army - he may have emigrated under a false name. But that's another story.

Thanks for your help.

Best wishes
Pinkshoes

bleckie
Posts: 212
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2006 1:51 pm
Location: Perth

Post by bleckie » Thu Jan 17, 2008 4:38 pm

Hi Pinkshoes

I am trying to work from memory but I think that anyone who commits an offence in the Army who is discharged the soldier is discharged from military prison. He may have served the majority of his sentance in South Africa and the balance on a prison ship on the way home to England. I take it with the service records you have this chap was at one time a commisioned officer. It may be that his family made reperations to the people who lost money and the helped reduce the sentance if it was reduced. The two years and 20days could have been the time he was in custody.
If you take what you have along to York castle I am sure some of the staff there whould be able to give you more information than I can

Yours aye

bruce

pinkshoes
Posts: 461
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Location: Yorkshire

Post by pinkshoes » Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:37 pm

Thanks Bleckie I never thought of the journey home being part of his sentence. As far as I can see he joined as a private, made it to corporal, down to private, up to lance coporal, back to private then out the door. I've no way of knowing whether he was a bad guy or just someone who did some pretty stupid things, but his life seemed to go from good to bad to worse.

I'll have a trip to York as soon as it stops raining :lol:

Thanks again.

Pinkshoes

StewL
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Location: Perth Western Australia

Post by StewL » Sat Jan 19, 2008 12:47 am

HI Pinkshoes
As you stated he was from a wealthy background, but was cut of from the money. It would have been unlikely he would have been a commissioned officer, if I recall correctly at that time they still "bought" their commissions, but of course you have said he wasnt commissioned. But with his wealthy background, that would have given him the knowledge and skills to carry out the offences he was charged with. If he did serve some prison time on his way back, depending on a few things, he could have been in the ships brig, or confined to his cabin if he had some family funds backing. It is very possible his family paid off his debt to clear their own names back home, which would have cut his time in the pokey. :D
Stewie

Searching for: Anderson, Balks, Barton, Courtney, Davidson, Downie, Dunlop, Edward, Flucker, Galloway, Graham, Guthrie, Higgins, Laurie, Mathieson, McLean, McLuckie, Miln, Nielson, Payne, Phillips, Porterfield, Stewart, Watson

pinkshoes
Posts: 461
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:28 pm
Location: Yorkshire

Post by pinkshoes » Sat Jan 19, 2008 8:42 pm

Hi Stewie

Thanks for the thoughts. You could be right about the family helping. I know his mother made provision in her will for all her children except this guy, though she did leave his share to his children. Now how they decided who these children actually were is another matter, because his wife had several whose birth certs were fatherless, and one whose death cert named the lodger.

Part of the reason I'm anxious to try to establish the most likely way he'd serve his sentence is that his wife emigrated to the States, as did several of her children a few years before her. No sign of her husband as we know him, but a guy claiming to be her husband joined her in the US a year after she arrived there. I'd really like to know if he was our miscreant soldier under another name, or was he Roger the Lodger. The name this guy used when he emigrated is a combination of the two! I was hoping if I could find out when and where he was released I might have a better chance of tracking his movements after say 1895 when he was due for release. Of course he could have misbehaved and ended up in jail again when he left the army.

Thanks for reading, and for all your efforts. From what you and Bleckie have suggested, I think I will try and take it further through the castle route, and hopefully the regiment, though they have indicated it could take up to 12 weeks before I hear from them.

Best wishes
Pinkshoes

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