Saturday, 14 February 2015

An incorrigible man

I was carrying out some research for a client in the week and came across this fascinating service record for Herbert Daniels, an old soldier who originally enlisted with the East Yorkshire Regiment at Leeds on New Year's Day 1906 and who has one of the most full regimental conduct sheets (in fact several regimental conduct sheets) that I've ever seen.  His record is well worth viewing in WO 363 and here's a taster of some of the charges against him:

26th June 1907 - Drunk on parade
1908 - Sheet lost, two cases of drunkenness
30th November 1908 - Drunk and improperly dressed in town
15th February 1913 - Having a dirty rifle
30th March 1913 - Drunk in barracks
22nd December 1913 - Drunk in barracks
10th March 1914 - Breaking out of the fort, period of absence
8th May 1914 - Being in a place out of bounds
15th May 1914 - Obtaining beer from the canteen whilst a defaulter
28th December 1914 - Overstaying his pass
1st January 1915 - Absent from tattoo
30th July 1915 - Absent from tattoo
22nd August 1915 - Period of absence
1st September 1915 - Absent from defaulters' call
19th September 1915 - Absent from tattoo
21st October 1915 - Absent from tattoo
7th November 1915 - Period of absence
11th January 1916 - Period of absence
24th January 1916 - Period of absence
3rd February 1916 - Period of absence
16th February 1916 - Period of absence
4th March 1916 - Drunkenness
22nd June 1916 - Breaking out of segregation, drunk in barracks, improperly dressed
18th August 1916 - Drunk in barracks, urinating in guard detention room
5th February 1917 - Period of absence, drunk
22nd April 1917 - Drunk on active service
26th May 1917 - Drunk in barracks
29th June 1917 - Drunk in barracks

And so it goes on...

Apart from the interesting light that these reports shed on the less than illustrious army career of Herbert Daniels, such reports are also great at pinpointing a battalion. For each of the reports above, we are given a location where the offence took place and we also see the names of witnesses, usually fellow soldiers, and sometimes several names. These names have not been indexed but it could be that one of those witnesses just happens to be your army ancestor.

By the time these 1916 and 1917 offences had been committed, Herbert had been transferred out of the East Yorkshire Regiment and into the 1st Royal Sussex Regiment who were stationed in India. I've noticed that some other men with poor service records were also sent packing to India and I wonder whether that's pure coincidence or whether the authorities wondered whether India might cure them. If that was the feeling, it certainly doesn't appear to have worked in Herbert's case. He was subsequently compulsorily transferred again in 1918, this time to the Royal West Kent Regiment, "in the interests of the service..."

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