Contributed by: Leona Thomas, on 2008-11-15
|Year of Birth||1895|
|Year of Death||Unknown|
|Regiment||East Yorkshire Regiment|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire|
In researching the Army record of my partner's great uncle, I expected to find an ordinary record of service. By nature Fred and his brother George were gentle, mild-mannered men. But what I found at first, beggared belief. Fred joined up in March 1914 but was soon deemed 'medically unfit for further service' and discharged in December 1914. I cannot find out why. He was later called up for service in June 1917 and enlisted in the Labour Corps. He was in France until April 1919. He re-enlisted in May and was back in France. Up until this point his conduct had always been 'good'. In June 1919 he was in 83 Labour Corps. In August he was absent from camp for 3 days until surrendering to MPs at Calais. He received 28 days F.P.602 and forfeited 3 days pay. In December he was in hospital in Cambridge and then was discharged in January 1920. What brought about this sudden change of behaviour? But more was to come...... In June 1920 he re-enlisted into the Leicestershire Regiment of Foot and was in South Wigston. From 9 July 1920 until September 1920 he is listed as commiting 11 separate counts of misconduct - being drunk, breaking out of barracks, being absent from roll call, etc. and received various punishments. In October 1920 he was posted to Athlone. The misconduct continued until he was discharged under KR (King's Regulations) 392 (xiii) Â which is "Having been sentenced to be discharged with ignominy" Sect. 8(2C) AA) Lichfield on 3 December 1920.
Eventually trawling through the records uncovered this piece of information........
Statement by soldier concerning his own case:
Reg No 695133 Pte Unit E.C.L.C.
What countries have you served?
15.6.1919 France 16.12.19
In what capacity?
Exhumation of bodies - 6 months
No wonder he broke away and ran for Calais. Think of the trauma he must have suffered! For the next 18 months he was unable to cope, turning to drink and insubordination. One hopes that today he would have received counselling and support, but it is doubtful if he had any such thing then - he was one of thousands.
Fred returned home, never married and we have little or no information about him from then on, not even knowing where he lived or died. The quiet man who suffered with a silent scream.
Not a celebrated hero - but a hero to us, now we know what torments he must have suffered.