WORLD WAR ONE, PERSONAL ACCOUNTS
1. CAPTAIN E A M MCKECHNIE MC ARGYLL & SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS
LATE IN MARCH 1917, AS THE RESULT OF ADVICE FROM A FRIEND, I WROTE AN APPLICATION FOR A JOB AS AN APM(ASSISTANT PROVOST MARSHAL); BUT FIRST I WOULD HAVE TO GO AS A LEARNER.
ON 9TH APRIL I WAS ORDERED TO REPORT TO 2ND ARMY PRISONER OF WAR CAMP AT BAILLEUL, SOUTH OF YPRES. AFTER 10 DAYS DOING NOTHING I WAS SENT TO APM 36 DIV AS A LEARNER. SOON THE APM WENT ON LEAVE AND I ACTED AS APM FOR TWO DAYS UNTIL A RELIEF ARRIVED, THEN I WAS SENT AS A LEARNER TO 19 DIV
ON THE 29TH SEPTEMBER THE APM 19 DIV SAID I WOULD HAVE TO GO AND FIGHT. THIS I WAS HAPPY TO DO AS I HAD BEEN DOING SO FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS. I WENT WITH THE APM TO ST ELOI TO HELP RECEIVE PRISONERS INTO THE CAGE.
ON 19TH DEC I WAS ATTACHED TO THE APM AT GHQ MONTRIEUL
ON 19TH FEB 1918 I BECAME APM ARRAS. ARRAS WAS DIVIDED INTO FOUR SECTORS, EACH OF WHICH HAD A TOWN MAJOR, WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE TO A TOWN COMMANDANT, WHOSE WORD WAS LAW. THE APM WAS IN CHARGE OF POLICE, TRAFFIC CONTROL AND THE FIRE BRIGADE. MY DUTIES WERE MAINLY:
CONTROL OF ESTAMINETS
ANTI-VICE ( CONTROL OF WOMEN ETC )
TRAFFIC CONTROL ( NO PARKING IN PARTICULAR )
PROTECTION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY
ARP INCLUDING WARNING OF GAS AND SHELLING
LIAISON WITH THE FRENCH COMMANDANT, KNOWN LOCALLY AS “ LE ROI D’ARRAS “.
THE FRENCH CONCENTRATED ON MAKING AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE OUT OF THE BRITISH
MY AREA COVERED THE VILLAGES OF ARCHINCOURT, ST.NICHOLAS, DAINVILLE, PART OF ST.CATHERINE’S AND FOR ABOUT TWO KMS OUTSIDE BEAULIMORT GATE ON THE ST.POL ROAD.
ON THE 26TH MAR A HEAVY BARRAGE OF 9.2 SHELLS COMMENCED, MUCH DAMAGE CAUSED BY APPROX. 1500 SHELLS THAT FELL. THIS CONTINUED THE FOLLOWING DAY. ONE FELL ON A GUARDS UNIT WHO WERE ON PARADE, - 16 WERE KILLED OR INJURED. A MILITARY POLICEMAN CARRIED OUT FIRST AID AND IS KNOWN TO HAVE SAVED THREE LIVES BY SO DOING. THE POPULATION WERE EVACUATED THIS DAY
TWO SHELLS WRECKED THE APM’S OFFICE ON THE 22ND MAR AND THE FOLLOWING DAY THE APM AND THE MILITARY POLICE MOVED TO THE CITADEL, THEIR ACCOMMODATION BEING IN THE MAGAZINE. THIS WAS HIT TWICE BUT NO CASUALTIES OR DAMAGE WAS CAUSED.
ON 26TH MAR THE TOWN COMMANDANT EVACUATED, LEAVING THE APM AND POICE BEHIND. THEY LEFT IN TWO LORRIES FOR AGNES LES DUISANS. THEY TOOK EVERYTHING INCLUDING THE APM’S RATIONS. THIS TOWN COMMANDANT AND STAFF RETURNED AT FIVE THAT NIGHT, HAVING BEEN ORDERED TO RETURN, BUT THEY CLEARED OUT AGAIN ON THE 29TH, LEAVING THE APM AND HIS MEN BEHIND AGAIN.
THE POLICE THEN MOVED TO THE PRISON. THE MEN WERE SPLIT INTO THREE PARTIES, SOME WERE SENT TO HELP THE GUNS, SOME TO HELP THE TRAFFIC CONTROL MEN AND OTHERS TO FORM STRAGGLERS POSTS AND DIRECT STRAGGLERS TO A CAMP AT DAINVILLE. THE APM AND THE SGT-MAJOR OPENED A POST AT THE STATION, MAKING TEA AND MEALS FOR LOST OR STRAYED MEN. THE TWO DIVS IN THE LINE, THE 14TH AND 15TH, HELD OUT AGAINST THE ELEVEN THROWN AT THEM. FOR TWO DAYS THE GERMANS TRIED TO BREAK THROUGH BEFORE GIVING UP THE ATTEMPT. ON THE THIRD DAY 1ST BDE OF THE CANADIAN DIVISION CAUSED MUCH TROUBLE IN THE TOWN, SHOOTING AND GRENADING THE APM AND MILITARY POLICE ON OCCASIONS, AND HAND TO HAND FIGHTING TAKING PLACE WHENEVER DISCIPLINE WAS ENFORCED. AS MANY AS 50 OR SO WERE HELD IN THE PRISON AT A TIME. DURING THE FLAP THE BEF CANTEEN STAFF HAD FLED, LEAVING THE CANTEEN. IN DUE COURSE IT WAS LOOTED BY THE CANADIANS, BUT THE MILITARY POLICE RECOVERED ALL EXCEPT ONE CASE OF WHISKY, WHICH THE SOLDIERS THREW ON THE GROUND RATHER THAN GIVE IT UP BREAKING 9 0F THE 12 BOTTLES IN IT. THE CANTEEN WAS RETURNED TO BEFC ON 4TH APR. ON 3RD APR I RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING LETTER FROM OC 4 TRAFFIC CONTROL SQDN
I WISH TO THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR KINDNESS AND CONSIDERATION TO MY MEN WHILE THEY WERE WORKING FOR YOU. THEY ARE ALL VERY LOUD IN THEIR PRAISE OF THE WAY YOU TRIED TO KEEP THEM OUT OF DANGERS AND IT SPEAKS VOLUMES THAT WE HAD NO CASUALTIES. I SUPPOSE IT IS VERY UNPROFESSIONAL TO WRITE THIS TO YOU, BUT BELIEVE ME, WE ARE ALL VERY GRATEFUL TO YOU. WE CAN ONLY HOPE THAT YOU COME THROUGH THESE ANXIOUS TIMES SAFELY. MAY WE WISH YOU ALL THE BEST OF GOOD LUCK.
COMMANDING NO 4 TRAFFIC CONTROL UNIT.
SHELLING CONTINUED ON AND OFF UNTIL THE MIDDLE OF JUNE. TWO MILITARY POLICE WERE WOUNDED IN ARCHICOURT, ONE VERY BADLY, THE OTHER SLIGHTLY.
ON 21 AUG 1918 A BIG AIR RAID WAS MADE ON ARRAS WHICH CAUSED MUCH DAMAGE, MANY STREETS WERE OBLITERATED. IN DUE COURSE THE APM RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING LETTER
MONSIEUR LE CAPITAINE
PERMIT ME TO EXPRESS TO YOU MY DEEPEST FEELINGS OF GRATITUDE FOR THE ORDERS YOU HAVE GIVEN YOUR WORKING PARTY SINCE FRIDAY MORNING, WITH A VIEW TO PRESERVING THE HOUSES OF MY FELLOW CITIZENS, SO SEVERELY DAMAGED IN THE PRECEDING NIGHT BY ENEMY BOMBS.
WILL YOU KINDLY EXCUSE ME IF I AM A DAY LATE, BUT NOT KNOWING ANYTHING ABOUT THE DISTRIBUTION OF YOUR SERVICES, I THOUGHT IT AS WELL TO WRITE TO THE TOWN MAJOR.
RATHER SICK FOR ABOUT A FORTNIGHT I AM SORRY I AM NOT ABLE TO THANK YOU PERSONALLY, BUT MY THOUGHTS ARE NEVERTHELESS VERY SINCERE.
S. ROHARX MAYOR OF ARRAS
21 AUG 1918. “
EARLY ON 28TH AUG THE BRITISH ATTACKED AND BY 10 O’CLOCK THE FIRST PRISONERS BEGAN TO ARRIVE AT THE ARRAS CAGE, WHICH BY THAT EVENING HELD 6000. THE GERMAN OFFICERS OBJECTED TO BEING CAGED WITH THEIR MEN. THE FOLLOWING DAY ANOTHER 4000 ARRIVED, INCLUDING A PARTY WHO HAD BEEN ROUNDED UP BY A FRENCH CIVILIAN ARMED WITH A LARGE KNIFE.
ON 22ND SEPT THE APM WAS ORDERED TO DOUAI WITH HIS POLICE AND LEFT THE FOLLOWING MORNING IN THE LORRIES. SCENES OF WANTON DESTRUCTION MET THE EYE AS THE JOURNEY PROCEEDED. THE RETREATING ENEMY HAD DESTROYED ALL THAT HE WAS UNABLE TO MOVE EVEN TO THE EXTENT OF CUTTING DOWN FRUIT TREES. THE TOWN OF DOUAI HEAVILY DAMAGED BY THE WAR, HAD BEEN COMPLETELY DESPOILED BY THE GERMANS, WHAT HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE THEY COULD NOT BREAK OR DESTROY WAS THROWN INTO THE STREET. THERE WERE ONLY SEVEN INHABITANTS LEFT IN THE TOWN AND BOOBY TRAPS WERE CONSTANTLY EXPLODING.
THE APM AND POLICE INSTALLED THEMSELVES IN A HOUSE NEXT TO THE MUSEUM. ON 24TH OCT THE APM AND POLICE LEFT DOUAI FOR DEMOIN, WHERE THEY ARRIVED IN THE EVENING. THIS TOWN WAS LITTLE DAMAGED AS THE GERMANS HAD TO LEAVE
THE TOWN IN TOO MUCH OF A HURRY.
THE PRINCE OF WALES VISITED THE TOWN AND IN COMPANY WITH GENERAL CURRIE ATTENDED A THANKSGIVING SERVICE. THEN A SMALL REVIEW WAS HELD. THE MILITARY POLICE WERE FULLY COMMITTED ON THIS DAY.
ON 28TH OCT THE APM AND SGT-MAJOR WENT TO LOOK AT VALENCIENNES, WHICH WAS THEIR NEXT STATION, BUT ONLY GOT AS FAR AS LE PETET COVERT WHERE THEY LEARNED THAT THE TOWN HAD NOT YET BEEN RECAPTURED. ON THEIR RETURN JOURNEY THEY NARROWLY ESCAPED BEING OBLITERATED BY SHELL-FIRE.
THE APM AND HIS MILITARY POLICE, TRAFFIC CONTROL AND FIREMEN FINALLY MOVED UP ON THE 2ND NOV AS IT WAS EXPECTED VALENCIENNES WOULD FALL THE FOLLOWING DAY AND EARLY ON THE 3RD NOV ENTERED THE TOWN WITH THE DAQMG. THEY WERE CONSTANTLY SNIPED AT AND FOUND GAS POCKETS IN THE STREETS AND THE SHELLING BECAME SO INTENSE THAT THE APM AND PARTY WERE UNABLE TO REMAIN UNTIL THE FOLLOWING DAY. ROUTE CIRCUITS WERE QUICKLY ORGANISED AND SIGNED AND BILLETS ARRANGED. THE APM STAYED WITH THE TOWN MAJOR.
SEVERAL DAYS AFTERWARDS THE POLICE WERE ON DUTY DURING THE CEREMONIAL VISIT OF THE FRENCH PRESIDENT, DURING WHICH THE APM ACTED AS HIS BODYGUARD. DURING THE PRESIDENT’S REPLY TO SPEECHES OF WELCOME THE APM’S GOAT CAME ON THE SCENE, AND ATE THE BOUQUETS GIVEN BY THE TOWN’S CHILDREN, THEN THE GRAND DECORATION ON THE CEREMONIAL PLATFORM, THEN WENT BACK TO THE APM’S BILLET AND LAID DOWN AND DIED.
ON 11TH NOV AT 2.15 AM THE APM AND HIS PARTY LEFT FOR MONS, HERE THEY ARRIVED IN TIME FOR THE CEASEFIRE. AS THEY MOVED FROM 1ST ARMY TO 2ND ARMY THE PROVOST MARSHAL OF THE 1ST ARMY SENT THE APM THE FOLLOWING LETTER :
DEAR MCKECHNIE 11 NOV 1918
MANY THANKS FOR ALL YOUR ARRANGEMENTS FOR YESTERDAY. I COULD NOT SEE YOU TO THANK YOU AFTER THE SHOW AS I HAD TO HURRY OFF. ORDERS HAVE COME FOR YOU TO GO TO SOME OTHER TOWN, WHICH I HAVE NOT YET SUCCEEDED IN FINDING ON THE MAP.
I AM AWFULLY SORRY YOU ARE GOING FROM US AND I SHOULD LIKE TO TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO THANK YOU FOR THE SPLENDID WORK YOU HAVE DONE WHILST IN THE FIRST ARMY. IT IS FELLOWS LIKE YOU WHO BRING THE GREATEST CREDIT TO OUR BRANCH, AND I ONLY WISH WE HAD A FEW MORE OF THE SAME CALIBRE.
LET ME KNOW AT ANY TIME, EITHER PRIVATELY OR OFFICIALLY, IF I CAN RENDER YOU A SERVICE I WILL ALWAYS DO MY BEST.
S.A. SULLIVAN “
THERE WAS PLENTY TO DO, REVIEW BY THE CORPS COMMANDER AND THEN THE ARMY COMMANDER, CAUSED EXTRA WORK, FOR BY THIS TIME THE SOLDIERS WERE ENJOYING THEMSELVES IN THE TOWN AND THE MILITARY POLICE HAD THEIR HANDS FULL IN ORDINARY POLICE WORK, THE AMOUNT OF DRINK AVAILABLE WAS ONE CAUSE OF THE TROUBLE. ON ONE OCCASION THE MILITARY POLICE WERE CALLED UPON BY A PICQUET TO ASSIST, THE PICQUET JOINED IN THE ATTACK ON THEM CAUSING INJURIES TO SEVERAL NCO’S. LOCAL SHOPKEEPERS CHARGED THE SOLDIERS THREE TIMES THE PROPER PRICES; SUCH CONDUCT SEEMED TO BE GENERAL THROUGHOUT FRANCE AND BELGIUM.
ON 19TH NOV THE APM AND HIS MEN WERE MOVED TO LA LOUVIERE, ABOUT 15 KMS FROM MONS AND ONCE THE BEATS WERE ORGANISED THERE WAS LITTLE TO DO. THIS DETACHMENT HAD GREAT DIFFICULTY IN GETTING RATIONS.
THE APM AND HIS MEN LEFT ON THE 16TH DEC FOR NAMUR, WHERE THEY ARRIVED IN THE EVENING, BUT ON THE 20TH DEC THE APM WITH A CLERK AND ONE OFFICER LEFT TO REPORT TO THE DPM 2ND ARMY IN DUREN IN GERMANY, BUT ON ARRIVING THERE WERE SENT TO COLOGNE WHERE HE WAS BILLETED IN THE DOM HOTEL WHERE THE TOWN MAJOR HAD HIS OFFICES. THE APM COLOGNE WAS NAMED MAUDE WHO HAD SPENT MOST OF THE WAR AS APM AMIENS.
TO COMPLETE CAPT MCKECHNIE’S STORY, AFTER A FEW DAYS HE WAS POSTED AS DAPM 2ND CORPS HEAVY AA AREA, WITH HIS HQ IN SCHLESBUSCH, AND ON 20TH APR WAS POSTED TO BONN. DURING HIS TIME IN SCHLESBUSCH THE BURGOMEISTER WAS MURDERED BY COMMUNISTS AND A BANK WAS ROBBED AT OPLADEN. A THREAT TO CUT THE THROATS OF ALL BRITISH OFFICERS BY A CERTAIN DATE NEVER MATERIALISED. HE WAS PROMOTED MAJOR AND LEFT BAOR FOR DISCHARGE ON 2ND JUN. AS A DAPM OR APM HE ADMINISTERED THE FOLLOWING TOWNS: ARRAS, DOUAI, VALENCIENNES, MONS, LA LOUVIERE, NAMUR, COLOGNE, 2ND CORPS HAA AREA AND BONN.
LONDON GAZETTE, NO 20584 PAGE 4930 16TH MAY 1916
CITATION FOR MILITARY CROSS
2ND LT ERNEST ALEXANDER MCKECHNIE, 3RD BN( ATTD 1/6TH BN ), ARGYL AND SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS
FOR CONSPICUOUS GALLANTRY. WHEN TWO MINES WERE EXPLODED, WRECKING THE DEFENCES, HE RESCUED, ASSISTED BY TWO PRIVATES, A NCO AFTER WORKING FOR TWO HOURS UNDER HEAVY SHELL, TRENCH, MORTAR AND RIFLE FIRE.
2. P/8148 L/CPL E. G. USHER MMP
IN AUG 1915 I WAS EMPLOYED AT BRIDGEND, GLAMORGAN, WHEN ON THE 30TH I JOINED THE GLAMORGAN POLICE FORCE AS A CONSTABLE. AFTER A FEW MONTHS I WAS POSTED TO PORT TALBOT. ABOUT THE MIDDLE OF 1916 I DECIDED TO JOIN THE MMP AS I WAS WELL USED TO HORSES, SO I WAS RELEASED FROM THE [POLICE (NOT RESIGNED); I WAS TO RETURN TO THE POLICE FORCE AND MY ARMY SERVICE WOULD BE COUNTED AS P0LICE SERVICE.. IN DUE COURSE I STARTED MY MMP TRAINING AS P/8148 E. G. USHER
IN STANHOPE LINES, ALDERSHOT. AFTER TRAINING I WAS ONE OF A NUMBER SELECTED FOR SERVICE IN FRANCE. WE WERE FITTED OUT WITH THE REQUIRED EQUIPMENT; WE DID NOT NEED A POCKET BOOK FOR RECORDS.
WE LEFT ALDERSHOT AND EVENTUALLY ARRIVED IN LE HAVRE AND WERE TAKEN TO THE CENTRE WHERE ALL SOLDIERS WERE TAKEN AND AFTER A WEEK OR SO RECEIVED OUR HORSES, A.38 S & W REVOLVER AND EMERGENCY RATIONS OF FOOD, GROUNDSHEETS AND TWO BLANKETS ETC.
A DOZEN OF US ACCOMPANIED BY AN OFFICER AND A SENIOR NCO AND A GUIDE LEFT LE HAVRE AND EVENTUALLY ARRIVED AT HAZEBROUCKE STATION WHERE AFTER A NIGHT’S REST IN SOME FARM SHEDS WE WERE INFORMED WE WERE ATTACHED TO 33 DIV. WE WERE WITH A NUMBER OF MMP AND MFP WHO WERE ACQUAINTED WITH THE NORTHERN FRANCE - FLANDERS AREA AND THE REST CENTRE AT ST OMER WHERE ALL SOLDIERS CAME TO “REST” FROM THE NORTHERN FRONT ON THE YPRES FRONT. WE HAD TO ESCORT EACH PARTY.
WE THEN STARTED ROUTINE DUTIES FROM HAZEBROUCKE THROUGH STEENVOORDE, CASSEL, POPERINGE AND ON TO THE OLD PRISON GATES WHERE WE HANDED OVER OUR CHARGES TO OTHER ESCORTS. THESE TRIPS WOULD TAKE SEVERAL DAYS AND WE WERE ON ONE OF THESE TRIPS ON CHRISTMAS DAY 1916, WHEN WE HAD A LITTLE CONCERT AT CASSEL AND A REST. THE WEATHER WAS VERY COLD, PLENTY OF SNOW AND ICE AND NATURALLY INTERMITTENT SHELLING BY THE GERMANS.
WE WERE INTO 1917 NOW AND THE WEATHER WAS SOMETHING AWFUL AND WHEN WE STOPPED AT A PLACE CALLED VLERMANTING SOME OF OUR HORSES WERE FROZEN IN THE MUD AND SNOW AND WE HAD A TERRIBLE JOB GETTING THEM OUT IN THE DAYLIGHT AND THEN CARRY ON TO THE PRISON GATE(AT YPRES ). OF COURSE WE HAD TO HAVE SOME HOT TEA AND BULLY BEEF WARMED UP. AFTER HANDING OVER OUR SOLDIERS WE HAD TO ESCORT SOME BACK TO “REST” THROUGH THE SAME PLACES TO THE REST CAMP AT ST OMER AND THEN RETURN TO OUR CAMP AT HAZEBROUCKE.
AFTER MONTHS OF THESE DUTIES WE WERE WELL INTO 1917 AND LATER IN THE YEAR THE AMERICAN TROOPS ARRIVED IN PARIS AND ON TO ETAPLES, A FEW MILES FROM PARIS AND THERE WERE A NUMBER OF AUSTRALIANS THERE AS WELL AS BRITISH AND NEW ZEALAND TROOPS.
AFTER A WHILE TROUBLE STARTED BETWEEN THE YANKS AND OTHER FORCES, BECAUSE OF THE YANKS BOASTING THAT THEY HAD COME OVER TO FIGHT “OUR” WAR AND THEY HAD PLENTY OF MONEY TO SPEND ON BOOZE AND FRENCH WOMEN, AND OUR BOYS HAD VERY LITTLE MONEY ONLY 2/- A DAY. FIGHTING, RIOTING AND SHOOTING STARTED. IT GOT OUT OF HAND AND MORE POLICE WERE SENT THERE, AND SOME OF MY TROOP WERE SENT. FOR A TIME IT WAS TERRIBLE BUT LATER IT WAS STOPPED AND WE WERE RETURNED TO OUR VARIOUS CAMPS. OF COURSE THOSE WITH POLICE EXPERIENCE WERE CHOSEN FROM THE MOUNTED AND FOOT POLICE, INCLUDING FRENCH POLICE. THERE WERE MANY ARRESTS BUT EVENTUALLY THE IMPORTED POLICE WERE SENT BACK TO THEIR OWN CAMPS
ON RETURNING TO HAZEBROUCKE WE RETURNED TO OUR NORMAL DUTIES AND SOON CHRISTMAS 1917 ARRIVED. I WAS ON ESCORT DUTIES AND SHELLING WAS HOTTING UP AROUND HAZEBRUCKE. I WAS STRUCK BY A PIECE OF SHRAPNEL IN THE BACK OF THE NECK AND WAS OUT FOR THE COUNT. I DON’T REMEMBER MUCH ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED NEXT BUT I ENDED UP IN BOULOGNE HOSPITAL. I THEN BECAME ILL WITH SOMETHING ELSE AND COULD HARDLY BREATHE. I DON’T KNOW IF IT WAS BECAUSE OF A GAS BOMB OR NOT.
I EVENTUALLY LEFT IN SHEFFIELD IN FEB 1918 AND IN MARCH WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE ROYAL GARRISON ARTILLERY.
5431 L/CPL L. G. ORTEN MMP
MY NAME IS LIONEL GEORGE ORTEN AND I TRANSFERRED TO MMP FROM THE RHA IN THE SPRING OF 1916. THERE WAS NO TIME FOR TRAINING, WE LEARNED AS WE RODE. I JOINED THE MMP DETACHMENT WITH HQ FIRST CAVALRY DIVISION, THE APM OF WHICH WAS A CAPTAIN SCRIBER WHO WAS A LANCER. I ALSO WORKED WITH 52 (LOWLAND) DIV UNDER THE APM CAPT DUKES. WE WERE IN THE VTH ARMY.
I WAS IN THE ARRAS AREA IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE WAR. WE WERE JUST A DETACHMENT AND LIVED IN A NISSEN HUT NEAR THE GAS WORKS.
WHEN I JOINED I HAD TO REPORT TO CAPT SCRIBER IN HIS OFFICE IN SARMEN,, FRANCE. HE ASKED ME CERTAIN QUESTIONS AND THAT WAS THAT. THE SGT WAS ALWAYS AT HQ; HE WAS SELDOM SEEN NEAR A MILITARY AREA. THE CPL’S HAD NO KIND OF TRAINING. I HAVE NEVER MET A MILITARY MOUNTED POLICEMAN FROM MYTCHETT, BUT THEY DID SEND FOR ME IN 1939 SUBJECT TO MY CHIEF CONSTABLE’S PERMISSION - HE SAID “NO!”
IN 1914 ALL MEN ON THE ARMY BOARD WERE CALLED TO THEIR UNITS. MANY WERE IN THE CIVIL POLICE. THEIR CHIEF CONSTABLES HAD TO RELEASE THEM.
THESE MEN FORMED THE SQUADRON I JOINED AND THEY TAUGHT ME CIVIL AND COMMON LAW WHICH WAS THE SAME AS MILITARY LAW UP TO A POINT.
I AM AFRAID , UNLESS YOU WERE IN FRANCE AND REALLY IN ACTION, AND NOT AT A BASE MILES AWAY , THEN YOU WOULD FIND IT HARD TO BELIEVE HOW WE OF THE MMP DID OUR DUTIES.
AS I HAVE WRITTEN ALL THE NCO’S IN THE 1ST CAVALRY, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF MYSELF, A GUNNER,CPL MANLEY AN EX-CAVALRYMAN AND LONDON POSTMAN, WERE CIVIL POLICEMEN FROM SCOTLAND, IRELAND AND LONDON. WHEN IN BILLETS WE PATROLLED MOUNTED AND ATTENDED TO ANY COMPLAINTS, SAW TO THE CAFES AND BISTROS. A CAVALRY MMP HAD A VERY EASY LIFE. BECAUSE OF THEIR HORSES THE CAVALRY WOULD FIND BILLETS MILES BEHIND THE BATTLE LINE, BUT WERE ALWAYS READY TO RETURN AND DO DISMOUNTED TRENCH DUTIES WHEN REQUIRED. WHEN DIVISIONS WERE CHANGING OVER THEY WOULD GET ONE OR TWO MMP TO HELP THEM INTO THEIR BILLETS. A FIELD OFFICER WOULD TAKE ONE OR TWO WITH HIM WHEN HE RODE ON DUTY FOR THE GENERAL. I DID FAR MORE OF THIS DUTY THAN ANY OF THE OTHERS BECAUSE OF A “RIGHT HONOURABLE SOMEBODY “ WHO WAS CALLED “PINK PANTS” BECAUSE HE ALWAYS WORE PINK CORD RIDING PANTS. UNKNOWN TO ME HE OBTAINED A FIELD COMMISSION FOR ME. THE FIRST I KNEW OF IT WAS WHEN I WAS TOLD TO REPORT TO X BTY RHA A TA OUTFIT FROM WORCESTER. THEIR POSITION WAS IN THE AREA THE GERMANS HAD LAID WASTE WHEN THEY MADE A HUGE WITHDRAWAL IN THEIR LINE AFTER THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME. THAT WAS GEN GOUGH’S V TH ARMY. HE ADVISED GHQ AND WAS TOLD BY HAIG TO FOLLOW THEM. GOUGH WAS AGAINST THE MOVE, HE WISHED TO STAY PUT, STRENGTHEN HIS POSITION AND WAIT FOR THE ENEMY TO RETURN. THIS WAS THE CORRECT THING TO DO. AS A SOLDIER HE HAD TO OBEY HIS COMMANDING OFFICER. THE RESULT? THE 1918 RETREAT
FOR WHICH HE WAS BLAMED AND LOST HIS COMMAND.
HAIG CAME OUT ONE AFTERNOON TO SEE THE HAVOC THE ENEMY HAD MADE. IF IT GREW IT WAS CUT OFF CLOSE TO THE EARTH - TREES AND SHRUBS. A BUILDING LARGE OR SMALL - BLOW IT UP. TWO WAYS - ONE SPREAD IT AROUND; TWO - BLOW IT UP. ALL WELLS WERE POISONED EXCEPT FOR A FEW HE WOULD REQUIRE WHEN HE RETURNED. ALL ROAD JUNCTIONS WERE CRATERED, BRIDGES DESTROYED, TELEPHONE POLES DOWN. HAIG GOT OUT OF HIS CAR AND STOOD - POLISHED BROWN BOOTS TO THE KNEE, A LOVELY CLEAN UNIFORM AND ROWS OF MEDALS. HE LOOKED ACROSS NO MORE THAN 200 YARDS OF THE BARREN GROUND TO WHERE 600 NORTHUMBERLAND FUSILIERS WERE FILLING IN A HUGE CRATER WHERE A VILLAGE CROSSROADS HAD BEEN. I EXPECTED HIM TO GO ACROSS AND SPEAK TO THE LADS, INSTEAD HE TAPPED HIS BOOTS WITH A SMALL CANE, ENTERED HIS CAR AND DROVE AWAY.. I DO NOT KNOW, IF LIKE ME YOU CAN RECALL MEMORIES, BUT I CAN RECALL MY MEMORIES IN DETAIL. THERE IS ANOTHER. I WAS SERVING WITH A SCOTTISH TERRITORIAL DIVISION(52 LOWLAND DIV? ) AND WAS TOLD “THE GENERAL IS VERY ANXIOUS TO KNOW WHY THERE ARE NO PRISONERS COMING BACK.” THE FIELD OFFICER WHO SAID THIS SIMPLY SAID “SEE TO IT, CPL.” “SIR” I SAID, SALUTED AND RODE AWAY TO FIND THE ANSWER.
FIRST, THIS FIFTH ARMY, WHICH HAD COME INTO BEING WHEN WE HAD ONCE AGAIN BEEN FORCED TO EXTEND OUR LINE SOUTH, WAS MADE UP OF SCOTTISH, AUSTRALIAN, CANADIAN AND INDIAN CAVALRY AND ARTILLERY. THERE WAS NO LINE OF TRENCHES IN THIS GAP BECAUSE WE DID NOT HAVE ENOUGH MEN, ONLY POSTS WITH GAPS IN BETWEEN. DURING THE NIGHT OR WHEN THERE WAS A MIST IT WAS QUITE EASY TO GO BETWEEN THESE SO-CALLED STRONG POINTS WITHOUT BEING CHALLENGED. AS I RODE OVER AND AROUND THE GAP I COULD NOT FEEL SAFE. I WOULD FEEL IT WAS A TRAP. THESE WERE MY THOUGHTS AS I RODE TOWARDS THE AREA NOW HELD BY US. ARRIVING I FRONT OF ST QUENTIN I SAW WHAT YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE POSSIBLE. THERE IN THE LONG GRASS WAS A GROUP OF UNSHAVEN MEN RIDING HORSES THAT HAD LONG COATS OF HAIR, SWORDS IN HAND, YELLING LIKE BANSHEES, THEY WERE PURSUING RUNNING FIGURES. I SAT IN MY SADDLE WATCHING FOR A FEW SECONDS, AND THEN THE PENNY DROPPED.
IT WAS A CANADIAN MOUNTED PATROL;, THEY HAD SURPRISED A GERMAN FOOT PATROL AND WERE OUT TO KILL AFTER A CHASE. THESE CANADIANS HAD A NUMBER OF INDIANS IN THEIR FORCES. HERE WAS A CHANCE TO REVERT - TO GAIN A SCALP. A RUMOUR HAD BEEN GOING AROUND. SOME “BRAVES” SAID THEY INTENDED TO GET A SCALP TO TAKE BACK TO THEIR TRIBE. THERE WAS ONLY ONE WAY FOR ME TO GET A PW, GALLOP AFTER THEM BEFORE THE CANADIANS COULD KILL THEM. AFTER TWO HOURS I HAD SIX, ONE WOUNDED, A SWORD HAD SLASHED SHOULDER AND LEFT ARM. USING HIS AND ANOTHER GERMAN FIRST AID PACK I GAVE HIM FIRST AID. I THEN CALLED IT A DAY AND STARTED BACK. PASSING THROUGH A TUMBLE OF MASONRY, ONCE A VILLAGE IN A HOLLOW, I WAS STOPPED BY A COUPLE OF AUSTRALIAN ARTILLERYMEN. THEY HAD A BATTERY OF 4.7 NEAR BY. ONE OF THEM SAID “500 FRANCS FOR JUST ONE OF YOUR PRISONERS!” “AND WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH JUST ONE PRISONER?” WAS MY REPLY. “TIE THE BUGGER TO THE MUZZLE OF A GUN AND BLOW HIM TO HELL!” AN OFFICER APPEARED. HIS OFFER WAS A 1000 FRANC NOTE. “IF ANY OF YOU TOUCH MY PRISONERS HE WILL BE SHOT!” I DREW MY REVOLVER AND CONTINUED ON MY JOURNEY. THAT ADDED TO WHAT THE CANADIANS WERE DOING IS A FAIR SUMMING UP OF HOW THE TROOPS FELT ABOUT WHAT THE ENEMY HAD DONE TO THE COUNTRYSIDE. THE WOUNDED ONE ASKED FOR WATER. I TOLD HIM IN FRENCH “ALL THE WELLS ARE POISONED.” HE SAID “NOT ALL”. HE THEN TOOK US ON AND SHOWED US WHERE BUCKET AND ROPE WERE HIDDEN. THEY DRANK, RESTED AND REPLACED BUCKET AND ROPE. THEN I WAS TOLD THAT NONE OF THE GERMAN TROOPS WERE RESPONSIBLE IN ANY WAY FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY AND COUNTRYSIDE. THERE WAS A SPECIAL GROUP TRAINED TO DO IT USING SPECIAL TOOLS AND EXPLOSIVES. IT WAS ALMOST DARK WHEN I AT LAST ARRIVED AT THE MOUND OF RUBBLE WHICH HAD ONCE BEEN A FAIR SIZED VILLAGE AND DIV HQ.. FIRST MY WOUNDED PRISONER WAS SENT OFF BY AMBULANCE TO THE REAR, AFTER I HAD OBTAINED HIS REGIMENTAL PARTICULARS. THE OTHERS I PUT IN A CELLAR, ONE WHICH HAD A DOOR AND A LOCK. THIS I FOUND WHEN THE HQ MOVED IN. THE FOLLOWING MORNING I TOOK THEM BEFORE THE OFFICER OF INTELLIGENCE TO BE QUESTIONED. ALMOST BEFORE I HAD FINISHED ONE, WHO HAD ACTED DUMB, SHOUTED “ HE LOCKED US UP IN A LATRINE!” THE OFFICER SAID “YOU SHOULD HAVE DUG LATRINES AND MADE SURE THEY WERE USED!” JUST ONE OF MANY INCIDENTS IN THIS AREA.
YOU ASK “WHERE WAS GOUGH IN THIS RETREAT? CERTAINLY NOT WHERE I WAS.
REAR GUARDS? OUR DUTIES? - TO ENSURE THAT ALL WHO STOOD ON THEIR FEET AND COULD WALK HAD CROSSED ALL BRIDGES BEFORE THEY WERE DESTROYED. THIS OFTEN MEANT THAT WE WERE FIRED ON. IT WAS A VERY SAD RETREAT BECAUSE WE HAD REPAIRED SO MUCH OF WHAT HE HAD DESTROYED, ROADS, BRIDGES, RAILWAYS, DUG NEW WELLS AND MADE DUMPS OF AMMUNITION AND SET UP A LARGE ADVANCED FIELD HOSPITAL. THERE WAS LARGE GWR PASSENGER TRAIN THAT HAD BEEN CONVERTED INTO A HOSPITAL RED CROSS TRAIN WITH DOCTORS, NURSES AND MEDICAL STAFF. IT WAS CAPTURED LOADING WOUNDED. WHEN WE STOPPED RETREATING AND CHASED HIM BACK, THIS TRAIN WAS RECAPTURED BY US - LOADED WITH HIS WOUNDED!”
AT BRAY WE WERE FOOLISH ENOUGH TO LET THE EXPEDITIONARY FORCES CANTEEN ERECT A LARGE MARQUEE AND STACK IT FULL. ALL THIS FELL INTO HIS HANDS.
GENERALS WERE SELDOM SEEN NEAR THE LINE. THEN WE COLLECTED BATTLE STRAGGLERS, WOUNDED, SAW THAT FOOD AND AMMUNITION GOT TO THE LADS, SAW THEM INTO THEIR POSITIONS IN THE DARK, AND OUT AGAIN WHEN THEY WERE RELIEVED. WE HAD OUR HANDS FULL ON THE 52ND LOWLAND DIVISION. THEIR EMBLEM WAS A LETTER “L” WITH A THISTLE INSERT
CNATEAUX - THE HOMES OF THE GENERALS , MILES FROM ANY SHELL FIRE. THERE THEY COULD USE THE LARGE SALONS TO HANG THEIR MAPS AND THE EXTENSIVE CELLARS COULD ALWAYS BE DEPENDED UPON TO PROVIDE THEIR TABLES WITH WINE. THESE BUILDINGS WERE CENTURIES OLD. YOU HAVE NO DOUBT SEEN PICTURES OF A BED CHAMBER? THE BED MOUNTED ON A PLATFORM WITH THICK VELVET CURTAINS AROUND IT, AND A HUGE DUVET OR EIDERDOWN. I HAVE SLEPT IN ONE, IT’S WONDERFUL. THESE THE ENEMY DESTROYED ONLY WHEN HE REALISED THAT WE WOULD NOT LET HIM HAVE THEM.
ST AMAND 1918 - HERE THE GERMANS HAD A LARGE SHELL FILLING FACTORY.
WE WERE SO CLOSE ON HIS HEELS HE HAD TO LEAVE IN A HURRY. FIRST THE POWER STATION - FOR THIS TOWN HAD AN ELECTRIC TRAM SERVICE; THEY BANKED UP THE FURNACE, TIED DOWN THE STEAM CONTROL SO THAT ALL THE OVERHEAD WIRES WERE ALIVE, LOCKED THE DOORS SO NO-ONE COULD ENTER TO SWITCH OFF THE CURRENT; WIRES WERE DANGLING AND TOUCHING THE COBBLES AND THROWING OFF SPARKS IN SHOWERS WHEN TWO OF US MMP RODE UP AS ADVANCE SCOUTS TO THE INFANTRY. BEING TOLD ALL THIS WE RODE TO THE POWER STATION, BROKE IN, OPENED UP THE FURNACES AND PUT ALL THE SWITCHES TO OFF. ON THE TOWN’S OUTSKIRTS WAS A CHATEAU WITH A LOVELY TREE-LINED ROAD TO IT. INSIDE THE LODGE AND OUTSIDE WERE NUMEROUS WOODEN BOXES AND BUNDLES OF STRAW, AND ON THE FLOORS AND GROUND AROUND WERE ORNAMENTS, METAL AND CHINA, TEA SERVICES, DINNER SERVICES, GLASSES, GOBLETS, JUGS, CLOCKS AND WOOD CARVINGS - YES, HE HAD LOOTED THE CHATEAU AND BEEN PACKING IT IN CASES WHEN SOMEONE SHOUTED “”L’ANGLAIS!” IN NO TIME WE WERE UP TO OUR NECKS IN COMPLAINTS - “MRS B HAS MY BEST MATTRESS AND BLANKETS AND WILL NOT RETURN THEM.” MRS B “ THE GERMANS BROUGHT THEM TO ME. HOW DO I KNOW WHO THEY BELONG TO?” “ MRS SO AND SO HAS MY SAUCEPANS. “ IT SEEMS THAT THE ENEMY HAD BEEN BILLETED ON THESE PEOPLE AND SIMPLY TOOK AND USED THINGS THAT BELONGED TO OTHER BILLETS. QUITE A TANGLE, BUT WITH PATIENCE IT WAS ALL SORTED OUT.
NEXT A WOMAN HAD A BOX OF AMMUNITION AND FOUR RIFLES, WHAT SHOULD SHE DO WITH THEM? THE MOST HIDEOUS DISCOVERY CAME WHEN WE DECIDED TO LOOK OVER THE LARGE SHELL FILLING FACTORY. IT WAS ALL WIRED TO BLOW UP. WHERE WERE THE CHARGES?. HIDDEN UNDER BOXES OF BOMBS EACH WIRED TO THE OTHER. I OFTEN ASKED MYSELF WHY I HAD ASKED FOR A TRANSFER TO THE POLICE! WHAT WOULD YOU SAY WHEN A COLONEL ASKED YOU TO ARRANGE A MARRIAGE BETWEEN ONE OF HIS SERGEANTS AND A GIRL OF 19. HE WAS 22, NEITHER COULD SPEAK THE OTHER’S LANGUAGE. ALL WENT OFF PERFECTLY, MYSELF BEING THE BEST MAN.
IT HAD BEEN ARRANGED THAT THE SCOTTISH TERRITORIAL BN WOULD GO BACK TO THE BASE IN SCOTLAND AS A COMPLETE UNIT. PIPES WERE PLAYING AS THEY DETRAINED AT THEIR LOCAL STATION. THE REGIMENTAL TAILOR HAD MADE A KILT FOR THEIR LATEST RECRUIT, THE SERGEANT’S WIFE. SHE HAD ENTRAINED WITH THEM AT MONS STATION AND TRAVELLED TO SCOTLAND AS A PRIVATE OF THE GALLANT ECOSSAIS!
SOIGNIES - A LARGE MARKET TOWN NEAR THE BATTLEFIELD OF WATERLOO. THE MAJOR WAS VERY ANXIOUS TO SEE ME. THE ENEMY HAD LEFT BEHIND IN HIS LARGE WAREHOUSE HUNDREDS OF PIANOS, BABIES GRAND AND LARGE CONCERTS. WHAT SHOULD HE DO WITH THEM? MY ANSWER? ARRANGE A GRAND AUCTION AND SELL THEM AND USE THE MONEY FOR THE POOR OF THE TOWN. IT WAS A GREAT SUCCESS. IN ANOTHER PLACE I WAS SHOWN A LARGE STORE FULL OF SACKS. EACH SACK CONTAINED BRASS CURTAIN RINGS AND ALL MANNER OF THINGS MADE OF BRASS, BRASS BED KNOBS, FIRE SETS, DOOR HANDLES, FINGER PLATES. WHOEVER THE COLLECTOR WAS HE KNEW HIS ONIONS. THEN AGAIN THE ENEMY HAD DELAYED THE DESPATCH INTO GERMANY BECAUSE ANOTHER LOAD FROM ANOTHER PART OF BELGIUM HAD NOT ARRIVED. THE ANSWER “ IT’S YOUR GOVERNMENT’S PROPERTY, REPORT TO THE MINISTRY OF SUPPLIES, BRUSSELS.
YOU SEE, MAJOR, ANYTHING WAS POSSIBLE IN WAR, OR SHOULD I WRITE “ THE
OLD ARMY” WAS A WONDERFUL PLACE TO BE IN? AS LONG AS YOU KEPT YOUR NERVE AND USED YOUR LOAF YOU COULD GET AWAY WITH IT.
P/5391 L/CPL C.S. HAVERS MFP - RELEVANT DIARY EXTRACTS
25/11/16 LEFT ESSEX CONSTABULARY
7/12/16 JOINED MILITARY FOOT POLICE
4/ 3/ 17 ARRIVED NO 5 GENERAL BASE ROUEN
30/ 3/ 17 ARRIVED ST POL. DIVISIONAL TRAFFIC CONTROL COMPANY FORMED.
OFFICERS : CAPT WARD, CAPT KENNEDY, LT’S DAVIDSON, METCALFE, WATKINS
5/ 4/ 17 MARCHED TO ST POL AND FETCHED CYCLES AND FORMED INTO MOBILE POLICE
25/ 4/ 17 CYCLED TO ARRAS AND JOINED NO 1 PLATOON WHO HAD LEFT BRIAS ON 16TH APRIL
26/ 4/ 17 FIRST DUTY ON ARRAS - CAMBRAI ROAD AT ST SAVIOUR’S. DUMP AT ARRAS STATION DESTROYED BY SHELLS.
22-24//5/17 DUTY AT VLAMERTINGE - OUDERDUIN RD RE DUMP.
25-30/5/17 BILLETED AT DEN GROEGEN JAGER - DUTY AT KRUISASTRAATHOOK
WITH L/CPL BAILEY.
28/ 5/ 17 BAILEY WOUNDED 1 A.M ARRANGED FOR HIM TO BE TAKEN TO DICKEBUSCH DRESSING STATION, WHERE HE DIED ON THE 30TH MAY 17. BURIED AT LISSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY, NEAR POPERINGHE
29/ 5/ 17 VISITED SHRAPNEL CORNER WITH LT DAVIDSON.
6/ 6/ 17 VISITED ALL TRAFFIC POINTS UP TO SHRAPNEL CORNER WITH LT DAVIDSON.
20/ 6/ 17 CAPT KENNEDY AND L/CPL JOHNSON WOUNDED AT BUSSEBOOM
22/ 6/ 17 L/CPL LAW AND L/CPL MARSHALL WOUNDED. L/CPL BORE GASSED.
DUKE OF CONNAUGHT VISITED 21 CANADIAN CCS.
4/ 7/ 17 TO BRANDHOEK, KING GEORGE PASSED THROUGH KENSINGHOLT (?)
21/ 7/ 17 MARSHALL KNOCKED DOWN BY M/CYCLE. LEG FRACTURED.
28/ 07/ 17 TO DROEMARQ FARM AND INTERVIEWED COLONEL 55 HDG RE J. MCKENZIE
1/ 8/ 17 ATTENDED COURT MARTIAL AT DROEMARQ FARM ON J MCKENZIE.
2/ 8/ 17 TO VLAMERTINGE FOR DUTY AT POST 19.
20/ 9/ 17 SHELL DROPPED ON BILLET
22/ 9/ 17 L/CPL RENWICK WOUNDED BY BOMB ON VLAMERTINGHE - POPERINGHE RD. MET CAPT DE CRESPIGNY APM ALSO L/CPL MARSHALL (MOUNTED)
27/ 9/ 17 WOUNDED AT 06.30 HRS AT POST 19 VLAMERTINGHE CHURCH BY SHRAPNEL IN RIGHT ANKLE.
28/ 9/ 17 ARRIVED AT NO 7 GENERAL HOSPITAL, ST OMER.
THAT WAS THE END OF HIS ACTIVE SERVICE AND IN MARCH 1918 HE WAS DISCHARGED FROM THE ARMY ON MEDICAL GROUNDS. IN A LATER LETTER TO MAJ RAJ TYLER MBE MR HAVERS ELABORATED ON HIS SERVICE THUS :-
OUR DUTIES CONSISTED MAINLY OF TRAFFIC CONTROL AT ROAD JUNCTIONS NEAR THE FRONT LINE AND NORMALLY AT NIGHT WHEN TRAFFIC WAS MOVING SUPPLIES UP. IT WAS QUITE A PROBLEM WITH A MIXTURE OF HORSES, MULES AND MOTOR DRIVEN VEHICLES.
“JERRY” FREQUENTLY DROPPED “WHIZZBANGS” AT THESE SPOTS AND THERE WAS NO PROPER SHELTER. I WAS ON DUTY ONE NIGHT AT KRUISTRAATWEK WITH L/CPL BAILEY FROM THE NORFOLK POLICE WHEN WE WERE SHELLED. BAILEY RECEIVED WOUNDS FROM WHICH HE DIED A FEW DAYS LATER. I THINK I ESCAPED THROUGH BEING ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE PASSING TRAFFIC ON ANOTHER NIGHT CYCLING BACK TO THE BILLET FROM THE ABOVE-MENTIONED POST. JERRY SHELLED BOTH SIDES OF THE ROAD AND SHRAPNEL CUT BOTH MY TYRES TO PIECES, BUT I WAS UNTOUCHED. CONDITIONS WERE GENERALLY VERY ROUGH, ANY OLD PLACE DID FOR A SLEEP. ONE BARN THAT WE HAD WAS FULL OF MILLS HAND GRENADES AND IT WAS NOT UNUSUAL TO BE BOMBED DURING THE DAYTIME.
OUR FIRST NIGHT IN BUSSEBOOM WE SLEPT IN A STRAW BARN AND GATHERED A NICE LOT OF LOUSY COMPANY - NO CHANCE TO CLEAN UP.. FURTHER BACK FROM THE FRONT WE USED A SMALL OIL LANTERN, SHIELDED FROM ABOVE. POST 19 AT VLAMERTINGHE WAS ONE PLACE AND IT WAS HERE THAT OUR LANTERN CAUGHT FIRE, HAVING BEEN LEFT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD BY THE MAN ON DUTY, WHO HAD LAID HIMSELF OUT DRINKING RUM.
I HEARD OF THE MILITARY MEDAL BEING AWARDED TO CPL GOLDING AND L/CPL’S LEYBOURNE AND EMERY. NO P/1699 L/CPL GODDARD WAS IN TC COY, SO IT WOULD APPEAR THERE WERE MORE THAN ONE TRAFFIC CONTROL COMPANY.
TWO OF OUR OFFICERS WERE :- MAJ G.H.P. WILLIAMS APM 23 RD DIVISION AND
MAJ J.S.R. TRYTON APM 10 CORPS
ABOUT 06.30 HRS ON 27TH SEPT 1917 I WAS ON DUTY AT POST 19 ON THE VLAMERTINGHE - POPERINGHE RD WHEN A SHELL DROPPED ON OUR BILLET ABOUT 30 YDS AWAY. A PIECE OF THE NOSE CAP HIT ME ON THE ANKLE AND THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF MY WAR SERVICE.
THESE PERSONAL ACCOUNTS CAN, UNFORTUNATELY, ONLY GIVE US A TASTE OF THE DAY TO DAY LIVES OF THESE MEMBERS OF THE WW1 PROVOST SERVICE. CAPT MCKECHNIE APPEARS TO HAVE SERVED DURING THE PERIOD WHEN CAPTAINS IN THE SERVICE WERE GIVEN THE NEW APPOINTMENT OF DAPM, ONE WHICH LASTED IN THAT RANK UNTIL 1949 WHEN MAJORS WERE DOWNGRADED TO DAPM’S, LT/COLS TO APMS AND COLS TO DPM, UNLESS THEY WERE THE SENIOR PROVOST OFFICER IN A THEATRE, IN WHICH CASE THEY WERE APPOINTED PM.
L/CPL USHER GAVE OF HIS BEST DURING HIS PERIOD WITH MMP AND IN DUE COURSE RETURNED TO THE ESSEX CONSTABULARY WHERE HE SERVED A FULL CAREER.
THE ADVENTURES OF L/CPL ORTEN DO SEEM AT FIRST GLANCE, RATHER FAR-FETCHED. HOWEVER HIS ACCOUNT OF THE TREATMENT OF POW’S IS CORROBORATED BY THE EVIDENCE OF SGT L.T. CHARLES RECORDED IN JONATHAN NICHOLLS’ EXCELLENT BOOK, “CHEERFUL SACRIFICE” WHICH IS THE STORY OF THE BATTLE OF ARRAS. ALTHOUGH L/CPL ORTEN DID NOT GET HIS COMMISSION, THE CIRCUMSTANCES WERE NOT UNIQUE,
L/CPL HAVERS WAS THE ONLY MEMBER OF A TRAFFIC CONTROL COMPANY I WAS ABLE TO TRACE, GIVES US AN INSIGHT INTO THEIR DAILY ROUTINE. HE ALSO CONTINUED HIS CAREER IN THE CIVIL POLICE
IN GENERAL IN THE B.E.F. 1917 WAS A YEAR IN WHICH THE TRAGEDY OF THE SOMME EVENTUALLY BROUGHT SOME ADVANTAGE IN TERMS OF TERRITORY GAINED, BUT WHICH RESULTED IN THE DESTRUCTION OF MANY VILLAGES HITHERTO UNTOUCHED BY WAR.
LOST 1914 & FOUND 1917
The following story was found in the documents of Sergeant Major J Eade, MMP regarding the loss and recovery of his Queens South Africa Medal.
LETTER DATED 25/11/17 FROM THE INTELLIGENCE OFFICE, ROUEN, NO. R.6665 TO THE EFFECTS BRANCH (MEN), GHQ, 3RD ECHELON.
THE ENCLOSED ARE FORWARDED TO YOU FOR YOUR DISPOSAL AS YOU THINK FIT. THEY WERE FORWARDED TO ME BY A LADY WHO OBTAINED THEM FROM A FRENCH SOLDIER WHO HAD TAKEN THE FROM THE BODY OF A DEAD GERMAN.
PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIPT.
ROUEN, 25/11/17. SIGNED J H LECHE, CAPTAIN, GS.
LETTER FROM EFFECTS BRANCH TO OFFICER I/C CAVALRY RECORDS (DRAGOONS), CANTERBURY, DATED 27/11/17.
5147 PTE J EADE, 7 DRAGOON GUARDS.
FORWARDED HEREWITH ARE THE QUEEN’S SOUTH AFRICA MEDAL AND 5 BARS, INSCRIBED AS ABOVE TOGETHER WITH A CERTIFICATE AS INSTRUCTOR, ROSARY AND CRUCIFIX. A COPY OF THE COVERING MEMORANDUM RECEIVED THEREWITH, SHOWING THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH THEY WERE RECOVERED IS ATTACHED, BUT A MAN BEARING THESE PARTICULARS CANNOT BE TRACED AS HAVING SERVED IN THE DRAGOON GUARDS HERE. WHEN ACKNOWLEDGING RECEIPT WILL YOU KINDLY FILL IN THE DETAILS BELOW, SHOWING THE DESCRIPTION UNDER WHICH THIS MAN WAS SERVING WITH THE BEF AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH.
LETTER PASSED TO O/IC MILITARY POLICE RECORDS, ALDERSHOT.
PASSED TO YOU, PTE. EADE WAS TRANSFERRED TO MMP ON 8/12/05.
SIGNED G C WYMHAM, COLONEL, I/C CAVALRY RECORD.
LETTER FROM O I/C RECORDS, MILITARY POLICE CORPS. ALDERSHOT 5/12/17 TO O I/C/ CAVALRY SECTION, GHQ, 3 ECHELON, BEF.
REF THE ATTACHED COPY OF CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING THE SOUTH AFRICAN MEDAL, CERTIFICATE AS INSTRUCTOR, ROSARY AND CRUCIFIX, BELONGING TO NO. 5147 PTE J EADE, 7 DRAGOON GUARDS NOW NO. 660 L/CPL (A/SGT) J EADE, MILITARY MOUNTED POLICE, WILL YOU PLEASE CAUSE THIS NCO TO BE INFORMED THAT THESE ARTICLES ARE IN MY POSSESSION FOR SAFE CUSTODY.
WILL YOU KINDLY OBTAIN AND FORWARD TO ME A STATEMENT FROM a/SGT EADE AS TO HOW AND WHEN HE LOST THESE ARTICLES.
REPORT FROM S/SSM J EADE, IN THE FIELD, DATED 14/12/17.
REPORT TO AMP 61 DIVISION
I BEG TO REPORT RE ATTACHED CORRESPONDENCE THAT THE LAST TIME THAT I SAW THE ARTICLES MENTIONED WAS IN SEPTEMBER 1914 DURING THE BATTLE OF THE AISNE. I WAS WITH 11 INFANTRY BRIGADE AT THAT TIME AND SOME OF OUR BASE KIT BAGS WERE BROUGHT UP TO US AND WE WERE INSTRUCTED TO TAKE OUT WHAT WE WANTED AND RETURN THEM TO THAT THEY COULD BE SENT BACK AND THE ARTICLES IN QUESTION WERE LEFT BY ME IN MY BASE KIT BAG TOGETHER WITH SEVERAL OTHER THING INCLUDING MY ARMY RESERVE PAPER AND CHARACTER. THE ONLY WAY THAT I CAN ACCOUNT FOR THEM COMING INTO THE POSSESSION OF A GERMAN IS THAT THE BAG WAS NOT RETURNED TO THE DIVISION BY THE BRIGADE, BUT WAS LEFT THERE AND THE GROUND WAS AFTERWARDS OCCUPIED BY THE GERMAN FROM THE FRENCH (ABOUT JANUARY 1915).
SIGNED J EADE, A/SSM. M M POLICE.
SSM J EADE WAS AWARDED THE QUEEN’S SOUTH AFRICA MEDAL WITH CLASPS: CAPE COLONY, ORANGE FREE STATE, TRANSVAAL, SOUTH AFRICA 1901 AND SOUTH AFRICA 1902. ALSO AWARDED THE 1914 STAR WITH CLASP AND ROSE, VICTORY AND WAR MEDALS AND MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES.
MILITARY MOUNTED POLICE
TRAFFIC CONTROL SQUADRONS
NO1 TRAFFIC CONTROL SQUADRON MMP
SERVED: II ARMY 7/17, III ARMY 12/17, I ARMY 2/18 TO 11/11/18.
NO2 TRAFFIC CONTROL SQUADRON MMP
SERVED: II ARMY 7/17, V ARMY 9/16, II ARMY 11/17, III ARMY 12/17, V ARMY 2/18, IV ARMY 7/18, IV ARMY 10/18 TO 11/11/18.
NO3 TRAFFIC CONTROL SQUADRON MMP
SERVED: II ARMY 7/17, V ARMY 9/17, IV ARMY 12/17, II ARMY 5/18 TO 11/11/18.
NO 4 TRAFFIC CONTROL SQUADRON MMP
SERVED: II ARMY 7/17, V ARMY 9/17, III ARMY 12/17 TO 11/11/18.
NO1 TRAFFIC CONTROL COMPANY MFP
SERVED: II ARMY 7/17, ½ COMPANY WITH V ARMY 9/17 AND ½ COMPANY WITH II ARMY 9/17, II ARMY 11/17, IV ARMY 12/17, I ARMY 2/18, HQ AND 11/2 PLATOONS 1 ARMY AND 11/1 PLATOONS V ARMY 10/18 TO 11/11/18.
NO2 TRAFFIC CONTROL COMPANY MFP
SERVED: II ARMY 7/17, V ARMY 9/17, II ARMY 11/17, III ARMY 12/17, V ARMY 8/2/18, IV ARMY 5/18 TO 11/11/18.
NO3 TRAFFIC CONTROL COMPANY MFP
SERVED: II ARMY 7/17, V ARMY 9/17, IV ARMY 12/17, II ARMY 5/18 TO 11/11/18.
NO4 TRAFFIC CONTROL COMPANY MFP
SERVED: II ARMY 7/17, IV ARMY 9/17, II ARMY 11/17, III ARMY 12/17 TO 11/11/18
(INFO FROM NATIONAL ARCHIVE WO 95/5496)
By Brigadier-General H. E. Rogers, D.S.O., Provost Marshal, B.A.O.R., Cologne 10.10.19
On leaving the Rhine Army I am taking this opportunity of endeavouring to convey to all ranks of the Provost Branch my very high appreciation of the valuable services rendered by the during the last five years and to thank them for the most loyal support they have given me in whatever position I have held.
Officers, N.C.Os. and men have been called upon to do most things in this War from time to time and have proved themselves equal when the situation demanded. I do not propose to make a long story but the following examples speak for themselves:-
The Military Police of a Division have gone over the top with the fighting troops, taken over the prisoners on the spot, helped to clear the battlefield and guided reinforcements.
On one occasion when the gunners were killed and disabled the guns were manned by Military Police.
Under the direction of the C.R.E the Military Police built the first bridge over a canal into a recaptured town.
An enemy aeroplane was brought down by a Police Post by means of a Lewis Gun. This was vouched for by an Anti-Aircraft Battery.
During a withdrawal a breach was made in the line and Military Police occupied it armed with Lewis Guns.
At a critical time Military Police held a position of the line for four days until necessary reinforcements arrived.
The Military Police have been present at all big bombardments of the War such as Ypres, Armentieres, Arras, Bapaume, Amiens, and have been posted at places like “Hell Fire Corner.” Sillebek Lake, Circuit and Cafe Belge. It is not necessary to remark on the danger entailed without the excitement of actual fighting, because it is know, but no case of a Military Policeman leaving his post has ever been brought to my notice and this in itself is I think a very fine record.
The War work of the Provost Branch in the forward areas was all important as the food and ammunition supply depended to a large extent on the work of the Traffic Control Personnel.
Since the Armistice the Provost Branch has had quite different work calling for more tact and self control during a difficult period when the majority were having and easy time and they had to put in long hours.
Traffic Control Units.-- From their formation in early 1917 they were practically always more or less under fire until the cessation of hostilities. they were moved from battle to battle and during long and trying hours worked with untiring energy and without complaint.
Examining Posts. -- The two Battalions of the K.O.Y.L.I and Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry have been in the Provost Branch since early 1916. They have carried out important work on controlling circulation, traffic control and at times Police work. At the end of the War these two Battalions were a highly trained body of men. Their work throughout has been excellent. They have often been under fire. Their work found Amiens during the bombardment of 1918 will be a lasting memory.
Honourable Artillery Company. -- Since the Armistice the 1st Battalion H.A.C had been attached to the Provost Branch. Officers, N.C.Os. and Men have proved themselves invaluable during a difficult period of demobilization. They have upheld the highest traditions of their Regiment. I am most grateful for their services.
Permit Offices, Railway Control, Rhine Control and Q.M.A.A.C. (Queen Mary’s Auxiliary Army Corps) -- Since the occupation it has been necessary to have strict control over circulation. The Officers, Ladies, N.C.Os. and Men of the above have been working at a high pitch and have made our system of control an entirely satisfactory and efficient one. This has required great tact - The absence of complaints testifies to their success.
S.I.B. -- The special investigation branch have been most efficient and have been the means on many occasions of preventing trouble. Their detective work has led to the confiscation of very large quantities of stolen Government property.
Taken from the Corps Journal, 1st quarter of 1964. Reproduced by kind permission of the Regimental Secretary.
BRIGADIER-GENERAL W T F HORWOOD, CB, DSO.
PROVOST MARSHAL, GHQ BEF FRANCE, 1915-1918
Brigadier-General W T F Horwood, CB, DSO formerly served in the 5 Lancers. 29/4/92 Lt Horwood was placed on half pay on account of ill health. 26/5/00 promoted Captain, Reserve of Officers. 14/4/1915 appointed Assistant Provost Marshal. 2/7/15 promoted Major. 1/1/16 awarded a Mentioned in Despatches, London Gazette 29422, page 6, dated 1/1/16, GHQ France & Flanders. 21/1/16 promoted temporary Colonel, 16/1/16, whilst Provost Marshal. 3/6/16 appointed Brevet Major. 17/3/16 Provost Marshal, appointed temporary Brigadier General. 15/6/16 awarded a Mentioned in Despatches, London Gazette 29623, page 5920, dated 15/6/16, GHQ France & Flanders. 4/1/17 Awarded a Mentioned in Despatches, London Gazette 29890, page 197, dated 4/1/17, Staff GHQ, France & Flanders. Awarded a Mentioned in Despatches, London Gazette 30072, page 4748, dated 15/5/17, Staff, France & Flanders. 4/6/17 Made a companion of the order of the Distinguished Service Order. London Gazette 30111, page 5471, dated 4/6/17. 11/12/17 Awarded a Mentioned in Despatches, London Gazette 30421, page 12915, dated 11/12/17. Staff, France from 26/2/17 to 21/9/17. 11/3/18 Awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre, London Gazette 30568, page 3096, dated 11/3/18. 20/5/18 Awarded a Mentioned in Despatches, London Gazette 30961, page 5947, dated 20/5/18, Staff, France 25/9/17 to 25/2/18. Whitehall, November 1, 1918. The King has been pleased, by Warrant under His Majesty’s Royal Sign Manual, bearing date the 1st instant, to appoint Brigadier General William Thomas Francis horwood, DSO to be an Assistant Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. London Gazette 30987, page 12898, dated 1/11/18. 27/10/18 Granted the Honorary rank of Brigadier General. London Gazette 31006, page 13377, dated 13/11/18. Awarded a Mentioned in Despatches, London Gazette 31077, page 14928, dated 20/12/18, Staff, France from 25/2/18 to 17/9/18. 1/1/19 The King has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following promotions in, and appointments to, the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, for valuable services rendered in connection with the Military Operations in France and Flanders. Appointed a Member of the Military Division of the third class, or Companions of the said Most Honourable Order. 30/4/20, The King has been pleased, by Warrant under His Majesty’s Royal Sign manual, bearing date the 20th instant, to appoint Brigadier General William Thomas Francis Horwood, CB, DSO, to be Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. London Gazette 31883, page 4987, dated 30/4/20. He was also awarded the 1915 Star, Victory and War Medals and first served abroad (1) France, 14/4/15. He handed over the role of Provost Marshal, GHQ, BEF to Brigadier General H E Rogers, DSO.
ALLIED POLICE CONTROL IN CONSTANTINOPLE, TURKEY
TAKEN FROM THE DESPATCHES OF GENERAL SIR G F MILNE, GCMG, KCB, DSO, C IN C ARMY OF THE BLACK SEA. LONDON GAZETTE 32184, PAGE 161, DATED 2 JANUARY 1921.
On the 11th January, 1919, I received orders to assume executive control of the Constantinople police. This was carried out under my orders by Lieutenant General Sir H F M Wilson, KCB, KCMG, Commanding the Allied Corps, who established an inter Allied Commission of Control (British, French and Italian) under the Presidency of Brigadier-General F G Fuller, CB, CMG, General Staff, Allied Corps. In February 1920, Colonel Ballard, CB, CMG, relieved General Fuller of his duties on the Commission, the combined police and general staff work having grown too onerous for one officer.
The system adopted for the control of the Constantinople police consisted of the establishment of small mixed Allied police posts throughout the city, chiefly at places where the contending elements of the population (Christian and Turk) were most likely to meet. These were grouped in three police districts each under the direction of one of the Allies as follows:-
The control was later extended to the port and posts provided with motor-boats were established at Galata and Stamboul.
The object aimed at by the Police Commission was to raise the status and moral of the Turkish police, to improve their methods and while establishing an effective control, to avoid undue interference.
So long as the situation created by the Armistice made it impossible for Allied Consular courts to exercise their functions, officers of the Allied police had to discharge the duties of police court magistrates in addition to their proper duties.
With military force behind it, the Allied police control has maintained tranquility in the town under circumstances of almost unparalleled complexity, and the Turks acknowledge their debt to it, as freely as do those of other nationalities. Results have proved the success of the system, and serious crime, which was most prevalent in Constantinople, is now less so than in other large cities. Lieutenant Colonel E C Maxwell, OBE, MC, Cheshire Regiment, has shown special ability in command of the British sector.
During the period under review, the Corps of Military Police was denuded, by demobilisation, of practically every man it possessed. In spite of this, the work of controlling the troops and maintaining that high standard of discipline and smartness, which is especially essential in an occupied enemy country, has been most ably carried out by my Assistant Provost Marshal, Major W F O Faviell, DSO, and his subordinates.
(In December 1919, he was appointed Deputy Provost Marshal at Constantinople, where he remained until 1923. For his services he was promoted to Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel in 1921. In 1933 he became Major and Resident Governor of the Tower of London).
A MFP L/Cpl with a member of the British Water Guard (BWG) Customs.
The APM with two CMP Sergeants and Turkish members of the British Water Guard (BWG) Customs.
British HQ Base, Army of the Black Sea, Constantinople 1920
MISCELLANEOUS WORLD WAR ONE
INFORMATION RELATING TO MILITARY POLICE
MILITARY FOOT POLICE, PORTS SECTIONS
NCO’s employed in the Military Foot Police, Ports Sections appear to have been recruited by a department of MI5, at the War Office, Whitehall, London SW1.
They were employed at all major ports in the United Kingdom and were attached to Protection Companies of the Royal Defence Corps or Infantry battalions employed in Port protection.
They appear to have been of a low medical category and some obtained rapid promotion.
The wore green cap covers on their service dress caps instead of the normal scarlet cover worn by MMP & MFP. They were nicknamed ‘ The bloody Irish’ by soldiers referring to the green cap cover.
Below is a copy of an NCO in the MFP Port Section Articles of Clothing & Necessaries in Possession showing his green cap cover and armlet scarlet.
The following are letters found in Service Records of MFP recruited into the Port Section.
184451. M.I.5.H 4th June 1917.
Military Foot Police
Herbert Donaldson, 57th R. D. (Regimental District) Recruiting Area, Mill Hill, will be enlisted in the Military Foot Police for posting to the Military Ports Police on or about the 11th inst.
We should be very glad if this man could be posted to the Military Ports Police at Gravesend.
(sd) E J Radcliffe, Capt.
for Colonel GS
Found in service record of P/10973 L/cpl H Donaldson.
Military Police Corps,
I send herewith the three nco’s mentioned in your letter of 16/7/20 No. 217/7/D/M.M.P. for demobilisation. The papers have already been returned to you, with the exception of the Medical Board papers of L/Cpl Jeffries herewith.
In the case of L/cpl Hunter, who is employed on special duties, were are very anxious for him to return to London today (30/7/20) as were are employing him in a civil capacity after demobilisation, and require his services on Saturday. I have asked A.G.3. (P.M.) who concur and are communicating direct to you to this effect.
30/7/1920 (signed) J A Richmond, Capt. for Col G.S.
Found in the service record of P/3268 L/Cpl J B Jeffries.
Dear Colonel Innes,
With reference to medals for service abroad for the MFP ( Ports Section) employed here, several of them went out on special jobs to Italy and returned on completion of duty.
I do not know if this qualifies them for any medal or medal ribbons, but, in case it does, here are the names and numbers of the men, and where they went:-
P/14354 L/Cpl G Christian
embarked on 22nd May, 1918, proceeding to Padua and Vicenza, returning to England on the 1st June, 1918.
(2) P/3600 L/Cpl W Smith
P/3268 L/Cpl J B Jeffries
left London on the 10th July and proceeded to the Aerodrome Nr, Vicenza, returning to London on the 20th July, 1918.
They were in charge of certain very confidential packages to the Headquarters of the British Expeditionary Force in Italy.
(sgd) G. M Omerod.
Lt. Col C. F. Innes,
Found in the service record of P/3268 L/Cpl J B Jeffries.
This letter was found in the Service Record of P/3268 L/Cpl J B Jeffries who was claiming a sick pension and claimed to be suffering from Rheumatism & Catarrh of the Stomach. Making confidential enquiries for M.I.5.
19th July 1920
Re No. P/3286 L/cpl Jeffries. 2.B.
With reference to the attached letter 217/7/DMMP, dated 16 instant from the Commandant, Military Police, Aldershot. I beg to report that L/cpl jeffries, who has been attached to M.I.5. since June 1917, has been principly engaged on observation duty (watching and following suspects) which necessitated him reaming outdoors for many hours together and was consequently exposed to wet and cold weather.
During the past seven months he has on he has on two or three occasions reported getting his clothes were soaked whilst on duty in the rain and there appears to be no reason to doubt that the same thing has happened to him on many previous occasions.
Attached is his statement herewith.
He was absent from duty from 20th May last to 5th June inclusive, during which time he apparently was suffering from rheumatism vide attached medical certificate.
The above statement is correct. When on observation duty, he had to remain at his post no matter how wet or cold the weather might be.
J A Richmond, Capt
Attached General Staff.
This letter was found in the service record of P/16320 L/Cpl M Lorenzi.
6177/M.I.5.E 7th August 1918.
Lt. Colonel G. F Innes.
Military Police Record Office
Pte Mario LORENZI
No. 95351, G. Coy, 5th Bn. Middlesex
Great Lines, Chatham
We have applied for the above man to be enlisted in the Military Foot Police, for posting to the Ports Police, and have requested he should be instructed to report to you.
(In pencil) To report 2/10/1918
KHAKI ARMLETS FOR MEN WILLING TO SERVE
(FROM DAILY TELEGRAPH, OCTOBER 1915)
It is announced through the Press Bureau that the Secretary of State for War has decided to issue khaki armlets, bearing the Royal Crown, to the following class of men.
1. Men who enlist and are placed in groups awaiting a call to join the colours.
2. Men who offer themselves for enlistment and are found to be medically unfit.
3. Men who have been invalided out of the Service with good character, or have been discharged “not likely to become efficient” on medical grounds.
There will be a distinctive mark for each of the classes. (This was a letter and individual serial number).
The armlets are in process of manufacture. notice will be given when they can be issued.
A WELCOME STEP.
Lord Kitchener has deiced upon a step, in connection with Lord Derby’s recruiting scheme, which will be gladly welcomed by large numbers of the men, and should, moreover, have a very considerable effect in strengthening the appeal now being made.
the man of fighting age who has tried to enlist and failed to pass the doctor has had a strong cause of complaint. As often as not his physical unsuitability for service has not been apparent; he was liable to be regarded askance as shirker, and in a large number of cases his life has been made a misery, culminating sometimes even in suicide. The right to wear the khaki armlet will confer on such men exactly the same immunity from blame as attaches to the unfit in countries where service is compulsory. The similar grievance of the man who has been invalided out of the Service, and of the recruited man who has been discharged as “not likely to become efficient on medical grounds” will also be disposed of.
The remaining class to whom this privilege is to be extended are the men who have family responsibilities or important business ties, or who for other reasons - such as war work - it is not considered desirable to call up before it is necessary, Suchy men, under the scheme, are placed in the later groups of enlisted men, not to be called upon for service until the unmarried or otherwise more eligible groups have been absorbed into the Army, or until they have arranged their affairs preparatory to quitting civilian life. There should be a great number of such men enlisted under the scheme for many of whom the call to the Colours should involve the gravest sacrifice, and it is only just that their conduct should have such recognition as it involved in the right to wear a token that they have offered themselves.
The more men there are showing visible proof of having taken the great step, whether by wearing actual uniform or by wearing the khaki armlet, the more insistent will become the moral appeal to those still hanging back
(It will be seen in some Service Records of Military Policemen who have been medically discharged had to report to the local Superintendent of Police to collect their armband and sign for it).
This armband was later replaced by the Silver War Badge.