Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Was there a death penalty in the AIF?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Was there a death penalty in the AIF?

    I have recently read that there was 2 offenses punishable by death in the AIF in WW1 they were Desertion to the Enamy and Mutiny. But I have always thought there was never a punishment of death in the AIF can anyone clear this up for me?
    http://g.bf3stats.com/pc/1LP76r6C/melba_101.png

  • #2
    If I am correct there was exactly the same Death penalty in the Australian forces as in the British army. Australian courts did sentence soldiers to death but while in the British army the Commnder in Chief was the one to confirm sentence --which he did in around 10% of cases-- in the Australian Corps it was the civilian authorities who confirmed no sentences.
    Cymru am Byth

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Kevinmeath View Post
      If I am correct there was exactly the same Death penalty in the Australian forces as in the British army. Australian courts did sentence soldiers to death but while in the British army the Commnder in Chief was the one to confirm sentence --which he did in around 10% of cases-- in the Australian Corps it was the civilian authorities who confirmed no sentences.
      Possibly I always thought the Australians were very against the death penalty because of what happened with breaker Morant in the Boer war
      http://g.bf3stats.com/pc/1LP76r6C/melba_101.png

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by 150935 View Post
        Possibly I always thought the Australians were very against the death penalty because of what happened with breaker Morant in the Boer war
        When was the death penalty abolished in Australia?

        I think Breaker Morant is is fair comment because of the politics of Australia, if Australian soldiers were executed after being tried in Australian courts by Australian soldiers (rightly or wrongly) the headlines would have been by the political opponants would have been 'Aussies murdered by Brits'.

        They may also of course been correct in not confirming the sentence.
        Cymru am Byth

        Comment


        • #5
          I think it's long been claimed that no Australian soldier was executed in the field in WW1.

          The last civilian execution was that of Ronald Ryan in Melbourne the late 60's.

          As for Breaker Morant,(probably an alias, some authorities give his real name as Edwin Murrant), most credible authorities maintain that he got what he deserved-never mind the excellent film which was quite fictitious.

          Vide Closed File by Kit Denton, and the chapter: Breaker Morant, Murderer as Martyr by Craig Wilcox in Zombie Myths of Australian Military History.
          Last edited by BELGRAVE; 10 Oct 12, 17:08.
          "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
          Samuel Johnson.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post
            I think it's long been claimed that no Australian soldier was executed in the field in WW1.

            The last civilian execution was that of Ronald Ryan in Melbourne the late 60's.

            As for Breaker Morant,(probably an alias, some authorities give his real name as Edwin Murrant), most credible authorities maintain that he got what he deserved-never mind the excellent film which was quite fictitious.

            Vide Closed File by Kit Denton, and the chapter: Breaker Morant, Murderer as Martyr by Craig Wilcox in Zombie Myths of Australian Military History.
            He probaly deserved the death penalty but we can never tell unless we were there. I wonder sould this stem from Pompy elliots threats toward his Battalions in the mutinies of 1918?
            http://g.bf3stats.com/pc/1LP76r6C/melba_101.png

            Comment


            • #7
              I would have shot Morant.

              As far as I know no man serving in the Australian Corps was executed. I don't know if they were sentenced and commuted though.

              There is what I consider a fictitious bit in the mini series ANZACs where Haig asked why a couple of Australians weren't shot to make an example of them for there behind the lines mischief, and when told that the Aust govt wouldn't support it he said something like nevermind, a couple of weeks on the Somme would kill and wound enough that the survivors would calm down.

              As I said: I'm running with 99% BS but myths beat reality in TV land when it comes to us versus the Brits.
              Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the cheesemakers

              That's right bitches. I'm blessed!

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't know if the lack of an enforced death penalty contributed, but Australian troops had the highest indiscipline rate of any in the BEF (BEF here meaning all empire troops) by a considerable margin.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by broderickwells View Post
                  I don't know if the lack of an enforced death penalty contributed, but Australian troops had the highest indiscipline rate of any in the BEF (BEF here meaning all empire troops) by a considerable margin.
                  No arguing that point would it have anything to with volunteers and being a long way from home?
                  http://g.bf3stats.com/pc/1LP76r6C/melba_101.png

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    From what I've heard, the death penalty was on the books, but was never carried out - a matter of pride in some quarters, I believe.
                    Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by the ace View Post
                      From what I've heard, the death penalty was on the books, but was never carried out - a matter of pride in some quarters, I believe.
                      I was quite skeptical of the book i read that in i am still skeptical of it but some stuff obviously are true and not a mistake by the author also I noticed the author also added there was only 57 battalions of the AIF in the 100 days what I remember there was only one battalion broken up it was the 60th battalion
                      http://g.bf3stats.com/pc/1LP76r6C/melba_101.png

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 150935 View Post
                        No arguing that point would it have anything to with volunteers and being a long way from home?
                        Nope. NZ and Canadian rates were similar and considerably below the Aussie rate. Working off memory (because I can't remember which article from which book or journal featured the comparisons), if the British rate was 1%, Canadian and Kiwi was 1.2-1.5%, and Aussie was 4-6% in 1918 for punishments by martial courts.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          “In fact Australian military law was virtually identical to that of the British, and 113 Australian soldiers were sentenced to death, three for cowardice, two for striking a superior, two for disobedience and the rest for desertion. No sentence of death on an Australian was ever carried out as, alone among the Dominion forces, the Australian government had reserved the power to confirm death sentences not to the commander-in-chief of the theatre but to the Governor General of Australia; this was Sir Donald Munro Ferguson (who was himself British not Australian), and he invariably commuted this sentence to imprisonment. There were occasions when Australian Generals would have dearly liked to shoot a few of their men, whose superb fighting record was counter balanced by appalling discipline. With seven percent of the strength of the BEF, the Australians provided twenty five percent of the deserters, and when they were out of the line, drunkenness, fighting and theft were rife. Statistically an Australian soldier was nine times more liable to serve a term of imprisonment than was his British counterpart, and these sentences were handed down by Australian courts martial, composed of Australian officers. In March 1918 nine out of every thousand Australians on the Western Front were in prison, compared with one in every thousand British. In December 1918 there were 811 Australian soldiers serving sentences in military prisons compared with 1330 British and a combined total of 314 Canadians , New Zealanders and South Africans.. Outwardly Australians laugh all this off, attributing it to the independent, happy go lucky attitudes of the freeborn Australian jackaroo ( despite most Australian recruits coming from cities) but inwardly the Australian army absorbed the lessons and discipline in the Second World War was much better.”

                          ‘Mud, Blood and Poppycock’ by Gordon Corrigan pg229-30
                          Cymru am Byth

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kevinmeath View Post
                            “In fact Australian military law was virtually identical to that of the British, and 113 Australian soldiers were sentenced to death, three for cowardice, two for striking a superior, two for disobedience and the rest for desertion. No sentence of death on an Australian was ever carried out as, alone among the Dominion forces, the Australian government had reserved the power to confirm death sentences not to the commander-in-chief of the theatre but to the Governor General of Australia; this was Sir Donald Munro Ferguson (who was himself British not Australian), and he invariably commuted this sentence to imprisonment. There were occasions when Australian Generals would have dearly liked to shoot a few of their men, whose superb fighting record was counter balanced by appalling discipline. With seven percent of the strength of the BEF, the Australians provided twenty five percent of the deserters, and when they were out of the line, drunkenness, fighting and theft were rife. Statistically an Australian soldier was nine times more liable to serve a term of imprisonment than was his British counterpart, and these sentences were handed down by Australian courts martial, composed of Australian officers. In March 1918 nine out of every thousand Australians on the Western Front were in prison, compared with one in every thousand British. In December 1918 there were 811 Australian soldiers serving sentences in military prisons compared with 1330 British and a combined total of 314 Canadians , New Zealanders and South Africans.. Outwardly Australians laugh all this off, attributing it to the independent, happy go lucky attitudes of the freeborn Australian jackaroo ( despite most Australian recruits coming from cities) but inwardly the Australian army absorbed the lessons and discipline in the Second World War was much better.”

                            ‘Mud, Blood and Poppycock’ by Gordon Corrigan pg229-30
                            That's fair enough.

                            It's certainly said that Australians featured prominently among the moving spirits behind the famed mutinies at the Etaples "Bullring" (Training Centre) in 1917-18.

                            But the point should be made that they all were volunteers and were all far from home, with little or no chance of home leave. And while a majority of recruits were drawn from the capital cities (and many were actually born in the U.K) it was the "men from the bush" that set the anthropological tone, so to speak.

                            You are certainly correct about lessons being learned and the prominent generals in WW2:- especially Berryman ("Berry the Bastard"), and Morshead ("Ming the Merciless") were all stern disciplinarians.
                            "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                            Samuel Johnson.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Death was the standard punishment for cowardice, desertion and other crimes.

                              The British posted military police behind the frontline trenches with orders to shoot any soldier who refused to got over the top.

                              The French infamously selected a number of soldiers by lot from a mutinous regiment that refused to advance into murderous machine gun fire and executed them. (Paths of Glory)

                              An officer had the absolute right to shoot anyone in combat who refused an order of any kind.
                              Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Who is watching the watchers?

                              Comment

                              Latest Topics

                              Collapse

                              Working...
                              X