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Home - British Courts Martial - Canadians Executed During WWI

Introduction

While just over 300 British soldiers were executed for capital offences during WWI, 25 Canadians were also executed. This page is concerned with these 25 Canadians who were executed by firing squads.

The 25 Canadians

Number Name
Rank
Offence Executed
20726 Alexander, W
CQMS
Desertion 18 October 1917
C40124 Arnold, F S
Bombadier
Desertion 25 July 1916
23621 Auger, F
Private
Desertion 26 March 1916
541 Butler, A
Trooper
Murder 2 July 1916
454482 Carter, H G
Private
Desertion 20 April 1917
448160 Comte, G
Private
Desertion 3 July 1917
2063 De Fehr, B
Driver
Murder

25 August 1916

34453 Degasse, A C
Private
Desertion 15 March 1918
62218 Delisle, L
Private
Desertion 21 May 1918
227098 Fairburn, E
Private
Desertion 2 March 1918
718566 Fowles, S McD
Private
Desertion 19 June 1918
177753 Higgins, J M
Private
Desertion 7 December 1916
456241 Kerr, H H
Private
Desertion 21 November 1916
672604 LaLancette, J
Private
Desertion 3 July 1917
416874 Laliberte, C
Private
Desertion 4 August 1916
454610 Ling, N
Private
Desertion 12 August 1918
2095 Lodge, H E J
Private
Desertion 13 March 1918
443288 Moles, T L
Private
Desertion 22 October 1917
416008 Perry, E
Private
Desertion 11 April 1917
404436 Reynolds, E J
Private
Desertion 23 August 1916
107526 Roberts, J W
Private
Desertion 30 July 1916
830029 Sinizki, D
Private
Cowardice 9 October 1917
A38119 Welsh, C
Private
Desertion 6 March 1918
10701 Wilson, J H
Private
Desertion 9 July 1916
67882 Young, E
Private
Desertion 29 October 1916

William Alexander

William Alexander was born in the UK during 1880, and served for 8 years in the British Army before emigrating to Canada. When the First World War started in August 1914, Alexander volunteered for service in the Canadian Army. Due to his previous military service, Alexander was made a Sergeant in the 10th (Alberta) Battalion. After arriving in France during 1915, Sergeant Alexander fought with the battalion at the 2nd Battle of Ypres (April 1915), Festubert (May 1915) and Mount Sorrel (1916).

Following his recovery from an inflamed knee, Alexander rejoined his battalion in time for its involvement in the attack on Hill 70, which started at 04:25 on 15 August 1917. This attack was intended to act as a diversion and draw some of the German forces from the ongoing battles at Passchendaele. Due to the severe casualties suffered by the 10th Battalion, CQMS Alexander was ordered forward to take over as Platoon Sergeant of D Company; in readiness for this platoon to take part in a further attack. However, Alexander was nowhere to be found and a Corporal had to lead the Company.

Two days later, on 17 August 1917, the 10th Battalion was pulled out of the front line. It had suffered some 400 casualties.

It was not until the 19 August 1917 that CQMS Alexander was located in the village used by the 10th Battalion as a billet prior to the attack on Hill 70. After admitting that he had gone sick, but not reported it to an officer, and the absence of any marks on his person, Alexander was arrested and charged with desertion.

Following his trial on 29 September 1917, Alexander (age 37) was executed by firing squad on 18 October 1917. His remains are located in Barlin Communal Cemetery Extension (Pas de Calais), Plot II, Row D, Grave 43.

Frederick Stanley Arnold

Frederick Stanley Arnold was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on 25 April 1890. Following varied service in the US Forces, Arnold enlisted in the Canadian Field Artillery in September 1914.

Once he arrived in France, Arnold fought at Festubert and Givenchy. He was twice admitted to hospital as a result of being sick and once after suffering from Shell Shock. After his discharge from hospital, Arnold went absent on 5 June 1916. He was later captured in Boulogne, 2 days later on 7 June 1916. What was especially damaging for Arnold was that he was captured in civilian clothes at a major port.

Following his court-martial on 5 July 1916, Arnold (aged 26) was sentenced to death by shooting. Following confirmation of the sentence, Arnold was executed at 04:37 on 25 July 1916. Arnold's remains are now located in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Plot VIII, Row A, Grave 137.

Fortunat Auger

Fortunat Auger was born in Montreal during December 1890. Although he had no record of previous military service, he joined the 14th (Royal Montreal) Battalion during September 1914.

Private Auger took part in the gas attack at Ypres in April 1915 and Festubert one month later. Following his battalion's move to the Ploegsteert sector in the summer of 1915, Private Auger's conduct became worse. He was tried for two separate periods of AWOL (Absent WithOut Leave), before absenting himself for 2 days in December 1915. This time Private Auger was charged with the capital offence of Desertion. However, the courts-martial found Private Auger guilty of the lesser charge of AWOL and sentenced him to 12 months Hard Labour.

This sentence was suspended in January 1916 and Private Auger was returned to his battalion. No sooner had he returned, Private Auger went absent and was arrested 3 days later on 11 January 1916. This time Private Auger was tried and found guilty of Desertion and sentenced to death.

At 05:43 on 26 March 1916, Private Auger (aged 25) was executed by firing squad. His remains are now located in Trois Arbres Cemetery, Plot III, Row H, Grave 5.

Alexander Butler

Alexander Butler was born in London on 11 June 1888. After completing 6.5 years in the 7th Hussars, Butler left the UK for Canada. On the outbreak of World War One, Butler enlisted in the Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD). Following their arrival in France in May 1915, the RCDs saw dismounted service at Festubert, Givenchy and Messines Ridge. The RCDs then saw mounted service in the forthcoming June 1916 Somme Offensive.

During May 1915 Trooper Butler suffered a head injury after falling from his horse. Trooper Butler's previous good conduct began to deteriorate, and after suffering another fall from his horse, his conduct became even worse. On 8 June 1916, while his unit was resting behind the front lines at Hesdin (approx. 22 km west of St. Pol), Trooper Butler picked up his rifle and fired 5 shots into the chest of Trooper Mickleburgh; killing him instantly. Trooper Butler was overpowered and arrested.

Following his court-martial on 24 June 1916, Trooper Butler was sentenced to death for the murder of Trooper Mickleburgh. At 04:00 on 2 July 1916, Trooper Butler was executed by firing squad. His remains are now located in Ribemont Communal Cemetery Extension, Plot IV, Row M, Grave 5.

Trooper Mickleburgh is buried in Auchy-les-Hesdin Communal Cemetery; one of four First World War soldiers buried in the cemetery.

Harold George Carter

Harold George Carter was born on 26 March 1894 in Toronto. In March 1915, Carter enlisted in the 59th Battalion. After arriving in England, this unit was broken up and used as reinforcements for other units. As part of this process, Private Carter was transferred to the 73rd (Royal Highlanders of Canada) Battalion, part of the 4th Canadian Division.

Private Carter's conduct was not good prior to joining the 73rd Battalion at the end of 1916. After being charged with AWOL during January 1916, Carter again went missing during fighting north of Courcelette. This time he was found guilty of desertion and his sentence was later reduced to 10 years' imprisonment.

Due to manpower shortages, Carter's sentence was suspended and he was released from prison, rejoining his unit on 16 March 1917. Soon after this date and before the attack on Vimy Ridge, Carter again went absent again; this time for 5 days before his capture. This time Private Carter was found guilty of desertion and sentenced to death by shooting.

The sentence of death was confirmed and Private Carter was executed on 20 April 1917. Carter's remains are located in Villers Station Cemetery, Plot X, Row A, Grave 7.

Gustav Comte

Gustav Comte was born on 24 February 1895 in Montreal. During September 1915, Comte enlisted in the 57th Battalion. Comte travelled with the battalion to France, but was tranferred to the 22nd (Canadian Francis) Battalion as a result of the 22nd's previous manpower losses.

Private Comte had several previous offences, prior to the 4 April 1917, when the 22nd was moved to the front-line through Gouy-Servins. It was during this period, just prior to the Canadian attack on Vimy Ridge, that Private Comte went missing. In Comte's absence, the Canadian troops attacked Vimy Ridge.

Private Comte was finally arrested at Le Havre on 18 May 1917. Comte's record and absence from the Vimy Ridge attack did not bode well for his forthcoming court-martial. He was found guilty of desertion and sentenced to death.

At 04:45 on 3 July 1917, Private Comte was executed by firing squad. His remains are now located in Aix-Noulette Communal Cemetery Extension, Plot I, Row F, Grave 20.

Benjamin De Fehr

Benjamin De Fehr was born on 29 March 1888 in Winkler (Manitoba). Not long after the outbreak of war, De Fehr enlisted in the Canadian Army Service Corps (CASC). De Fehr travelled with the CASC when it was transferred to England in 1916.

On 19 August 1916, while De Fehr was serving in France with the 1st Canadian Reserve Park in the rear areas near Hazebrouck, he picked up his rifle and fired one shot through the back of his Regimental Sergeant-Major; RSM J.R. Scott (aged 43) died instantly. De Feher was eventually overpowered and placed under arrest.

Prior to the killing of RSM Scott, De Fehr's conduct had been unremarkable. After his court-martial on 22 August 1916, De Fehr was found guilty of Scott's murder and sentenced to death by shooting. Witnesses of the shooting claimed that DeFehr was sober, although he claimed that he had been heavily drinking.

Three days later, on 25 August 1916, Driver De Fehr (aged was executed by firing squad. His remains are now located in Hazebrouck Communal Cemetery, Plot I, Row A, Grave 13.

RSM Scott's remains are located in the same cemetery, in Grave 10; 3 graves away from those of De Fehr.

Arthur Charles Dagasse

Arthur Charles Dagasse was born in Montreal in 1886. One month after the outbreak of war, Dagasse enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) on 23 September 1914. His conduct as a soldier started badly and continued in poor fashion; he had no fewer than 13 convictions for absence and 2 for drunkennness.

On 4 April 1917, just prior to his units participation in the Vimy Ridge attack, Dagasse went absent until he was arrested in Paris on 29 April 1917. While awaiting his trial for this offence, Dagasse escaped and remained absent for 5 months before being rearrested in Paris on 4 October 1917. When he was arrested for this second time, Dagasse was wearing the uniform of a Sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC).

Following his court-martial on 26 February 1918, Dagasse was found guilty of desertion and sentenced to death.

At 06:37 on 15 March 1918, Dagasse (aged 33) was executed by firing squad. His remains are now located in Lapugnoy Military Cemetery, Plot VIII, Row B, Grave 8.

Leopold Delisle

Leopold Delisle was born in Montreal during 1893. Following the outbreak of war, Delisle tried to enlist 3 times before he was finally accepted for overseas service in April 1915. One month later, Delisle sailed with the 22nd (French-Canadian) Battalion.

However, Delisle rapidly accumilated offences on his conduct sheet.

Date Offence Punishment
25 June 1915 Refusing to obey an order 14 days' Field Punishment No 1
1 September 1915 Drunk & absent from parade Fined $2
5 November 1915 Insubordination 7 days' Field Punishment No 2
27 November 1915 Absent from parade Fined 1 days' pay
8 January 1916 Refusing to go on parade 28 days' Field Punishment No 1
22 March 1916 Striking a superior officer 1 years' Hard Labour
5 September 1917 Outside area without pass 3 days' Field Punishment No 1
10 September 1917 AWOL from drill parade 21 days' Field Punishment No 1

On 29 March 1918 Delisle's unit was ordered forward to attempt to stem the German advance on Arras. However, when the roll call was made Delisle was absent. Five days later, Delisle was arrested just outside Arras. This time, Delisle's court-martial found him guilty of desertion and sentenced him to death by shooting.

At 04:24 on 21 May 1918, Delisle (aged 25) was executed by firing squad. His remains are now located in Bellacourt Military Cemetery, Plot II, Row J, Grave 6.

Edward Fairburn

Edward Fairburn was born in St. Catherines (Ontario) on 21 September 1895. After enlisting in November 1915, Fairburn was sent to France as part of a reinforcement for the 18th (Western Ontario) Battalion.

Following a period of charge-free conduct, Fairburn went missing during the period 9-16 April 1917. He remained missing for 10 months, before being arrested just north of Arras. During his period of absence, Fairburn had missed the major battles at Vimy Ridge, Hill 70 and Passchendale (Third Battle of Ypres); which made his desertion appear even worse in the eyes of the Army authorities. It came as no surprise that Fairburn was court-martialled for Desertion, found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting.

On 2 March 1918, Fairburn (aged 23) was executed by firing squad. His remains are now located in Villers Station Cemetery, Plot XI, Row B, Grave 23. The cemetery is located 11 kilometres north-west of Arras.

Stephen McDermott Fowles

Stephen McDermott Fowles was born on 13 June 1897 in Winnipeg. In February 1916 Fowles enlisted in the 107th Battalion, which sailed for England in September 1916. Fowles was later sent to France as part of a reinforcement of the 44th Canadian Infantry Battalion.

Within a year of his enlistment, Fowles was court-martialled for desertion and found guilty. His sentence of death was reduced during the confirmation process to 10 years' imprisonment, which was itself later reduced to a suspended sentence and Fowles was returned to his unit.

Despite these events, Fowles deserted and on 29 December 1917 was again sentenced to death. For a second time, the sentence was commuted to a term of imprisonment and eventually reduced to a suspended sentence. Due to the need to combat the German offensive, Fowles was returned to his unit.

Shortly after rejoining his unit, Fowles deserted for a 3rd time and was not detained until he turned himself in on 2 May 1918. Fowles was court-martialled for desertion, found guilty and sentenced to death. This time there was no commutation and at 03:50 on 19 June 1918, Fowles was executed by firing squad. His remains are now located in Villers Station Cemetery, Plot XIII, Plot B, Grave 1.

John Maurice Higgins

John Maurice Higgins was born on 26 September 1891 in Charlottetown, before moving with his parents in Toronto.

After enlisting in the 87th Battalion in Montreal, Higgins sailed with the battalion to England during April 1916.

Higgins conduct had already begun to deteriorate and his conduct sheet should several offences. On 10 May 1916, Higgins was charged with being Absent Without Leave (AWOL) and deducted 3 days' pay. Two days later, on 12 May 1916, Higgins received 12 days' Field Punishment No. 2 for another period of being AWOL. Following this second period of AWOL, Higgins was transferred as a reinforcement to the 1st (Western Ontario) Battalion in Belgium.

Private Higgins took part in the heavy fighting at Mount Sorrel and went with his unit into the fighting at Courcelette in September 1916. During this battle, Higgins went absent until he was arrested by French Police 16 days' later. This time Private Higgins was charged with desertion. While awaiting his court-martial, Higgins escaped from custody and was not rearrested until 5 days' later.

After his court-martial, Higgins was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting. At 07:11 on 7 December 1916, Higgins was executed by firing squad. His remains are now located in Quatre-Vents Cemetery, Plot I, Row B, Grave 2.

Henry Hesey Kerr

Henry Hesey Kerr was born in Montreal on 4 September 1891.

Shortly after joining the 60th Battalion on 10 June 1915, Private Kerr incurred his first punishment when he forfeited 2 days' pay for being absent without leave (AWOL). One week later he was fined another 2 days' pay for misconduct and being AWOL. After the battalion had arrived in England, Kerr was punished for 3 more periods of AWOL on 27 November 1915, 3 December 1915 and 3 January 1916.

After entering France and joining the 7th (British Columbia) Battalion, Kerr's conduct continued to decline. After several more warnings about his conduct, Kerr rejoined his unit in October 1916 as it prepared to attack Regina Trench as part of the Somme Offensive. However, Kerr went absent after being warned for duty in the front line. 24 hours' later Kerr was arrested when he was discovered in some billets located some miles behind the front lines.

On 7 November 1916, Kerr was charged with desertion. His court-martial found him guilty and sentenced him to death by shooting. At 06:45 on 21 November 1916, Kerr was executed by firing squad. Private Kerr's remains are now located in Quatre-Vents Military Cemetery, Plot III, Row A, Grave 9.

Joseph LaLancette

Joseph LaLancette was born on 1 September 1895 in London. After enlisting in Quebec City, LaLancette arrived in France as part of a reinforcement of the 22nd Battalion.

On 6 April 1917, just prior to the attack on Vimy Ridge, LaLancette went absent and was shortly arrested together with Gustav Comte. Both soldiers faced separate courts-martial, charged with desertion. Both LaLancette and Comte were found guilty and sentenced to death.

At 04:45 on 3 July 1917, LaLancette and Comte were executed by firing squad. LaLancette's remains are now located in Aix-Noulette Communal Cemetery Extension, Plot I, Row F, Grave 21.

Come Laliberte

Come Laliberte was born on 24 March 1893 in Lotbiniere (Quebec). During March 1915 he enlisted in the 41st Battalion, travelling with them to England in June 1915.

Before the end of 1915, Laliberte already had several entries on his conduct sheet: being drunk (29 June 1915) and being absent for 2 days (5 August 1915). After being transferred to the 3rd (Toronto) Battalion in France, Laliberte was awarded 7 days' Field Punishment No. 1 for being out of barracks with a pass and being improperly dressed.

On moving up to the trenches during the Summer of 1916, as part of the 3rd Battalion contribution to the battles around Mount Sorrel, Laliberte left the ranks and refused to go forward. He was tried for desertion, found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting.

On 4 August 1916, Laliberte (aged 26) was executed by firing squad. His remains are now located in Poperinghe New Military Cemetery, Plot II, Row H, Grave 3.

Norman Ling

Wilson Norman Ling was born on 5 July 1896 in Toronto.

During May 1915, Ling enlisted in the 59th Battalion, which sailed for England later than year. During 1916, Ling was sent as part of a reinforcement of the 2nd (Eastern Ontario) Battalion in France.

On 22 June 1916 and 8 July 1916, Ling went absent from his unit in France. When he was recaptured after the 2nd attempt, Ling was charged with desertion. At his court-martial, the charge was reduced to AWOL and Ling was sentenced to 90 days' Field Punishment No. 1

During October 1916, Ling again went absent. Four months later, Ling was recaptured and tried by court-martial. He was found guilty and sentenced to death. However, the sentence was commuted to 2 years' imprisonment with hard labour. In turn, this sentence was suspended and Ling was released on 15 June 1917.

Six days later, on 21 June 1916, Ling again went absent. Eventually, almost one year later, Ling was arrested by the military police in Mazingarbe. After his arrest, Ling gave a false name and had another soldiers paybook in his possession. At his court-martial for desertion, Ling was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting.

On 12 August 1918, Ling (aged 22) was exceuted by firing squad. His remains are now located in Cerisy-Gailly Military Cemetery, Plot II, Row N. Grave 20.

Harold Edward James Lodge

Harold Edward James Lodge was born in Toronto on 22 December 1897.

After enlisting in the CEF in April 1915, Lodge travelled with his unit to England before arriving in France later in 1915, where he served as part of the 19th (Central Ontario) Battalion.

In November 1917, Lodge's battalion was moved forward to take part in operations at Passchendaele. However, Lodge dropped out from his unit. After being warned by an officer, Lodge rejoined his unit only to disappear later that evening. Lodge was eventually arrested by the military police in Boulogne, he was wearing the uniform of a Corporal in the British Red Cross Society.

While awaiting his court-martial in December 1917, Lodge escaped. He was detained three weeks later after the military police searched a ship that was about to sail. While being returned under guard, Lodge escaped from a train. However he was quickly recaptured.

Lodge was tried by court-martial on 23 February 1918 for three counts of desertion. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting. On 13 March 1918 Private Lodge was executed by firing squad. His remains are located in Noeux-les-Mines Communal Cemetery Extension, Plot IV, Row B, Grave 5.

Thomas Lionel Moles

Thomas Lionel Moles was born in Brompton Reigh (Somerset) on 17 November 1891. He served for four years in the Somerset Light Infantry. After leaving the British Army, Moles emigrated to Canada. Where in July 1915, Moles enlisted in the 54th (Kootenay British Columbia) Battalion. The 54th Battalion for England in 1915, entering France in August 1916.

Moles had a poor conduct sheet. He was charged for being AWOL on 18 December 1915, 23 March 1916, 6 June 1916 and 30 June 1916. He also had several convictions for drunkenness.

During October 1917, Moles was ordered to rejoin his company which was about to go into action. Instead of going forward, Moles went to a village in the rear areas. He was eventually arrested 3 weeks later, and charged with desertion.

At his court-martial Moles was found guilty and sentenced to death. At 05:30 on 22 October 1917, Moles was executed by firing squad. His remains are located in Ypres Reservoir Cemetery, Plot I, Row H, Grave 76.

Eugene Perry

Eugene Perry was born in Boutouche (New Brunswick) on 1 April 1896.

Perry enlisted in the 41st Battalion in October 1915. After arriving in England, Perry was sent a part of a reinforcement of the 22nd (French-Canadian) Battalion in Belgium. Perry fought with the Battalion at the Somme and moved with the unit to the Vimy area.

During the afternoon of 2 April 1917, Perry was warned for duty in the front-line trenches. However, Perry soon vanished. He was eventually arrested some 7 hours later at a village, located approxmiately 20 miles behind the front lines. At his court-martial Perry was found guilty of desertion and sentenced to death.

On 11 April 1917 (2 days after the Vimy Ridge attack), Perry was executed by firing squad. His remains are located in Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Plot VI, Row C, Grave 7.

Edward James Reynolds

Edward James Reynolds was born on 2 January 1896 in Toronto. During April 1915, Reynolds enlisted in the 35th Battalion. By November 1915, Reynolds was a member of the 3rd Battalion in the line near Ploegsteert.

On 25 July 1916, the Germans exploded a mine under a portion of the front line called "The Bluff". The 3rd Battalion was ordered forward to plug the resulting gap in the front line. However, Reynolds fell out from his platoon only to be found 2 days later at his battalion's transport lines. Reynolds claimed that he had been ordered back and got lost.

During the following night (28 July 1916), Reynolds was ordered to accompany a ration party up to the front line. Again Reynolds fell out and went back to his battalion's transport lines. This time Reynolds was arrested and charged with desertion. He was found guilty by his court-martial and sentenced to death.

At 05:27 on 23 August 1916, Reynolds was executed by firing squad. His remains are now located in Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery, Plot IV, Row A, Grave 39.

John William Roberts

John William Roberts was born in Newfoundland on 5 August 1895. After serving in the Royal Navy Reserve (RNR) for four years, Roberts enlisted in the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles in May 1915.

Arriving in France with the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles in September 1915, Roberts soon began to add to his conduct sheet; he had already been sentenced to 28 days detension for AWOL in Canada. After reporting sick in January 1916, Roberts was sent to a conalescent camp to recover. After being released in February 1916, Roberts went absent. He was eventually arrested by the military police 4 months later in June 1916. At the time of his arrest, Roberts was wearing civilian clothes.

After his court-martial in July 1916, Roberts was found guilty of desertion and sentenced to death. At 04:36 on 30 July 1916, Roberts was executed by firing squad. His remains are now located in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Plot VIII, Row A, Grave 154.

Dimitro Sinizki

Dimitro Sinizki was born in Kiev sometime during 1895. He emigrated to Canada, where he enlisted in the 144th Canadian Infantry during December 1915.

After arriving in England, Sinizki and some other soldiers were used as a reinforcement of the 52nd (Northern Ontario), which was in France recovering after the attacks on Vimy Ridge. During August 1917, the 3rd Division launched several trench raiding parties. It was while moving forward to take part in one of these raids that Sinizki fell out and refused to go any further. The following night, Sinizki was taken forward under escort. Again he sat down and refused to go any further. This time, Sinizki was arrested and charged with cowardice. At his court-martial, Sinizki was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting.

At 06:11 on 9 October 1917, Private Sinizki was executed by firing squad. His remains are located in Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Plot VI, Row K, Grave 19.

Charles Welsh

Charles Welsh was born on 3 June 1887 in Chester (England). After emigrating to Canada, Welsh enlisted in the 52nd Battalion in February 1915. The 52nd, including Welsh, arrived in England during that summer. At the end of 1915, Welsh formed part of a reinforcement draft sent to the 8th Battalion, which at that time was in Belgium.

During March 1916, Welsh was charged with desertion and tried by court-martial. Welsh was found not guilty of desertion but gilty of the lesser offence of being AWOL, and sentenced to 6 months imprisonment with hard labour. However, this was reduced during the confirmation process to 90 days Field Punishment No. 1. In August 1916, Welsh was again arrested for desertion, found guilty and sentenced to death. This time, during the confirmation process, the sentenced was reduced to 7 years' penal servitude. On 18 November 1916, this sentence was itself reduced to 2 years' imprisoment and then on 19 September 1917 the sentence was suspended and Welsh returned to his unit.

On 10 November 1917, the 8th Battalion took part in several bloody attacks in the Passchendaele area. During these battles, Welsh went absent. He remained absent for 2 months, until he was found in a cottage near Poperinghe. This time Welsh was arrested and changed with desertion. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting.

This time there was no reduction of sentence, and at 06:00 on 6 March 1918 Welsh was executed by firing squad. His remains are now located in Mazingarbe Communal Cememtery Extension, Plot III, Row B, Grave 12.

James H Wilson

James Wilson was born in Limerick (Ireland) in June 1879. After serving 9 years in the Connaught Rangers, Wilson emigrated to Canada.

When war broke out in August 1914, Wilson enlisted in the Canadian Army. However, his conduct was poor from the start. Although Wilson was discharged as "undesirable for military service" on 3 February 1915, he was readmitted for service on 13 March 1915; just over one month later.

Before arriving in France in July 1915, Wilson had been charged at least four times with various offfences including being AWOL, kicking a NCO and using abusive language.

After being in France for just over 24 hours, Wilson went absent and was found drunk. After being arrested by the military police, Wilson escaped. He was quickly recaptured and was sentenced to 70 days' Field Punishment No. 1.

A quiet (from the conduct point-of-view) period of service followed before Wilson was charged with disobeying a lawful command. Wilson received a punishment of 90 days' imprisonment, however this was later suspended. However, on 25 February 1916 Wilson again went absent until he turned himself in during May 1916.

This time Wilson was charged with desertion. At his court-martial he was found guilty and sentenced to death by shooting. At 04:20 on 9 July 1916, Wilson was executed by firing squad. His remains are located in Poperinghe New Military Cemetery, Plot II, Row H, Grave 2.

Elsworth Young

Elsworth Young was born on 2 June 1895 in Halifax (Nova Scotia). Despite being underage (19 years' old), Young enlisted in the 25th Battalion during November 1914.

Young travelled to France with the battalion in September 1915, serving as an officer's batman.During the major fighting at Courcelette reinforcements were needed and Young was ordered forward to report to his Company Sergeant-Major (CSM). However, Young went absent before reporting to his battalion later that evening and answering the evening rollcall.

Depite returning, Young went absent again. In September 1916, Young was arrested by the military police some miles behind the front-lines. He was dressed in the uniform of a Corporal in an artillery unit and initially gave false details to the MPs that arrested him.

Young was charged with desertion. His court-martial found him guilty and sentenced Young to death. At 06:26 on 29 October 1916, Young was executed by firing squad. His remains are located in Bully-Grenay Communal Cemetery, Plot II, Row B, Grave 14.

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