Prisoner recruits into British regiments

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by Jan French, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. Jan French

    Jan French New Member


    Many soldiers on my family tree served with distinction, being awarded MC, MM, DSO, DCM.

    I also have a relative who was charged with murder, plead guilty to manslaughter, & on 11 Dec 1916 was sentenced to 5yrs imprisonment.

    However, 20mths later he was Killed in Action 24 Aug 1918 in France, serving with the King's Royal Rifle Corps, 12th London Regiment 'The Rangers'.

    I have a subscription to but cannot find his Service Papers. Although, I have found his Medal Roll Index Card, & his Personal Effects entry.

    My question is:
    Due to declining numbers of volunteers, did the British Govt grant amnesties to prisoners prepared to enlist? And was it all kept hush, hush? As I have been unable to find any information on this.

    Thanks for any assistance.
    New Zealand
  2. Interrogator#6

    Interrogator#6 Active Member

    Hello Jan and welcome to the community.

    Your explaination sounds very plausible. I do not know the situation of the British establishment of the Great War but I served in the US Army in the 1980s. It was not unknown for convicted prisoners being offered the option, in some cases, of gaol or of "honourable service".

    I have read of similar 'deals' being afforded to young men at other tiimes in history.
  3. frenchgeordie

    frenchgeordie New Member

    One VC winner, too. One Mariner, formerly of Parkhurst Gaol, Isle of White. Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial by name, and on the Parkhurst Memorial by number.

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