My Father told me a tale from his time at the end of the war. The war had finished and the Army was tidying things up and one area that needed to be sorted was that of the outstanding court marshals that had to be dealt with.
My father had been conscripted in 1939 as a Private in the Beds and Herts regiment and then as time went by was commissioned and ended up at the end of the war as a major.
He was seconded onto what I suppose was a pre court marshal panel as a junior officer and they sat and heard the offences that had been committed by various squadies and it would be decided if they were to be sent on to a full court marshal or they could be sent back to their unit to be dealt with by their own CO.
One particular case involved a Sapper, ( I suspect that as I was a sapper he thought the story was pertinent to me) who had been charged for going AWOL.
This particular Sapper had been desperate to go home on leave and when the first list of names to go back to the UK was posted he was not on it.
He thought this grossly unfair as he had not been home for two years and was very much aggrieved however all his protest fell on deaf
ears...so...At the dockside the Sapper who had snuck out of camp with his kit bag over his shoulder, stood in line to board the ship taking servicemen back to the UK for some leave...As he got to the head of the queue there were Military and Navel police stood at the gang plank checking travel docs and passes. When his turn came to step forward he threw his kit bag to the floor and started shouting at the top of his voice....stuff like “what’s the point of going home”..” there’s nothing left for me”... why are they making me go home”...stuff like that...The MP’s tried to calm him but he became belligerent and the MP’s having had enough grabbed him by his arms and threw him and his kit bag onto the ship, together with a stern warning that if he tried to get back off he would be arrested and charged.
The Sapper got back to the UK and went home After two weeks not wanting to be done as a deserter he went back to the docs and boarded the ship for the return journey using the same tactics as before ...shouting out how he did not want to return etc...and getting himself thrown on board again...
When the ship docked he went straight to his unit and handed himself in to the guardroom...he was charged and was put in front of this Pre court marshal hearing.
Having heard all the evidence The presiding officer, a brigadier, wanted to make an example of him and Send him on to a full court marshal...however my father and the other junior officer persuaded him to send him back to his unit and leave it to his CO to punish him...after all they said “ we don’t want anyone to know how easily he made a fool of the RMP’s “..
The Sapper went back to his unit and what is known as ROP Restriction of privileges from his CO and I suspect a pat on the back for his outstanding initiative!!,,