Adamson, Private JAMES S/17688, 7th Cameron Highlanders

From the File WO 71/620 Held at TNA

CHARGE SHEET

The accused No. S/17688 Private JAMES ADAMSON, 7th (Service) Battalion Cameron Highlanders, a soldier of the Regular Forces is charged with:

When on Active Service Misbehaving before the enemy in such a manner as to show cowardice

In that he in the trenches on 24th July, 1917 having previously been warned, refused to and did not take part in a raid on the enemy trenches at 7p.m on the date foresaid for fear of his personal safety.

When on Active Service Disobeying in such a manner as to show wilful defiance of authority and lawful command given personally by his superior officer, in the execution of his office.

In that he at BIVOUAC CAMP on 30th July, 1917 when personally ordered by Company Sergeant Major Anderson, his C.S.M, to get ready to proceed to the trenches he did not do so nor later when the order was repeated.

(Signed) Norman MacLeod

Commanding 7th (Service) Battalion Cameron Highlanders.

9th August, 1917.

FORM FOR ASSEMBLY AND PROCEEDINGS OF FIELD GENERAL COURT MARTIAL ON ACTIVE SERVICE

 

PROCEEDINGS

On Active Service this twenty ninth day of October, 1917

Whereas it appears to me, the undersigned, an officer in Command of 44th Infantry Brigade on active service, that the persons named in the annexed Schedule, and being subject to Military Law, have committed the offences in the said schedule mentioned.

And I am of opinion that it is not practicable that such offences should be tried by an ordinary General Court Martial:

I hereby convene a Field General Court Martial to try the said persons and to consist of the Officers hereunder named.

President

Major W.B. Binnie M.C 9th Bn, The Black Watch

Members

Captain J.G Muir 8th Bn, The Seaforth Highlanders

2nd Lieut J.W Graham 7th Bn, Cameron Highlanders

Captain A.L. Kelly 6th K.R.R.C.

(Signed) Marshall, Brigadier General

Commanding 44th Infantry Brigade.

 

THE TRIAL OF S/17688 PRIVATE JAMES ADAMSON, 7TH CAMERON HIGHLANDERS

FIRST CHARGE

 

PROSECUTION

1st Witness 

No. 10501 Sgt. T. Morgan 7/Cameron Highlanders duly sworn states:

On the 28/7/17 Captain Jenkins warned the accused along with the rest of A. Coy that they would be going on a bombing raid at 7 p.m that evening. The Company went over on the raid at 7 p.m and when I got back to our trenches I saw the accused standing in our front line trench. I asked him where he had been. He said that he had never left the line as he was frightened.

Cross examined by accused counsel

I did not hear Captain Jenkins warn the accused individually. He wanted the whole Company. I was almost the last to come back. When I got back there were several men in the trench who had been on the raid. The accused told me he was frightened to go over  and he was that frightened to go down to the support trenches and that he would go there with no other body but myself.

Re-Cross examined by the Prosecutor

When Captain Jenkins warned the Company they where in the front line. I saw the accused about 10 yards away from me when Captain Jenkins warned us. I was nearer Captain Jenkins than the accused was. He was about 10 yards away from Captain Jenkins. This warning was given at about 6.30pm on 28/7/17

Further Cross examined by accused counsel

I was about 2 yards from Captain Jenkins on his right. The accused was 8 yards from me on my right. There was nothing except ordinary shelling to prevent accused hearing Captain Jenkins warning.

2nd Witness

No. 18231 Private J. Vickers 7th Battn. Cameron Highlanders duly sworn states:

On 28/7/17 at about 6.30pm ‘A’ Company was falling in to go on a bombing raid. I heard the accused tell Captain Jenkins that he had a sore knee and was not fit to go over. Captain Jenkins then told him the penalty for not going over and the accused still said that he was not going over.

Not Cross Examined by the Accused’s Counsel.

Cross examined by the Court.

We were at this time in the line immediately east of Ypres. Captain Jenkins is wounded.

3rd Witness

No. 12297 L/Cpl J Baird 7th Battn. Cameron Highlanders duly sworn states:-

At about 6.45pm on 28/7/17 in the front line we were preparing to go over on a raid and I heard the accused say to Captain Jenkins that he was unable to go over. I heard Captain Jenkins warn the accused of the seriousness of his crime and the penalty he would suffer and the accused said that he would be willing to take his punishment if he got justice. I moved along the trenches and I did not see the accused after that until we were out of the line. I am in ‘A’ Company but not in the same platoon as the accused. The accused told Captain Jenkins that he was unable to go over because of sore knees.

Cross examined by the Accused’s counsel:

So far as I heard the accused only spoke of sore knees as the reason why he could not go over. There was a good bit of noise and he may have given Captain Jenkins some other reason as well which I did not hear.

4th Witness

Captain A.C Buchanan M.C R.A.M.C. attached 7th Cameron Highlanders duly sworn states:

The accused reported sick to me on the morning 30/7/17. he did not report sick to me the morning of 28/7/17 or 29/7/17. I found nothing in the state of his knees on 30/7/17 which should have prevented him doing his duty on 28/7/17.

Cross Examined by the Accused’s Counsel

On 30/7/17 the accused complained of bleeding piles and pains in the lower part of his back but I found nothing which would have prevented him from doing his full duty on 28/7/17.

Cross Examined by the Prosecutor

The accused paraded sick on 29/7/17.

 

DEFENCE

The Accused No. S/17688 Pte. J. Adamson 7th Battn. Cameron Highlanders duly sworn states:

On the way to the trenches on the night of July 23/24 we were shelled and I fell amongst the barbed wire and tore my legs and knees. We went straight to the front line and I reported sick the next day. Captain Jenkins called me in front of him and on hearing what was wrong with me told me to carry on as we would be relieved soon. The next day (July 26th) I was warned for a carrying party buy C.S.M. Anderson who has since been killed relieved me from this only when I showed him what was wrong with me. He told me that I could go and take a rest for that day. He said that we expected to get relieved again that night but then another order came and we were sent back to the front line again. There I remained till the raid. I was warned for the raid by my Platoon Sgt. in the afternoon and I told him that I was unable to go. He told me that I must see Captain Jenkins. I saw him at 6.30pm that evening. I told him what was the matter with me. He said “I can’t  help it, you will have to go”. Then he went away along the trench. I stayed there till the bombardment started then I went across from one part of the front line to the other. There I stayed untilI was taken down to the support line by Sgt. Morgan.

Cross Examined by the Prosecutor

I told Sgt. Morgan when he came to me that I had crossed from one trench to the other. He said that I must go back to the supports. He asked me if I was over in the raids. I did not answer that question at all. He said “you were frightened” and I did not answer that. I went back to the Company that night. I marched back but I took my own time. I did not report sick the next morning. I had no opportunity.

Cross Examined by the Court

My Platoon Sgt. warned our section at 4 and 5pm on 28/7/17

The accused called no witnesses.

(Signed) William B. Binnie

President FGCM

Court closed to consider finding.

SECOND CHARGE

 

PROSECUTION

1st Witness

No. 40966 Sgt. N. Mead 7th Battn. Cameron Highlanders duly sworn states:

On the evening of 30/7/17 at Bivouac Camp west of Ypres, ‘A’ Company was warned to get dressed to go to the trenches by C.S.M Anderson who had since been killed. Shortly after 7pm I saw the accused lying beside a dug out. I told him to get dressed. He said that he could not stand. C.S.M Anderson also told the accused in my hearing to get dressed. The accused still maintained that he was not fit to stand. C.S.M Anderson then ordered him in my hearing to be put under close arrest and marched back to the Details Camp. After the Company moved off the accused got dressed and walked back to the Details Camp where I Handed him to the S.S.P of the Guard. 

At the time when the C.S.M ordered the accused to be put under arrest the Company had already fallen in. Shortly after the Company moved off I ordered the accused to get dressed and he did so. This was about 10 minutes after the Company moved off. I marched the accused back to the Details Camp. He took 3/4 to 1 hour to get there. He did not hurry down. The Accused made no complaint about being unable to walk on the way down. He could stand and walk quite all right.

Cross Examined by the Accused’s Counsel

I did not hear the accused warned to get dressed to go to the trenches. He was simply ordered by C.S.M. Anderson and me to get dressed.

Cross Examined by the Prosecutor

‘A’ Company had that day had ammunition and bombs and special fighting equipment issued to them.

Further Cross Examined by the Accused’s Counsel

I do not know whether the accused had any of this issued to him.

Cross Examined by the Court.

The accused marched back to Details Camp in battle order. I didn’t notice if he had the extra equipment that had been issued that day.

2nd Witness

No. 14285 L/Cpl W. Oyston, 7th Battn. Cameron Highlanders duly sworn states:

I was a Private when his summary was taken. At about 7.45pm on 30/7/17 at Bivouac Camp I heard C.S.M Anderson order the accused to get dressed. The accused was lying at the side of a dug out. He refused to sit up and said he was unable to walk. I also heard Sgt.Mead about a minute later give the accused a similar order. He again refused saying that he was unable to walk. C.S.M Anderson then came up and put the accused under arrest and handed him over to Sgt. Mean. After the Company had moved off I was one of the party which took the accused back to the Details Camp. Sgt. Mead handed the accused over to the Sgt. of the Guard when we got there. We marched back from Bivouac Camp to Details Camp without a halt. I did not see that the accused had any diffoculty in marching.

Cross Examined by the Accused’s Counsel

We marched back at an ordinary pace. The accused carried his rifle and equipment.

Cross Examined by the Court

I was near the accused till after the Company had moved off. Up to that time he made no attempt to get dressed.

3rd Witness

Captain A.C. Buchanan M.C, R.A.M.C being duly sworn states:

On the morning of 30/7/17 the accused reported sick to me. He complained of pains in his knees, pains in the small of his back and piles. I examined him. I found that he had go piles but not sufficient to excuse him from duty. I marked him M&D. He had some scratches on his knees but nothing to hinder him from doing his work. On 16/8/17 I examined the accused again and found his condition unchanged and found him fit for duty.

 

DEFENCE

The accused states not on oath:

I went to the M.O on 30/7/17. I was called in front of him. He asked what was the matter with me. I told him that I had pains in my legs and my legs were festering and also that I had piles. He looked at my piles and gave me a box of ointment. I went out and lay down by the side of my bivouac in Camp. I lay there all day until the C.S.M. came to me and warned me to get dressed. I told him that I was not able. He went away and then put me under arrest. Then Sgt. Mead came and marched me back to Details Camp. I was not issued with any ammunition or any emergency rations. I touched nothing the whole day.

The accused called no witnesses.

Court Closed to consider finding.

 

AFTER FINDING

Captain G.I.S. Lumsden 7th Battn. Cameron Highlanders duly sworn states:

I produce the original and certified true copy of A.F.B 122 relating to the accused (copy signed by the President, FGCM and attached). I do not know the accused.

Not Cross Examined by the Accused Counsel.

The Accused called no witness.

The accused then states:

I came to France in March 1916. I was wounded on the Somme 22/8/16 with my present Battalion. I was on a bombing raid at Hulluch in June 1916. I rejoined the Battalion from Hospital after August 17th 1916 and I was wounded on 22/8/16. I went to England and came out again in March 1917.

Court Closed to consider sentence.

(Signed) W.B Binnie Major

President FGCM

 

AFB 122

 

Invergordon 31.5.15 “Reporting sick without a cause”

Punishment: 3 days confined to barracks.

 

Invergordon 10.6.15 “Insolence to an officer”

Punishment: 7 days Field Punishment No.2

 

Invergordon 12.7.15 “Using insubordinate language to His superior officer”

Punishment: To be imprisoned with hard labour for one year and to be discharged with ignominy from His Majesty’s Service.

Commuted to detention for 6 months and remits sentence of discharged with ignominy.

 

Invergordon 29.12.15 “1. Breaking out of barracks about tattoo and remaining absent until apprehended at Inverness Station by the G.M.P about 10.50pm on 29.12.15 (about 50 minutes) when warned for the draft. 2. Attempting to travel on the Highland Railway without a ticket”

Punishment: 7 days F.P

 

Invergordon 27.1.16 “Refusing to go on Bayonet fighting parade at 3pm”

Punishment : 28 days detention.

 

Invergordon 29.2.16 “Not Complying with an order”

Punishment: 7 days confined to barracks.

 

In the Field 3.8.16 “When on active service 1. Disobedience of orders 2. Improper language to an N.C.O

Punishment: 7 days F.P No.1

 

Invergordon 24.10.16 “Overstaying his pass from tattoo till 8am (2 days 10 hours)

Punishment: Detained for 3 days.

 

Cambusbarron 1.12.16 “Overstaying his pass from 12 midnight till 9am. (9 hours)

Punishment: Forfeit 2 days pay, 3 days confined to barracks.

 

Cambusbarron 23.12.16 “Creating a disturbance in the barrack room after lights out”

Punishment: 3 days confined to barracks.

 

Cambusbarron 31.12.16 “Absent from tattoo until apprehended by the civil police at Kirkcaldy 4.1.17 (4 days)

Punishment: forfeits 5 days pay, confined to barracks for 10 days.

 

In the Field 23.4.17 “When on active service negligently self wounding himself”

Punishment: 28 days F.P No.1

 

(Signed) J.L.G Jenkins Capt

O/C ‘A’ Company, 7th Cameron Highlanders

 

SCHEDULE

 

Name of Alleged offender (a):

No. S/17688 Private JAMES ADAMSON, 7th (Service) Battalion Cameron Highlanders

Offence Charged:

When on Active Service Misbehaving before the enemy in such a manner as to show cowardice

Plea:

Not Guilty

Finding, and if Convicted, Sentence (b):

GUILTY. To suffer DEATH by being shot.

2. When on Active Service Disobeying in such a manner as to show wilful defiance of authority and lawful command given personally by his superior officer, in the execution of his office.

Plea:

Not Guilty

Finding, and if Convicted, Sentence (b):

Not Guilty

(Signed) W.B Binnie Major

President FGCM

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

The recommendations through the chain of command are not included within the file and would appear to have been lost. However It would appear that there was little if any dissent against the sentence imposed. The only confirmation is shown below.

Image

 

SENTENCE

 

Sentence duly carried out at ST. NICHOLAS at 6.50am on 23rd November 1917

(Signed) Holland, Captain

RAMC

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