Brigham, Private Thomas, 1/10th Bn. Manchester Regt.



Number, Rank, Name and Unit of the accused:

No. 300199 Private Thomas Brigham, 1/10th Bn. Manchester Regt.

Offence Charged:

When on Active Service, Deserting His Majesty’s Forces in that he, in the field on the 1st April 1918 when under orders to proceed to the line, absented himself from the 1/10th Manchester Regiment and remained absent until apprehended at ETAPLES on the 24th April 1918.



On Active Service this seventeenth day of May, 1918 Whereas it appears to me, the undersigned, an officer in Command of an 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.


Major Hammond-Smith M.F MC 1/5th Lancashire Fusiliers


Captain Tickler W.M MC 1/5th Lancashire Fusiliers

Lt. Hawksey B.R 1/5th Lancashire Fusiliers

Lt. Cummins W.A CMO IV Corps

(Signed) H. Fargus Brig. Gen.

Commanding 125 Bde.


Prosecutor: Captain Howarth F. 1/10th Manchester Regiment

Accused’s Friend: Lt. W.D Shaw R. Fusiliers attd. 1/10th Manchester Regiment (not qualified as a Solicitor or Barrister)


1st Witness

No. 5540  Sgt. O’Connell J 1/10th Manchesters sworn states:

On the 1st April 1918 in consequence of orders from acting S.M Townley I warned the accused in S.M Townley’s presence that the Battalion was moving into the front line that night. At 1pm dinner time I missed the accused and at 4pm I reported that the accused was missing. He was absent when the Company moved up to the line at 9pm that night. I reported to the Sgt. Maj. this fact.

Cross examined

I warned the accused personally in the presence of S.M Townley at about 9.45am.

Questioned by the Court

I missed the accused at 1pm because his bivouac was close beside me.

2nd Witness

No. 375137 Sergt. Townley D 1/10th Manchesters sworn states:

On the 1st April I was present when Sgt. O’Connell warned the accused that the Coy. was to proceed to the line that night.

About 4pm the same day Sgt. O’Connell reported the accused to me as missing since 1pm. About 9pm on the same day when the Company was ready to proceed to the line Sgt. O’Connell reported the accused to me as absent.

Not cross examined.

3rd Witness

No. 35483 CSM Deal A. 10th R.W Fusiliers

On the night of April 24th I saw the accused leaving No.9 Rest Camp at Etaples at about 10.15pm. I questioned him and not being satisfied with his answers I handed him over to the Provost Sergt.

Cross examined.

The Accused made a statement to me about having been at the C.C.S

Questioned by the Court.

He stated that he had been employed carrying the wounded at the C.C.S. It was in consequence of his answers to my questions concerning his movement order that I took action by handing him over. The accused stated that it was his intention to report to the R.T.O on the following morning.

4th Witness

No. 14874 Sgt. Byrne A. 2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers sworn states:

I am Provost Sergt. at No.9 Rest Camp at Etaples. On the night of 24th April about 10.15pm I was called out by CSM Deal who handed the accused over to me for custody. I confined the accused.

Not Cross Examined.


The Accused, No. 300199 Pte. Brigham T.1/10th Manchester Regiment sworn states:

On the 1st April 1918 while in the reserve line I proceeded to the village to try and get some cigarettes. On my return I was told that my Battalion had been relieved and gone down to DOULLENS. Some RAMC men told me this. There had been a lot of new men in my Platoon before going away and so I took it for granted that this was true.

On my arrival at DOULLENS about 1.30pm the next day, or it might have been the day after that, I reported to DOULLENs Town Hall to a Corporal in the Canadians and he sent me to his Major. The Major took my name, Regiment and Division and gave me a ticket for rations. He told me not to go away as they would send for me in a short while. After waiting for a few hours the Major told me I could not leave my Unit and that he would send me down to FREVENT. I was sent to FREVENT to report to the Stragglers Camp there. I was in the rest camp there for a day and a half when the RSM fell 100 of us in and marched us to the Stragglers Camp a mile up the DOULLENS road. They took my name and Regiment there and told me to go into the hall. I had been there about an hour when the RSM told me to act as a stretcher bearer at the 43rd CCS. They kept me there 15 days acting as a stretcher bearer. I was then sent back to the Stragglers Camp and we were told we were to be sent back to our Divisions. I was not willing to return to my unit on account of my father getting to know some previous trouble. I therefore went to ETAPLES instead and was found there by CSM Deal. I had no idea what time the Battalion was leaving for the line. I had every intention of returning after getting my cigarettes.

Cross Examined.

I went to the village just before noon. It would be 7 kilos away about.

I did not make any further enquiries to the RAMC men

Questioned by the Court.

The Sgt. did not warn me specially but warned the Platoon as a unit, that we were to proceed to the line that night. I did not know my way back to the front line from the village.

1st Witness

No. 369823 Sgt. Seldon N.A 285 Area Supply Company sworn states:

I am chief clerk for 3rd Army Stragglers Depot, now at DOULLENS, formerly at FREVENT. I keep records of the arrival of stragglers. I produce IV Corps Stragglers book of arrivals (certified true extract FGCM) which shows accused’s arrival at 3rd Army Stragglers Camp at FREVENT on April 6th. I have no record of where he came from. We marched parties of stragglers from DOULLENS. We had an order on 6th April to provide stretcher bearers for 43rd CCS. The Accused was employed until April 20th. I produce an order dated 20th April stating that the accused was reporting back to his Division. This comes from our records.

Not Cross Examined.

The Accused’s Friend states:

Accused went to the village but returned that same evening but found his Unit had gone. He thought that they had moved to DOULLENS. He committed two offences but this is not what is charged. He was actually going on military duty for 15 days of the period when he alleged to be a deserter.

CSM Deal A. recalled by the Court on his former oath:

The Accused when I found him at Etaples had an ASC overcoat. I don’t know whether he had a badge or not. The accused had his pay book.


Prosecutor Capt. Howarth F. 1/10th Manchester Regiment sworn states:

I produce AFB 122, a certified true copy (signed by the President, FGCM). I produce medical certificate [showing] that the accused is in a good state of health.

Not Cross Examined

The accused has no evidence to character but states:

I was a Territorial before the war and enlisted in October 1913. I was embodied at the beginning of the war.

In 1914 I went to Egypt. I was invalided home from Egypt in 1916. I was buried at Gallipoli on 7th August 1916. This has upset me ever since.


Certified that No. 300199 Pte. Brigham T. 1/10th Battalion, Manchester Regt. is in a good state of health and is fit to undergo imprisonment with hard labour.

(Signed) [illegible]

M.O 1/10th Manchester Regiment

May 18th 1918

AFB 122

Heaton Park 5.1.17 Absent from 10pm until 10.45pm 7.1.17

Punishment: 7 Days C.B

Heaton Park 11.1.17 (i) Breaking out of camp whilst under confinement. (ii) Absent from 10pm until 4pm 12.1.17

Punishment: 14 Days C.B

Heaton Park 13.1.17 (i) Breaking out of camp whilst a defaulter (ii) Absent from 10pm until 10pm 16.1.17

Punishment: 7 Days C.B

Heaton Park 27.1.17 (i) Breaking out of camp. (ii) Absent from 10pm until 10pm 28.1.17 (iii) Not complying with C.D.O 209 para 16 D/7/9/16

Punishment: 14 Days C.B

Heaton Park 9/2/17 Absent without leave from 10pm until 10.20pm 11.2.17

Punishment: Fined 6 days pay, 14 days C.B

Heaton Park 14/2/17 Absent without leave from 10pm until surrendering himself to civil police at LEEDS on 26/2/17

Punishment: 13 days detention

Heaton Park 15.3.17 Breaking out of camp at 12 noon and remaining absent until apprehended by Military Police in Manchester at 8.45am 19/3/17

Punishment: 48 hours detention

Ripon: 24.4.17 Missing duty when attending C.O’s Orderly rooms.

Punishment: 3 days C.B

Ripon 2.5.17 Late on Parade

Punishment: 5 days C.B

Hunmanby 17.5.17 Overstaying final leave when under orders for Draft from 9.30pm 17.5.17 until 4.30pm 29.5.17

Punishment: 14 days C.B and fined 28 days pay.

Hunmanby 4.6.17 (i) Breaking out of camp during Parade Hours (ii) Absent from C.O’s parade at 8am while under orders for a draft.

Punishment: 168 hours detention.

Hunmanby 9.6.17 (i) Breaking out of guard tent while under detention (ii) Abesnt while under orders for draft 9.6.17 until apprehended by Civil police 9.6.17

Punishment: 14 days detention.

Etaples 22.6.17 Absent from Sick parade at 7.30am

Punishment: 7 days C.G

In the Field 27.9.17 (i) Absenting himself without leave (from about) 2pm 27 Sept 17 until apprehended by the Military Police at about 12.15am 29 Sept 17 in CALAIS VILLE Station (ii) Losing by neglect his equipment and regimental necessaries (small box respirator value 12/3)

Punishment: 2 years I.H.L awarded by FGCM (sentence suspended)

In the Field 22.10.17 When on Active Service deserting His Majesty’s Service in that he, in the field on the 22nd October 1917 when under orders to proceed to the line absented himself from the 1/10th Manchester Regiment until apprehended.

Punishment: Sentenced to Death. Confirmed and Commuted to 15 years Penal Servitude by C-in-C 17/11/17. Sentence Suspended 17/11/17.

In the Field 12.1.18 When on Active Service stealing goods in that he, in the Field 12/1/18 stole two cases of Jams being Government property. Value 2/11s.

Punishment: 6 months I.H.L commuted to 90 days F.P No.1  9/3/18

(Signed) Captain Howarth F. 1/10th Manchester Regiment


Name of Alleged offender (a):

No. 300199 Pte. Brigham T.1/10th Manchester Regiment

Offence Charged:

When on Active Service, Deserting His Majesty’s Forces in that he, in the field on the 1st April 1918 when under orders to proceed to the line, absented himself from the 1/10th Manchester Regiment and remained absent until apprehended at ETAPLES on the 24th April 1918.


Not Guilty

Finding, and if Convicted, Sentence (b):

GUILTY. To suffer DEATH by being shot.


Headquarters 126th Brigade

1. The character of this man has been bad from a fighting point of view as well as that from behaviour during the period he has been with this Unit. Period of service with this unit is 5th October 1917 to present date.

Other service record to previous statement. With the Expeditionary Force :-

Egypt, Gallipoli and Cyprus Sept 1914 until October 1916.

France May 1917 until present date.

2. I am of the opinion from my personal knowledge of his characteristics that the crime was deliberately committed.

(Signed) Lt. Col Peel

Commanding 1/10th Manchester Regiment




42nd Division

Herewith proceedings of FGCM on the above named soldier. I am of the opinion that the sentence be put into execution. The character of the man is bad in every way. The state of discipline is very good and his Battalion are ashamed of his record.

(Signed) G.H Wedgwood

Commanding 126th Infy. Bde.




IV Corps ‘A’

I recommend that the Sentence be put into Execution as the prisoner is a worthless Soldier.

(Signed) A. Solly-Flood

Major General

Commanding 42nd Division




Third Army “A”

I recommend that the sentence be carried out.

(Signed) M Harper

Lieutenant General

Commanding IV Corps



Adjutant General, G.H.Q

I recommend that the sentence be carried out. [A] Deliberate desertion without extenuating circumstances.

(Signed) J. Byng


Commanding Third Army


Adjutant General


For submission the Commander-in-Chief.

The charge in this case was sufficiently proved by the given for the prosecution.

For the defence, however, facts were proved and evidently accepted by the Court, which show that the accused committed two offences of desertion during the period covered by tho charge, and that during 15 days of the period chared he was under military control.

The Court by special finding convicted the accused of desertion in respect of the first period of absence after warning for the front line.

In these circumstances it is open to doubt whether having regard to the material difference between the particulars as charged and those contained in the  special finding the latter can be upheld as properly the subject matter of such a finding.

There is no doubt that the accused was fully informed of the  nature of the charge against him vis. -Desertion, and as the substance of the offence of which he was found guilty was absence after warning for the line I think that the length of the absence was not so material as to affect the validity of the special finding; moreover, I am unable to see that the accused has in the circumstances been prejudiced.

I am therefore of opinion on the whole that the conviction may be confirmed as it stands.

(Signed) Dowson, Major

For Brig-General, DJAG


I concur. The sin of the whole matter was the act of the accused in absenting himself when warned for the front line and the precise reason of absence was a secondary consideration. In my opinion the conviction can be confirmed.

(Signed) Gilbert Mellor Brig Gen




On 1st April 1918 accused was warned that his Battalion was moving into the front line that night: he was absent when the Battalion moved up to the line at 9 p.m that night until he reported to the Straggler’s Camp at FREVENT on April 6th. On 20th April he was sent to rejoin his Division but he proceeded to ETAPLES instead where he was arrested on 24th April.


Left his Bn on 1st April to buy some cigarettes and when he returned at 11-45 p.m. that night found hiS Bn had gone; was told that they had been relieved and had gone to DOULLENS so he proceeded there and eventually was sent to FREEVENT. When ordered to return to his unit, he was not willing to go “on account of his father getting to know some previous trouble” so he went to ETAPLES


Enlisted as Territorial October 1913: Went to Egypt 1914 was buried at Gallipolli August 1916 – this had upset him ever since; invalided from Egypt 1916.

Bad conduct sheet including desertion in October 1917, when accused was sentenced to death; sentence commuted to 15 years P.S. and suspended.

Service with present unit October 1917 to present date: Age 22 yrs and 5 months.

Crime considered deliberate.

Discipline of Bn good. (42 Div – Solly-Flood) All Commanders recommend confirmation.

One death sentence carried out in this Bn: no other case in the Bde.

Confirmed [In D.H’s hand]

(Signed) D. Haig F.M

31 May 18


I certify that No.300199 Pte. Brigham T. of 1/10th Manchester Regiment was executed by shooting at 3.50am on 4th June 1918 In the Field. Death was instantaneous.

(Signed) W. Cleland



42nd Division

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