Burden, 3832 Private Herbert 3832 , 1st Northumberland Fusiliers

From the file WO71-424 held at TNA


 Section 12 (1a) Army Act

3832 Private H. Burden, 1st Northumberland Fusiliers.

When on active service deserting His Majesty’s Service

Form for Assembly and proceedings of Field General Court Martial on Active Service.


At* On Active Service this second day of July, 1915

Whereas it appears to me, the undersigned, an officer in Command of 9th 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 D.H Grant 1/Lincolnshire


Captain R.H Johnston 1/Lincolnshire

Lieut. G.L Dorman Smith 1/Northumberland Fusiliers

(Signed) Wayland-Smith Brig. Gen

Cmd 9th Inf. Brigade

Trial of No. 3832 Private H. Burden, 1st Northumberland Fusiliers.


1st Witness

No. 8628 L/Cpl C. Dawson 1/5th Fusiliers states: At VLAMERTINGHE camp on 26th June 1915 in the afternoon I warned the accused for trench working party to present at 7pm. The same date I called the roll at 7pm. The accused was absent. I did not see him again till 9.40pm on the 28th when he was brought in by an escort of the regiment without equipment

2nd Witness

No. 10353 Pte J O’Callaghan 1/Royal West Kent Regt states: On the 26th June 1915 I saw the accused in the transport lines of my Regiment near DICKEBUSH between 12 noon and 1 pm. I saw him again on the morning of the 27th at about 9am. he was then leaving the transport lines. I saw him again at about 8.30pm near the DICKEBUSH huts where my Battalion was coming to on relief from the trenches. The huts are about 2 miles nearer DICKEBUSH than the transport lines. It was nearer 12am than 1pm when I saw the accused.

3rd Witness

No.472 L/Cpl H. Chapman 1/Royal West Kent Regt. States: On the 26th June 1915 at about 12 noon I saw the accused in the transport lines of my Regiment. I saw him again at about 9am on the 27th June at the same place. I again saw him about 1pm on the 28th just near the huts which my battalion were coming on relief from the trenches that night.

4th Witness

Q’Mr [Quartermaster?] H.G Rosen 1/Royal West Kent Regt States: At about 8.30pm on the 28th June 1915 in the huts of the Battalion near DICKEBUSH. I saw the accused and asked him his reason for being there. He told me that he had permission from his Transport Officer to visit the 1/Royal West Kent Regt. to see a friend.


The accused states: I went over to see a friend of mine in the Royal West Kent Regt. which was the Regiment I served in 1913 and I heard he had lost a brother. I wanted to inquire if it was true or not.

Captain B.G Gummer 1/5th Fusiliers states: I produce AF.B.122 showing 1 case of absence 3 miscellaneous offences on Home Service and one case of absence in this country. He came out on 28-3-15 and has served with the battalion since then except for 11 days in Hospital.

(countersigned) DH Grant Major

President FGCM



To – 1/5th Fus.

With reference to No. 3832 Pte. H. BURDEN recently tried by F.G.C.M for desertion please furnish full information on the following points.

1. The character (from a fighting point of view as well as that of behaviour) of the soldier concerned, his previous conduct in action and the period of his service with the Expeditionary Force.

2. The state of Discipline of the Battalion.

3. The C.O’s opinion (based on his personal knowledge – or that of his Officers – of the Soldiers Characteristics) as to whether the crime was deliberately committed with the sole objective of avoiding the particular service involved.

(signed) K.A Buchanan Capn. 9th Brigade.

To – 9th Infantry Brigade

1. Has not been in action other than the usual trench sniping. Went out twice on patrol. Of inferior physique. Reported as unsatisfactory. Joined BEF 28.3.15. Sick 12.6.15 to 23.6.15

2. Quite Satisfactory.

3. This man was punished for absence on 11th and reported sick the next day. He had only just returned when on being warned for the trenches he absented himself. No officers of the Company left who knew the man but his Platoon Sergeant states he is a man you cannot trust. Defaulter sheet shows he is much addicted to absence. In the absence of any officers who knows this man I do not feel justified in expressing an opinion. I know very little of the man and it seems to me unfair to express an opinion with little to back it up. I trust the G.O.C will realise how hard it is to answer this question fairly in the present circumstances and will not press for a reply.

(Signed) [illegible] Lt. Col

4th July 1915 Commanding 1/5th Fusiliers.


Name of Alleged Offender:

3832 Private H. Burden, 1st Northumberland Fusiliers.

Offence Charged:

When on active service deserting His Majesty’s Service


Not Guilty

Finding, and if convicted, Sentence:

Guilty, Death




The discipline of the 1st Battalion Fusiliers is satisfactory.

I consider the the sentence should be carried out. There are still a few cases of this desertion and the full penalty is the only means by which it can be stopped.

(Signed) Wayland-Smith Brig Gen.

Commanding 9th Infantry Brigade

4th July 1915.


I have no remarks to offer in mitigation of the mans conduct.

(Signed) Haldane


Commanding 3 Division


I recommend that the sentence should be carried out.

(Signed) E.H.H Allenby

6.VII.15 Commanding V Corps.


I concur.

(signed) Herbert Plumer

Commanding 2nd Army

7 July 1915.


2nd Army.

With reference to the attached proceedings of F.G.C.M. held for the trial of Pte. H. Burden, 1st Northumberland Fusiliers.

It appears from the evidence of the first witness that the accused was warned for trench working party, but it is not stated on what particular trenches the party was to work. From the fact that the party were ordered to parade at 7 p.m it would appear likely that the trenches referred to were the Battalion trenches and that digging could only be carried out at night and that the duty was of a dangerous nature.

Will you kindly make enquiry as to this and report. As far as the proceedings are concerned there is nothing to show that the trenches might not have been far removed from the firing line – in fact they might even been instructional.

(signed) GH

Lieut Gen.




9th Infantry Brigade to G.H.Q

The man in question 3832 Pte. H Burden was warned for duty with a working party which was ordered to proceed to the trenches occupied by 9th Brigade near HOOGE. The party was to remain there for 2 days and took their rations for that period with them. Their duty was to dig at night in the vicinity of the firing line etc. The duty was liable to the usual dangers to be met with in the vicinity of the line of trenches.

(Signed) [illegible] Lt. Col

Commanding 1/5th Fusiliers

11th July 1915



(signed) J.French FM

July 18 1915

G.O.C 2nd Army

In confirmation of my telegram No A (b) 742 of today please note that the C-in-C has approved of the sentence in the case of 3832 Private h. Burden, 1st Northumberland Fusiliers.

(Signed) W. Nevin

Captain D.A.A.G.

for Lieut. General,

Adjutant General.




To 3/Division


The sentence of Death, passed upon no. 3832 Pte H Burdon [sic] 1st Northumberland Fusiliers was duly carried out at 4am

(Signed) C. Rich



3rd Division.

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