Robins, SERGEANT JOHN 9610, 5TH WILTSHIRE REGIMENT

From the File WO 71/442 Held at TNA

 

CHARGE SHEET

 6th December 1915

No. 9610 Sgt. J. Robins

5th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment

Disobeying in such a manner as to show willful defiance of authority a lawful command given personally by his superior officer in the execution of his office.

In that he, at Suvla on December 3rd 1915 when personally ordered by 2/Lt. MacMillan of 12th Cameronians (attached 5th Wiltshires) to accompany him on patrol stated that he was unwell and not fit for the work and that he, when passed as fit by a special medical officer’s inspection and again ordered to proceed on patrol, refused saying “I am not well, I will not go” or words to that effect.

 

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

 

PROCEEDINGS

At* SUVLA this sixth day ofDecember, 1915

Whereas it appears to me, the undersigned, an officer in Command of 40th 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

Lt.-Colonel M.J.B. Beresford 4/South Wales Borderers

Members

Captain S.Powell 8/Royal Welch Fusiliers

Captain R.D. Robertson 1st Gordon Highlanders (Attchd: 5/Wilts Regt.)

(Signed) A.C. Lewin Brigadier General

Commanding 40th Infantry Brigade

 

THE TRIAL OF NO. 9610 SERGEANT JOHN ROBINS, 5TH WILTSHIRE REGIMENT

 

PROSECUTION

 

The accused No.9610 Sergeant J. Robins, 5th (S) Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment does not object to the President or Members. The President and Members are duly sworn. The Accused pleaded “Not Guilty” to the charge.

1st Witness

2nd Lieut. J. MacMillan 12th Cameronians attached 5th (S) Bn. Wiltshire Regiment being duly sworn states:-

At Suvla on 3rd Dec:1915 I was detailed to go on Patrol taking with me an N.C.O.. I warned the accused, Sergeant Robins to accompany me. He replied that he was not well enough to go. As he had not reported sick I sent him to the doctors, who reported him fit to go on Patrol. I again ordered him to accompany me and he refused saying “I am not well enough. I will not go” or words to that effect.

The evidence is read to the witness.

Accused declines to Cross-examine.

The witness withdraws.

 

2nd Witness

No.18714 Pte. Allsworth 5th (S) B. Wiltshire Regiment being duly sworn states:-

At Suvla on 3rd Dec: 1915 I was sleeping in the same bay in which Sergeant Robins was. After evening stand to I went to sleep and was woke by hearing Sergeant Robins say “I am not well enough to go on patrol”

Cross-examined by the accused

1.Q Did you hear anyone give me an order?

1.A No.

2.Q Did you see an officer standing near me in the trench at this time?

2.A Yes.

3.Q Did you not hear this officer say something to me?

3.A No.

4.Q How is it that you heard me speak but did not hear the officer say anything?

4.A I don’t know.

5.Q Why did 2nd Lieut. MacMillan send for you to his Dug-out the next morning?

5.A He wanted me to give evidence.

The evidence was read to the witness.

The witness withdraws.

 

3rd Witness

Statement by Lieut. Thackery R.A.M.C

At 6.0pm 3/2/15 I took Sergeant Robins temperature and felt his pulse. They were both normal. He complained of nothing definite whatever, except a general feeling that he was unwell. I gave him some medicine and told him to carry on.

Accused declines to Cross-examine.

The Prosecution is Closed.

Accused declines to give evidence himself

Accused has no witness to call for his defence.

Accused has witness as to character.

Accused in his defence states:-

On the night in question I was not well enough to go out. I was eight and a half years in India where I suffered a good deal from fever and ague and I still get fits of this. I had been suffering from this for several days off and on and the wet weather had greatly affected me. I have been out here nearly five months and this is the first trouble I have ever been in. I have always done my duty. This would not have happened if I had been quite well. At the time I did not realize the seriousness of what I did.

The Court is closed to consider its finding.

The court find the accused No. 9610 Sergeant J. Robins 5th (S) Bn. Wiltshire regt. guilty of the charge.

The Court is again opened and the accused brought before it.

Captain and Acting Adjutant J.W Greavy D.S.O 5th (S) Bn. Wiltshire Regiment being duly sworn states:-

I am unable to produce A. Form B.122 as it was lost in the recent flood. With the exception of one entry at home the accused had to the best of my belief a clean sheet until quite lately. 

Accused has no medals or decorations.

I have no documents to show further evidence about him.

The Accused declines to Cross-examine this witness.

The witness withdraws.

 

SCHEDULE

 

6th December 1915

Name of alleged offender:

No. 9610 Sgt. J. Robins

5th Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment

Offence Charged:

Disobeying in such a manner as to show willful defiance of authority a lawful command given personally by his superior officer in the execution of his office.

In that he, at Suvla on December 3rd 1915 when personally ordered by 2/Lt. MacMillan of 12th Cameronians (attached 5th Wiltshires) to accompany him on patrol stated that he was unwell and not fit for the work and that he, when passed as fit by a special medical officer’s inspection and again ordered to proceed on patrol, refused saying “I am not well, I will not go” or words to that effect.

Plea:

Not Guilty

Finding, and if Convicted, Sentence:

Guilty – To be reduced to the ranks and to suffer death by being shot.

(Signed) A.C. Lewin Brigadier General

Commanding 40th Infantry Brigade

Lt.-Colonel M.J.B. Beresford President FGCM

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

To 40th Brigade

I have not much first hand knowledge of Sgt. Robins and he has not impressed me favourably. I have had occasion to speak to men for neglect of duty. Just before the incident for which he was tried he had made a very impertinent reply to Lt. McMillan [sic] with which I did not think it necessary to charge him as the second offence was less as serious as the first one.

Captain Greavy informs me that he did his work well at home as a Sgt. but got drunk and was reduced to Corporal. As he worked well Captain Greavy had him made a Sergeant. Since his arrival in the Peninsula although no particular instance can be produced he has not shown up well nor in any way distinguished himself. His appearance is slovenly and his manner with the men bad. Generally speaking I do not consider him a good N.C.O

(Signed) [illegible]

Commanding 5/Wilts

7/2/15

 

To HQ 13th Division

Proceedings of F.G.C.M on No.9610 Sergt. J. Robins 5/Wilts Regt are forwarded for confirmation together with his Commanding Officers report on this N.C.O. – Having regard to the nature of the duty that Sgt. Robins declined to perform I recommend that the sentence of the Court be carried out.

(Signed) A.C. Lewin Br. Gen.

Commanding 40th Infantry Brigade.

On Service.

8 Dec. 1915

 

To 9th Corps

The offence of which the accused has been convicted is on active service is a serious one and especially when committed by a individual with the rank of Sergeant that I have no alternative but to recommend that the sentence be allowed.

(Signed) F.S Maude

Major General

Commanding 13th Division

12.12.5

 

Confirmed

(Signed) C.C. Monro General

Commanding MEF

19 Dec 15

 

SENTENCE

 

To Headquarters

40th Brigade

Please take the necessary steps to have the sentence carried out and report date, hour and place fixed.

A firing party of one officer, 2 N.C officers and 12 men belonging to another Battalion to be detailed.

As there is no A.P.M. at present with this Division a senior officer is to be detailed by you and superintend the execution.

A Medical Officer is also to be present.

The prisoner should be given the opportunity of seeing a Chaplain if he so desires; both Church of England and Roman Catholic Chaplains may be found at the 1st Field Ambulance at the foot of Gully Ravine.

(Signed) Austen (Captain)

Act/ D.A.A.&..Q.M.G.

13th Division

31.12.15

 

To Officer Commanding

5th Wilts Regiment

With reference to the above, the Brigadier General directs that the Proceedings attached must be promulgated tonight and the sentence carried out at 8 a.m  tomorrow; the execution to take place at a point on the beach 400 yards North of the mouth of the Gully Ravine. Officer Commanding 8th Cheshire Regiment has been instructed to furnish the necessary firing party. Captain H. Mann will superintend the execution. Your attention is directed to points 4 and 5 above. The accused is to be given the opportunity of seeing a Chaplain tonight if he wishes to. Please retain all correspondence.

(Signed) W. Parry Staff Captain

40th Infantry Brigade

31.12.15

 

To Headquarters

13th Division

The sentence was carried out at 0805 hours this morning.

(Signed) A.C. Lewin Brigadier General

Commanding 40th Infantry Brigade

On service

2.1.16

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