Author Topic: Unlikely to become an efficient soldier  (Read 4922 times)

Offline Whipby

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Unlikely to become an efficient soldier
« on: Tuesday 12 November 13 20:57 GMT (UK) »
A friend's ancestor's WWI pension papers have him discharged from the army in 1914 after only 85 days' service, with the note that he was 'Unlikely to become an efficient soldier'.

Does anyone know what the reason for this would be, please?

He was 25 years old and a smelter in a local steelworks, and there was another note that said his character was very good.  Medical statements following examination declared him to be fit for service.
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Reddie, Gott, Woodcock, Randerson, Heslop, Dove, Sowerby, Henderson, Singleton, Butler, Kelly, Parkes, Pinkney, Sellers, Speck, Todd,  Wilkie and others.

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Offline clayton bradley

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Re: Unlikely to become an efficient soldier
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 12 November 13 21:29 GMT (UK) »
 Fred Broadley spent 30 days in the army at the beginning of the war and was then sent home. The details said he wouldn't make an efficient soldier because of his heart. However, later in the war, when they were desperate for men, they called him up anyway and he was killed in action. In my experience it's a physical problem, but what they considered a physical problem in 1914, they didn't always in 1918, claytonbradley
Broadley (Lancs all dates and Halifax bef 1654)

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Offline km1971

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Re: Unlikely to become an efficient soldier
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 13 November 13 08:06 GMT (UK) »
You should check the Silver War Badge index on Ancestry. These were introduced in 1916 to stop discharged men from being presented with a white feather. And men already discharged could claim one.

'Unlikely to become an efficient soldier' could be anything - two left feet, being so left-handed they could not operate the rifle, being dim witted, and so on. You have to remember that the army thought the war would be 'over by Christmas' so they thought they could be choosy as to the men they took. Also, 85 days is significant as after three months the decision to discharge had to be taken by a officer of higher rank. Any discharges after three months would suggest poor decision making by the lower ranked officer. So many officers would not take the risk.

Ken

Offline Hackstaple

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Re: Unlikely to become an efficient soldier
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 13 November 13 08:24 GMT (UK) »
I am always so impressed with the depth of army knowledge that km1971 shows. An enormous asset to Rootschat.  ::)
Southern or Southan [Hereford , Monmouthshire & Glos], Jenkins, Meredith and Morgan [Monmouthshire and Glos.], Murrill, Damary, Damry, Ray, Lawrence [all Middx. & London], Nethway from Kenn or Yatton. Also Riley and Lyons in South Africa and Riley from St. Helena.
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Offline Redroger

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Re: Unlikely to become an efficient soldier
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 14 November 13 11:51 GMT (UK) »
This continued certainly into the national Service Era. In the late 1950s and onwards I was engaged in Railway personnel work usually with train crew grades, who by the nature of the work were usually intelligent people. There was one man at a depot where I worked, by then a passed fireman who had been discharged from the Army around 1950 for this very reason. He went on to become a mainline train driver, Intelligent and normal, no apparent medical or mental problems. By now well and truly retired if still living.

I have also been told that police cadets were often discharged from the police service on the grounds "unlikely to make an efficient constable"
Ayres Brignell Cornwell Harvey Shipp  Stimpson Stubbings (all Cambs) Baumber Baxter Burton Ethards Proctor Stanton (all Lincs) Luffman (all counties)

Offline Whipby

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Re: Unlikely to become an efficient soldier
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 14 November 13 18:30 GMT (UK) »
Thank you everyone for all your input, it's very interesting.  This lad had a lucky escape in my opinion, but I wonder whether he faced any resentment or ridicule, or worse, after his discharge?  My limited knowledge of WWI was that they practically threw thousands of recruits mercilessly over the top, so to find this record was very surprising to me.  I had no idea that they were more discerning at the beginning of the war, and just thought that they would have taken practically anybody if only to boost the numbers, which is an horrific thought.

Thank you again.
All UK Census Transcriptions are Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk


Reddie, Gott, Woodcock, Randerson, Heslop, Dove, Sowerby, Henderson, Singleton, Butler, Kelly, Parkes, Pinkney, Sellers, Speck, Todd,  Wilkie and others.

Offline Redroger

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Re: Unlikely to become an efficient soldier
« Reply #6 on: Friday 15 November 13 20:00 GMT (UK) »
Often the truth is more subtle and involved than the impression given in the tabloid newspapers. Then and now.
Ayres Brignell Cornwell Harvey Shipp  Stimpson Stubbings (all Cambs) Baumber Baxter Burton Ethards Proctor Stanton (all Lincs) Luffman (all counties)

Offline scrimnet

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Re: Unlikely to become an efficient soldier
« Reply #7 on: Monday 18 November 13 16:26 GMT (UK) »
Thank you everyone for all your input, it's very interesting.  This lad had a lucky escape in my opinion, but I wonder whether he faced any resentment or ridicule, or worse, after his discharge?  My limited knowledge of WWI was that they practically threw thousands of recruits mercilessly over the top, so to find this record was very surprising to me.  I had no idea that they were more discerning at the beginning of the war, and just thought that they would have taken practically anybody if only to boost the numbers, which is an horrific thought.

Thank you again.

May I commend to you "Mud Blood and Poppycock" by Gordon Corrigan and "Forgotten Victory" by Prof Gary Sheffield....

The image of WW1 was tainted by films such as "Oh what a lovely war" and Blackadder....Here are some facts for you...Tommy only spent 3 days at a time in a trench before Regts were rotated...And...86% of gas casualties were returned to unit, fit, within 6 weeks...
One more charge and then be dumb,
            When the forts of Folly fall,
        May the victors when they come
            Find my body near the wall.

Offline Redroger

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Re: Unlikely to become an efficient soldier
« Reply #8 on: Monday 18 November 13 20:39 GMT (UK) »

....Here are some facts for you...Tommy only spent 3 days at a time in a trench before Regts were rotated...And...86% of gas casualties were returned to unit, fit, within 6 weeks...

Only partially borne out by Lt. Col. M.C.Clayton in the book "The Cambridgeshires" Whilst it is apparent that men were rotated at 3 days intervals, it is equally obvious from the book that this did not apply whilst a battle was going on.  As for the gas, well my experience as a railway personnel officer in the late 1950s and early 60s suggest that by the number of men who were accomodated on light work due to gas in WW1 either the number of 86% being fit for duty is incorrect or there were a vast number of men actually gassed. At least 30% of WW1 veterans in footplate grades were showing lung damage due to gas from my recollection of their routine medical examination reports; it is likely of course that much of this damage went unrecognised at the time only to appear after an interval of 40 years or so.
Ayres Brignell Cornwell Harvey Shipp  Stimpson Stubbings (all Cambs) Baumber Baxter Burton Ethards Proctor Stanton (all Lincs) Luffman (all counties)