Deserters and Absconders

Crew records show that between the period 27 May 1916 and 1 January 1920 while subject to Naval Discipline 148 crew members (both Officers and Ratings) were registered as having deserted. A further 16 were shown as being absentees without leave while 6 were just noted as having ‘failed to return to their ship’.

Three soldiers, who had signed on RFA ships during World War One, were found to have deserted from their Army Regiments.

Court Martial

During World War 1 discipline formally enforced against RFA Officers resulted in trials by Court Martial. Both RFA Officers and Rating charged with serious offences also faced the prospect of a Court Martial.

Between 29 May 1916 and 11 October 1919 44 Court Martial’s were convened where 39 RFA Officers (one twice) and 5 RFA ratings appeared as defendants.

Prison and Detention


RFA crews in World War 1 faced prison or detention for a variety of offences other than being sentenced by Court Martial. 

The Crew records have eight being sentenced to prison while twenty five received sentences in cells or in Naval Detention Quarters for matters other than desertion.

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website, by continuing to use the site you agree to cookies being used. More info.