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

One, a Private from the 16th (Service) Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, signed on RFA Rapidol on the 9 August 1918 as a Fireman. He was identified as a deserter and arrested on the 22 February 1919 and taken under escort to RFA Sunhill – the RFA Accommodation ship based in Portsmouth Harbour. Notation on the crew record tends to indicate that he managed to escape and then desert from this ship. His relations have advised he was suffering from shell shock and spent the rest of his life in a mental hospital in Kent.

A second was a Private in the Labour Corps who deserted from the Army on the 19 November 1917 and signed on RFA Francol as a Signalman and Able Seaman on 1 December 1917. He was identified as an Army deserter and taken into custody on 30 September 1918.

The third was found on RFA Industry. He had signed on as a Stoker on the 6 September 1917 but was discharged when identfied as an Army deserter and arrested on the 12 October of the same year. 

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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