Penalties of War
By Marg Powell, Specialist Library Technician, Metadata Services | 28 January 2016
Private John William Daniell, 9th Infantry Battalion, & 4th Australian Pioneers.Not everyone’s story during the First World War is one of bravery and service.
Jack Daniel and his mate Les Young were both sentenced to 5 years ‘penal servitude' in September 1916, a staggering penalty for a deed that reads as a misdemeanour, but in the Army, and at a time of war, misdemeanours were not tolerated - and if discovered, severe penalties were quickly handed out.
Jack Daniell was a 23 year old carpenter from Longreach, when he enlisted in May 1915, a young man with a lifetime of experiences in front of him. A postcard from Jack to a friend, has been located in a collection of photographs relating to the Mulry Family.
After the withdrawal, Private Daniell was transferred to the 49th Infantry Battalion, then to the 4th Pioneers, which embarked for France early in 1916.
Private Daniell, Queenslander, 24 July, 1915
Privates Daniell and Young, were originally charged with Desertion. They were arrested in Albert, late August 1916 by the Military Police, when they were supposed to be on duty with the railway construction gang.
During their Court Marshall, held at Reningelst, Belgium, the charged was amended to the lesser one of Disobedience, but both were initially sentenced to 5 years imprisonment with hard labour.What prompted these two young men to leave their posts, knowing they would be missed?
According to the Australian War Memorial, numbers of men going Absent Without Leave, increased markedly after the the terrible casualties suffered in the defence of Pozieres, in the Somme Valley in July and August, 1916.
Jack and Les returned to Australia to rejoin their families and start new lives. Jack married Phyllis Richards in 1927 and remained in Queensland where he worked in various ports, on the wharves.
- NAA: Court Martial, Daniell & Young
- NAA: Daniell, John William
- NAA: Young, Leslie William
- 5936, Mulry Family Photographs
QANZAC 100 Content Technician
State Library of Queensland
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