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The register is marked ‘acquitted, insane at the time of commission of offence’, evidence that he was again suffering from shell shock.
The only anecdotal explanation of this event was that he issued a week or more of the rum ration to the men before they went over the top.
And on June 24, 1918, he was brought ‘in field’ (on the battlefield) before a court martial to face charges of desertion, disobedience and miscellaneous offences.
My three brothers fought in the Second World War, but I was an evacuee.
"We weren’t a wealthy family, but we were taught honesty and respect and brought up to know that you got out of life what you put into it.
“Dear Mrs Ling, you will gather from this that I am somewhere near civilisation at last. Another sent from “Somewhere in France, 4/2/16”, reads: “Dear Mrs Ling... Let’s hope we shall be giving ’em something to occupy their time over here before long. Ern.” Bernice De Smet from St Albans, Hertfordshire, encloses a letter sent by her grandfather, Pte John James Hoyle of the First East Lancashire Regiment, to his wife Nell the day before he was killed in action in France on June 23, 1917, aged 31.
A very nice country district and splendid weather too. “Yes, my dear, I can believe you when you say that nature is so very beautiful at present [in] the dear homeland.