Case Book 2

Entries from the War Diaries of the Assistant Provost Marshall (APM)
(Extracts from AWM series 25)


Photo: Colonel William Smith, DSO, he was the APM of the 1st ANZAC Corps in France for most of the war. Major Edgar Langley, DSO would fill in as APM in Smith’s absence. (Source: Munro Collection) 

War Diary – June 1918.
-On the 5th inst., a case occurred at Ailly-Sur-Somme where a Frenchman (supposed deserter / French Army) was drowned. It was reported that Australian soldiers were implicated in the fatality, but investigations to date have failed to substantiate this statement.
– On the 13th inst., a Chinese labourer was shot by a French civilian in a wood adjoining Bertangles Chateau, necessitating his admission to hospital. Investigations are proceeding as to the circumstances of the affair and identification of the civilian.
– On the night of the 19th inst., a French soldier, under the influence of drink, ran amok in the village of Glisy. MMP of the 3rd Aust Div however, arrested this man before any damage was done and handed him over to his unit commander to deal with.

War Diary – July 1918.
-A British soldier of 743 Area Employment Company was murdered at CAMON on the morning of the 4th July. A soldier of the same unit has been placed under arrest on suspicion of being concerned in the murder. Investigations are still pending in this matter.

War Diary – August 1918.
– DAPM, 3rd Aust Divn reports: – The body of a dead Australian soldier was found near the Somme Canal on 28th July. Investigation proved his identity to be No 440 Pte ELLSWORTH G.W., 39th Battalion AIF; an absentee and that he apparently had committed suicide. The matter was referred to 3rd DHQ and arrangements were made for his burial.
-During the month two nude bodies were found in the River Somme at AUBIGNY and BLANGY TRONVILLE respectively. Enquiries were made but up to the present neither of the bodies have been identified.

Returns – Crimes and Offences. Nov – Dec 1918.
– Report to the APM 1st ANZAC Corps from the APM Bailleul.
I inspected the Town Guard Room at 6.30 pm on the 29th ult., and found the NCO in charge and all the guard had gone to the Cinema. The two men in detention were in the kitchen, preparing themselves a hot meal.
I enquired if they were quite comfortable and they replied, “Yes”. I have arranged with the Corps APM, to have the whole guard changed, and have also arranged to move the guardroom.

Returns – Crimes and Offences. Oct – Dec 1918.
– DAPM., 3rd Aust Division reports: – On the night of the 10th inst ., a civilian, whilst pouring paraffin on to a fire at her home in HALLENCOURT, set fire to her clothes. MMP extinguished the flames, obtained an ambulance, and had her taken to the Civil Hospital at ABBEVILLE, where she succumbed to her injuries.