Case Book 3

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


Photo: Major Edgar Langley, DSO, normally the APM 5th Aust Division, he would fill the role of APM, 1st ANZAC Corps when Colonel Smith was absent from his post. (Source: Munro Collection)

Returns – Crimes and Offences. April – May 1917.
– On the 15th inst., it was reported by 5th Army that Australians who were in the rest camps at CAYEUX and VALERY had been behaving in a riotous and disorderly manner and that orders were issued for the APM 1st Anzac Corps to attend with Military Police to prevent a recurrence the following night.
Upon investigation by Major Smith and Capt Colpitts at ABBEVILLE it was ascertained that the reports regarding the Australian troops behaviour had been grossly exaggerated.
War Diary – September 1917.
– APM 4th Aust. Divn reports that there were five casualties in the personnel of his Divisional Traffic Control from shellfire, one man being killed and four wounded.

Returns – Crimes and Offences. July – Sept 1918.
– On the 17th inst., on the Amiens Road near the Aust. Corps F. P. Compound (Field Punishment), a Chinaman (an MP) belonging to the 102nd Chinese Labour Coy was killed by a rifle shot. He was talking to some Aust. Soldiers who were sitting on the side of the road, when the rifle of one of the soldiers – who were acting as an escort – was discharged, the Chinaman being killed almost immediately.
Another Chinaman, who states he was present, stated that the rifle exploded while in the hands of one of the seated soldiers.
The soldiers (four) all state that the deceased Chinaman picked up the rifle and used it to show he could do rifle exercises. The explosion being caused by his bringing the butt down too heavily on the metal road.
The matter has been investigated by a Court of Enquiry.

Returns – Crimes and Offences. Oct – Dec 1918.
– On the 30th ulto., No 7169 Pte Grundell A., 4th Royal Fusiliers was arrested at Longres-les-Corps-Saints by a member of Aust. Provost Corps.
He broke away, and refusing to stand when called upon, was shot by the MP in the leg, and subsequently conveyed to Hospital where he received Medical treatment.

Returns – Crimes and Offences. Nov – Dec 1918.
– On the evening of the 14th inst., about 9.30 pm two of the MP here were violently assaulted whilst in the execution of their duty, by a gang of about 20-30 Australians. One of them L/Cpl Harding, was badly knocked about the head and is under medical treatment. I proceeded to the spot, and found that the men had fled, but that they appeared to belong to the transport Section of No 6 Aust. Field Ambulance. I called on the CO, and it was arranged to have the whole lot inspected at the following morning.
This was done, and two of the culprits identified by the marks on their faces, and the presence of a police cap badge in the possession of one of them. These [men] are to be sent to Court Martial.
(Report from APM Bailleul to APM 1st ANZAC Corps.)