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AIF Detention Barracks 1917-1919.

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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Sep 2010 20:06    Onderwerp: AIF Detention Barracks 1917-1919. Reageer met quote

A prison of our own: the AIF Detention Barracks 1917-1919.
Graham Wilson, 01-JUN-05

On 1 November 1917, Captain Griffiths of the AIF arrived at HM Prison Lewes, in the town of Lewes, near Brighton on the Sussex coast, to take control of the prison. Having signed over the prison from HM Prison Service to the AIF, Captain Griffiths then formally raised the AIF Detention Barracks, an establishment that was to operate for almost the next two years. (2)


Discipline was always a problem for the AIF. While I do not believe that the AIF was as ill-disciplined as myth and legend would have it, certainly the force did have a discipline problem. (3) The ill-discipline of the AIF arose from a combination of factors. Firstly, the fact that the force sprang up almost overnight, an "instant army" in fact, meant that not as much time as possible could be devoted to the inculcation of traditional standards of discipline. At least not at first. Certainly, once the AIF had settled into training in Egypt, strenuous efforts were made on the part of the Australian authorities to instil higher standards of discipline in the force. The second factor led on from the first, namely, a scarcity of experienced officers and, even more critical, NCO's with the experience necessary to instil discipline into the force. Thirdly, it is undeniable that a significant percentage of "bad characters" enlisted, for one reason or another, into the AIF in its early days. These characters, the "King's hard bargain," of course had a detrimental effect on the discipline of the AIF. And of course, what must never be forgotten is the relative lack of sophistication of a significant proportion of the AIF. Young (and even not so young) Australians, away from home for the first times in their lives, and exposed at a very early point to the "fleshpots" of the East, of course kicked over the traces.

The combination of all of the above factors led to a situation in Egypt in the earliest days of the AIF where discipline was less than satisfactory. Even Bean, who was always loath to record anything detrimental to the image of the AIF, could not avoid mentioning discipline problems. As he himself stated, by the end of 1914 "matters were coming to a point where discipline in the AIF must either be upheld or abandoned." He then goes on to record the "ultimate sanction" decided upon by Bridges, namely the ignominious return to Australia of men deemed unsuitable for service. To quote Bean, this remained "until after the Battle of Pozieres, the most dreaded instrument of discipline among Australian soldiers." (4)

But, not every man committing a military offence could be sent back to Australia, either before or after Pozieres. Discipline was tightened up considerably prior to the landings at Gallipoli and remained of lesser importance throughout the campaign on the Peninsular. Following the return of the troops to Egypt, however, and especially during the period of incredible expansion of the AIF that followed Gallipoli, discipline again deteriorated and became a cause of concern for AIF authorities. It was at this time that the AIF was forced to establish a Punishment Compound at Abassia for the incarceration of soldiers sentenced to Field Punishment. One of the major transgressions for which soldiers could be sentenced was the contraction of venereal disease. It is therefore not surprising that the Punishment Compound was established in the grounds of the infectious diseases (i.e. VD) hospital at Abassia.

With the transfer of the bulk of the AIF to the UK, France and Belgium, discipline, and its enforcement, again became a priority. A major problem for the British authorities that is widely mentioned was the supposed fact that the Australians, not just the rank and file but also the commanders up to the highest level, were opposed to the British Army's Field Punishment system. Wahlert (with very little evidence) records that even Birdwood, every inch a British officer, believed that Field Punishments No. 1 and No. 2 were inappropriate for Australians. (5) But the fact is that Field Punishment was being awarded to members of the AIF from 1915. By early 1916 Field Punishment was widely used by both the AIF and the NZEF. To administer this lower level of punishment, the Anzac Field Punishment Compound was set up at Moascar in Egypt, while in Europe, the 1st Anzac Field Punishment Compound was set up in the vicinity of I ANZAC Corps HQ. This latter Compound moved with the Corps HQ, being set up in some substantial building, often a French jail, in the vicinity of the HQ. (6) The field punishment compounds were to operate until the end of the war.

But the field punishment compounds, as severe as they were, were only for relatively minor, "first time" offenders. For offenders sentenced for more serious offences, or for recidivists, the next step was incarceration in a detention barrack. Prior to November 1917, members of the AIF sentenced to periods of detention beyond 28 days (on the Continent), or beyond 14 days (in the UK), were transferred to a detention barrack. If the sentenced soldier was serving on the Continent, then he was returned to the UK, under escort, for incarceration. Apart from Aldershot and Colchester, which were purpose built British Army prisons, all of the establishments were civil prisons, taken over in part or in whole for the duration of the war. (7)

Towards an AIF Detention Barrack

The system put in place required that all soldiers sentenced to a period of detention in a detention barrack were delivered to the custody of the Assistant Provost Marshall (APM), Headquarters AIF Depots in the UK, located at Tidworth. Soldiers could be committed to detention either by findings of unit proceedings by the unit commanding officer (CO's award) or by the decision of a District Court Martial. As a general rule, only soldiers sentenced to periods of detention in excess of 14 days and up to 2 years were committed to the detention barracks. (8) Once the APM had taken custody of a prisoner or group of prisoners, he then contacted all of the Detention Barracks, either by telephone or by telegraph, and requested accommodation. Lack of sufficient accommodation more often than not meant that groups of prisoners had to be broken up and dispersed to several detention barracks. This was both costly in terms of manpower (for escorts) and rail fares, as well as a huge administrative inconvenience. In a letter to the HQ AIF Depots UK dated 31 January 1917, the APM (Lt Col J. Williams) notes that for the month of January, a total of 395 Australian soldiers were dispatched to detention barracks throughout the UK. Each man dispatched required an escort of a minimum of one NCO and two private soldiers. Due to the distance of some of the detention barracks from Tidworth (the home of the APM), often the prisoner(s) and escort would arrive at the detention barrack too late to have the prisoner(s) handed over that day. In this case, the escort was required to make arrangements for the overnight custody of the prisoner(s) with the local civil police, plus of course accommodation for the escort itself. (9) An interesting table provided by the APM to HQ Anzac Depots UK at the end of January 1917 gives the actual cost, in rail fares, for the transfer of prisoners for the month. This table is shown below.

Note that this cost is for the prisoners only. No capitation was figured for escorts. Pembroke Docks is an interesting entry. This was a naval prison, a fact that indicates the problem of accommodating military prisoners in the UK was so acute that army prisoners had to overflow occasionally into naval prisons.

Another problem noted by the AIF authorities was that of men sentenced to periods of detention who were also suffering from venereal disease. All AIF members suffering from VD were admitted to the 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital at Bulford. While most of the men at Bulford were not military criminals per se, a number of the inmates were in fact soldiers under sentence of detention. These men were sent to Bulford simply because there was not one British Army detention barracks with the facilities to treat VD. As a consequence, up until November 1917, at any given time a proportion of the inmates of 1ADH were soldiers under sentence. This was viewed as unsatisfactory by the AIF for a number of reasons. Firstly, the presence of detainees at the hospital required the permanent presence of a large guard of 1 officer and 78 other ranks. Secondly, since Bulford was a hospital, not a prison, many of the detainees took the opportunity to escape when their medical condition was cured or almost cured. Finally, because there were no proper facilities for discipline and retraining at Bulford, detainees under treatment there escaped most of the rigours of their punishment while at the hospital. (10)

By early 1917, the situation had deteriorated to the stage where the AIF authorities responsible for administering discipline at last reached the inescapable conclusion that the only solution was for the AIF to establish its own detention barrack. At the end of January, Lt Col Williams wrote to HQ AIF Depots UK outlining the problems listed above. He begged "respectfully to point out that if a Detention Barrack having accommodation of from 500 to 600 could be allotted to the A.I.F., it would be a great convenience and saving of expense." (11) This letter was forwarded from HQ AIF Depots UK to AIF Administrative HQ in London with the strongest endorsement on 4 February 1917. (12)

On 13 June 1917, Williams followed up his original letter of 31 January with a second letter pointing out the problems entailed in committing detainees suffering from VD to 1 ADH at Bulford. (13) A further letter of 19 June reiterated the difficulties and expense of transferring prisoners from Tidworth to detention barracks throughout the UK. This letter also discussed, yet again, the problems entailed in committing detainees with VD to Bulford. It offered the opinion that the establishment of a dedicated AIF Detention Barrack to hold all detainees, including those suffering from VD, would release over 200 fit men, currently employed on guard and sentry duties in the UK, for service at the front. (14) Two days later, Major General McKay, Commander AIF Depots UK, wrote to GOC Southern Command summarizing Williams' letters and requesting allocation of facilities for the establishment of an AIF Detention Barrack. (15)

While all this exchange of letters had been going on, AIF Administrative HQ had not been idle. Some time in March 1917 (the source does not specify the exact date), Colonel Griffiths, CO AIF HQ London, had an interview with the Director of Personnel Services at the War Office. (16) The War Office had viewed the request favourably, but required that the AIF arrange for a formal request to come from the Australian Government. Accordingly, at the request of AIF Administrative HQ, the following telegram, dated 7 September 1917, was sent from Sir Ronald Craufurd Munro Ferguson, Governor General of the Commonwealth:

Representations have been made that a separate detention barracks
for the Australian Imperial Force only desirable. Government
approves and will be glad if suitable place can be allotted to be
staffed by Australian personnel. It is desired that sentence of
imprisonment be served there in lieu of civil goals.

Unfortunately, while everyone seemed to think the establishment of an AIF Detention Barrack a good idea, finding a suitable location presented something of a problem. The AIF had originally requested Wandsworth Prison. (18) This request was rejected by the War Office, although no reason is given. (19) The matter then seemed to fall into abeyance until September. It is possible that the telegram from the Governor General provided fresh impetus. Whatever the case may be, on 19 September, the War Office wrote to the AIF offering Dorchester Prison and Cambridge Prison as the site for a Detention Barrack. This offer was rejected because the two prisons combined could not offer adequate accommodation. Dorchester offered space for 145 while Cambridge could accommodate 125. This total of 270 was well short of the AIF's stated monthly average of detainees (320). (20) Additionally, the AIF was not keen on the idea of spreading its detainees between two sites. The whole idea in the first place was to put all of the detainees into one location.

The War Office next offered Gloucester Prison with an offer of taking any overflow into Devizes. (21) The AIF rejected this offer also, even when the War Office amended the offer to Gloucester PLUS Devizes! Gloucester offered spaces for 210 detainees, while Devizes had a total capacity of 160, but was still operating as both a civil prison and a British Army Detention Barrack, so the full 160 spaces would not have been available. As AIF Administrative HQ argued in an un-referenced letter of 24 September: "GLOUCESTER is shown as holding 210 on this list: as our requirements are 350-400, our probable overflow would swamp DEVIZES (160)." (22) Instead of Gloucester and Devizes, the AIF now requested HM Prison Lewes as the site for the AIF Detention Barrack. The War Office accepted the AIF's counter offer with reservations, dependent on the agreement of the Prison Commissioners. With Lewes now the probable site of the AIF Detention Barrack, the staff process was put in train to gazette the prison as a detention barrack, authorize the prison establishment and appoint personnel to the establishment.

The proposed establishment was forwarded HQ AIF in the first week of October. (23) The establishment approved is shown at Table 2.

This establishment was 20% less than the authorized establishment for a similar British Army barrack. The establishment would be amended later with the addition of an Assistant Medical Officer. Later still, a Dental Unit (No. 13 Dental Unit), consisting of one officer and three other ranks would be added to the establishment.

HQ AIF Depots UK forwarded the names of two officers to fill the appointments of Commandant and Assistant Commandant. The nomination of Captain G.L. Phillips, late 2nd Battalion, was accepted without hesitation. Captain Phillips had enlisted in the 2nd Battalion in 1914 and had reached the rank of sergeant when the battalion went ashore at Gallipoli. As part of a unit reorganization, he was appointed Second Lieutenant in the field at Gallipoli on 8 June 1915. (24) He was promoted to Lieutenant in June 1916 and to Captain on I January 1917. Badly wounded in France, he was eventually permanently medically downgraded and posted to the Permanent Supernumerary List. At the time of his appointment as Commandant of the Detention Barrack, he was serving as Adjutant of No. 1 Command Depot, Perham Downs. An officer of great experience, as well as maturity and sound common sense, Phillips would prove an ideal choice as Commandant.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said of the officer nominated as Assistant Commandant. Lieutenant H.W. Shaw was, like Phillips, on the Supernumerary List. Unlike Phillips, however, Shaw does not seem to have been gainfully employed. On rejecting Shaw's nomination, the Deputy Adjutant General of the AIF, Colonel Dodds, noted that:

Lieut. SHAW was court martialled in France in early 1916, and
the sentence was forfeiture of seniority prior to 1.4.16. He
was again court-martialled in June last, in England, on a
charge of drunkenness and again the sentence was forfeiture of
seniority. In view of these facts, it is considered undesirable
that he be appointed to the staff of any such formation as the
Detention Barracks.

Apparently, Colonel Dodds was not prepared in this case to follow the old dictum of "set a thief to watch a thief!" In the end, Lieutenant Percy Paterson, 11th Battalion, was appointed to the position of Assistant Commandant. Paterson had been appointed Second Lieutenant in the 11th Battalion (16th Reinforcements) on 25 October 1915. (26) Promoted to Lieutenant on 21 November 1916, he was badly wounded leading a patrol of the battalion on 13 April 1917. (27) Placed on the Supernumerary List following convalescence, he was duly appointed Assistant Commandant of the Detention Barrack.

On 16 October 1917, the Prison Commission officially agreed to the handing over of HMP Lewes for use as the AIF Detention Barrack. The Prison Commissioners advised that all cells and buildings would be handed over, except for the "Debtors Wing" (24 cells), which would be retained for civil use. The Commissioners advised that the only items that would be removed from the prison would be clothing. All other equipment and bedding would be left in place. (28) On 26 October, Brigadier General C.H. Foot, DA&QMG AIF Depots UK, wrote to the War Office advising of AIF progress in taking over HMP Lewes. Foot advised that Captain Phillips would take over the prison as Commandant AIF Detention Barrack on 1 November, 1917. He advised that the accommodation at Lewes totalled 360 cells, less the Debtors Wing (24 cells), leaving 336. He stated that GOC AIF intended to set aside 60 cells for detainees suffering from VD and who were currently held at 1 ADH, Bulford, leaving 276 cells available for detainees. The letter advised that as at 26 October 1917, there were 332 AIF member undergoing detention in the UK.

Foot requested that the 57 AIF detainees held at Devizes remain there to complete their sentences, thus leaving 275 detainees for transfer to Lewes. (29) Interestingly, an unreferenced note to file appended to the AIF letter officially rejecting the offer of Gloucester Prison indicates that the AIF had wanted Lewes all along! (30) While there is no explanation in the records as to why the AIF had not come straight out and asked for Lewes in the first place, the AIF's reasons for wanting Lewes are quite clearly stated. First of all it was a new prison--or at least, "new-ish." While Lewes had been built in 1853, Gloucester Prison, which the British authorities had offered to the AIF, had been built 1782 and most other major British prisons were of similar antiquity. The second reason Lewes was preferred was that it was big enough to hold the average number of AIF detainees while at the same time allowing 60 cells to be set aside specifically for detainees suffering from VD. Thirdly, the prison had excellent drains and sewers, a not totally minor consideration when deciding on a site for the concentrated treatment of men suffering from VD. Finally, the rail route from Tidworth/Salisbury Plain to Lewes ran through Portsmouth, rather than through London (as would have been the case for, say, Gloucester). (31) This last was a very real security consideration, as many men under escort from the APM to detention barracks attempted to escape custody. Lewes offered a distinct advantage in this way by bypassing London, because:

a. since the Tidworth to Lewes line was a direct line there was no need to change trains thus avoiding (32) the major risk factor for prisoner escape;
b. Portsmouth was a far smaller city than London and thus, even if a prisoner managed to escape custody during a station stop, he would have less chance of losing himself in the crowd; and
c. Portsmouth was a major military and naval town with a very strong military and naval police presence throughout the metropolitan area.

HM Prison Lewes

The prison selected as the site of the AIF Detention Barrack, HM Prison Lewes, is located in the town of Lewes, the county town of the County of Sussex, overlooking the sea in the south east of England. Lewes is a site of great antiquity, a major battle was fought on the site of the prison in 1264. The prison was first built in 1853 and throughout its history has served mainly as a "local prison." That is, it was a prison designed to served a local prison area and was generally for short term prisoners and remand prisoners. (33) The prison buildings are located on high ground in some small hills rising from the south coast of England, near Newhaven. The sea is visible from the main prison building and in 1917 the locale was described as healthy, with an equable climate. (34)

As noted previously, when the Prison Commissioners offered to hand over Lewes, they offered to leave all bedding, plant and equipment in place, taking only the uniforms. The AIF accepted this offer gladly. The Commissioners also offered to leave in place a number of the prison staff, the understanding being that any staff accepted would have their wages and allowances met by the AIF. The staff members who were offered for retention (and the projected cost to the AIF) are shown at the table below.

Ultimately, the AIF only retained Roff (Steward), Giddens (Engineer), Newman (Warder Cook and Baker), Jackson (Warder Gatekeeper) and Tunnell (Instructor). Roff was retained as he was the stores officer or "QM" of the prison and was familiar with the stores layout and capacity. Giddens was familiar with all aspects of engineering maintenance in the prison. Newman was thoroughly familiar with the ovens at the prison, which were said to be of a peculiar type. Jackson was retained to provide a 24 hour "gate presence." Finally, Tunnell was retained to provide instruction to military detainees in the manufacture of mail and coal bags. (36)

Prior to the AIF taking over HMP Lewes, the prison was being used to hold Sinn Fein prisoners and these prisoners apparently left the prison in a very dirty and unhygienic condition when they were transferred. The AIF therefore arranged for the entire prison to be thoroughly cleaned prior to its occupation. (37)

The AIF Detention Barrack

The agreed date for the AIF to take over HMP Lewes and establish the AIF Detention Barrack was 1 November 1917. Prior to that date, a fair amount of work still had to be done. On 18 October, the War Office set the arrangement firmly in place with a letter to AIF Administrative HQ confirming that HM Prison Lewes was to be taken over by the AIF on 1 November 1917. The letter went on to direct the AIF to issue instructions that all Australian soldiers sentenced to detention after that date to be committed thereto." Members of the AIF who were currently under detention and whose sentences expired after 1 December 1917 were to be transferred to Lewes as soon as possible. Although it is not stated in the letter, presumably, AIF prisoners currently undergoing detention in British Army Detention Barracks, and whose sentences expired before 1 December 1917, were to remain in place to complete their sentences. The letter also stated that industrial work for men under sentence would be supplied by the Prison Commissioners. (38) Appended to the letter was list of requirements for the prison to comply with in order to abide by British Army regulations dealing with detention barracks.

On 19 October, Captain Phillips and six enlisted personnel proceeded to Aldershot for a one week course of instruction at the Military Prison. At Aldershot, Phillips and his staff were instructed by members of the Military Prison Staff Corps in the administration and management of a military detention barrack. Incidentally, all of the enlisted personnel posted to the AIF Detention Barrack, with the exception of the small administrative, quartermaster and catering element, were members of the Anzac Provost Corps. (39) Meanwhile, on 24 October 1917, HMP Lewes was declared by the Secretary of State for War as a Military Detention Barrack. (40)

The AIF Detention Barrack was officially established on 1 November 1917, when Captain Phillips, Lieutenant Paterson and 13 enlisted personnel arrived to take over HMP Lewes. The authority for the establishment of the detention barrack was the declaration by the Secretary of State for War of 24 October 1917 and AIF Order 995 of 30 October 1917. (41) The first week of November was taken up with completing the cleaning of the prison, receiving staff, integrating the civilian prison staff taken on strength and finalizing arrangements for the reception of prisoners. On 1 November, the day the AIF Detention Barrack was established, the Senior Supply Officer HQ AIF arrived to make arrangements with the British Army for the Detention Barrack to draw supplies from OC Supply Depot, Brighton. The next day the DA&QMG HQ AIF Depots UK arrived to officially take over stores and supplies from the UK Home Office. On that day 11 additional staff also arrived. Fourteen more staff members marched in on 3 and 4 November, bringing the establishment almost to full strength. On 5 November 7 Australian Army Medical Corps personnel marched in from 1 ADH, Bulford, along with the Senior Medical Officer, Captain Frank Macky, AAMC. Also arriving on that day was Staff Sergeant Baes, ASC, who was detached from No. 1 Command Depot to assist in setting up the Orderly Room. (42) The SMO, Macky, had been appointed Captain (AAMC) on 27 September 1915 and had spent all of his military service in the UK. His first posting had been to 1 Australian General Hospital, to which he was appointed at the beginning of January 1916. In June 1917, he was transferred from 1 AGH to 1 ADH, Bulford and was still serving with 1 ADH when he was appointed SMO AIF Detention Barrack. (43) The fact that Macky had been serving at Bulford when appointed to Lewes, and was therefore experienced in the treatment of VD cases, indicates the seriousness with which the AIF took the problem of VD.

Finally, on 8 November 1917, the first prisoners marched in to the AIF Detention Barrack. These were 17 AIF detainees transferred from the Woking Detention Barrack. The numbers of detainees held in the barrack would steadily increase throughout November and December until, by the end of December, the AIF Detention Barrack held 246 prisoners (plus 3 held in "safe custody"). (44)

With the first admissions, the regime of punishment and training began. As with the British Army, periods in detention barracks were viewed by the AIF as an opportunity to turn a bad soldier into a good soldier. Only soldiers sentenced to periods ranging from 14 days to two years were admitted to the AIF Detention Barrack. Members of the AIF sentenced to periods longer than two years, sentenced to detention "in hard labour" or sentenced for purely civil offences were committed to civil prisons. The "not less than 14 days" rule was not rigidly adhered to as the records indicate that five soldiers sentenced to less than 14 days were committed to the AIF Detention Barracks. (45) Although the records give no details, it is likely that these soldiers were serving locally, perhaps even on the staff of the barrack, and were thus incarcerated at Lewes as a matter of convenience. The total list of sentences of soldiers, drawn from the general history, is shown in Table 4.

From 8 November 1917 until 30 September 1919, the average monthly admission rate for the AIF Detention Barrack was 159. The highest number admitted in one month was 271, in November 1917. This latter number makes sense when it is recognised that November 1917 was the month when the AIF was transferring most of its soldiers under detention from British Army detention barracks to the AIF Detention Barrack.

The regime at Lewes was, like the British Army's establishments, designed to rehabilitate soldiers under detention, rather than simply punish them. While the regime of Lewes and like establishments of the time can be viewed from our contemporary perspective as harsh, British (and Australian) military penal practice of the time was well ahead of general civilian thinking. Even as late as the First World War, detention in a civilian prison was largely viewed simply as punishment. Men (and women) were incarcerated in a civil prison, subjected to savage, even brutal discipline, employed on menial, almost demeaning industrial tasks, and given little or no incentive or chance to rehabilitate themselves. Military prisoners, however, especially in the latter years of the Great War, when the manpower situation for the BEF and AIF was becoming critical, were viewed as a valuable resource, to be rehabilitated and retrained to the point where they were once again useful soldiers. Thus, the routine at Lewes was one of hard military training, under strict discipline, rather than the mindless brutalities of the previous century (such as hours of "shot drill") designed to break a soldier, rather than make him. Various specific aspects of the regime and routine at Lewes are discussed in the following paragraphs.

Admission. Soldiers sentenced to a period of detention, either by their CO or by a DCM, were handed into the custody of the APM who arranged transport, under escort, to Lewes. Detainees were received from Monday to Saturday and were required to arrive between 0800 and 1400, no admissions being accepted after the latter time. (46) The reason for this was that the admission routine was reasonably lengthy, entailing copious paperwork followed by a bath and delousing (if necessary), withdrawal of clothing and personal items, a detailed medical examination, issue of prison denims, induction briefing and allocation to cell. This routine and time stricture appears to have been common to all of the detention barracks in the UK. Escorts arriving after 1400 were required to make arrangements to lodge their prisoners overnight in the civilian police lock up in town (and, of course, make what arrangements they could for their own accommodation).

Training. All "A" Class detainees, i.e. all detainees of the highest physical classification, spent the majority of their time at Lewes undergoing refresher training designed to bring them to a standard where they could be despatched as reinforcements to the Front immediately on completion of their sentences. If a man was classified as "C" Class on admission, for instance if he was suffering from VD, he was not put into the training program, being required only to undertake (with medical clearance) light drill and PT, graduating to "A" Class training on completion of medical treatment. Detainees were trained in gas, Lewis Gun, musketry and bombing, as well as PT, bayonet fighting and drill. (47) As early as the 27th of November 1917, less than a month after the Detention Barrack had been established, the Eastern Command Gas Officer had visited the barrack to discuss arrangements for gas training. Lewes indented through HQ AIF Depots UK for gas masks and a NCO from the barrack was despatched to the Eastern Command Gas School to attend a two day gas instructor's course. Arrangements were made for a gas officer to visit the barrack to administer gas tests as required. (48) In addition to the standard training, detainees of specialist branches--signals, engineer, artillery, machine gun, etc.--were put through refresher courses specific to their own branch of the service. To facilitate this aspect of training, selected NCO's of the barrack staff were detached to British and AIF schools to receive the cross training necessary. Up to the time of the Armistice, detainees at Lewes successfully completed the following courses of instruction:

Gas Course (Eastern Command Gas Certificate) 856
Lewis Gun Course 86
Musketry Course 800
Bombing Course 800

The total number of men classed as fully trained and drafted overseas for service prior to the Armistice was 1105. To this figure must be added those fully trained soldiers (figures unknown unfortunately) who were serving short sentences and who were transferred to Unit Training Depots or Training Battalions on expiration of their sentences. (49)

Discipline. While the records are somewhat unrevealing and, of course, reflect the "party line", it would appear that discipline at Lewes was strict without being harsh or brutal, and was very effective. (50) The Commandant noted that "few breaches of the rules have been committed which were not dealt with at Orderly Room." While this indicates that at least a few offences were committed by detainees that required court martial action, it also shows that most infractions of barrack discipline were of a level minor enough to be dealt with "in house." As with current military corrective practice, discipline at Lewes revolved around the conduct of the individual detainee and was based on a points system. Prisoners were awarded or deducted points based on their conduct and behaviour. Increased points resulted in increased privileges, e.g. more visits to the library, additional tobacco, etc. Conversely, breaches of discipline resulted in loss of points and thus loss of privileges. Conduct points also counted towards remission. Every soldier sentenced to detention for a period of 28 days or more was entitled to a maximum remission of one sixth of his sentence, calculated from the date of the award. Since remission was based on both good conduct and application to training, this was a great incentive to discipline. (5)

The only major incident recorded anywhere is the attempted suicide of No. 7356 Private B. Lindsay on 23 March 1919. Private Lindsay attempted suicide with a razor, presumably of the straight variety, but was unsuccessful. He was removed to No. 2 Eastern General Hospital and no other details are available. (52)

Unfortunately, as noted above, all detail on discipline at Lewes is based on official records. It has not proved possible to date to locate any record left by a detainee. Such a record, while possibly biased, would be invaluable in providing a balanced view. It is almost inconceivable that there would have been no incidents of brutality or violence towards prisoners at Lewes during the almost two years of its operations. On the other hand, the absence of any record of official complaint or enquiry, especially from Australia, indicates that in the main the conduct of the AIF Detention Barrack was on the whole correct and above blame.

Interestingly, while following much the same logic as I have, Glenn Wahlert, in his work on the Australian military police and their relationship with the Australian soldier (The Other Enemy?), reaches a different conclusion. At the end of his chapter on the Anzac Provost Corps as jailers he notes:

The Anzac Provost Corps commanded and manned the AIF detention and
field punishment barracks throughout the war. As such they were not
only responsible for the detection and prevention of military
offences but were also the soldiers' jailers. It is unlikely,
considering the harsh attitude of the authorities to the purpose of
field punishment and detention, that compassionate military police
were chosen to staff these compounds. More likely the barracks staff
attracted some of the more invidious members of the provost corps,
men who had little affinity with the soldiers' lot and often had
never served at the front.

Wahlert's conclusions are not referenced to any source and ignore totally the extreme care taken in choosing the Commandant and Assistant Commandant for the AIF Detention Barrack. Without any factual record to go on, I believe I am just as correct in saying that it is likely that as much care was taken in choosing the enlisted members of the barrack staff as was taken in choosing the officers!

Medical. In the general history of Lewes, it is stated that the "general health of the Institution has been good." The medical staff of one medical officer and seven AAMC other ranks, later supplemented by an assistant medical officer, was more than sufficient to serve the needs of the Detention Barrack. Although the original establishment of the Detention Barrack allowed for one medical officer, the high number of VD patients detained, with the concomitant need for the SMO to concentrate his efforts in that area, saw the requirement for an Assistant MO. As a consequence, the establishment was amended at the end of November 1917 to permit the attachment of a second MO. (54) William Leonard Millett was appointed Captain, AAMC (AIF) on 30 March 1917 and the AIF list for April of that year shows him attached to 11th Field Ambulance. (55) Transferred to 3rd Australian General Hospital in October 1917, he was posted to HQ AIF Depots UK in November and detached to the AIF Detention Barrack in November. (56) Between them, the two MO's and the enlisted AAMC staff handled all of the medical work for Lewes. Ordinary medical cases up to minor surgery were handled in the Infirmary at the Detention Barrack. More serious cases were transferred to the 2nd Eastern General Hospital at Brighton and then returned to detention when convalescent. (57)

The only major medical problem encountered at Lewes appears to have been a severe outbreak of influenza in June 1918. The SMO was at a loss to explain the cause of this outbreak. The first case dealt with was that of a soldier who had been in detention for over six months and had been occupying a single cell the entire time. During the period of the epidemic, over 40% of the staff were affected, as opposed to 9% of the detainees. One detainee developed pneumonia on the second day of his sickness and died later in the 2nd Eastern General Hospital. (58) Unfortunately, to date it has not proved possible to identify this soldier.

Apart from this one outbreak, however, the general health situation at Lewes was good. Daily sick parades were held every day from Monday to Saturday, with a medical orderly on duty in the Infirmary on Sundays and one of the MO's on call out of hours. (59) The SMO recorded that the average number of men attending daily sick parade was 15. Percentage wise, the figure for daily sick parades was 4% of the total soldiers under sentence and 0.8% of staff. (60)

Venereal Disease. The Female Wing ("F" Wing) of HMP Lewes, the smaller of the two wings, was taken over for use as a VD hospital, with a capacity of 60 patients, each in a separate cell. In addition to the cells in F Wing, the wing held sufficient rooms to provide for an Infirmary, Operating Room, "606" Department and an Irrigation Room capable of accommodating 9 patients at a time. (61) Both the Commandant and the SMO reported enthusiastically on the advantages of treating VD infected soldiers under sentence at the AIF Detention Barrack, rather than at 1 ADH, Bulford as had previously been the case. The SMO was enthusiastic about the ease of treatment and almost total elimination of the risk of cross or self re-infection afforded by the individual isolation of prisoners. For his part, the Commandant appreciated the ease of control and minimal staff required to exercise such control, as well as the chance to gainfully employ men under treatment, which had not been the case at Bulford. (62)

From November 1917 until the end September 1919, 552 soldiers were treated Lewes for gonorrhoea, 246 for syphilis and 360 for scabies. (63) Statistically, the SMO reported that:

a. the average daily number of soldiers in detention was 260;
b. the average daily number of patients suffering from VD in detention was 28.7;
c. the average daily percentage of prisoners suffering from VD was 11.04%; and
d. the percentage of admissions to detention suffering from VD was 21.84%. (64)

The discrepancy between c. and d. above was explained by the fact that a large number of men committed to detention suffering from VD were certified cured prior to the completion of theft sentences. It seems, therefore, that there was a rather high percentage incidence of VD amongst men committed to detention.

The Commandant noted in his journal regular visits by ADMS HQ AIF Depots UK during which inspections were carried out of the Detention Barrack and VD Hospital, always with favourable results. (65)

It is worth mentioning here, in a slightly wider context, that over the years there has been a great deal of misunderstanding and even misrepresentation on the subject of VD in the AIF, and the attitude of the authorities to those men who contracted the disease. It is certainly true that in the early days of the war men suffering from VD were treated as outright criminals and, at first, sent home in disgrace. By 1916, however, while contraction of VD remained a chargeable offence, the disease itself had been largely "decriminalised" in the AIF. For example, originally, any member of the AIF who contracted VD had his pay stopped until such time as he was certified cured. If discharged from the AIF as medically unfit while still classed as suffering from VD, deferred pay would only be calculated up to the day of diagnosis of VD. Similarly, all allotments to spouses and next of kin ceased. By 1916, however, this rule had been amended to the point where a soldier committed to a dermatological hospital was entitled to payment of 1/- per day plus full deferred pay and all allotments continued. (66) Certainly the regime at 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital, Bulford, was far stricter, even severe, than at other AIF medical establishments, but there were very good reasons for this as far as the AIF was concerned. The first was that they felt that it was for the men's own good, i.e. the authorities were determined to effect a cure of infected men, whether they wanted it or not (it is unlikely that there were many who did not). Secondly, diagnosis of VD meant a soldier was automatically categorized to "C" Class standard and was unemployable. The AIF authorities were determined to get these men cured and back into the line as soon as possible. There is a belief, however, that all men who contracted VD during the war were actually imprisoned. Glenn Wahlert, for example, makes it quite clear he believes that all men who contracted VD were committed to the AIF Detention Barrack Wahlert then goes on to assert that prisoners suffering from VD "trained and worked alongside the other prisoners for the duration of their sentence." (67) This totally ignores the sophisticated treatment regime in place at Lewes, outlined above. What is most inexcusable in Wahlert's statements is that he drew on some of the same primary sources as I have drawn on and it is difficult to escape the conclusion that he has deliberately misrepresented the facts for reasons of his own.

Dental. The first visit by a dental officer to the AIF Detention Barrack was on 28 November 1917, when ADMS (D) HQ AIF Depots UK visited to assess the needs of the barrack. Arrangements were made at that time for regular visits by a dental officer and assistants to carry out dental treatment. (68) Weekly visits were made, generally on a Wednesday, up until April 1918. (69) This effort, while appreciated, was not, however, totally satisfactory. The problem was twofold. Firstly, the dental health of the AIF was always a problem and many men were rendered unfit by dental problems. This problem was just as marked at the AIF Detention Barrack as anywhere else in the AIF. Secondly, various elements of the VD treatment at the Detention Barrack created oral or dental problems that needed to be attended to both immediately and constantly. As a result of this, the decision was made to attach a Dental Unit permanently to the Detention Barrack. Accordingly, on 14 April 1918 No. 13 Dental Unit was sent to Lewes. (70) No. 13 DU was commanded by Captain Henry Creswell Doidge Taunton, AAMC (Dental Reserve). Taunton had been appointed Lieutenant, AAMC Reserve on 10 December 1915. Appointed Honorary Lieutenant AAMC (AIF) on 17 April 1916, he was posted to command No. 46 DU (11th Field Ambulance). Promoted to Captain on 17 April 1917 he remained in command of No. 46 DU until the end of the year, at which time he was transferred to command of No. 13 DU, then at No. 1 Command Depot, Tidworth. (71)

At Lewes, Taunton and his small unit were kept very busy. From the time of the attachment of No. 13 DU to the Detention Barrack, all prisoners admitted to the barrack were rendered dentally fit during the course of their sentences. (72) One of the main problems encountered by the unit was the treatment of men suffering from VD. While scaling, extractions and treatment for gingivitis could be carried out immediately on admission, mechanical work and fillings had to wait until the prisoner had finished his "606 Course." Men undergoing treatment for VD were also examined regularly for signs of mercurial stomatitis, a virulent, destructive and potentially fatal affliction, brought on by acute allergy to mercury (bear in mind that dilute mercury nitrate in ointment form was still used to treat VD lesions). On detection of the condition, the man was treated at once and apparently no severe cases were reported. One of the medical scourges of the war was Vincent's Disease, an acute or recurrent form of gingivitis which, if untreated, can lead to gum destruction. One of the main causes of the spread of Vincent's Disease (also known as Trench Mouth) was the sharing of eating and drinking utensils. The fact that each man at Lewes occupied his own cell and used only his own eating and drinking utensils resulted in very few cases of the disease being presented. By the time of the Armistice, 1,048 men held under sentence at Lewes had been rendered dentally fit. This represented the equivalent of one complete, full strength infantry battalion returned to the line. (73)

Messing. Diets according to the medical classification of the soldiers concerned were issued in accordance with the ration scales approved for the AIF. The daily ration scale for an "A" Class soldier is listed in Table 5.

Ration scales for "B" and "C" Class men were based on this table but were provided on a reduced scale, "C" Class men receiving slightly less than three quarters of the standard ration. (74) Soldiers suffering from VD were automatically graded "C" Class and rationed accordingly. The SMO at Lewes noted that the chance to move to a higher ration scale was a big incentive for men undergoing VD treatment to complete their course of treatment at Lewes. (75)

Between 1 November 1917 and 30 September 1919, a total of 545,240 were prepared and issued. Although all meals were prepared centrally in a single cook house, the records indicate that prisoners were fed individually in their cells. Food preparation was under the direction of a Corporal Cook as well as Warder A.W.L. Newman, who had been specifically retained at the prison due to his knowledge of the stoves and baking ovens. Newman also served as the master baker and supervised the baking of the Detention Barracks' bread, all of which was prepared on site. Phillips recorded that more than 95% of men committed to sentences of detention at Lewes showed a marked increase in weight at the end of their sentences. (76)

One rather poignant entry in the Commandant's Journal, two entries in fact, relate to Christmas Day. The Commandant notes that on Christmas Day 1917 and 1918, each detainee was issued half a Christmas pudding! (77) The entries indicate that such largesse on the part of the authorities was out of the ordinary.

Industrial. The main intent of the AIF Detention Barrack was to turn bad soldiers into good ones and release fully trained soldiers at the end of their sentence, ready to go straight to the front. For this reason, the bulk of the activity undertaken by detainees was military training. Nevertheless, for various reasons there were a number of men, "C" Class or otherwise medically unfit, who were unable to undertake full military training but still needed to be gainfully employed. To this end, the industrial facilities of Lewes Prison were put to full use.

The prison workshop, set up to manufacture mail bags and coal bags, was put to full use, under the direction of Warder Instructor Tunnell, another of the Prison Service men retained by the AIF. Under Tunnell's direction, between 8 November 1917 and 30 September 1919, AIF prisoners at Lewes produced 50,470 mail bags, with a value of 4,788 [pounds sterling]/3/ld and 1,022 coal bags to a value of 50 [pounds sterling]/0/9d. Manufactured and sold against contracts arranged with the Home Office through the War Office, the sums quoted were calculated as being the amounts the Home Office received from other government departments for the selling of the finished article, minus any capitation for labour.

The prison also included a small boot repair shop and all boot repairs needed at the barrack, either by detainees or staff, were carried out in the boot shop on site. A total of 1,641 pairs of boots were repaired in the barrack boot shop.

As befitted such an institution, HMP Lewes had a large laundry. A number of "C" Class or otherwise medically unfit detainees were provided gainful employment by this establishment. The prison laundry was responsible for washing and drying all articles of personal clothing, blankets, sheets, hospital "blues" etc. The laundry was able to provide every man with a complete change of clean clothing weekly and a change of blankets and sheets "at frequent intervals" (with no indication in the record of just how often "frequent intervals" meant). The Detention Barrack also carried out its own program of fumigation, utilising prisoners to actually perform the tasks. Men who were recategorised from "C" Class to "A" or "B" Class were taken off industrial work and put into the standard training program. (78)

Mail, Parcels, Censorship. In the beginning, all incoming mail, parcels, newspapers and books were withheld, although outgoing mail was permitted, subject to strict censorship. Later the rules were relaxed to allow prisoners to receive mail, again subject to censorship, and books, which were passed to the library and then signed out to the prisoner. This relaxation was a departure from the British Army's practice but Phillips defended it on the grounds that it made for a marked improvement in morale. But, while letters and books were allowed in, newspapers were totally banned and parcels were not permitted into the prison. Instead, a prisoner who received a parcel was permitted to nominate a member of the AIF to receive and hold the parcel on his behalf, pending completion of sentence. (79) The books, incidentally, had to be returned by the prisoner to the library after a set period to then be available for other prisoners to read.

Religion. A small section entitled "Denominational" is included in the general history. It reveals an Interesting anomaly in the AIF's statistics. Official records indicate that 162,774 members of the Church of England served overseas with the AIF, and 63,705 Catholics. (80) These represented roughly 50% and 20% of the AIF respectively. The general history of the AIF Detention Barrack, however, gives the following denominational break down for the establishment:

Church of England 1,875
Roman Catholic 1,244
Other Protestant Denominations 535
TOTAL 3,652

Note that the Church of England members, who represented 50% of the AIF, also represented about 50% of the prisoners in Lewes. But Catholics, who represented approximately 20% of the AIF, represented almost 35% of the prisoners at Lewes! What does this mean? Were Catholics discriminated against by the Army authorities and thus more likely to end up in detention? Were Catholics worse soldiers than Anglicans? Were Catholics more likely to commit a serious offence? Who knows? I think I'll leave the answers to those questions to the sociologists to work out!

As for religious services, very early on, arrangements were made both with the Senior Chaplains of the various denominations at AIF HQ and with local clergy for services to be held at the barrack. (81) The first service was held on Sunday 25 November 1917, celebrated by the Senior Chaplain (C of E) AIF Administrative HQ, and services were held every Sunday after that, as well as on special religious days. (82)

From Armistice to Closure

Although the shooting part of the war ended on 11 November 1918, the work of the AIF Detention Barrack went on. Even as the AIF commenced the immense task of repatriation back to Australia, men remained under detention or continued to offend and be committed to detention. The AIF was determined, however, that as far as possible no man of the force would be left behind. Under an arrangement made with the British authorities, the AIF undertook to repatriate to Australia all men under detention, except those serving civil prison sentences for murder, manslaughter or rape. Thus, even as the AIF contracted, Lewes remained busy, preparing men for repatriation. Bedsides the soldiers committed to detention at Lewes, the barrack served as a reception and transhipment unit for men transferred from military detention on the Continent or civil incarceration in the UK. Prisoners from the UK and the Continent were concentrated at Lewes and then sent as drafts under armed escort for repatriation. All but a few of these men received immediate full remission of sentence on the day of embarkation for Australia. Those very few men whose sentences were not remitted were transferred to Australian prisons on arrival to serve out their sentences. NOT

Gradually, as the AIF contracted and the drafts regularly departed, the work of the AIF Detention Barrack wound down. Finally, on 19 October 1919, the AIF Detention Barrack Lewes closed its doors and the unit was disbanded.


It has possibly comes as something of a surprise to some readers that the AIF had a prison of its own during the First World War. Was such an establishment necessary? I believe so. Discipline is ever a fragile thing. Australia had committed itself to a global war and to maintain a viable force in the field, it needed a disciplined army. The nature of armies, which, after all, are made up of human beings, is that men will offend against both civil and military law. Given that fact, it is essential that a system is in place to both punish offenders and to rehabilitate these offenders as soldiers.

In the early days in Europe, Australia relied on the British system to manage the punishment and rehabilitation of its military offenders. When this proved unsatisfactory, Australia set about establishing its own prison and refused to take "no" for an answer until the prison was in fact established. The records indicate that the AIF Detention Barrack was almost a model of its type. Although discipline was strict, it does not appear to have been unduly harsh. In fact, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, discipline seems to have of the "firm but fair" variety. Certainly, written records indicate that the AIF took an inordinate amount of care in selecting the staff for the barrack. The fact that well of one thousand men were returned to the front line as useful soldiers testifies to the success of the unit and establishment.

While some people might decry the establishment of a prison by the AIF, I personally applaud it as a classic example of the AIF "looking after its own".

Table 1: Cost of transporting AIF prisoners to detention
barracks, January 1917

From To No. of Prisoners Individual Cost

Tidworth Aldershot 5 6/2
Tidworth Chelmsford 66 11/10 1/2
Tidworth Devizes 108 3/1
Tidworth Devonport 32 17/10 1/2
Tidworth Gosport 7 5/8 1/2
Tidworth Parkhurst 73 10/6 1/2
Tidworth Pembroke Docks 8 11/6 1/2
Tidworth Stafford 6 14/10 1/2
Tidworth Wandsworth 90 8/6

Total 395 Total

From To Total Cost

Tidworth Aldershot 1 [pounds sterling]/10/10
Tidworth Chelmsford 39 [pounds sterling]/3/9
Tidworth Devizes 16 [pounds sterling]/13/0
Tidworth Devonport 28 [pounds sterling]/11/5
Tidworth Gosport 1 [pounds sterling]/19/11 1/2
Tidworth Parkhurst 62 [pounds sterling]/9/6 1/2
Tidworth Pembroke Docks 4 [pounds sterling]/12/4
Tidworth Stafford 4 [pounds sterling]/9/3
Tidworth Wandsworth 63 [pounds sterling]/5/0

Total 222 [pounds sterling]/15/1

Table 2: Establishment of AIF Detention Barrack 4 October 1917

Offrs WO Sgts Cpls L/Cpls

Commandant 1 -- -- -- --
Asst/Commandant 1 -- -- -- --
Medical Officer 1 -- -- -- --
Sergeant Major -- 1 -- -- --
Q.M. Sergeant -- -- 1 -- --
Staff Sergeants -- -- 4 -- --
Sergeants -- -- 11 -- --
Corporals -- -- -- 11(a) --
Lance Corporals -- -- -- -- 5
Clerks -- -- 1(b) -- 1
Batmen -- -- -- -- --
Total 3 1 17 11 6

Ptes Total Remarks

Commandant -- 1
Asst/Commandant -- 1
Medical Officer -- 1
Sergeant Major -- 1 WO Class 1
Q.M. Sergeant -- 1
Staff Sergeants -- 4
Sergeants -- 11
Corporals -- 11 (a) Includes 1 Cpl Cook
Lance Corporals -- 5
Clerks 2 4 (b) Sergeant Clerk
Batmen 2 2
Total 4 42

Table 3: HMP Lewes Staff offered for retention October 1917 (35)

Name Rank

Hudson, Rev. H.H Chaplain
Rolf C.A. Steward
Cheetham, J. Clerk & Schoolmaster
Giddens, F. W. Engineer
Dine, R. Principal Warder
Newman, A.W.L. Warder
Jackson, H. Warder Gatekeeper
Tunnell, A. Warder
Webb, S. Warder

Name Pay

Hudson, Rev. H.H 160 [pounds sterling] per annum
Rolf C.A. 240 [pounds sterling] per annum
Cheetham, J. 2.8.0 [pounds sterling] per week
Giddens, F. W. 2.3.6 [pounds sterling] per week
Dine, R. 1.8.0 [pounds sterling] per week
Newman, A.W.L. 1.12.0 [pounds sterling] per week
Jackson, H. 1.11.7 [pounds sterling] per week
Tunnell, A. 1.11.4 [pounds sterling] per week
Webb, S. 1.12.0 [pounds sterling] per week

Name War Bonus Allowances

Hudson, Rev. H.H 5/-per week 52 [pounds sterling] per annum
Rolf C.A. Nil 35.15.0 [pounds sterling] per annum
Cheetham, J. 7/-per week 6/-per week
Giddens, F. W. 7/-per week 6/-per week
Dine, R. 7/-per week 6/-per week
Newman, A.W.L. 8/-per week 6/-per week
Jackson, H. 8/-per week Quarters
Tunnell, A. 7/9 per week 6/-per week
Webb, S. 8/-per week 6/-per week

Table 4: Sentences of Soldiers Committed to AIF
Detention Barrack, Lewes

Commanding Officer's Awards 1917 1918 (to 30 Sep) Total

7 days and under Nil 1 4 5
14 days & over 7 days 1 9 19 29
21 days & over 14 days 11 65 46 122
28 days & over 21 days 21 147 160 328

TOTALS 33 222 229 484

District Courts Martial Awards

14 days & over 7 days Nil Nil 1 1
28 days & over 14 days 13 58 10 81
42 days & over 28 days 38 189 58 285
84 days & over 42 days 82 383 109 574
168 days & over 84 days 138 396 181 715
365 days & over 168 days 126 338 228 692
18 months & over 365 days 18 54 34 106
2 years & over 18 months 12 42 53 107

TOTALS 427 1460 674 2561

GRAND TOTALS 460 1682 903 3045

Table 5: AIF Standard Ration Scale (Source - Mullett)

Scale of
Commodity Amount Issue Remarks

Bread 1 1/4 lb (579 gm) Per man Or biscuit 1 lb
per day (450 gm)

Fresh meat 1 1/2 lb (680 gm) Per man Or preserved meat,
per day salt meat or salt
fish 1 lb
Coffee 3/4 oz (21 gm) Per man
per day

Pepper 1/32 oz (0.89 gm) Per man
per day

Mixed vegetables 8 oz (275 gm) Per man Or dried vegetables
(fresh) per day 2 oz (57 gm)

Cheese 3 oz (85.05 gm) Per man
per day

Potatoes 1 lb (450 gm) Per man
per day

Sugar 3 oz (85.05 gm) Per man
per day

Salt 1/2 oz (15 gm) Per man
per day

Tea 1/4 oz (7 gm) Per man
per day

Jam 1/4 lb (113 gm) Per man
per day

Flour 1/2 lb (275 gm) Per man In lieu of fat,
per week bones etc, now sold

Rice 1/2 lb (275 gm) Per man
per week

Curry 1 oz (30 gm) Per man
per week

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De voetnoten:

(1) This paper was presented to the 2004 MHSA Biennial Seminar at Albury.
(2) AWM 224, MSS 573 Pt 1 & Pt 2 General History of the AIF Detention Barrack Lewes 1 November 1917--30 September 1919
(3) But, then again, so did every other army in the Great War, in fact, every army since armies were formed. To take it further, there never has been, is not and never will be an army that has not had, currently has or will have in the future a "discipline problem." The AIF, however, has suffered over the years from some "bad press" in this area, both at home and overseas. The myth of the indiscipline of the AIF does not actually stand up to rigid examination.
(4) Bean. Vol. I, pp. 128-129.
(5) Wahlert, p.22.
(6) Ibid., p.74.
(7) AWM10, 4301/11/9--letter from CO Anzac Provost Corps to HQ AIF Depots UK, 31 January 1917.
(8) AWM 224, MSS 573 Pt 1 General History of the AIF Detention Barrack, Lewes, 1.11. 1917 to 30.9.1919, p.2.
(9) AWM 10, 4301/11/9, CO Anzac Provost Corps letter, op. cit.
(10) Ibid., CO Anzac Provost Corps letter dated 13 February 1917.
(11) Ibid., CO Anzac Provost Corps letter dated 31 January 1917, op. cit.
(12) Ibid., GOC AIF Depots UK letter dated 4 February 1917.
(13) Ibid., CO Anzac Provost Corps letter dated 13 June 1917.
(14) Ibid., CO Anzac Provost Corps letter dated 19 June 1917.
(15) Ibid., COMD AIF Depots UK letter dated 21 June 1917.
(16) WO23/General Number/2756 (A.G.3.) of 25 August 1917.
(17) AWM 10, 4301/11/9, op. cit.
(18) Ibid., AIF HQ letter A.4301/11/4 of 21 March 1917.
(19) Ibid., WO23/General Number/3736 (A.G.3.) of 26 March 1917.
(20) Ibid., AIF Administrative HQ Signal to HQ AIF Depots UK Ca 4301/11/9 TG/JS of 19 September 1917.
(21) Ibid., WO23/General Number/2756 (A.G.3.) of 23 September 1917.
(22) Ibid., unreferenced AIF Administrative HQ letter of 24 September 1917.
(23) Ibid., C.R. A.I.F. 5001 (A) of 4 October 1917.
(24) Belford, Captain Walter C., M.A., 1940 Legs Eleven. Being the Story of the 11th Battalion (A.I.F.) in the Great War of 1914-1919, Imperial Printing Company, Perth, p.56. Also various editions of AIF Staff and Regimental List.
(25) DAG HQ AIF letter 25/116 of 14 October 1917.
(26) Taylor, F.W. and Cusack C.A., 1942 Nulli Secundus A History of the Second Battalion A.I.F. 1914-1919, no publisher, p.351.
(27) Ibid., p.429.
(28) Prison Commission letter HQ 18878/22 M.X. of 16 October 1917.
(29) CR. AIF. 26122(A) of 26 October 1917 letter from DA&QMG AIF Depots UK to War Office.
(30) AIF Administrative HQ letter Ab: 4301/11/9 of 26 September 1916--unreferenced note attached to letter on file.
(31) Ibid.
(32) During the First World War, the UK was served by a number of private or semi-private rail companies, each of whom owned and jealously guarded "rights of way." Companies would not permit the rolling stock of other companies to travel on their lines and it was necessary, therefore, on long journeys to change trains when switching from one company owned line to that of another. The four major rail nexuses at the time were Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester and London with various rail networks terminating in these cities and requiring train changes when switching networks.
(33)"HM Prison Establishments, Lewes."
(34) General History of the AIF Detention Barrack, Lewes, 1.11. 1917 to 30.9.1919, p.1.
(35) AIF Administrative HQ letter Ab: 4301/11/9, op. cit., Schedule A.
(36) HQ AIF Depots UK DAIF/A/1173 of 24 January 1918--letter relating to War Bonuses.
(37) General History, op. cit., p.2.
(38) WO Letter 23/General Number/2756 (A.G.3.) of 18 October 1917.
(39) HQ AIF Ab: 4301/11/9 of 17 October 1917.
(40) WO 23/General Number/2756 (A.G.3.) of 24 October 1917.
(41) General History, op. cit., p.1. See also AWM 224 MSS 575, AIF Detention Barrack Lewes, Commandant's Journal.
(42) Commandant's Journal, op. cit.
(43) General History, op. cit., p.1. See also Commandant's Journal and AIF Staff and Regimental List of Officers (various editions 1916 and 1917).
(44) General History, op. cit., p.1. See also Commandant's Journal.
(45) General History, op. cit., p.2.
(46) General History, op. cit., p.2.
(47) Ibid, p.7.
(48) Commandant's Journal, op. cit.
(49) General History, op. cit., p.7.
(50) Ibid. See also Commandant's Journal.
(51) General History, op. cit., p.7.
(52) Commandant's Journal, op. cit., entry for 23 March 1919.
(53) Wahlert, op. cit., p.78.
(54) General History, op. cit., p.2.
(55) Ibid. See also AIF Staff and Regimental List of Officers, April 1917, p. 129.
(56) General History, op. cit., p.2.
(57) Ibid., p.3.
(58) Ibid., pp.3-4.
(59) Ibid., p.6.
(60) Ibid., p.4 and p.6.
(61) Ibid., p.4. "606" Department. The first truly effective treatment for VD, especially syphilis, was discovered by the German, Paul Ehrlich, in 1910. Ehrlich had been experimenting on syphilitic rats, using various compounds of arsenic, since 1908. As the 606th compound he tried was the one that worked (or seemed to work!), he called it Compound 606 or Number 606 and the course of treatment prescribed (twice daily intramuscular or intravenous injections) was called the "606 Treatment." Although he later called his compound "Salvarsan" ("I save") the name "Compound 606" stuck, as did the terms "606 Treatment" and "606 Department." Ehrlich, incidentally, is the person credited with inventing the term "silver bullet" in describing his discovery.
(62) Ibid., pp.4-5.
(63) Ibid., p.4.
(64) Ibid., p.5.
(65) Commandant's Journal, various dates.
(66) Mullett, op. cit., pp.372-373.
(67) Wahlert, op. cit., p.76.
(68) Ibid., entry for 28 November 1917.
(69) Ibid., various.
(70) General History, op. cit., p.6. See also War Diary of ADS AIF Depots UK, "Report for the Month of May 1918 on Dental Services."
(71) AIF Staff and Regimental List of Officers, January 1916, May 1917, June 1917, January 1918.
(72) General History, op. cit, p.6. Also War Diary of ADS AIF Depots UK, Appendix 3 to "Six Monthly Report of the Operations of the Various Dental Units Attached to AIF Depots in UK--June 1918."
(73) Ibid., p.5.
(74) Mullett, Albert J. (by authority of), 1918 (?) Report Upon the Department of Defence From the First of July 1914, Until the Thirtieth of June 1917, pp.276-278.
(75) General History, op. cit., p.6.
(76) General History, op. cit., pp. 3-7.
(77) Commandant's Journal, op. cit., entries for 25 December 1917 and 25 December 1918.
(78) General History, op. cit., p.3.
(79) General History, op. cit., p.3.
(80) Australian Imperial Force Statistics of Casualties, etc., Compiled to 30th June, 1919., p.20.
(81) General History, op. cit., p.8.
(82) Commandant's Journal, op. cit., entry for 25 November 1917 and various.

“I hope you live a life you are proud of. If you find that you are not, l hope you have the strength to start all over again.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Percy Toplis

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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Sep 2010 21:44    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Short, sharp shock

Army newspaper’s Cpl Sean Burton was sent to DFCE, returning (sooner than we hoped) with the facts on what goes on behind closed doors at the tri-service detention centre.

Discipline is a cornerstone of any army. If discipline breaks down, the green machine breaks down. Sometimes a cog in the green machine needs fixing because it’s not performing as well expected and the commander needs to make a tough decision – does he throw the cog away or try and fix it?

Most commanders would want to try and fix the problem, rather than taking the easy option and just give up.

But if the cog has a discipline problem that can be fixed, an often-overlooked option is to send them to the Defence Force Correctional Establishment (DFCE) for retraining.

Chances are they will then return to their unit a better soldier both professionally and personally.

Most of DFCE’s successful rehabilitation is hidden behind a smokescreen of half-truths, exaggerations and myths – all of which make a good yarn at morno’s.

The unsensational fact is that DFCE is continuing a long Australian tradition of rehabilitation over punishment which began during WW1 at the first AIF detention barracks, which opened on November 1, 1917, at the former civil prison in Lewes, Essex UK.

Up until then, men of the AIF were spread throughout 15 primitive British military detention barracks where they received poor medical attention and were badly fed.

The British system appeared to be focused on punishment rather than rehabilitation.

When it finally closed in October 1919, Lewes Detention Barracks had held 3652 Australians.

The running of the Lewes detention Barracks was the responsibility of the ANZAC Provost Corps, predecessors of today’s RACMP, who were committed to dealing humanely and fairly with those undergoing detention as opposed to the British system.

Today the ADF has 33 detention facilities and one corrective detention centre – DFCE, at Holsworthy, Sydney.

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