The EEF (Egyptian Expeditionary Force)
The RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps)
"At the outbreak of the Great War, just 16 years after its formation, there were 9,000 Warrant Officers and Men of the RAMC; this grew to 113,000 by 1918. The British Army had never before fielded a field ambulance in conflict...
"It has been documented that on the Western front alone, the wounded that returned to the firing line, represented a manpower saved of 1,600,000. It has been acknowledged that this enormous amount of men conserved to fight again was almost enough to turn the scale of war in the British Armies['] favour."
# "The RAMC was not a fighting force but its members saw the full horror of the war... Warrant Officers and men performed their duties unarmed..."
These records came to attention as a result of a keyword search for 'Walthamstow', not the home area in these cases, as it turned out, but the place where volunteers enlisted in the 3rd East Anglian Field Ambulance (RAMC). A striking similarity of phrasing became noticeable, on the lines of "CM (Court Martial) for refusing to take up a weapon" in the RAMC, in Egypt, in June-July 1918. Further searching using 'Gabbari' (prison) and 'Kantara' (base) found those similar details in more cases.
John Byrne 12406 (Soldier Number*) RAMC 'a soldier of the Regular Forces', in Egypt, Kantara
30.7.18 refused to take up a rifle;
FGCM (Field General Court Martial) 5.8.18 - 2yrs. HL (with hard labour)
Gabbari MP (Military Prison)
Reference to FGCM (Court Martial) in Harold Ingram NA/WO363 - on line;
(At) Walthamstow, joined up 12.5.15 3rd East Anglian Field Ambulance
RAMC Kantara, Egypt
CM Egypt 25.7.18 for refusing to take up a weapon
- 5yrs.Penal Servitude, commuted.to 2yrs.
Gabbari Military Prison, Egypt, 25.7.18 to 28.10.18
Sentence suspended on authority of letter from GHQ dated 24.10.18
After release, compulsory transfer to 1/5 Bn. Essex Regiment.
Demob.5.10.19 Re-enlisted in RAMC 24.6.21
*(Also nos. 2408 in 1915; 253273 in 1919; 7337876 in 1921.)
|A panoramic view of Kantara base, Egypt|
RAMC enlisted at Grimsby 23.11.14, Notts and Derby Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance (RAMC)
Posted to EEF (Egypt) Kantara 30.7.18 refused to take up a rifle
FGCM 5.8.18 - 2yrs.HL
Gabbari MP - unexpired portion of sentence suspended 4.9.19
WO363 image online (on right).
Demob. 8.9.19 Also 204 in 1914 and 416099 on Smith file.
(His brother Edward William Ingram also enlisted in the RAMC. He was returned to it as a CO after an earlier 'transfer', but was only in Egypt for 5-6 weeks in early 1919).
90th Battalion Field Artillery RAMC
Kantara 30.7.18 refused to take up a rifle; FGCM 5.8.18 - 2yrs.HL
Gabbari MP (Military Prison);
Reference to FGCM (Court Martial) in Harold Ingram NA/WO363 as above
(Note: Ingram and Smith 'refused' on the same day and were court-martialled together. Recurring dates will be observed elsewhere in the list).
Archibald George Mori 63557/253157 49 St.Mary's Rd. Ilford Baptist Bookbinder
- 5yrs.Penal Servitude com. to 2yrs
* 'Attested' means he indicated willingness to join the forces if called up, although he may well have intended this to be conditional..The vast majority of COs were 'Not attested'.
RAMC (EEF) Egypt
93103 in 1919. Medal.
(His brother Wilfrid Malins Stafford was a CO, acknowledged to be 'genuine', who served time in prison and work camps.)
RAMC Egypt (EEF) CM 25.7.18 for refusing to take up a weapon
- 5yrs.Penal Servitude, com. to 2yrs.
Gabbari Military Prison 26.8.18 to 8.2.19 Sentence suspended
Discharged from prison. Illness, dysentery, to Gabbari prison hospital 7.12.18 to 8.1.19
Sentence suspended, transferred to Essex Regiment.
To guard duty at Heliopolis POW camp and waived his right to an early Demob.
Discharged 21.4.20. (Also nos. 2204, 253276). Medal.
Volunteered 12.5.15 Chelsea Barracks
RAMC Egypt (EEF) CM 24.7.18 for refusing to take up a weapon
- 5yrs.Penal Servitude, com. to 2yrs
Gabbari Military Prison, discharged 18.1.19 to London Regiment.
Transfer to London Regiment, working as an Education Instructor.
Illness, contracted malaria, May 1919; Invalided to UK from Alexandria 4.1.20
Demob.5.3.20 - Disability (aggravated) due to his army service.
(Middle name may be transcribed as 'Haster' on some records.)
(The case being raised in Parlaiment may have had a bearing on his shorter sentence)
Buried at Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery
QinH 14-5-19 (see below)
Charles W Kapeller 2211/6/14566 Bow b.1896 'India rubber man'
RAMC with EEF in Egypt, transferred to 2/19 London
CM (Court Martial) 6.6.18 - 2yrs.HL
Gabbari MP (Military Prison), Alexandria
Q in H 6.11.18
HC Deb 06 November 1918 vol 110 cc2097-8
30. Mr. KING
asked the Under-Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that Private C. W. Kapeller, No. 477205, Royal Army Medical Corps, now in Gabbari prison, Alexandria, Egypt, enlisted in September, 1914, as a non-combatant, went 2098through the Gallipoli campaign as a stretcher bearer, later was fourteen months a stretcher bearer in Egypt, and did duty at the 65th casualty clearing station in Palestine; is he aware that on 23rd February, 1918, this man was sent to Cairo against his will for Infantry training, and was there threatened with trial and the death penalty for mutiny; why was the man after two years and nine months in the firing line court-martialled and imprisoned; whether he is aware that a promise had been made to his parent that Private Kapeller should be sent home; and why has that promise not been carried out?
I am making inquiry into this case, and I will write to my hon. Friend as soon as possible.
HC Deb 14 May 1919 vol 115 c15771577
§30. Colonel WEDGWOOD
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will have investigations made into the treatment in Gabbari Prison, Alexandria, of men who had volunteered for the Royal Army Medical Corps and refused transference to combatant units; whether he will give the dates of the death of Private N. Johnson and Private Tiller in this prison; what was the cause of their death; whether they were treated according to the regulations of the prison; and whether he will state the number of men who have died in this prison since January, 1917?
This matter is being inquired into, and I will communicate with my hon. and gallant Friend as soon as I know the result.
It would also be interesting to know more about the motivation for the sudden overriding of the terms of their enlistment, after years of service. Perhaps it had something to do with the volatile situation in Egypt, which was to erupt in 1919? By then most of the refusers were moving on, one way or another, apart from three who would never get their lives back in any form.
The inscription is headed by the name of his mother, Elizabeth Tiller, who died in 1925.
It looks as though she had asked to be buried with her son, and thus ensured that he would have a memorial.