Robbing Staff Sergeant (1916)

Stafford prison was a jail for English military during the Great War. All the prisoners were put in solitary confinement for four weeks …  

. We got one hour’s exercise, going round ‘the ring’ which was comprised of concrete paths three feet wide and prisoners had to keep seven paces apart. No talking was allowed and there was a sergeant on a raised concrete post to watch the prisoners.

The first week was wet every day so there was no outside exercise which resulted in quite a few of us taking headaches. My clothes were taken from me for fumigation on the second day. As each prisoner was locked up separately, he could not tell what was happening to his comrades but I expect that all received the same treatment. I was given a light suit of dungarees which were very cold as we were allowed no underclothing.

On the second day, fifteen of us were taken out to the latrines on the ground floor of the prison. There the staff sergeant ordered Corporal Leonard to make a note of each man’s belongings. This Corporal stood to attention and saluted the sergeant and then said,

Staff sir, I refuse to do this!’

He turned on his heel and marched away. I was delighted at this and said to myself,

There goes a good Englishman!’

Of course the sergeant went purple but he kept his cool, despite having been shown up so badly. 

Soon two other sergeants turned up to do the needful. One of them saluted the staff sergeant and started.

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