The Deserter who Attested at Sea.

While busy researching soldiers who embarked for the Western Front from Folkestone. I came across this chap. He is the kinda guy I was looking for. In the Canadian Army. Based for a while at Shorncliffe. I knew he was actually in Folkestone. I knew the day and what he was doing. he even deserted and survived the war. Only I am almost certain he did not leave from Folkestone. Therefore he will not be in my book, and his story or rather, the bits I know will not be told. Never mind.

Oh all right here it is.

Charles James Player, born on November 11th, 1884, in Aldershot. An ex-soldier he had served over six years in the 21st Lancers. He worked as a groom. Before February 1915 he had moved to Canada. On the 24th February 1915, he was heading home on the high seas. We know he was at sea on that day. That is where and when he attested into the Canadian Expeditionary Force, his attestation papers survive. Player was now a gunner in the Canadian Field Artillery. the Medical Officer considered him fit to serve overseas. which was probably just as well.

The next day, the 25th February he was posted to HQ 6th Brigade Staff, Shorncliffe and taken on strength. In May Player went absent for four days. He was reprimanded and lost 4 days pay. 29th August he was involved in a fight in Harbour Street in Folkestone. September Player was again absent without leave. He returned after 13 days, apart from losing pay he is reduced to the ranks. At the end of October, he is admitted to the Tented Hospital on St Martins plain with gonorrhoea. He is promoted Acting Corporal without pay, as a riding instructor on the 13th December 1915. 21st March 1916 he is reduced to the ranks at his own request. A few days later Player embarks for France. 1917 player is in and out of Casualty clearing Stations and hospitals. 20th January Gastritis, 27th January Influenza, 3rd February Gastritis, 29th April Scabies. 9th June “Sick”. On the 10th June, he is invalid back to England. Posted to the Canadian Artillery Regimental  Depot at Shorncliffe he is admitted to the Military Hospital. On the 26th September, he is discharged from the hospital. 26th October 1917 he deserts.  Seven months later he turns himself in and surrenders as a deserter. On the 9th December, he is sentenced to two years detention and to stoppages of pay of 2 shillings and 2 pence. He is held in Wandsworth Detention Barracks until his detention is terminated on 16th May 1919, a fortnight later he is discharged from the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

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