Western Front Association, June meeting

DESERTION TRIALS: The June meeting of the North Northumberland branch of the Western Front Association was held as usual at the Alnmouth Ex-servicemen’s club.

The guest speaker was WFA development officer David Tattersfield, who gave a talk on the Courts Martial of Willie Stone and the ‘Durham Six’.

The Courts Martial was re-enacted by members of the Alnwick detachment of the Air Training Corps and WFA members using the transcripts of the original trials.

The transcripts gave an insight into the fear the men must have felt and the way the troops were treated had they been deemed to have abandoned their post.

The mental state of the men was rarely taken into account at the trials and was dismissed as a line of defence.

The trials and subsequent execution of the deserters was used to deter others from following the same route.

A lively discussion followed the talk and a guilty/not guilty vote was taken based on the evidence presented.

The WFA meet at Alnmouth’s Ex-servicemen’s Club at 7.30pm, on the fourth Monday of the month. Suggested donation is £1, which includes a light supper.