I recently came across court martial papers and found the following material on Harry Aikman in the National Arcives of Canada. The attestation record has been avialable for quite a while now. I would be interested in hearing if anyone has discovered other military documents for this person, such as his service records, discharge documents etc. Mike, Vancouver
Harry Augustus Baldwin Aikman
On the 9th of December 1915 a District Court Marital was held at East Sandling, England. Major D.H. Maclean was the President. Captains Gilliat of the 43rd Battalion and R.E. Russell of the Reserve Battalion, C.E.F. assisted in hearing the charges against Private H.A.B. Aikman of the 9th Reserve Battalion. Before the trial commenced, no trace of Regimental or Company conduct sheets could be found. Harry Aikman was charged with being absent without leave in that: “at London, when he should have attached at the Pay and Record Office, 7 Millbank, London for duty, the 24th of September 1915, he was absent until apprehended by the Canadian Military Force at the YMCA, Tottenham Court Road, London on the 19th of November that year”. The arresting officers found him lying under a blanket in his room, late in the morning. They took him to the Tottenham Court Road Police Station to await a military escort. The Captain of the Pay Office testified that Aikman was taken on strength on 20 September 1915 and was given leave to find suitable lodging. He reported for duty on the next day and was given leave for a further day. On the 23rd, the Captain noticed that he “looked very unwell”, limped slightly and had a very sore throat. The Captain ordered that Aikman be given a day off and stated he failed to report after that. Aikman did not call any witnesses, nor did a lawyer represent him. While he had plead guilty to the charge, he stated he went home on the 23rd sick and not being better the next day, sent a Boy Scout from the house where he was lodging, to take a message to the Pay Office. His message was to the effect that he was still sick and to send a Doctor. Aikman testified: “the Boy Scout had said he had done that and that they had said ‘All Right’”. In reply to this assertion, the Pay Office Captain stated he had no record or recollection of such a call from a Boy Scout and that he had in early October asked the Depot Sergeant Major about the absence. The Sgt.-Major apparently knew nothing of Aikman’s whereabouts. Aikman then testified that after waiting a few days, he got a civilian Doctor from the people he was lodging with and went to see him. He further stated that he had been wounded 6 times, had been gassed at Cuinchy [located between Ypres and the Somme battlefields of France in the Western Front] and was “still feeling pretty bad with considerable fever”. As far as Aikman could remember, he only went to see the Civilian doctor once, the only time he was out of the YMCA hut before his arrest. The Prosecutor declined to cross-examine Aikman. Aikman was found guilty as charged and was sentenced to detention for 63 days. Two days later Major General Steele, Commanding Troops, Shorncliffe, remitted 40 days of this sentence “in consideration of the good service of the accused”. Harry, a man of 6 feet and a half inch tall, had a dark complexion, brown and slightly graying brown hair when he enlisted in the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary force on the 15th of September, 1914. He was born 10 October 1874; thus was 39 on his enlistment and barely 41 on his conviction. From his attestation record and other sources, it is known that he had a son Charles in 1897 and was divorced before the First World War. He was the youngest child of Dr. Peter Augustus Aikman of Windsor Ontario and Lucinda Baldwin. An accountant both before and after the War, Harry had two tattoo marks, one on each forearm. One was a cross hairs; the other was an anchor. He was a member of the Church of England.