Prison and Detention for RFA Crews During World War 1

Prison and Detention


RFA crews in World War 1 faced prison or detention for a variety of offences other than being sentenced by Court Martial. 

The Crew records have eight being sentenced to prison while twenty five received sentences in cells or in Naval Detention Quarters for matters other than desertion.

In most cases the reason for the punishment is not shown however Switchboard Operator George Ed. Jesson of RFA Reliance was, on the 7 May 1918, sentenced to fourteen days detention for sleeping on watch.

Some were recidivist offenders with Able Seaman L. Henderson of RFA Reliance in Malta being sentenced to seven days in the cells of HMS Egmont on the 2 April 1918 and a further sixty days in DQ’s being awarded to him on the 18 April 1918. His misdemeanours are not recorded.

Another seaman plainly didn’t like the thought of returning to his ship – Able Seaman Lewis Hogan of RFA Dredgol at Gibraltar, was sentenced on the 28 June 1919 to forty two days detention. On his release he deserted. 

The longest period of punishment in DQ’s shown as awarded to RFA crew members was ninety days each to three engine room ratings at Malta.

The notice below was outside the Detention Quarters at Portsmouth and is obviously post World War 2 but similar notices were outside all Detention Quarters which held those sentenced to Detention from RFA’s both at home and overseas and would have referred to the King George V


DQ notice