Alfred Davis, helping brother to desert

Alfred Davis, helping brother to desert

Alfred James Davis
Labourer, born 1891, New Zealand
Tried: 27 May 1918, Auckland Magistrate’s Court
Charge: Giving false answers (Military Service Act)
Sentence: Three months’ imprisonment

In early May 1918, policemen Cummings and Kyne arrested labourer Alfred Davis in Auckland. The War Regulations empowered the police to order young men to present their military papers on request, and Davis was unable to produce his when asked. He eventually admitted that he had lent his certificate, which exempted him from service on medical grounds, to his brother Richard – a military deserter who had escaped from Trentham Camp six months earlier.

Richard had used Alfred’s certificate to escape detection when he was stopped by police a few weeks earlier. The constables arrested Richard soon afterwards and charged him with desertion, and the pair appeared before the Auckland magistrate on 27 May. Viewing the case ‘as a conspiracy to shield the brother, Richard, from military service’, the magistrate sentenced both men to three months in prison.

Sources: New Zealand Herald, 28 May 1918, p. 6; Richard Davis NZEF personnel file, AABK 18805 W5537/21 32507, Archives NZ Wellington; Police Gazette, 1918, p. 544

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