British Army Courts Martial Records

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A court martial deals with offences deemed to be in contravention of military discipline, or against the ordinary law, committed by a person in one of the armed services. 

Various types of court martial existed, depending on the location and severity of the charge.

General court martial (GCM)

This was army’s highest tribunal, dealing with commissioned officers and the most serious cases involving other ranks. 

Field general court martial (FGCM)

This type of court martial was often used in wartime. Only three commissioned officers needed to be present. The decision had to be unanimous for the death penalty to be imposed.

General regimental court martial (GRCM) or district (or garrison) court martial (DCM)

More limited in jurisdiction, these courts could not try commissioned officers or charges carrying the death penalty, transportation, floggings of more than 150 lashes or prison sentences of more than two years. It required seven officers at home or five if overseas. 

Regimental court martial (RCM)

The regimental court martial was used for ranks other than commissioned officers who were charged with lesser offences. 

Further information of the types of charges, procedure and punishments can be seen in their original official publications in our online 'historic documents library':

Records in this collection are likely to include the following:

  • Name
  • Initial
  • Army number
  • Regiment
  • Duty Location
  • Date of Court Martial
  • Date of report
  • Rank
  • Nature of charge
  • Plea made
  • Sentence of the court

Please be aware that due to the way we collate, and cross reference our databases, some records will contain more information than that listed above.

Original Source: National Archives references WO86,WO90,WO213

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