16th November 1892

A Guernsey recruit regretted signing up

It didn’t take Charles Saxton long to realise he’d made a mistake. In late January 1892 he joined the Yorkshire Light Infantry in Pontefract. The unit was stationed at Guernsey, which many would have considered an attractive posting, but Saxton hadn’t reckoned on not being suited to the military lifestyle.

A little over ten months after signing up, on 16 November, he absconded – and the hunt for the missing soldier was on.

Discovery and trial

Saxton remained at large until 5 Febaury 1894 when he was spotted at Chapeltown, a suburb of Sheffield in South Yorkshire. He should maybe not have strayed quite so close to home. Pontefract, where he’d signed up, is only 20 miles by road from Chapeltown.

In fairness, he hadn’t been entirely clueless. When picked up by Police Constable Burrows just a few hours after his arrival he admitted that he’d expected to be caught. He just hadn’t expected to be nabbed so soon. He’d hoped to have at least a couple of weeks of freedom back in his home county first.

Unfortunately for Saxton, he hadn’t merely gone absent without leave. He’d also burned his uniform by the side of the road in Barnsley. Naturally, this would have to be paid for, in addition to which he was sentenced to do 128 days work as penance.

Return to Guernsey

Still, Saxton could count himself lucky. Although he was remanded in custody for eight days to await his return to Guernsey, that and the 128 days labour was the worst the authorities had in store for him.

At the beginning of century, two Hussars had been executed for desertion. In their case, they had mistakenly landed on Guernsey rather than running away from it. They were taken back to their platoon and shot on Bincombe Down, near Weymouth.


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Other events that occured in November

Car plane air crash caused airport fireball 1st
A hospital worker stood accused of murder 2nd
Sark’s vineyards were vandalised 3rd
The original Torteval church was consecrated 4th
Sibyl Beaumont married Robert Hathaway 5th
The papers were excited by a Guernsey execution 6th
The States agrees to pay the Bailiff 7th
States of Guernsey hired its first independent vet
The Little Theatre was reprieved… for a while 8th
Guernsey was declared free of cholera 9th
Guernsey optician Specsavers was founded 10th
The court considered a Guernsey porn dealer’s testimony 11th
Guernsey Yacht Club was founded 12th
Guernsey aimed for equal adoption rights 13th
Jethou’s tenant fell off his own cliff 14th
Dad’s Army actor John le Mesurier died 15th
A Guernsey recruit regretted signing up 16th
Horticultural painter William Caparne was born 17th
German forces confiscated Guernsey’s radios 18th
A plane crashed on Crevichon 19th
Sark featured in the music charts 20th
Guernsey recruits caused concern in Parliament 21st
First Guernsey competitor took part in Miss World 22nd
A Lancaster bomber crashed on Sark 23rd
Sark women get the right to inherit 24th
Spanish flu arrived on Guernsey 25th
Guernsey held its first full marathon 26th
Admiral Thomas Le Marchant Gosselin died 27th
HMS Boreas sank at Hanois 28th
Radio station Contact 94 went off the air 29th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry memorial was unveiled 30th