Update on Oscar Gristwood Ricketts:
More evidence for the theory in an earlier post that he didn't commit suicide before the end of the war.
As previously noted, there is reason to believe that Oscar Ricketts, one of the First World War conscientious objectors sentenced to death (the "Frenchmen", and reprieved only after traumatic delay and uncertainty, survived until 1981, contrary to a source consulted for the Pearce Register.
Oscar Gris[t]wood Ricketts
Marital status Single
Occupation Bank Clerk
Birth year 1895
Address 73, Mayfield Avenue*
Address 2 West Ealing
Local authority Ealing MB
Ordnance Survey reference TQ160800
Service number 609
No-Conscription Fellowship Yes
Motivation Christian and pacifist
Military Service Tribunal MST (Military Service Tribunal) Ealing 29.2.16 - claimed AE (Absolute Exemption) - refused; Middlesex Appeal 20.3.16 - granted ECS (Exemption from Combatant Service); Central Tribunal 7.8.16; Central Tribunal at Wormwood S. 14.8.16 - CO class A, to Brace Committee
Central Tribunal Central Tribunal Nos. W.466 M.561
War Service NCC (Non-Combatant Corps) 19.4.16 Hounslow (Eastern) CM (Court Martial) at Hounslow (?) and then (25.4.16) to Felixstowe and Harwich to serve 28 days in redoubt; June 1916 in France awaiting sentence; FGCM (Court Martial) Boulogne 10.6.16 - death com.to 10 yrs.PS Winchester CP (Civil Prison); Home: 19.4.16 - 8.5.16; France: 9.5.16 - 29.6.16; Home: 30.6.16 - 31.3.20; Deserted 1.11.16 - 31.1.17 (?)
War Service comments Refused to sign army papers or to give details; Thought to be in Harwich Redoubt military prison 18.5.16; Sent from Harwich and Felixstowe on 8th May, where already sentenced to 28 days, kept in irons, on bread and water.
Magistrates Court Arrested and tried at Brentford Police court 22.4.16, fined 40/- and handed over
Magistrates Court comments Absentee
Prison Winchester CP (Civil Prison) 30.6.16 discharged 31.8.16
Work Centre HOS (The Home Office Scheme, administered by the Brace Committee) Oct.1916 Dyce Camp (photo.88); Dartmoor (18.10.17)
Notes *Ricketts committed suicide before war ended. NCF Souvenir History has him from High Street, Petworth, Sussex, probably his parents' and his 'home' address.
Sources NA/MH47/66; The Friend 12.5.16; Jack Foister, Liddle CO/032; Sanctuary Autograph Book WYB8/2/1; Liddle CO/038, 061; Tribunal 18.5.16; NCF (No-Conscription Fellowship) Souvenir History p.47; Tribunal 29.6.16; NA/PCOM 6; Hampshire R.O. Winchester CP (Civil Prison) Register 16.3.15 to 16.4.17; Letters May and June 1916 re.victimisation and brutality in T.E.Harvey MP (Military Prison) Correspondence FH/Temp.Mss.835 Box.4; NA/WO213/9/115; NA/WO363 - on line - very detailed; NA/MH47/125; NA/MH47/1 Central Tribunal Minutes; FH/SER/VOPC/Cases/7(271)
Record set Conscientious Objectors' Register 1914-1918
See also how Oscar's case was raised in the House of Commons.
From WO363 Record of Service (16 page-images, some blank)
[middle name given as "Griswood" throughout].
Report: moved to Petworth after call-up then back to Ealing – “sent an impudent note” re Petworth call-up. Appeal for variation of Ealing certificate (having obtained ECS (Exemption from Combatant Service only) on Middlesex appeal) – thrown out as “invalid”; failed attempt to take appeal to Central Tribunal – authorities felt he could go on with endless appeals if not stopped. Arrested 19-4-16.
[Prison, France...] Detention 6/6; disobeying an order, refused to do punishment drill when ordered (Boulogne). Sentenced to suffer death by being shot 10-6-16, commuted to 10 years hard labour 16/6.
|73 Mayfield Avenue, W13:|
Oscar's address at call-up and discharge
"Service" summarised as Home 19/4 – 18/5; in France 9-5-16 to 29-6; Home (Army Reserve class) 30/6/16 – 31-3-20.
Discharge form. Stamped “FIT”; the Mayfield Avenue, West Ealing, address is given.
Discharged by reason of demobilisation 31-3-20.
[Obviously this would tend further to confirm his survival.]
The 1939 Register of ElectorsA search of the1939 register finds no "Oscar G" Ricketts, but turns up:
Oscar F Ricketts 1890 Farnham U.D. Surrey
Allowing for the fact that a couple of mistranscriptions per record are virtually par for the course in this sort of context, this was worth following up, and the transcription amplifies it to:
Ricketts Household (2 People)
Cherening , Farnham U.D., Surrey, England -
FIRST NAME(S) LAST NAME(S) DOB SEX OCCUPATION MARITAL STATUS SCHEDULE SCHEDULE SUB NUMBER
Oscar F Ricketts 10 Feb 1890 Male Bank Clerk Incapacitated Married 94 1
Jean M Ricketts 28 Jan 1897 Female Shorthand Typist Married 94 2
|1939 Register of Electors with entry for Oscar and Jean Ricketts|
|Capital G and F in joined-up writing|
as taught in British schools until about the mid-20th century.
So, in spite of his unspecified long-term incapacity, it now looks as though Oscar not only survived long after the end of the First World War, but had found a life partner by 1939.
Last name First name Born Died Event Record set LocationRICKETTS JEAN MARY 1897 1982 1982 England & Wales deaths 1837-2007 Brighton, Sussex, England
|Death record for Oscar Gristwood Ricketts, 1981.|
(Birthday matches that of the above Oscar Ricketts in 1939).
Perhaps there may be people in Brighton today - or neighbours from earlier, in Surrey - who remember Oscar and Jean Ricketts, and even whether or not he ever spoke of his experiences..?