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WILSON'S STORY OF

A.W.L. CHARGE

Parole Release Sought

.Private John Wilson told Mr. Justice Reed yester- day that he had been charged with having been absent without leave after he had presented a doctor's certifi- cate which he understood authorised him to over-stay his leave.

Private Wilson was found guilty at a court-martial later and sent to Grovelly camp.

Mr. Justice Reed is inquiring as a Commissioner into the sen- tences imposed on Privates Wil-   son and J. J. Derrick and Sapper A. L. Chalmers after disturb- ances at the camp.

His Honor said yesterday that he would consider an application by Mr. Brian Cluney. K.C. (for the R.S.L.), that he should recommend the release of the men on parole over Christmas.

Private Wilson was in the witness box most of the day.

Mr. Clancy said that the headings of complaints to be placed before the   Commission were :-Bug infestation of the huts; insufficient, badly bal- anced, and ill-prepared food: ill- treatment and provocative treatment by the staff of Wilson, Derrick. Chal- mers, and others; restriction on visi- tors and of correspondence, and in- adequate attention to complaints in

relation to all of these matters.  

WILSON'S EVIDENCE  

Wilson, who was called by Mr. Win- deyer. K.C, assisting the Commis- sioner, said that when he returned to Australia last year he was given 31 days' leave at the end of February or the beginning of March.  

He went to Long Jetty, where his wife was living. He had been suffering from a gastric illness, and when his leave had a couple of days to run he saw a doctor. The doctor told him to come back in a week, and that in the meantime he would communicate with his (Wilson's) unit.

A week later he again saw the doctor, who gave him a certificate to the effect that he was to return to camp about April 12.

Wilson said he reported back to Narellan camp on the date the cer- tificate expired.

"I saw Captain Reid, and he told me that a man reporting for A.W.L. had to see the battalion commander, Colonel Simpson," Wilson said. "I went in front of the colonel. He looked at the certificate, and said: 'You might be able to put it over the doctor, but you cannot put it over me.' He fined me £5 and 22 days'

pay.

"When I came back to the tent I told the boys I was annoyed. I felt like 'shooting through,' and I went a.w.l. the same day."

Wilson said he was charged at the court-martial with being absent with- out leave for 38 days.  

The Commissioner: Did Colonel Simpson say anything about a court martial?

Wilson : No.

Mr. Henry: Did the CO. tell you he was charging you with anything?

Wilson: No.

You were a lance-corporal at the time, and you knew that as an N.C.O. you could not be fined?-I did not know that.

"GALLANT SOLDIER"

Captain John Norris, who was Wilson's platoon commander at Tobruk, said he defended Wilson at the District Court-martial in June, 1943 when Wilson, on his advice,

pleaded guilty to a charge of having

been a.w.l.

Mr. Clancy: Um dM yew find Mm  

as a soldier?

Captain Norris: During tna period I h«d him under my command ha «as a good soldier, but not amanabla te discipline when he e«<m ont oí rh«

line.

He h*d an excellent front-tin* dis- cipline? K« tua good aoldie».

And a gallant eoldler?--Yea.

Major Look«, who resumed h ta evi- dence, «aid that when Ueut.-Oolonel Cummins ordered the men to pick up their kita ond go to the hut«, witness heard the remark, "What guarantee hare we got." The men, who war* moving towards the huts, stopped, and "more or leas resumed their old posi-

tions."

The field troops, who went into the oompounds under Major Ross, were "without arms of any description."

Mr. Clancy: Do yon know that the men charged alleged that they were not. the leaders in anything that occurred on October 7; and thn-t they

had done no more than hundreds of > others had done?

Major Locke: I could not »ay that.

Mr. J. Hooke (for the N.S.W. Labour Council) : Do you say the. members of the armoured division were quite unarmed when they entered the com- pound?

Maior Lock«: Definitely, when they entered the compound.

The inquiry will be reaumed to-

day. _^___________

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Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
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