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Blogging about things that matter to me. Photographing things I love - Instagram @debcyork. Writing about both. Only wine and chocolate can save us… You can also find me on Twitter (@debcyork) and Facebook. If you like four-legged views, try @missbonniedog on Twitter

Monday, 11 January 2016

Concise Descriptions

Well, week two of my resolution  to write every week.  Made it by the skin of my teeth!  I have had a subject in mind for a couple of days but just have not put fingertips to keyboard.  [End of excuses]

Anyway, it relates to last week's subject, Herbert Wason Major.  In continuing to attempt to solve the mystery of his provenance, I came across an army record for a Herbert Wason Major.  The dates all tie in so it may well be him.  However, what really caught my eye for the blog was the reasons given for discharge.  The record was not a personal record for him, more a list of soldiers discharged from that regiment and the reasons why.  It is from the 1870s and goodness, you would not get away with the reasons they used these days...

To give a few excamples:  'Old Age';  'Inefficient'; 'Worthless'.

And I began to imagine if we could use such descriptions in public service discharges today...

Quangos, MPs, civil servants, spin doctors.  And don't get people started on the Environment Agency or the local councils.  The list is endless.  To say nothing of the private sector. 

Of course things are so much better and fairer now.  But back then, they could dismiss someone's career of choice with a one word answer.  Chapter and verse for reasons?  Warnings?  Suspensions?  Why bother with all that!  Maybe these soldiers had been warned, reprimanded, penalised before their discharges but those one word descriptions do make for hilarious reading.  The words used as 'reasons' are repeated for different men too, which makes one wonder what the army's definition of "inefficient' or 'worthless' actually was.

If I ever get any time, I intend to look into some random discharge records and see if this habit was peculiar to this regiment.  Somehow, and rather sadly, I doubt it.

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