In 1893, Blantyre man Hugh Rice joined the Royal Highlanders Regiment in Hamilton. However, for an unknown reason, it wasn’t for him and a year later he deserted the company, disappearing from Lanarkshire.
Skip forward now over a decade to 1905. On the last Saturday in October that year, Hugh returned to his hometown and on that very same night, was recognised in a public house by local police officer, Sergeant Richardson who apprehended him.
Hugh found himself in Hamilton JP Court a couple of days later on the Monday, where he was committed to prison, pending enquiries by military authorities facing the charge of desertion.
The story, may be difficult for some to read, but it does go to show the seriousness of desertion at that time and how old memories of people and place are difficult to fade.