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Interesting single British war medal to Sergeant Henry Marquis Ozanne, 9th Regiment Canadian Mounted Rifles  Murdered by Lieutenant Georges Coderre, acting adjutant of the 41st Canadian Infantry Battalion at Arundel, Grayshott December 8, 1915 during a robbery attempt. Ozanne was Divisional Canteen Sergeant of the 9th Canadian Mounted Rifles and Coderre believed him to have a large amount of cash in his possession. Coderre was sentenced to death in civilian court, however this sentence was later commuted to a term of imprisonment when Coderre was judged to be insane.

Sgt Ozanne was born in Guernsey and had served 17 months with London Rifle Brigade and 6 years with Hampshire Regiment prior to moving to Canada.

 

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Fascinating indeed.  The digital records of soldiers' files for WWI are now available at the Canadian Archives, up to the end of the 'C's in the alphabet.  Coderre is in the records as 'Codere' [one 'r'] here: http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.item/?op=pdf&app=CEF&id=B1834-S031

He was only 21 when he enlisted in 1914 and all of his records record that he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life.  His temporary commission ends and he is dismissed the service on 5th Feb. 1916.  Interestingly, his last pay - $65.00 - was paid out in 1917 before the file was closed.  Pay probably went to his mother,as his other allotments had.

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  • 3 months later...

What a very interesting story. Of particular interest to me is "Coderre was sentenced to death in civilian court, however this sentence was later commuted to a term of imprisonment when Coderre was judged to be insane." I have a sole entitlement BWM to a sailor who was murdered by one of his shipmates. The offender was drunk at the time, I have often wondered whether he was hanged or not.

His service papers state

NL26119/17 Report of the C of E held 14th May 17 as to the death of this man from a fatal blow struck by F H Hayes AB L**** who was drunk at the time.
 

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I would think it likely that he was executed.  In British common law, drunkenness has never been recognized as a defecne to any criminal charge, tough it may have a bearing on the sentence.  In a case lie that one, epecially in war time, I would think it likely that an example would have been made and the convicted man given the ultimate penalty unless there were extenuating circumstance - extreme provocation, a previously spotless record or both.  

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BJW, have you tried the newspaper archives?

It was a few years back that I was researching him. If memory serves me well, there was nothing in the local paper (Kingston Upon Thames) about it. My next enquiry was to confirm where his ship was at the time of the incident, which again I think was Scotland. But I never got round to looking into it further.....perhaps one day.

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  • 5 months later...

Update; 

World War One War medal named to 114755 Sgt. H.M. Ozanne 9th Canadian Mounted Rifles. Includes original transmittal box. Henry M. Ozanne was born at St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands. He served 1 year, 5 months in the London Rifle brigade. Six years in the 2nd Volunteer brigade, Hampshire Regiment. 

He attested into the 9th Canadian Mounted Rifles at Swift Current Saskatchewan.
Next of Kin was his father at Velnord, Channel Islands. His occupation was farmer. He arrived in England on the 3rd of December 1915.

On the 8th of December 1915 he was murdered at Bramshott Camp by Lt. George Coderre, Adjutant of the 41st battalion. The murder of Sergeant Ozanne was a national tragedy and every newspaper in Canada carried the story of his murder and Lieutenant Coderre's (http://www.canadiangreatwarproject.com/ ... subsequent) trial where he was sentenced to death. According to the newspaper stories Corderre murdered Ozanne in order to rob him of his money. 
Coderre was sentenced to death in civilian court, however this sentence was later commuted to a term of imprisonment when Coderre was judged to be insane.

" The Murder at Hindhead Chase, Grayshott by Jan & Gordon Gale (2007)"

It was December 1915. The Great War had started in the previous August and the British Empire had sent troops to Britain to help in her fight against Germany. One such body of troops was the 9"' Canadian Mounted Rifles. The troops were stationed at Bramshott undergoing training before being sent to France, whereas the Commanding Officer, the Assistant Regimental Adjutant and other officers were billeted, with their batmen, at Hindhead Chase, in Crossways Road, Grayshott.

The 22 year old Assistant Regimental Adjutant, Lieut George Codere, was nicknamed 'Fou', or `Fool,' Codere, because of his erratic behavior. The C.O. had already decided that, when the regiment was sent to France, he would not be allowed to accompany it. He was the officer temporarily entrusted with the regimental canteen funds which had been handed over by the canteen sergeant, 37 year old Sergeant Ozanne. Although belonging to the 9th Canadians, Ozanne was an Englishman who had moved to Canada and joined the regiment. His parents were still living in Southampton. Once Codere was in possession of the funds he stole some and asked Ozanne to help hide the theft.

Ozanne refused.

Saying that he wished to discuss the matter, Codere invited Ozanne to Hindhead Chase one evening and, following an argument, killed him with a trench stick (a leather-covered rod of lead) in what is now the small Sitting Room,. Following this he dragged the body into the cellar and inflicted a great number of stab wounds. Codere then instructed a batman to help him take the body to one of the stables at the bottom of garden. The batman eventually told the C.O. what had happened. Codere was soon arrested and held at Whitehill Police Station.

In every case of a suspicious or violent death an inquest must be held to determine whether it is the result of foul play. This inquest was started in what is now the Dining Room at the house; continuing at the Village Hall. It was clear that foul play had occurred: Codere's trial followed. The judge gave the jury three options: they could find Codere either `Guilty', `Not Guilty' or `Guilty but Insane'.

Lt George Coderre was sentenced to death but that was commuted to penal servitude for life on grounds of insanity. Unfortunately, internet searches fail to turn up any further references to the case.

Codere started his imprisonment in England but was later transferred to a prison for the insane in Canada.

On the day of his funeral Ozanne's body was escorted from the Drawing Room of the house by members of his family, his regiment and the regimental band. The parade was halted in Crossways Road to allow the trumpeters to play the Last Post.

He was buried, with full military honours, in the old cemetery in The Mount, Guildford, where his grave can still be seen. http://www.grayshott-archive.org.uk/mod ... cle&sid=33 

Murder, inquest & remand: issues December 10th-23rd, 1915
Trial & sentence: issues February 5th - 7th, 1916
Failed appeal: issues February 15th & 29th, 1916

The war medal was Sgt Ozanne's his only entitlement.

The book Hampshire Murders Paperback – Illustrated, 2 Feb 2009
by Nicola Sly (Author) has a full article on the murder.

There is a digital collection with more newspaper stories at the veteran's Affairs Site.http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/collectio ... tos/401551

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Edited by dante
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One source, which I haven't  tried to verify, suggests that the 41st was a 'problem' unit, recruited 19th century style from jails and the lower classes of Montreal society, including a number of 'Russians'  whose language skills and military deportment were both deficient.  As I say, I haven't followed this up but certainly, in the rush to recruit, there were men and groups of men taken on strength in the CEf who wouldn't likely have been considered in less trying times.

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Peter, I find what you say about the 41st Bn CEF most intriguing. I have a self awarded trio to a man of the 41st. The BWM as you well know should be his only entitlement. The trio I have is mounted as worn, and sure seems to have seen a lot of use.  

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