The Weekly Mail, Saturday, June 21, 1879.
A Court martial, involving a matter of considerable moment has just been held at Portsmouth. Sergeant Stocker, Royal Marine Artillery, was charged with being drunk on the line of march, and on the embarkation of the men of his corps, in the Jumna, for Zululand.
Rumours of a very reflective character have been circulated, to the effect that another Sergeant, the night before embarkation, had expressed the great desire to go to South Africa, and that after the arrest of the prisoner , he actually was ordered, and did proceed with the draft.
Prisoner had been on board some time, and had settled all the arrangements for the men of his mess when apprehended.
It was admitted by the prosecution that on his return to barracks , under escort, he was perfectly sober.
A number of civilian witnesses were called to testify to the prisoners sobriety, amongst them being Lieutenant King, of the local volunteers, who saw the prisoner marched off.
The Court reduced the prisoner to the ranks , but the findings had to be submitted to the General commanding the Southern District, and he, on Wednesday, remitted the sentence, and reinstated the prisoner, a course which has much satisfaction.
A witch hunt if you ask me.
I wonder if Sergeant Stocker ever did make it to South Africa.
I also wonder who the other Sergeant was.