The details are a bit fuzzy but my grandmother Ethel fell ill during the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic (see here). Tom was given leave to see her but as she failed to recover he went AWOL, i.e. he didn’t rejoin his unit until she was out of danger. She survived and he was subsequently court-marshaled. Fortunately, he received only a light punishment.
The fact that post cards like the ones below were on sale must mean that such situations were quite common. The poor chap described on the cards was less fortunate than Tom, who must have bought them either as a souvenir or to give them to Ethel.
If you can’t read the text clearly, click on the photo and you should see it in a slightly larger size.
THE PARDON CAME TOO LATE