Soldiers and the police

Hertfordshire Mercury, 10th April 1915


At Hitchin Petty Sessions on Tuesday, Pte. Frank Russell (22), of the 4th Glamorgan Battery of the 2nd Welsh Brigade, R.F.A., at present stationed at Letchworth, was charged with assaulting P.C. Theed in the execution of his duty at Willian on April 3.  The prisoner, who had been received in custody from the military authorities that morning, appeared to feel his position very keenly, and at the outset expressed his regret for the occurrence.  Supt Reed said that he was only going to offer sufficient evidence to justify a remand, as the Constable was still confined to bed.  James Calcraft, 48 Ridge Road, Letchworth, deposed that on Saturday night he was in the Horseshoes public house, Willian, about 9.45.  He saw the prisoner there.  Songs were being sung, and just before closing time some soldiers came in and one said ‘Chaps, when you leave go across the fields on account of the police outside’.  The witness then went outside and met the Constable.  While he was talking to P.C. Theed they heard some singing along the road and the Constable left him and approached the men who were singing.  The witness next heard a cry and saw the Constable fall.  He went to his assistance, and as he was doing so the prisoner passed him, walking sharply.  The witness saw the prisoner with a whip in his hand in the public house, but not out on the road.  The witness was about 30 or 40  yards away when the blow was struck.  He rendered aid, and helped to get the Constable home.  Pte. John Sullivan, belonging to the same battery as the prisoner, deposed that he was in the house at the same time as the prisoner, when some other soldiers came in and talked about a ‘copper’ hitting them the previous night.  They treated the prisoner to a lot of drink, and he was quite drunk.  When they got outside someone said ‘There’s the copper’, and the prisoner went and struck the Constable as he was approaching.  He struck him with his hand; he had no whip or stick.  There were about six soldiers in front of the witness.  He heard no words outside, but believed the Constable said something about stopping the singing.  This was all the evidence tendered, and on the application of Supt Reed the prisoner was remanded on bail for a week.

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