Who is who on the hose?

Hertfordshire Mercury, 27th June 1914


At Hertford Borough Sessions, Henry Spinks of Green Street was summoned for being drunk and disorderly on 21st June.  He pleaded not guilty.

Police Constable Pitcher said that on the Sunday at 10.45 p.m., he had been on duty in Maidenhead Street at the scene of a fire when he had seen the defendant who had abused, and used bad language towards, the police and the firemen.  The defendant had stood upon the hose, and the witness had had to remove him.

The defendant went away but returned a little while later when the witness had to get him away again.  The defendant asserted that the witness had pushed him over, and also denied that any bad language had been used. Inspector Thorne of the NSPCC gave corroborative evidence, saying that the defendant was, with others, doing all he could to obstruct both the police and the firemen. Police Constable Shaw also corroborated.

This defendant was fined £1 or 14 days, but Charles Webb, of St Andrews Street, was similarly summoned for obstructing the police.  He pleaded guilty. Police Constable Hadder said that he had been at the fire helping to keep the crowd back because the crowd had become very disorderly.  The second defendant, Charles Webb, had interfered and had put his fist in the witness’s face, and had threatened to fight.  The Captain of the Fire Brigade had to get extra help because of the defendant’s behaviour.  The witness said that the defendant was the cause of all the trouble that the police were having with the crowd.

Harry Pamphilon, Captain of the Fire Brigade, gave corroborative evidence.  He said that the crowd had been very objectionable and that he had had to complain to the police about it.  The Clerk said  “You ought to have put the hose on them”.  In answer to the Clerk, the witness said that the hose had been deliberately battered about and damaged.  He also advised that some of the people there had said that the Brigade were no good, but that the ignorant fools in the crowd had done all they could to prevent the Brigade from achieving their objective.

The Chairman said that the offence was very serious and that this defendant would be fined 30 shillings, or 14 days.

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