Soldier in disgrace

Hertfordshire Mercury, 19th June, 1915


A sequel to a disturbance at Baldock on Sunday night was heard at Hitchin Police Court on Tuesday, when Lance-Corpl. Frank Sherwood, a native of Baldock, and who belongs to the Royal Irish Regiment, now stationed in Dublin, was charged with being drunk and disorderly and assaulting the police in the execution of their duty.

P.S. Boarder deposed that on Sunday, June 13, he was on duty at Baldock Cross at about 10 p.m. in company with P.C. Cripps, when he heard someone in the High Street shouting and swearing and making use of very bad language.  Proceeding to the spot he saw the defendant, who was very drunk, being led along by two men, who had hold of his arms.  He was struggling with the men.  The witness advised him to go home quietly, and the defendant asked him if he wanted to fight.  The witness replied that he did not, and again advised him to go home.  He went off, and P.c. Cripps followed him.

The witness spoke to the others and advised them to clear off quietly.  Shortly after, the witness saw a large crowd outside the ‘George’.  The defendant was there, and was acting in a very disorderly manner and wanting to fight.  He said he could fight anybody in Baldock.  The witness again advised him to be quiet and go home, but instead he rushed at the witness, struck him a violent blow under the ear, and knocked him down.  The witness got up and closed with the defendant, and they both fell to the ground, the defendant being on top of him.  P.C. Cripps pulled him off, when he commenced to kick violently, and caught the witness on the groin.

They experienced great difficulty in getting him to the police station, as the crowd was very disorderly, and threatened to get the defendant out of the cell.  In reply to the Bench the defendant said he had nothing to say except to express his sorrow.  He did not think he kicked the police – at least not intentionally.  He was home from the Front on leave, and the ‘hospitality’ of his friends made him excited.  He had been three months at the Front, and had been ‘gassed’.  He came home on seven day’s leave.

The Chairman: ‘Well, we must convict you of this very serious charge of assault on the police.  Taking into consideration that you have been in the trenches so long and suffered gas poisoning we will impose no penalty for being drunk and disorderly, but for the assault on the police you will be fined 10s..  We are dealing with you leniently on account of your services; otherwise we would have sent you to prison without the option of a fine.  Let this be a warning to you.

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