What's in a name ?

Hertfordshire Mercury, 26th June 1915


At Ware Petty Sessions on Tuesday James Capel, of Havelock  Cottages, Railway Street, Hertford, was summoned for assaulting James Kelf, at Ware, on June 5.  The defendant did not appear, his wife stating that her husband was unable to get away from his work.  The complainant said that last Saturday about 5 p.m., he was standing at the door of his son’s shop, when two men came along, both of them slightly intoxicated. 

The defendant, who was one of them, came up and put his fist in his face and he said: ‘You are a ……old German; go back to your own country.  You have no business here.’  If the witness had not moved away the defendant would have struck him.  The defendant said that he hoped that the next Zeppelin which came over would drop a bomb on the shop and burn it up, and the witness with it.  He said if the witness were younger he would smash his face in.  The Constable then came up.  The witness denied that he was German, and said he did not want to press the charge, but only obtain protection.

Supt Handley said he had seen documentary evidence tracing the defendant’s ancestors back to 1787, and there was no doubt about his nationality.  There had been trouble because some people had accused the complainant of being a German, owing to the fact that his name was Kelf.  The defendant was fined 4 shillings, and the Chairman said it was an absurd thing to say the complainant was a German.  It was clear he was an Englishman and his fathers before him.

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