Licensee's serious offence of buying army forage

Hertfordshire Mercury, 27th November 1915


At the Hitchin Petty Sessions on Tuesday, Edward Boxall (61), licensee of the Red Lion public-house, Bucklersbury, Hitchin, and his son, Henry William Boxall (25), a motor driver, were charged with buying a quantity of Army forage from Corpl. Davies, R. E., at Hitchin, on October 2, in contravention of the Army Act, 1881, Section 156, (sub-section 1).

PS Stacey deposed to visiting the defendant’s premises on October 7 in consequence of certain information.  The defendants gave him every assistance.  He found two bags of oats (produced) and some in a bin.  The forage was identified by Sergt. Somerville, R.E., as to being similar to that under his charge.  It was weighed, there being 220 lbs. in all, and the defendants said that was about three-quarters of what they had bought.  In a statement, the younger defendant admitted that Corpl. Davies approached him and asked him if he could do with some ‘green meat’.  After speaking to his father on the telephone he agreed to buy it, and it was sent down to the Red Lion.  The transaction took place in the station yard between 10 and 11 o’clock in the morning and in the presence of several soldiers.  The corporal told him that he was at liberty to sell it as it had accumulated during their stay, and they were off the following day to the Front.  He said the money was for the benefit of the whole section, and that they were going to buy a stove for the trenches.  The father made a similar statement.

Sergt. Somerville, R.E., Hitchin, valued the stuff at £1, and said Davies had no authority to dispose of it.  Davies was the NCO in charge of the forage for XX Section, and any accumulation should have been returned to stores and not sold.

The younger defendant went into the box and repeated the signed statement he had made on October 7.  He thought Corpl. Davies being an NCO had power to sell the stuff.  He had no thought of doing anything wrong.

The Chairman said it was a very serious offence.  It must be clear to one of the lowest intelligence that they must not buy anything from a soldier; even if an officer came along he must be treated with suspicion.  The defendants would be fined £3 each.

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