The move to Beaminster in November 1919, meant some changes for Grandad Beck, as Police Superintendent, I wrote about some of these here. Blandford had more military personal unlike Beaminster, Bridport and Lyme Regis which were more rural. Blandford Camp was a depot for the Royal Naval Division until 1918 when it became an intake camp for the newly reformed Royal Air Force. During 1919 there were several motor related court cases at the Blandford Petty sessions, I have written about two which involved RAF drivers. To give a flavour of life in 1919, the year after the end of World War One, I have included a summary of some of the other cases before Blandford Magistrates. First is a sad case of the death of a young girl that was killed in a motor accident.
Little Sarah Run Over and Killed
Sarah Winifred Hunt was only 8 years old when she was, literally, driven over by a motorcar. Her father was a fishmonger from Salisbury Street, Blandford. The inquest was reported in the Western Gazzette. At 5pm on Thursday 31 July 1919 Sarah was returning home from school, with some friends, when the accident happened, in Whitecliff, Mill Street, Blandford. As the children passed a cart of calves, Sarah stopped to look at the calves. She then ran across the road in front of the car driven by Mr A J Clare of Wells, Somerset. The witnesses agreed with the driver that the car was going slowly, about 5 miles per hour and he had blown his electric horn. Sarah was taken to Blandford Cottage hospital but she died a few hours later. Grandad Beck questioned the witnesses at the court. The Deputy coroner Dr. Hollick found that death was due to a fractured skull and that it was clear that the driver was not to blame for the accident. The driver, Mr Clara, who spoke with such emotion, expressed his sympathy with the parents. He said that as a father himself he could realise what their feelings must be, and he greatly regretted that their little girl should have been taken so suddenly from them. I am sure that is a sentiment that Grandad Beck and all in the court room agreed with.
Dangerous Driving by RAF Drivers
At the Blandford Petty Session on 23th August Chaired by Colonel U. E. Parry Okeden. Albert Lock of the RAF was fined for driving a motor cycle and side-car with indistinguishable number plates on both the front and rear of the vehicle. When Albert was cross-examined by Grandad Beck, he told the court that due to a shortage of staff, the plates were not re-painted regularly, but admitted that it was the drivers responsibility to check the vehicle was properly numbered before he drove it. The Bench fined Mr Lock 5 shillings for each number plate.
Another driver from RAF Blandford was before the Petty session on September 20th. John Evison was summoned for driving a motor lorry to the danger of the public. Police Sergeant White, told the court that the lorry was driven down East Street, Blandford at an excessive speed. Grandad Beck also saw the lorry speeding and asked the Magistrates to suspend John Evison licence as he had been convicted for similar offences before. He considered that this would help to check the dangerous speeding by RAF drivers. The Bench agreed and also fined the defendant £2.
Other cases before the Magistrates
Saturday 22 March 1919
The Chief Constable had instructed Grandad Beck to apply to the Bench to allow the licenced houses, in Milton Abbas, Whitechurch and Milborne St. Andrews, to extend their hours from 9pm to 9.30pm. The licencing hours had been reduced in November 1914
Willie Maidment a baker in Tarrant Monkton was fined £15 for selling underweight bread. The loaves his employee was delivering at Tarrent Gunville where found to weight less than 2 pounds, 4 loaves were one and half ounces under weight. The Bench increased the fine as Mr Maidment didn’t appear at the court.
Blandford Board of Guardians prosecuted Nora Gladys Daniels for not paying to maintenance her illegitimate child. The child was sent to the Workhouse in February, because Nora had not paid the baby’s foster parents. The case was adjourned.
Saturday 28 June 1919
Grandad Beck stated that Edward Montague, an engine driver, was drunk and disorderly in Damory Court Street. Edward admitted the charge and was fined £1. Mr Montague had been drinking at the Railway Inn and the landlord Maurice West was charged with permitting drunkenness on his licensed premises. The evidence was given by the landlord’s Daughter and William Rice, a maltster, that Mr Montague hadn’t shown any signs that he had been under the influence of drink whilst in the pub. The Bench dismissed the case with a caution.
Saturday 23th August
Butcher William Wyatt was fined £25 for profiteering. The butcher was selling one and half pounds of sausages at 1 pence more than the maximum price allowed, one pound of suet at 2 pence more than allowed. When Mr Whitwham an inspector with the Ministry of Food inspected Mr Wyatt’s books he found other examples of over charging. Though the butcher denied the charges the Bench didn’t believe him.
Saturday 20 September 1919
James Biles of Studhampton was charged with poaching, he had 10 rabbits on his trap when it was stopped by PC Case. The Bench dismissed the case on lack of evidence.
Edward Horder, of Pimperne, was fined 10 shillings for indecent language.
Max Reeves a baker from Pimperne was fined 10 shillings for driving a mare suffering from a sore which made her unfit to work.
Charles Bozie was fined 10 shillings for allowing two cows and a calf to stray onto the road at Pimperne.
PC Burrough bought evidence against William Turner for being drunk and disorderly, William was fined £1.
Albert Caines from Spetisbury was summoned for not regularly sending his three children to school. The case was dismissed as the children’s mother said she had been told by a doctor to keep the children off of school while they were suffering from sores.
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Ref: Quotes in italics
1919: March 28th p8; July 4th p9; August 8th p9; August 29th p8; September 26th p3