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Remembered Today:

Anti-terrorist laws, 1914 style.


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There is a tread on the forum about the use of anti-terrorist laws by the police in Hampshire. It was mentioned that a man was arrested for taking a photo from a bridge.

At Colwyn Bay in 1914 a cousin of Lord Kitchener was detained by a sentry guarding a viaduct. The lady was painting a picture of the nearby Dulas Stream when the sentry approached her and asked for her name and address, which she gave. For some reason he was not satisfied and detained her until a Constable arrived, presumably he assumed she must be a spy who was really interested in his viaduct. She was held until identified by a local policeman.

Mr Charles Hussey, the Mayor of Deal, was arrested on suspicion of spying when a sentry decided that anyone spending a lot of time looking over the cliffs at Dover must be up to no good, he was released after being identified by a tradesman.

These are two harmless cases, but many more incidents in 1914 had tragic consequences when armed sentries challenged passers-by, especially if their hearing was impaired, or if it was dark, or if the sentry was nervous.

Tony.

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I understand this was proabably a result of that wonderful thing DORA - Defence Of the Realm Act. It was pretty harsh and they only repealed the last elemnt only about 10-15 years ago - I think that was for Arson in a Naval Dockyard - it was an hanging job!

Cheers

Matthew

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Here is another one from those early days of the war.

Tuesday 18th August,

While guarding the Chatham Water Company pumping station Private Walter Henry Smith aged 19, was accidentally shot and killed by Private John Mott of the 6th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. Private Mott stated that he had been told there were spies knocking about and he was feeling nervous, on mounting guard he put a bullet in the breech of his rifle and placed the safety catch at the on position. He supposed that the catch had caught on his clothing and been pushed off unnoticed, turning around when Private Smith and another man approached the rifle became tangled in his equipment and when off , the bullet hitting Private Smith in the hip. He denied believing that the men approaching him were spies.

Tony.

Walter Smith

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Monday 17th August.

A verdict of Death by Misadventure was recorded at Paddington on Sergeant James Tindall, a 22 year old with the 4th Battalion the Kings Own Royal Lancashire Regiment. He had been found near the Royal Oak Station on the Great Western and Metropolitan Railway, he had been patrolling the Line when he was fatally injured by a train.

James Tindall.

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On Tuesday 11th August 1914.

William Robert Dawson of Morcambe, an old peddler and tramp, was walking towards Liverpool when, as he approached the Dunning Bridge, a sentry from the 3rd South Lancashire Regiment challenged him. Ordered to halt, he responded with an obscene gesture and continued on his way placing one hand in his pocket. The sentry fired and the bullet passed though the body, he was picked up and placed on a passing farm wagon and taken to Epileptie Hospital were he died a few minuets after arrival.

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Thursday 20th August 1914.

Late at night a mechanic, Robert Scott, was riding his motor cycle at Blawearie, East Lothian. When he was challenged by a territorial he rode on without giving an answer, he was instantly shot and seriously injured. He was taken to the local hospital.

Tony.

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Tuesday 25th August 1914.

Miss McGowan was motoring with her brother in law past the Admiralty Signal Station at Orlock Point when they were challenged by a sentry, when they did not respond the sentry fired hitting Miss McGowan in the neck. After an operation at Banfor Hospital her condition was said to be grave.

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Friday 21st August 1914.

At Saltburn, Mr Thomas Pearson Taylor, the son of Alderman T. S. Taylor the former Mayor of Hull, was riding a motorcycle along Saltburn promenade when he was challenged four times by a Devon Territorial, receiving no response the soldier fired. Mr Taylor fell from his motorcycle and died a few minutes later. Mr Taylor was slightly deaf.

Tony.

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Monday 24th August.

On Clydeside, a sentry challenged two men approaching Yarrow shipyard and getting no response he fired into the air, this angered the men and they attacked the sentry with walking sticks. The sentry bayoneted one man in the abdomen, the other being arrested by the guard which had turned out on hearing the shot fired. The wounded man was in a serious condition.

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Wednesday 26th August 1914.

It was reported that at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh last night, a sentry, Driver Hodson, 2nd Lancashire Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, sometime between 10 and 11 pm, saw a man in the grounds. He challenged him and while talking to him endeavoured to get him closer to the sentries quarters. But the man produced a revolver and shot Gunner Hodson and disappeared. A later report states than the sentry was shot whilst searching shrubbery.

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Friday 28th August 1914.

Deaf Man Shot. An inquest at Aldershot yesterday heard that James Carroll, a near sighted and deaf man, was shot near the railway line when he failed to respond to a challenge. The sentry said he had intended to only wound but he had slipped on the gravel at the moment of firing and hit the man in the body. A verdict of Death by rifle fire was recorded.

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Monday 31st August 1914.

Lance Corporal Ward, 4th Battalion, Kings Own Royal Lancashire Regiment, was checking on the sentry guarding the railway between Slough and Burnham Beeches when he failed to hear the sentries challenge and was shot dead.

Thomas Ward.

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