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1918 Court: Man went on travels to avoid military service

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Joseph Howard (24), hawker, no fixed residence, was charged at the Scarborough Police Court on Monday that being a person amenable to section 15 of the Reserve Forces Act, 1882, he did absent himself without leave when called up for permanent service.

He was further charged with failing to produce a certificate of registration when required by a police constable to do so on April 28th.

In reply to the first charge, defendant said he was not a reservist - he never went to be attested.

The Magistrates’ Clerk: That is a plea of not guilty.

He admitted he never had a registration card.

PC Ward (18) said about five minutes past nine on the morning of the 28th of April he visited the lodging house, 5, Globe Street, where he saw the prisoner.

He asked him to produce his National Registration card, and he replied he had never had one.

He added: “I remember signing a form some time ago, but I never got a card.”

When brought to the police station, witness found on defendant three wound stripes. They had evidently been worn as there were six holes in the left sleeve of his coat.

Defendant said he had been travelling about in a caravan, and left about two years ago. Since then he had been travelling the country to avoid military service.

He had no papers to show that he was a discharged soldier.

The Chief Constable said prisoner came to Scarborough on the 27th from Bridlington. From enquiries made he found he had been travelling to Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford, Otley and Driffield recently.

Prisoner went into the box, and in reply to the Magistrates’ Clerk said he had nothing to say. He could not read the oath.

The Magistrates’ Clerk: Why did you not join 
the army?

Prisoner: I have been travelling about.

The policeman says you were travelling about to avoid joining the army. Is that correct? Yes, sir.

The Chief Constable said with regard to the second charge, only that morning he got a circular from the Home Office stating that no proceedings shall be taken under the National Registration Act, 1915, without permission first obtained from the Director General of National Service.

Mr Windsor added that an escort was on the way for prisoner, and if the magistrates agreed they could look over the other offence.

On the first charge prisoner was fined 4s and taken into military custody. The second case was dismissed.

The magistrates on the bench were Mr SN Smith, in the chair; Mr Servington Savery, and Mr W Sayner.