Thursday Flashback

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1914 Police Court

At the Borough Police Court before Mr WS Rowntree and Mr EH Gawne, David Sowary (37), 23, Clark Street, 2nd Battalion Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment, was charged with having run away, leaving his family chargeable to the Poor Law Union.

Prisoner pleaded guilty.

Mr Nathan Todd said a warrant had been taken out against defendant on June 26th, 1912, and relief had been continued from that time until this month. The wife had received a postcard from her husband telling her that he had enlisted. She now received 22s per week separation allowance.

Sowary said he had written several letters to his wife, which she ought to have received. He had been in France since the commencement of the war.

The Chairman: Why did you not do anything for her before the war?

Defendant said there had been misunderstandings between them, and “when you once get away you don’t acknowledge it, because the police are after you at once.”

Answering further questions he said he had been willing to take the children, but he was not allowed, by his wife, to do that. He had been in New York and other places, and had been engaged on a liner during the past two years. He would return to France in a few days.

Mr Todd said the amount owing was £40.

Asked what he would offer to do, defendant said he was quite prepared to pay that back as far as he could – at the termination of the war, of course. His pay was 1s 9d per day.

“You receive no pay while you are out there. It’s put down to my credit until the termination of the war.” He added that he would receive £10 for having re-enlisted, being an old soldier.

The Chairman: Are you willing that this money, being saved up for you, shall go towards repaying this?

Defendant: Most decidedly, yes.

The case was adjourned for a month to see if the Army authorities would accept an order to pay the money over for this purpose.