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Obstructing the Military, 10 August 1914

Obstructing the Military, 10 August 1914

Cecil Newman, of 10 Oxley Street, and Arthur Fones, of 21, Red Cross Street appeared at Wolverhampton Police Court on 10 August 1914, charged with “obstructing the millitary force in the execution of their duty, and of being drunk and disorderly”. A Sergeant B. Wells, of the B Company, 6th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment, alleged that, on the previous night, he had been getting members of the company into their billets in Red Cross Street Street, when the two young men went up and obstructed him. He ordered them away, but they used foul language, so the guard was called out and they were arrested. This incident had also been witnessed by Private P. Hitchin and Bugler W. G. Smith.

Fones, in turn, complained that his hands had been tied to the railings and he had been gagged, but the Magistrates’ Clerk reminded him that “the military had rights he was not aware of”. The prisoners were fined 10 shillings and costs each, and were informed that such conduct would not be tolerated. The Chairman, Alderman Gibbons, stated that “The military are doing their duty in a noble way, and we will not have them interfered with in any shape or form.”

Cecil Newman was born in Wolverhampton in 1891, so was therefore aged 23 by this date. In 1891 he was living at Waterloo Road, together with his parents, Charles and Betsey, brothers (William, Edward, Frederic and Harold) and sisters (Ethel, Maria and Minnie). By 1901 the household had moved to 42 Oxley Lane, and only six children remained. The 1911 census has a different address again, 18 Hughes Street, and only four children are still living with their parents. Cecil Newman is listed as an “Odd Jobber”. He may have enlisted in the army, but as there are a number of Cecil Newmans, it is difficult to pin him down. Either way, he appears to have survived the War, as there is a Cecil Newman of about the right age who died in Wolverhampton in 1942.

Arthur Fones was born in Wolverhampton in 1894, so he was 20 years old by the time of this incident. In the 1901 census he was living with his grandmother, already at 21 Red Cross Street, along with his uncle Arthur Judson and aunts, Beatrice and Charlotte. He was living at the same address in the 1911 census, but was now listed as an Assistant Cooper. He does not appear to have enlisted for military service. He married a Lilian Tomlinson in 1921, and the couple had two children, Arthur and Douglas. He died in 1936, aged 41.

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