Denaby Publican Fined – Expelling Wounded Soldier Undue Violence Alleged

April 1915

Mexborough and Swinton Times April 17, 1915

Denaby Publican Fined
Expelling Wounded Soldier Undue Violence Alleged

At the Doncaster West Riding Police Court, held on Saturday, before Mr. J. W. Hodgson (presiding) and Mr. G. T. Milnethorpe, William. I. Gibbs, licensed victualler, the Denaby Main Hotel, Denaby, was summoned by Private John Walsh, first battalion East Lancashire Regiment, for assault on February 27 – he pleaded not guilty.

Mr. A. Blackmore, solicitor, Doncaster, appeared on behalf of the complaint Welsh, and Mr. F. Allen, solicitor Doncaster, for the defendant.

There was also a counter summons by the defendant against the complainant for having been drunk and refusing to quit his premises on the same day.         In the course of his statement, Mr Blackmore said that the complainant was a private in the East Lancashire Regiment and had been wounded in France and invalided home. Defendant was the licencee of the Denaby Main Hotel. On February 11, in the afternoon, the complainant Walsh with two friends went into the glass room at the hotel, and Gibbs was there       .

Mr Allen objected to evidence of the incident which took place on a different date to the named in the charge; but Mr. Blackmore pointed out that there are legitimate, the assault was probably the outcome of the incident.

Walsh, he continued, would tell their worships that he (Gibbs) had had a good deal of liquor; he started taunting the complainant, and suggested that he had never been to the front. Complainant showed him his wound, and told him, instead of insulting soldiers, it would be more credited ball to him if his son and barman were fighting. Gibbs ordered Walsh out of the hotel and he went.

On Saturday evening on the date in question complainant went to the big taproom, and was approaching the bar when Gibbs rushed out from behind, and before Walsh had time to say or do anything, and also knowing that he was suffering from the wound. Struck him a cowardly blow and knocked out two teeth. Defendant then struck him on the side of the ear and then pushed him out of the door. Complainant never tried to retaliate and left the house.

When Walsh came back to the public house door, and said he had informed a policeman, Gibbs said he would stand the consequences. He concluded that licence sees were apt to think that they could do anything under the cloak of authority, but he asked the magistrates to say what the offence under the circumstances was our particularly despicable one, and that they would not allow such a cowardly act under the cloak of authority given to the licence holder.

Private Walsh, who appeared in uniform, said he lived at 53, Blyth Street, Denaby. He was wounded at the front, and since he had been invalided home he had been suffering from clear pleurisy , and was being medically attended.

On February 11 he went into the Denaby Main hotel. There were two customers inside and the landlord, he alleged was three parts drunk. Two friends were there, and witness treated them to some drink, and he “witness” sat down for a little time. Defending commenced talking to him about his uniform. Witness went on to say he had not khaki co-because he could not get it – he had just come out of hospital, defendant said “you have never been at the front; you are only a territorial” so witness rolled his sleeve up and showed him the wound. Witness replied to defendant as to insulting men in uniform, and remarked that his fat bellied barmen should be at the front or something like that. He then left the hotel.

In reply to his solicitor complainant said on the date of the alleged assault, February 27, he was not drunk when he went to the hotel. Mr. Alan (in cross examination): you are a bit of a sponger in this way, are you not? You always were. Were you not turned out of two public houses on the same date?

Complainant had apparently a severe bruise on the nose, and he asked him how he had received this injury, and he replied he had sustained it in tumbling from a tram on Thursday.

Mr. Allen asked complainant if he remembered saying in an hotel, to a man named Dan Wildman, and a date in question “I am going down to get recruits, and I am not going to the Denaby Main hotel, because I called Mr. Gibbs a – jelly bellied old bastard? Was it not also a fact that since complainant came home from the front he had been drinking all the time, and he had been the continual nuisance to the landlord?

Complainant denied the allegations.

Mr. Allen: were you not also the person who was brought up at this court on April 14, 1913. Under the name of Wilson?

Complainant. I am not supposed to answer that at all, he also denied that, previous to his enlistment he was debarred from going to the hotel.

Charles Pearce, miner 34 Sprotborough Street, Denaby Main, said that on the day in question he was in the hotel. Complainant was sober. Gibbs did not say anything to Walsh, nor did the latter to Gibbs. Defendant struck complainant in the mouth. And he took him by the shoulder, struck at him again, and pushed him out the door. Defendant then said “I will stand the consequences of what he will do with me”

By the magistrates: Walsh was not in the house more than two minutes.

Harry Mangham, miner, 21, Rueward Street, Denaby Main, collaborated, the last witness’s evidence. He saw no blood when he alleged assault was committed.

Case for the Defence.

Mr. Allen said it was seemingly impossible that there should be an absence of blood if two teeth were knocked out. The Kings uniform was not a cloak for insulting respectful citizens and the landlord was perfectly justified in getting a man to quit and miss. Gibbs replied that he had never hit him. It was more probable that in his intoxicated condition, in going home Walsh stumbled, thereby causing the injury arranged. The legislations were very stringent in regard to the supplying of soldiers with too much liquor. They would also take into consideration that the landlord’s position as a manager of that house in that district was a difficult one.

The Landlord’s Evidence.

William I. Gibbs, of the Denaby Main hotel, the defendant, then went into the box, and said that he had been licensed of the house for 15 years. Complainant came in by himself on February 11 and said, “Can I have a pint of beer?” “You can if you behave yourself,” he replied. As a illustration that he had no ill feeling against the complainant, witness remarked that in August last year he gave complainant and a friend as shilling to buy some cigarettes – it was just before he left for active service. Witnessed denied the allegation that he had had a drink on the day of the alleged assault, and added that for more than six weeks he had been absolutely teetotal. He had influenza and pleuresy , and he was also under the doctor’s instructions.

Mr Blackmore: How long have you been teetotal? – Defendant: Sometimes six or seven months and 9 months in that house and during that time I have never tasted liquor. I don’t live on drink. I live on food.

Mr. Blackmore: Is it a fact that you told complainant he was shabby, and that he was no soldier? – No, it is a fabrication.

Continuing his evidence, witness said that complainant came in again on the Friday following, and his man refused him. He came in again on February 27, and witness ordered his men to tell him to leave the room. Witness had told him distinctly he would never have him in the house. He made a vulgar expression and witness got hold of his shoulders and put him out of the house. Complainant said neither the police nor anyone else had a right to insult the Kings uniform.

Wounded Warriors Greeting.

Witness added, amidst much amusement that when complainant come to the house on the 11th he said, “There’s an old deserter here again. Here’s old silver headed Jack deserted and listed again. Fired 1000 rounds and only killed only one b– – man.”

Defendant admitted four previous convictions during his 15 years tenancy. In 1909 he ordered to pay costs for protecting his daughter; and he had been summoned for permitting drunkenness, but exonerated from blame. He had told this man many a time to leave the hotel, and he denied having said anything about standing the consequences.

In replying to his solicitor, the defendant said he had held practically every public office in the village. He had been a Guardian, he was chairman of the soldiers’ committee, secretary of the relief fund.

Harry Keller, miner, deposed to having spoken to “Silver headed Jack” on the day in question, who said he was seeking recruits, and nobody in Denaby would let him take them for half a crown. Witness suggested that he should go to the Denaby hotel, but complainant said he would not so in there, because he had called Gibbs names. Witness saw him go in, and Gibbs turned him out. Complainant was drunk, and he did not know which way to go home, although the street in which he lived was the next one.

Robert Peters, Barman, said Gibbs used no more force than was necessary to turn this man out.

  1. C. Franklin, stationed at Denaby Main, said that about 7.15 on the date in question complainant came to him. He was drunk and he made a complaint, but he referred him to the magistrates.

George Henry Gibbs, son of the defendant, gave evidence, and Daniel Wildman, new Conisborough, said that in another hotel complainant told him he had called Gibbs a “fat bellied Irishmen” etc.

The Magistrates Decision.

The magistrates retired to consider their decision, and on their return the chairman said they have found that an assault had been committed. And the landlord did not order complainant out in fair manner.

Defendant be fined 20s and they would make a special order for witness costs.

The charge of drunkenness and refusing to quit was dismissed.

Other cases withdrawn.

Mr. Allan asked, with his clients instructions, the three cases on the charges of drunkenness and refusing to quit against free Conisborough miners be withdrawn. Under those circumstances it was no use trying to keep order in a house.

The magistrates granted the withdrawal of the cases. Mr. Allen also desired that their Worships should fix recognisance for an appeal, and the Bench decided to fix security of £25 and £25 in the event of appeal.