9th Oct 1915. Munitions Tribunal – Local Cases

MUNITIONS TRIBUNAL.

LOCAL CASES AT COVENTRY AND LONDON.

Two local cases were heard at the Munitions Tribunals, at Coventry, and two at Caxton Hall, Westminster, on Friday. At Coventry, Mr F Tillyard, Birmingham, presided, Mr A H Niblett representing the employers, and Mr H R Farren, the workmen ; the Clerk (Mr Phillip E Wilks), and the Assistant Clerk (Mr D G Bolland) were also present.

A WORKER’S COMPLAINT.

William Clifton, of 35 Graham Road, Rugby, complained that his employers, Messrs Willans & Robinson, Ltd, Rugby, were unreasonably withholding certificate of leave. In his written statement, Clifton complained that there was insufficient work to keep him fully employed, and that his services would be more useful to firms requiring skilled mechanics, as he was doing work which could be done by boys.

A statement by the employers read by the Chairman, stated that Clifton was paid 42s for 51 hours. His average earnings over a period of 21 weeks was £3 5s 10d, average overtime being 17 1/2 hours. He was engaged on important aeroplane work.

The certificate was refused, and Clifton was advised by the Chairman to do his best.

BREACH OF RULES.

E W Crisp and V Green, foundry labourers, were charged by Willans & Robinson, Ltd., with breach of works’ rules, leaving their work without permission and loitering outside the shop during working hours, general indifference to orders and remonstrances of their foreman, and delaying urgent Government work.—Both of these men pleaded guilty to the charges, and admitted the evidence against them. Green was fined 20s and Crisp 15s, the Tribunal ordering these fines were to he stopped out of their wages at the rate of 5s per week, each commencing 8th October. The Chairmen cautioned both as to their future behaviour.

At CAXTON HALL, WESTMINSTER.

Jean Puraye (Belgian), milling machine operator, claimed that a certificate of release had been unreasonably withheld by Willans & Robinson. The evidence showed that during the eleven weeks in which this man had been in the employ of Willans & Robinson, Ltd, he had absented himself on a number of occasions without permission, and without giving a satisfactory reason. Also that urgent Government work being done in his department was already handicapped by shortage of labour.

Previously, on September 10th, Puraye was summoned by Willans & Robinson before the Coventry Tribunal, for absenting himself from work without permission. Puraye then stated that he wished to leave to join his wife in Ireland, but the Court decided that he had not sufficient grounds on which to claim his discharge certificate.

At the hearing at Caxton Hall, on the 1st inst, he gave as his reason for wishing to leave that he had an offer of employment from the Austin Motor Co, of Birmingham, and showed a letter to that effect.

The Court decided that Willans and Robinson were fully justified in withholding his certificate, and advised Puraye to return to his work.

Michel Bury (Belgian), brass fettler, claimed that a certificate of release had been unreasonably withheld by Willans & Robinson. After hearing evidence on both sides, the Court decided that the employers were fully justified in withholding the discharge certificates, commenting upon the high aggregate wages this man and three other members of his family had been receiving as unskilled workers, also, that they had been accommodated in a furnished hutment dwelling by their employers at a very low rental.

The Chairman said that Bury’s employers had treated him exceptionally well, and advised him to return to his work at Rugby.

A SOLDIER’S PREDICAMENT.

Pte Wm Button, Rifle Brigade, stationed at Winchester, was charged with being a deserter on Oct. 4th.—Supt Clarke said he received instructions to arrest defendant, whose home is at Newbold, and an escort would be sent to fetch him.—Defendant said he was not a deserter. He had been awaiting orders.

The Rev J B Hewitt, vicar of Newbold, said the man came home wounded in June, and received a postcard telling him to remain at an address given until he had further orders. The man had lived in the village since and had written three or four postcards to Winchester for instructions, but had received no reply. He had not concealed himself in any way and had never been out of uniform. At the man’s request, he (Mr Hewitt) wrote to Winchester about ten days ago, and had received no reply to his letter.

The Chairman said there was the greatest difficulty about these men. Unless they were actually at a military hospital the men were looked upon as deserters. Some of them did not require hospital treatment, except as outpatients, and they were very hardly dealt with.

The Clerk (Mr Seabroke) said the only way to deal with the case would be to reply that the man was awaiting orders.

Mr Hewitt said the man received a certain amount of money in June, but had received none since. He had been waiting there and living on the kindness of his friends.

Captain Coventry, R.W.R, stated that the defendant came to his office at the Drill Hall and asked him for a warrant to Winchester. In reply to a question, defendant, stated that he had been ill since May and had not reported himself. He wrote to Winchester and received in reply a report to the effect that defendant was a deserter, and asking him to communicate with the police. This happened about a fortnight or three weeks ago.

The Chairman said the Magistrates would dismiss the case, and thought the word “ deserter ” was not an appellation to be used in defendants case. There was no evidence that he was a deserter.

RUGBY MAGISTERIAL.

MONDAY.—Before A E Donkin and J E Cox, Esqrs.

AN INTOXICATED BELGIAN.—Gustave Nicaise, a Belgian labourer, of 14 Pinfold Street, New Bilton, pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly in Chapel Street on Sunday night.—P.C Lester said he saw defendant ejected from the Black Swan Inn at 8.55 p.m. Finding that defendant was drunk, the officer tried to persuade him to go home, but he refused, and witness took him into custody. On the way to the Police Station, he was shouting and making use of bad language.—Fined 4s 6d, the sum being paid out of money found on defendant when arrested.

WEDNESDAY.—Before T Hunter, Esq.

FRENCH-CANADIAN’S RAILWAY TRESPASS.

Homer Adolphe Parent, a French-Canadian, with long black hair and wearing a short jacket and knickerbockers, was charged under the Defence of the Realms Act with trespassing on the L & N-W Railway at Rugby on the previous day a—Prisoner admitted being found on the line. He said he had come from Liverpool, having walked to Lichfield, where he took a ticket to Rugby. He got on to the line to find ” the King’s way ” in order to walk on to London, because he had no money.

Pte S White, of the 2/6 Royal Warwicks, deposed that he was on sentry duty near the Great Central Railway Bridge, about a quarter of a mile from the L & N-W Station, at Rugby, on Tuesday, when he saw prisoner at about 10.20 a.m, walking by the side of the goods line. He crossed under a goods train standing there, and came towards witness, who called on him to halt. As he did not do so, witness loaded his rifle, and again shouted to him to stop, which he then did.-In reply to questions, prisoner said he was a French-Canadian, and showed witness a paper with the Canadian Government stamp on it. Witness blew his whistle, and on the arrival of the sergeant prisoner was taken into custody.

Asked if he wished to say anything to the Magistrate, prisoner said he did not think he was doing wrong. On getting out of the train at Rugby he saw no way to go, and tried to find the telegraph posts in order to follow them, as he did when walking along the railway track in Canada.

In reply to a question as to why he left Liverpool, prisoner said he wanted to get to London, principal thing being a matter of religion. He had been living in Canada among Roman Catholics, but “ he belonged to the Church of England, and wanted to get to London,” because, he supposed, the Church of England was there, and he wanted to have the thing settled.”

Detective-Inspector Goode said he thought prisoner had got on to the line quite innocently.

Pte White said prisoner asked him how far it was to London, and he replied : “ It is too far for you to walk, and, as far as I am concerned, you are as close to London as you will get.”

The Magistrate examined prisoner’s papers, which showed that he was a British subject.

In acquitting prisoner, Mr Hunter told him it was a very foolish thing to walk on the railway in this country. There was always a proper way out of a railway station, and he must go by that way. They would let him go now, but he must be very careful in the future not to walk along the railway, and if he did he would he arrested again. Prisoner said he would not repeat the offence.

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