Friday 5 January 1917
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Meanwhile, the anonymous writer of the weekly report from the hospital, obviously a member of the committee herself, sought to put things right. Describing the whole thing as ‘ridiculous’, she went on “The powers of the Ladies’ Committee are limited to collecting subscriptions and spending them for the benefit of the wounded men. “It has no jurisdiction over the Matron, neither has it authorised any of its decisions to be placed before the Board. “Moreover, it declines to be invested by inference with powers it has not accepted. Beyond comprehension “A bottle of rum has been bought at Christmas time by the matron for nearly twenty years and she received no instructions from the Board to discontinue the practice. Why she should be criticised, therefore, is beyond comprehension.” Turning to “a happier subject and that is the pleasing gratitude with which our men receive the little services which we have so much pleasure in rendering them. “You will observe, Mr Editor, I have ceased to use the words “boys” which before I have frequently done in a motherly way. I have ceased because when they were referred to as ‘mere boys’ under other circumstances, I thought it did not sound reasonable. “You see, we must exercise our reason and if these are ‘mere wounded boys’ whom we are nursing back to health in our hospital, it does not speak well for the country that sends them to fight its battles.”
The previous week, the Shipley Times & Express had run a story in which a member of Salt’s Hospital Ladies’ Committee and some of the Board of Governors had criticised the matron for serving rum to the wounded soldiers with their Christmas pudding. While there were hints of disapproval of alcohol, the main argument had been that the matron had no right to go against the wishes of the Ladies’ Committee. The controversy attracted three letters to the editor. Thomas B Knox, 27 Westcliffe Road, Shipley, was clearly a temperance man and he took exception to a comment in the previous week’s report when Board member Mr Baumann had said, ‘rum is absolutely essential for Christmas pudding and mince pies’ and pointed out that men in the trenches received half a tumbler of rum a day.
Mr Knox asks: “Is he aware that there are tens of thousands of teetotallers in the army and that thousands of them have found their way into the trenches? Compelled “Are these men compelled to have rum and violate their conscience? I doubt very much as to these men having their half a tumbler of rum. If not, are they less physically fit than those who have had rum for the arduous duty which falls to the lot of those in the trenches?” And he concludes his letter, “All honour to the Ladies’ Committee for their effort to combat what the present Premier recently characterised as an enemy of the nation when he said ‘We are fighting Germany, Austria and the drink traffic’.” It would seem Mr Knox’s view would have found little favour with the other two correspondents, both patients of
the hospital who were clearly smarting at being called ‘mere boys’ in the original article. The first wrote: “A Tommy sticks to his guns and in this case the boys stick to their matron in upholding an old- time Xmas custom. What is a Xmas pudding without rum sauce? “In any case the helping was quite voluntary and anybody with teetotal views was quite at liberty to refuse. “A Tommy in the trenches is allowed his ration of rum each day. Why waste time arguing about it at Xmas time? “Yours etc One of the Boys, Sir Titus Salt’s Hospital” So-called abstainers In similar fashion, the second soldier added: “On this day of days, when the majority of so-called abstainers usually indulge in a glass of something to pledge their toast, surely we ought to have this privilege granted. “This small portion of rum seems to have been the subject of much discussion but after our experiences do we not deserve it? Down Fritz “In another paragraph we are spoken of as “mere boys”. Well if we are nothing more, I think we have given a good account of ourselves out yonder. We could down Fritz. If that be the case surely we could manage a mere drop of rum and down that also. “If we think anyone is trying to find our matron at fault, we are soon going to stand to and defend her for she, with the rest of the staff, are held in high esteem by all of us. “We know the matron is quite capable of managing her duties in the proper manner and we honour and obey her at all times. “A Boy (without the “mere”), Salt’s Hospital.”
Salt’s Hospital ‘Rum do’ rumbles on
It is with deep regret that we have to record the death of Mr William Dibb of Calverley who passed away on Friday last after a short illness at the advanced age of 81. Mr Dibb was the oldest male resident of the village where he was born in April 1835 and was a weaver who could well remember the days when weaving was done in the homestead. In his younger days he was an enthusiastic church worker and it was his proud boast that he had made the children’s Whitsuntide tea for a period of over 20 years without a break. Later he helped in the village Post Office when occasion required and as recently as a fortnight ago he delivered a telegram in Calverley.
Death of a Calverley hand weaver
A Shipley woman called Sarah Jane Tidewell (married) was fined 6s at the Bradford West riding Police Court yesterday for having a chimney on fire.
After the 6th inst, the collection at 9 p.m. from the pillar and wall boxes will cease to be made. Letters, however, can still be posted at the head office for the supplementary night mails up to 10.30 p.m.
Pte Frank Roberts of Shipley was brought before the West Riding magistrates at Bradford on Monday last for absenting himself from his regiment, the Royal Engineers. P.C. Potter proved the case and prisoner remarked that the reason he had absented himself was that he had been out at the front six months and never had a leave. He was remanded to await a military escort. At the Bradford West Riding Police Court yesterday, Thomas Henry Wright, a Shipley soldier, was charged with being an absentee from the Machine Gun Battalion. He was remanded to await an escort.
Absentee soldiers
Late postal collections
Fined for chimney fire
The accompanying illustration depicts a character well known in this district during the eighties. His name was William Clipstone and he resided at Thackley. He was supposed to have come to Thackley from Leeds and at one time was the policeman at the Leeds Midland Station. Prior to that he had been a soldier. Champagne Charley He was generally spoken of by his familiars as “Champagne Charley” or “Clippy” and being the traveller in this district for one of the leading firms of brewers, and always well if conspicuously dressed, he was notable in more ways than one. For many years Mr Clipstone represented in business the firm of John Smith Ltd of Tadcaster. As may be seen from the photograph, Mr
Clipstone adopted an uncommon style of dress. It was probably much more in keeping with the eighties than it would be of the present time. But his general rig-out was characteristic of the man and in this respect many good stories are told about him. Kilt and paraphernalia Not only was his appearance usually conspicuous but he is said to have appeared on festive occasions – the annual gathering of the Licensed Victuallers, for instance – in the glory of a kilt and the accompanying paraphernalia. Mr Clipstone’s “Lord Dundreary” whiskers, the rake of his hat, the kid glove on one hand, the generous display of watch guard an big seals, the knickerbockers and gaiters, all speak forcibly of the man and something of the period in which he lived.
When ‘Clippy’ stood out from the crowd
At Bradford West Riding Police Court yesterday, Louisa Helen Usher, of Shipley, was summoned for assault against Elizabeth A Davies, of Wood St, Bradford Arms, Shipley. Both women are night workers at the Airedale Combing Company’s Mill. Struck The complainant said that on December 18th at Windhill, the defendant was waiting for her in Wood Street. On seeing her she said “Give me that three shillings or I will do you in.” At the same time she struck the complainant in the eye and the mouth. The court heard corroborative evidence and fined the defendant 20 shilling and costs.
Workmates in court after 3 shilling assault
Idle soldier remanded on bigamy charges
Pte James Edward Ireton, better known as Jimmy, of 5 Booth Street, Bradford Road, Idle, has been committed to the Assizes on a charge of bigamy. The prisoner was charged on remand a week ago at the Bradford Police Court with having, on December 8th, 1916, feloniously married Lizzie Robinson of York, Esther Anne Ireton, to whom he was married at Idle Parish Church, being then alive. Esther Anne Ireton said she lived at 5 Booth Street and was married at Idle Church on December 10th 1912 to James Ireton. She lived with her husband subsequent to her marriage at 3 Union Yard, Idle, for three months and afterwards at her present address. Kept company Her husband went away about March last year; he had enlisted in December 1914 and went away with his regiment. He had been home on leave several times. The last time, she believed, was at the end of September this year. Lizzie Robinson (32) said that she met the prisoner at York. She kept company with him until he went away, about November last year. She went through the ceremony of marriage at Harbour Street Wesleyan Chapel, Bedford and that was the first day she found out he was married. On being asked if he had anything to say, the prisoner replied in the negative.
At Bradford West Riding Police Court yesterday, Jane Laycock of Windhill was summoned under the Lighting Restriction Order. She pleaded guilty and explained that she had been several weeks in hospital. The light was caused by her daughter who had gone upstairs. The case was dismissed on the payment of costs.
Lighting case dismissed