Chaucer Road, Bedford c.1908-1920 [Z1306/10/12/1]
Tuesday 25th January 1916: An argument over stolen fowls has led to court appearances for five Bedford residents. Major William Anderson, a retired army officer of Linden Road, and his sons William Montgomery Anderson, aged 18, and James Douglas Anderson, aged 17, were summoned for an alleged assault on George William Bosworth of Priory Street. John Lee Rayner, aged 15, of Goldington Avenue was also summoned for aiding and abetting the younger William Anderson, and Bosworth himself was cross-summoned for assault.
Bosworth is a carting contractor who rents a field in Chaucer Road where he keeps fowls. He told the court that on Sunday January 16th he went to the field at about 3.45pm; while on his way he was spoken to by a Boy Scout, and as a result went straight to his fowl run where he saw the two younger Andersons and Rayner. He told them he had lost a lot of fowls lately. The young men refused to give him their names and William Anderson struck him with a stick. He took Anderson by the neck, got the stick from him and used it to keep the boys off him. They left and he followed them; after finding out their names he cycled back to his field. Major Anderson and his sons came to the field and the old gentleman struck him across the face and head with a stick without saying a word. A struggle ensued as Bosworth attempted to ward off further blows, during which Major Anderson poked him in the face with the stick and one of the young men hit him with another, leaving blood running down his neck and forehead.
Bernard Eggington, a 14 year old Boy Scout, said that he saw Bosworth swinging a stick to prevent the young men hitting him. When he saw the second attack he fetched some soldiers from a nearby hut. Two soldiers from the 2/1 Herefords and two from the 2/1 Monmouths gave evidence that they had seen the four defendants striking Bosworth, who was stunned and nearly fainted. William M. Anderson stated that Bosworth had accused himself, his brother and Rayner of trespassing and being after his fowls. When Anderson said this was absurd he was hit in the eye and there was a struggle during which Bosworth’s dog bit him. He admitted that in the second fight he struck Bosworth as hard as he could. Major Anderson also admitted striking Bosworth, saying “I think I had great provocation”. The Bench considered that Major Anderson and his elder son William were guilty of a serious assault and fined them £4 and £2 respectively, with £1 costs each. The summonses against James Anderson, Rayner and Bosworth were dismissed.
Source: Bedfordshire Times, 28th January 1916