Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Whipping Boys

Wednesday 10th January 1917: Three Bedford boys aged 15, 13 and 10, were charged with stealing two kit bags worth £3 from billets at 50 Clapham Road. The billets had recently been vacated and when men came to clear-up found that the bags had gone. The men found the boys with the goods on a truck. Although considered a serious offence, it was the boys’ first appearance in court. One boy’s father had been killed in service, and the other two fathers were still serving in the Army. The Chief Constable offered to drop the case, provided that the mothers of the boys consented to them being whipped as punishment. The mothers agreed, and after the boys received a verbal reprimand, they were sent to the Police Station for a whipping.

The Chief Constable pointed out that stealing and bringing home soldiers’ outfits could be dealt with very severely under the Army Act. 

Source: Bedford Record 09/01/1917

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