Monday, 3 September 2018

Absentee Found at Dunstable

Former administration block, Horton Hospital, Epsom [Wikipedia]

Tuesday 3rd September 1918: Mrs Rosetta Balchin, of Great Northern Road, Dunstable, has appeared at Dunstable Police Court charged with unlawfully concealing Private Mansell, an absentee from the Military Hospital Asylum at Epsom, who had previously been billeted with her. Police Sergeant Palmer said that he and Police Constable Paxton went to the house at 11 p.m. on August 6th and said they believed there was an absentee there. She admitted there was, and he found Mansell on a bed made up on the floor in one of the back rooms, in uniform. She admitted she had tried to keep his presence quiet.

Police Constable Paxton said that about the end of February Mansell had been billeted at his house, and had asked if he could stay at his old billet. P.C. Paxton would not agree, but Mansell had stayed with Mrs Balchin one weekend in six. At the end of April she said Mansell had been to her house and gone again. She was worried about him because he was “very peculiar in his mind”, and promised to let the police know if he returned. One morning she brought them a letter which she said Mansell had sent from Windsor Hospital. She said she was surprised when Mansell came to her house and had no idea he was an absentee. She was very busy at the time as she had friends at her house, and had no intention of doing wrong. Mrs Balchin’s husband, a soldier, read a letter his wife had sent him, in which she said that she heard groaning at about 11.30pm, went out and found Mansell, who was ill. The case was dismissed, and Mrs Balchin was warned to be more careful.

Source: Luton News, 5th September 1918

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