Monday, 29 June 2015

Bringing His Majesty's Uniform Into Contempt

Postcard 1914-1918 [Z1306/36]

Tuesday 29th June 1915: Isabella Knight of Luton has appeared before the Dunstable Bench charged with wearing uniform of the Royal Engineers in a manner likely to bring contempt upon it. At around 7pm last Wednesday Private McGuigan of the 2/5th Sherwood Foresters (military police) was in Dunstable High Street with Private Albert Holmes of the 2/7th Sherwood Foresters when he was told about Miss Knight. He went to Prosperous Row and saw her wearing a pair of military trousers, jumping and dancing with other women in an unseemly fashion. He asked her to go indoors and take off the trousers, but she said she would not and told him it was none of his business. Miss Knight continued to dance about the road and then climbed over a wall.

Police Constable Tingey said he was in St. Mary’s Street and saw a crowd gather at the corner of Bull Pond Lane. He later went to Knight’s house with Private McGuigan. They asked how she came into possession of the trousers. She said first that her mother had bought them, and then that her mother had got them to mend. The trousers had a stamped number on them and belonged to the Royal Engineers stationed at Houghton Regis. When told that she would be summoned for bringing His Majesty’s uniform into contempt the young woman replied “I don’t mind if you do”.

The Clerk of the Court said Miss Knight was always getting into trouble and the Mayor reminded her that the last time she was there she had been given a severe warning, but leniency did not induce her to do right. She was warned that unless she changed her way of living she would come to a bad end and told this was a much more serious offence than she imagined. The Bench wished to give her another chance but could not overlook the offence entirely so sentenced her to 14 days in prison. The girl was led away sobbing.

Source: Luton News, 1st July 1915

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