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Wartime Misdemeanours
Diagrams like this one of a German Messerschmitt Me 109 aircraft
were obviously a welcome aid to those Bletchley lads
intent on stealing parts when one crashed in the town.

Sunday Citizen January 26, 2003

This week we take a look at how times have changed in punishment for criminal activities by turning the clock back 60 years to World War Two.

We start with the tale of three Bletchley boys who received six strokes of the birch when all they'd done was smash their way into a railway hut and pinch a few inconsequential items, (not to mention a yellow flag, binoculars and cooking utensils).

Although this was not the first time they had been in trouble, with a shameful disregard of their personal dignity at their appearance at the Juvenile Court, they were fold they were a disgrace to their parents and the town.

Meanwhile, other culprits were also proving a nuisance by stealing pieces off a Messerschmitt Me 109, displayed in the grounds of the Bletchley Road Senior School.

However, perhaps this was understandable in view of being charged 3d to sit in the cockpit.

In other misdoings, by contravening the blackout regulations, a fine of 7s 6d was imposed on Mr Judge for cycling without a light at 1115pm.

Asked to explain himself, he brightly countered that he couldn't keep his oil lamp alight in the wind - hardly surprising since he didn't have any matches.

Also contravening the regulations, a resident of Park Street was more than a mite miffed when fined £1, with 5s costs, for 'displaying a light from a chimney'. The pots had caught fire.

In an excuse worthy of our present railway authorities, he suggested that perhaps 'the sweep's rods could not have been long enough'!

Evacuees sometimes proved an unwitting problem, as a woman at Brooklands Farm discovered to her cost. Attending to the blackout, she was suddenly distracted by thoughts of a steak and kidney pudding, that was on the boil for her evacuees supper.

Rushing to move the saucepan, she completely forgot about the blackout and promptly earned herself a £1 fine, when she switched on the light.

Of more pleasing matters, the caring side of youth paid a welcome visit when the Methodist Youth Circle discussed 'drink problems in wartime', whilst at the annual distribution, prizes were presented to members of the Baptist Church Sunday School.

Helping to steer the young on the straight, and narrow, it was decided to form a Bletchley youth organisation, for those not involved with the ex-isting movement.

Six boys had been hauled before the Juvenile Court for taking sandbags from houses and piling them up in the road and their defence was not greatly helped by the fact that during the blackout the local Pc had crashed into the heap, chainwheel and crossbar.

Even some local traders were up to no good, including a local licensee who swapped one bar for a complete set of bars when he was caught trading meat on the black market.

At least in name, another character then proved worthy of his produce when caught flogging dodgy duck eggs at above the maximum . price. He'd palmed them off to an unsuspecting lady on condition that she didn't bring them back, which she didn't, for on finding every single one to be bad she went straight to the Bletchley Food Office instead.

During his consequent interview, the trader admitted he had bought 45 duck eggs for 9s but couldn't remember who he'd bought them from. Perhaps the fine of £2 with £1 6s costs helped jog his memory.

Another shopkeeper also came a cropper when he tried to sell a jar of sweet pickles at above the regulation price. Just his luck, the cus¬tomer turned out to be an assistant from the Chief Inspector's Office!

As for Mr Kemp of Bengal Farm, fortune had certainly gone walkies the day he let his cows go walkies through a gap in a rotten fence. Off they trundled to Mr Speed's house, at 146 Buckingham Road, where in contented fashion they promptly 'ate everything in the garden'. .

Before Mr Speed and Mr Kemp could lock horns, however, a fine of £5 sorted out the matter.

Cows in the garden were one thing but tanks down the back lanes were quite another, unfor-tunately with tragic results. On army manoeu¬vres, just off the Buckingham Road, a lieutenant was directing one of his tanks into a gateway when there was an almighty crash.

Coming round the bend, a motorcyclist had smashed headlong into the parked traffic and was thrown under the tracks of the tank. One of the army personnel died from the consequent injuries.