1916, 29 January – Batley News

This is a round-up of pieces from this week’s Batley News relating to the parishioners of St Mary’s. As usual I have put in bold the names of those connected to the parish who served with the military. And, as ever, the spelling and punctuation matches that of the newspaper.

In Home Front news two parishioners, Thomas Cullen and Patrick Foley (brother of St Mary’s War Memorial man Thomas Foley), were in court for a Defence of the Realm Liquor Control offence at the West End Hotel.

Councillor “Jack” Rogers’ Early Morning Guests.
Attested Man Who Wanted to Join a Cavalry Regiment.

A series of cases under the Defence of the Realm (Liquor Control) Order, in respect of the supply and consumption of liquor on the premises of the West End Hotel during prohibited hours, was heard by Batley Magistrates on Monday. The allegation against John Rogers, the licensee, was that he supplied the liquor; whilst his barman, Thomas Cullen, of 15, Kent Street, and a miner named Patrick Foley, 86, New Street, were each summoned because they consumed the liquor during prohibited hours. Mr. Henry Whitfield entered a plea of guilty on behalf of all defendants.

Mr. F. M. Farmer, from the Solicitors’ Department of the West Riding County Council, prosecuted. He explained that about 2 a.m. on Monday, December 31st, several police officers heard voices in the commercial room, which was in darkness. There was some conversation about cavalry regiments. Rogers was then heard to say, “Fill those three glasses.” The bar was lighted up, and Sergeant Hebden saw Cullen leave the commercial room and go into the bar. Cullen poured something out of a bottle into one glass, and something out of another bottle into the other two glasses, which he also held under the hot water urn. He then returned to the commercial room with the glasses on a tray. The door of the hotel was locked, but when the police tried it Cullen opened it and admitted them. The police went to the commercial room, which was still in darkness, and the light was switched on. Rogers had a glass in his hand, and on the table were two others, warm. When the police smelt they found rum in two glasses, and Sergeant Hebden remarked on the fact. Rogers said, “Yes, mine is a whiskey, and those two are rum.” The sergeant told Rogers he ought not to have the men consuming liquor on the premises at that time, and drew his attention to a copy of the Order, on the wall over Rogers’ head. The officer referred to the section which forbade the supply and consumption of the liquor on the premises during prohibited hours, and Rogers said, “Yes, that’s right.”

When the men were told they would be reported, Rogers said “Well, all right. We have had some drink. I shall not sacrifice my principles as a private person. Paddy is my friend. I asked him in, and I shall plead ignorance. He has been attested under Lord Derby’s scheme, and I have been advising him to join a cavalry regiment.” Cullen made no reply, but Foley said, “Well, sergeant, you haven’t seen us drink.” Rogers then said, “Nay, Paddy, you all had a drink. I gave you one.”

Mr. Farmer pointed out that, as a penalty of £100 was provided for a breach of the Order, the authorities regarded it as a serious matter, and it was hoped the result of the proceedings would be to let the public see the Order must be observed. Under the old Order of the Justices, it was held that a landlord could treat his friends, but the Control Board’s Order specifically prohibited it.

Mr. Whitfield: Not specifically.
Mr Farmer: I maintain it does.
Mr Whitfield: Read the words then. We have pleaded guilty, you know.

Mr. Farmer: I am bearing that in mind. There is a clause in the Order in which, except during the specified hours, “No person shall either be himself or by any servant or agent sell or supply to any person in any licensed premises or club any intoxicating liquor to be consumed on the premises.” I submit, therefore, it is specifically forbidden. In this case the defendant said, “I shall plead ignorance.” I think it is quite time such ignorance was dispelled and the public came to understand that this Order must be obeyed.

Sergeant Hebden gave evidence to confirm Mr. Farmer’s statement.

Mr. Whitfield: Mr. Rogers did not attempt to hide any facts from you?

Witness: No sir; he was perfectly straight.

For the defence, Mr. Whitfield said that undoubtedly Mr. Rogers committed a technical offence, and it was simply a question of the circumstances under which it was committed. Everybody knew Mr. Rogers’ position in the town. “As a Town Councillor,” Mr. Whitfield added, “he is consulted from time to time on points about which neither Mr. Rogers nor myself knows anything, but he has to talk to those who consult him.” On the night in question Mr. Rogers had been amongst his friends, and returned to Batley by the last train from Dewsbury. It was in the early hours of the morning when he arrived at the hotel, and Foley, who had been looking for him since ten o’clock, was waiting outside the hotel to consult him. Foley’s brother Thomas had been killed after receiving the D.C.M., and he wished to ask Mr. Rogers for advice about Thomas’s effects. Moreover, Foley had been attested under Lord Derby’s scheme and wanted to join the Army apart from that fact, and he thought Mr. Rogers would be able to tell him the best regiment he could join. The fact the police heard talk about “a cavalry regiment” showed that to be true.

There was no concealment about the matter. Mr. Rogers discussed the affair with Foley in a room which came right up to the pavement, and the conversation could easily be heard outside. The moment the police knocked at the door they were allowed to enter and the drink was produced. Mr. Rogers thought all the time he was acting within the bounds of the law. Under the Order of the Batley Justices – which is nothing like so drastic as that of the Control Board – it was possible for a man to have his own friends in his house and supply them with liquor at his own expense; and if the Batley Order had been still in force, Mr. Rogers’ action would not have been an offence. It was a pity so many orders had been issued. He (Mr. Whitfield) had no quarrel with the Control Board’s Order, as he believed it was helping the country to win the war; but Mr. Rogers had in his mind the belief that he had a perfect right to ask Foley into his own house and give him and the barman a drink. Mr. Rogers came to the Court with absolutely clean hands. He was a responsible person, and he would be sorry if thorough his action a conviction was recorded against Foley and Cullen.

Mr. Whitfield therefore asked the Bench to deal with them under the Probation of Offenders Act and not to register a conviction against them. As the offence was purely technical, he also asked the Bench to treat the case against Mr. Rogers generously. It was not a serious offence, and he was sure the Bench were not going to be unreasonable under the circumstances.

The Bench privately considered their decision for a considerable time. The Mayor, Councillor Ben Turner, announced that after much cogitation, they had decided to impose penalties of £10 upon Mr. Rogers, 20s. on Cullen, and 10s. upon Foley.

The Magistrates were B. Turner, Mayor; Joe Auty, T. W. Collett, W. H. Childe, and W. J. R. Fox, Esqrs.

The school featured this week:

Much sympathy will be felt, especially in the Roman Catholic community, with Mr. Joseph Haynes, headmaster of St. Mary’s R.C. School, in an illness which will keep him from his duties for two or three months. Miss Matthews has been asked to take temporary charge of the Boys’ Department for two or three weeks, at £2 a week, pending the appointment of a more permanent teacher,

The death notices included two where the funeral services were conducted on 26 January by parish priest Fr Lea:

NAYLOR. —On the 24th inst., aged 4 years, George, son of Charles W. N. Naylor, Cross Bank Road.

PRENDERGAST. —On the 25th inst., aged 14 months, Thomas Prendergast, 73, Cobden Street.

There were of course some military stories too. A piece focusing on the Batley and Birstall Skelly soldier cousins illustrated how families across the district had multiple members serving in the military.

Catholic Young Man Commended
(Special to the “News.”)

Private Frank Skelley, one of a batch of Birstall and Batley cousins who are Catholics and soldiers, has been highly spoken of by his superiors, and there is hope that his good work may be signalised.

His parents are dead, and in peace times he lives with his sisters, Misses Minnie and Sarah Ellen Skelley, Chandler Hill, Birstall. An Old Boy of the Catholic School there, he is a member of [the] United Irish League. For a time he lived with an uncle in Batley, and at that time was associated with St. Mary’s, Cross Bank.

He joined the Miners’ Battalion a year ago, and eventually went to the Front. His brother Ambrose, aged 19, is also training with the Miners’ Battalion.

They have a cousin-soldier, Private John Skelley, whose enlistment dates back to August 5th, 1914, and he is the son of Mr. Dan Skelley. Another cousin is Bombardier John Skelley, son of Mr. Thos. Skelley, a Batley metal broker;1 and another cousin in khaki is Private Patsy Skelley, son of Mr. Jas. Skelley, The Cutting, Howden Clough. Thomas Skelley himself served for a time in the Army 32 years ago; and besides his artilleryman son he has two lads attested.

Private Frank Skelley is a smart young fellow of about 26, employed in peace-days at Nostell collieries; and he has passed two examinations to qualify as a deputy. Before going to Nostell he worked at the West Yorkshire pit, at the Gildersome end of Birstall. He has been in a gas attack whilst at the Front.

Harry Battye, the brother of War Memorial man Edmund Battye, served with the Australian Imperial Force, Harry wrote to his sister-in-law in Batley, the wife of his step-brother, Private John Thomas Fitzpatrick.

Batleyite Longs to See Old Home
Four Months With Australians in Dardanelles
(Exclusive to the “News”)

Mrs. Fitzpatrick, New Street, Batley, wife of Private John Thos. Fitzpatrick, who is with the local Territorials at the Front, has received a letter from one of his soldier step-brothers, Bugler Harry Battye, from a hospital in Egypt. The bugler is a son of Mr. and the late Mrs. Jack Battye, Field Head Lane, Birstall, formerly of Ward’s Hill, Batley; and on leaving St. Mary’s R.C. School, Cross Bank, he worked for a time at Howley Park Colliery. His brother, Pte. Edmund Battye, was one of the seven Heavy Woollen District Territorials who were drowned at Gainsboro’; and another brother, Private Benjamin Battye, is on his way to the Near East. Bugler Battye says:-

I saw something in the paper you sent me of an Australian soldier who had been in Batley, and another bit about any photos being acceptable for the “Batley News.” There are a lot of Batley lads out here where we are, and they would be glad to see the paper when their friends send copies out to the Front. I was in the landing with the 3rd Brigade of Australians, and was there 18 weeks, till I came back to Egypt sick, but I shall rejoin my regiment shortly, at a place unknown, to do a bit more fighting.

I hope I shall see Batley again when this war is over, and when I do get back we will have a good time again. You don’t know how I am longing to see the old home again. It is five years and a few months since I left, and everything will have changed. I have had a parcel from England, with sweets, biscuits, cigs, and a very nice letter.

Harry Battye

1. Suspect this should read Joseph, not John.