News paper article Friday 20th February 1942
VICAR SHUTS DOOR ON W.A.A.F.’s
Night scene at Haroldston – “We have made our sacrifice” – He Says
Defence Raises Legal Point
Rev. Vaughan B. Morris, The Vicarage, Haroldston, West Broad Haven, was charged at Roose Sessions at Haverfordwest on Saturday for failing to comply with billeting notices issued under the Defence Regulations.
Mr. W.J. Williams, solicitor, Haverfordwest, represented the defendant, who did not appear.
P.C. Rowe (Little Haven) said at 4p.m. on December 11th, in company with Flying Officer Haines, he called at the Vicarage, Haroldston West, to find billets for W.A.A.F.s, who would be arriving the following day. Defendant’s wife answered the door and, when asked, said her husband was in the house. She went back to get him and, when the Vicar came out Flying Officer Haines informed him it was his intention to billet some W.A.A.F.s in the Vicarage. To this the Rev. Morris replied “I’m not taking anyone in. We have made our sacrifice, my son is in the R.A.F., and another thing, I am not going to take anyone in until Summers, Rosehill, get them. I’ll go to court first.”
Witness said he served the Vicar with the billeting notice informing him that two W.A.A.F.s would be billeted on him on December 12th. At 8.50. p.m. on the 12th, in company of Flying Officer Haines and two W.A.A.F.s with their kit, he went to The Vicarage and informed defendant he brought along two W.A.A.F.s. Defendant said, “I’m not taking them in,” and closed the door.
“I have been to The Vicarage on two previous occasions and the defendant has adopted a similar attitude,” added the constable.
Mr. Phillips Williams: That does not relate to this charge.
Cross examining, Mr. Phillips Williams asked: asked: Did he tell you when you had filled up other places you could come back to The Vicarage?
P.C. Rowe: He did on previous occasions but not this time.
“CHIEF OFFICER OF POLICE”
Mr. Williams addressing the bench, took appoint on the interpretation of the Billeting Notice. He said it was stated quite definitely this duty should be exercised and performed by the Chief Officer of Police. P.C. Rowe was not a Chief Officer of Police, and had no power to sign the Billeting Notice, which he had done, nor maybe serve it.
Supt. “Ben Williams.” I am the Chief Officer of the Police for this district and he is acting on my instructions.
“The Chief Officer of Police is not defined,” commented the Clerk (Col. G.T. Kelway) studying the notice.
Mr. Phillips Williams: There is a definition of a Chief Officer of Police in the Police Pensions Act 1921.
Supt. Williams: That relates only to police pensions.
Mr. Williams: A distinction is drawn between a Chief Officer of Police and a constable under the Defence Regulations.
“Is the signing of the notice your only defence?” asked the Chairman (Miss M. Berkin).
Mr. Williams replied that he was submitting the notice, had not complied with the statutory requirements in the signing and maybe the service (original text to be deciphered from bad photo copy)
The Chairman: Do you interpret it that the Chief Officer of Police himself has to go round and cannot depute one of his staff to do the work for him.
Mr. Williams: Sub-section H. Reads that any officer so authorised not below the rank of Squadron Leader may issue a billeting requisition order under his hand, citing the Chief Officer of Police.
The Clerk: The notice is addressed to the Chief Officer of police for Little Haven.
“If P.C. Rowe is a Chief Officer of police there is nothing in my point observed Mr. Williams.
Supt. Williams: He is the Chief Officer of police for Little Haven.
The Clerk: The whole thing turns on who is the Chief Officer of police? Unless the court can be satisfied that P.C. Rowe is a Chief Officer of police for that area it is bound to fail.
Supt. Williams: He is the only police officer in that district and he would be the Chief of Police for that particular area.
The Clerk: That sounds a bit thin to me.
Supt. Williams: The Chief Constable is the Chief Officer for the county and it is not feasible that he should have to sign all these documents.
“I will have to look up the Air Force Act to see if there is a definition in that Act of Chief Officer of police,” observed the Clerk.
Mr Phillips Williams: I found great difficulty in getting anything at all.
“Is there any othe defence if this case is adjourned?” enquired Col. Kelway.
Mr Phillips Williams: If this point is decided against me I will plead guilty and make an address on the extenuating circumstances.
The Bench adjourned the case for a month – “to clear up this very notty Point,” stated the Chairman.