Allegations Against Boatswain not Sustained.


    It will be remembered that at the last Milford Petty Sessions two seamen John Jones (cook) and Edward Cain (deck hand) were charged, that they, being seamen, lawfully engaged on the fishing boat "Elf" did, during their engagement, continue to wilfully disobey the lawful commands of Alfred Ledner, the master of the said boat.

    The men then made serious allegations against the boatswain of the boat saying that he had a bottle of whiskey on board, that he was "mad drunk" and that he violently assaulted Jones.

    The boatswain was not present in court as he was at sea, and the case was adjourned in order that his evidence and that of the excise officer might be heard.

    The case again came up for hearing on Wednesday, and in the meanwhile, the two men had taken out summons against the boatswain for assault.

    Mr. R. T. P. Williams again appeared to prosecute.

    The first witness was Mr. McDermott, excise officer, Milford Haven, and he said that on Thursday, October 28th, Mr. Brand (the owner of the 'Elf') and Captain Ledner came to him with certain complaints, and, as a result, he saw the two defendants the next morning. They said that they would not go to sea owing to the conduct of the boatswain. They said he had assaulted them, but when asked who saw the assault they said that no one had seen it. The boatswain denied the assault and the Skipper said he knew nothing at all about it. They eventually agreed to go to sea.

    A magistrate suggested that the men had already been dealt with by the custom office, but Mr. Williams explained that this was not so.

    Jones (a magistrate): Haven't they tried by the Board of Trade? Mr. Williams: No.

    The assault case against the boatswain was then heard, and the defendant Jones entered the box. He said that on December 28th the boat went out and they had orders to drop anchor. The Captain ordered him to bring something below, and he did as he was told. The boatswain was in the forecastle, and he said to witness "you Welsh bastard." He then took off his jersey and struck witness in the chest with the result that he fell back. He then said: "I'll give you more than that." Witness was afraid of him and ran up and jumped into a boat which was at the side and told the Captain he was going ashore to tell Mr. Brand. He afterwards went back to board at the request of the Skipper. The boatswain, however, would not let the matter drop but followed him aft and said: "You Welsh bastard, I'll break you in two."

    The Chairman (Mr. J. B. Gaskell): Who saw this ?

    Jones replied that several saw it, but they would not come and give evidence.

    Cain, in the witness box, said he had done three trips in the boat before this one. On the day in question, he saw the boatswain go below and drink something out of a bottle. He came on deck, but soon after went below again, and had another "go" at the bottle. Witness made it his business to go and have a look at the bottle. He smelled it and found it contained whiskey. The boatswain, he said, was like a raving lion. When he passed witness his breath "was enough to knock you down". (Laughter). He (Cain) complained to the Skipper about the boatswain's conduct and he seemed to take no notice.

    The boatswain followed him about in a threatening manner, and witness said: "I'm done now, I'm going ashore." The boatswain in the witness box denied that he had any whiskey onboard at all. The whole trouble, he said, was caused by the conduct of Jones, towards his (the witness's) son who was on the ship as a passenger. Jones called him some very foul names, and witness told him not to do that.

    Jones said: "What have you got to do with it," and witness replied: "I'll show you, come on deck, and I'll break you in two." Jones said he had had nothing to do with the boy.

    Cain complained that Mr Brand had 30s. of his wages, which he would not hand over.

    Mr. Brand retorted that the man's wages for three week's amounted to 21, and was how he served him (Mr. Brand) now.

    The Chairman said that the two men would be fined 10s. each, and the summons against the boatswain would be dismissed.