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NOSTALGIA: French Colonel came to Britain to help with harvest and was arrested!

Two of the area's fallen this week in 1917.
Two of the area's fallen this week in 1917.

A gallant colonel of the French Army had a most unpleasant experience in Holbeach, but one apparently unavoidable owing the stringent regulations in force in prohibited areas.

The French officer, after active service with the French Army on the Western Front, was invalided out of the service and came to London as French master at a grammar school.

Under the scheme for the employment of public school boys on the land, a batch of 50 boys from the grammar school were brough to Holbeach St Marks for the potato harvest and the colonel accompanied them.

Shortly after the arrival of the Frenchman, acting on advice, he was reported to the police and it was discovered that he did not have in his possession the identitiy book required by the Aliens Registration Order and this being an offence, had to be charged.

On learning that he was to be arrested, the colonel was highly indignant and volubly entered his protest.

He had come, he said, after fighting for the Allies, to help the English gather their harvest - and he was locked up.

He considered this grossly unfair.

In France, he declared, English officers were welcomed and treated with the utmost respect.

The formal arrest having been carried out at Holbeach, Alderman R Merry JP was sent for and in reply to the charge, the French colonel said he was not aware he required any further papers other than those given to him in France.

It was ultimately arranged that the colonel should be remanded and allowed to go to London to secure the necessary papers.

Bail was fixed by the magistrate at the large sum of £500, a personal surety of £250 and one other of a similar amount.

Flyer’s mid-air drama as bomb fails to drop

A well-known local airman, who remained nameless, described a serious contre-temps which happened when bombing an enemy aerodrome.

His bomb, when released, caught up on part of his machine and there hung.

To land the plane meant explosion and certain death.

To reach the bomb, meant a giddy attempt in mid-air on an unguided machine.

The airman solved the conundrum by kicking a hole through the floor of the plane, and hooking the bomb free, much to his relief and gratification.

All white for bird-spotters

A perfect white swallow was observed at Wigtoft, flying around the fields near the vicarage.

A white crow, starling and even blackbird had been seen previously, but never a swallow.

Free Press filed at city library

In its 70th year, the Lincolnshire Free Press was regularly filed and bound at theBritish Museum in London.

This was since and including the first edition of the paper, of October 5, 1847, to the ‘present time’ - August 1917.

A jump too far

Young Master R Sellers met with an accident while practising his jumping in Gosberton.

He slipped and fractured his wrist. and the Free Press hoped he wouldn’t be deterred in future.


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