Wednesday, December 04, 2013

"My name is Manoa"

Wales may have some of the dullest children politicians in Europe but at least it has decent online-history resources - this one covering Wales and the First World War is a recent example.  Maybe the search could do with some tweaking but all is forgiven when you come across headlines like this, from the Brecon County Times of 25th February 1915:

The unfortunate individual imprisoned under the Defence of the Realm Act was a Bugeildy labourer, one Manoah Davies.  His employer - a local farmer - had passed on a recruiting card, which Davies then handed back, but not before adding the following pencilled comments:

Why should I serve in the Army?  I have no country - Germany for ever!
Let England be a German republic and not pay £1000 a week to King.

Soon Sergeant Bufton of the Radnorshire Constabulary was on Manoah's trail and his admission that "I can't disown my own writing" saw him up before the Knighton beaks.  Coltman Rogers, the chairman of the Court pointed out that Davies could easily have been court-martialed for his display of disaffection towards the king and that in Germany he would most certainly have been executed.  After a suitable amount of huffing and puffing Davies was imprisoned for a month.

I doubt if Manoah was a man of principle, after all he apologised to the court for his actions.  More likely he was a bit of a smart-aleck.  Just three months later Manoah was summoned by the Knighton Guardians, accused of being the father of an illegitimate child.  Davies did not attend the hearing but sent a note saying he would "pay nine pence a week, or as an alternative if the registrar will put up the banns free will take the lot."  Unimpressed by this unromantic proposal of marriage the Guardians ordered that he pay 3/6 a week until the child was fourteen.

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