More from those Troublesome Aliens as Mrs Ellen Dyer of Summerland Street is brought before the bench for failing to register two Belgian musicians who were lodging with her in this article from the North Devon Herald…
At the Barnstaple Borough Sessions on Thursday, before the Mayor (Councillor F. A. Jewell), Messer. H. Barrett, G. T. Andrew, W. Fisher, and A. Bradford, Ellen Dyer, of 10 Summerland-street, Barnstaple, keeper of a lodging-house was summoned for unlawfully failing to register two aliens staying at her house on February 20th, contrary to the Aliens Restriction Amendment Order, 1915. -Defendant pleaded guilty.
The Chief Constable (Mr. R. S. Eddy) explained that the proceedings were taken under the Aliens Restriction Amendment Act, 1915, Article 3, of which provided that it should be the duty of a keeper of a hotel, lodging-house, etc., to ascertain and enter into a register the names and nationality of all persons over the age of 14 years staying at the hotel, lodging-house, etc., who were aliens, giving the dates of their arrival and departure and their destination at the time of their departure. On the 20th February two Belgian musical artists came to Barnstaple with his permission from another part of the country. They registered at the Police Station on the 20th, giving their address as 10 Summerland-street. On the 26th February Inspector Tucker, with the knowledge that aliens were living at 10, Summerland-street, called on Mrs Dyer and asked to see the register. She told him she did not know anything about it. As a matter of fact those regulations had been published in all the local newspapers, and repeated warnings had been given. Although that was the first case that had come before the Bench, it was by no means the first case in the neighbourhood. When they knew that the penalty for contravention of that order was anything up to six months’ imprisonment or a fine of £100, they would realise the absolute necessity of people complying with the order. The two aliens in question, when they went to Mrs. Dyer to obtain rooms, asked her to supply them with the forms on which to enter necessary particulars. Mrs. Dyer, although asked to supply the forms, refused to get any or trouble anything further about it. They were there from February 21st to February 26th. When the inspector called she said she would get some forms. He had brought those proceedings to again call the attention of the public to the necessity of people taking lodgers registering them. He brought it forward as a warning to householders in Barnstaple, and if it was found that they did not carry out the order further proceedings would be instituted.
Inspector W. H. Tucker said that on February 20th two Belgian musical artistes came to the station and registered, giving their address as 10 Summerland-street. Calling on the 26th to ask Mrs. Dyer if they were staying there and if he could see the forms of the registration, she replied that she had not got any forms, and he pointed out to her that it was her duty to obtain the necessary forms, handing them to each person staying there, and to see that the necessary particulars were filled in, and on their leaving further particulars as to date of departure and destination must be given. She said they asked her for a form, but she told them she had not got any. She did not intend taking in anybody. The Belgians told her that they had been to the Police Station, but he explained to her that that did not free her from her duty to register them. She asked him if he would call later she would get the forms meanwhile, and get her lodgers to fill them up.
The Chief Constable explained that Barnstaple was a prohibited area, and no aliens could come there without his permission. Not only aliens, but the British people had to fill in those forms if they were lodgers. They did not know what trouble they would get into if they did not enforce the carrying out of those regulations.
Mrs. Dyer, defence, said she knew nothing whatever about it. The gentlemen told her she must get the proper papers signed before they left, but she knew nothing about the papers, and did not know what they meant when they asked her. When the inspector explained the matter to her she saw to it at once.
The Chief Constable: These forms must be filled in immediately on arrival. They asked Mrs. Dyer at the time for those forms, and she neglected for a whole week to get them. She cannot plead ignorance, for they asked for the forms.
The Mayor said the Bench had decided to impose a fine of 10s. They considered the case quite a right and proper on for the Chief Constable to bring forward. It was a most serious thing for aliens not to register, especially in such times as we were living in now. He was requested to say that in the event of any similar case coming before them they would not deal with it so leniently as they had dealt with that case.
The transcript was taken from the North Devon Herald 23rd March 1916 page 6 columns e. This just one of many articles about North Devon’s experiences during World War One published in the local newspapers. For more visit our North Devon War Items Album on our Facebook Page…Barum Athena