The Curious Case of James Morgan's South Africa Medal 1 month 4 weeks ago #71329
....An odd court case with conflicting evidence, centred around a missing South Africa medal, belonging to James Morgan, regiment unknown (South Wales Borderers?), with two witnesses who also had South Africa medals - Bertie Courthoys and Lot Phillips. Was the missing medal lost, pawned, or stolen?
....Is James Morgan's medal known to still exist?
….The Michaelmas Quarter Sessions of the Peace for the County of Monmouth opened at the Sessions House, Usk, on Wednesday [21.10.1903]…………
A CURIOUS CHEPSTOW CASE.….Charles Henry Lewis (on bail), 22, labourer, was charged with stealing a South African medal and a Royal Humane Society medal, value 10s, the property of James Morgan, at Matherne, on the 31st March.
….Prisoner pleaded not guilty and said "he never had no medal at all."
….Mr Micklethwaite prosecuted, and in opening the case said prisoner was the brother-in-law of the prosecutor, who had been awarded the medals, the subject of the charge. In March last prosecutor was ill at his home at Pwllmyric, and was visited by the prisoner, to whom he showed his medals. When he got up from his bed of sickness the medals were missing. Prisoner was subsequently seen by two soldiers, both of whom had South African medals, in public-houses at Chepstow wearing his brother-in-law's medals. They spoke to him about it, and the result seemed to have been a fight, for prisoner was found by P.S. Groves bleeding.
….Prosecutor stated that prisoner was the only male friend who visited him while he was in bed. Witness's young lady, whom he had since married, had also visited him. He showed prisoner the medals, and when he got up he missed them.
….Cross-examined by Mr Bosanquet, who defended, prosecutor denied that he had seen the medals since. His mother did not give him the bronze medal before he went to Newport in April to get married.
….His mother told him she had mislaid them.
….Bertie Courthoys, labourer, who had a South African medal, spoke to seeing prisoner with the prosecutor's medals on in the Rummer Inn, Chepstow, on the 29th August. He was sure one was the South African medal.
….Lot Phillips, labourer, who wore the South African medal, said that on the 29th August he was in the Pine Apple Inn, Chepstow, and saw prisoner there. He was wearing the South African medal and another bronze medal having a blue ribbon. Witness told prisoner to take the medals off, as he had no right to wear them. Witness knew that he had been a soldier, but he had not been to the front. When witness spoke to him, he buttoned his coat and walked out. Witness went after him and told him to take the medals off, or "he would punch them off." Prisoner took the medals off and put them in his pocket, and they had "a bit of a scuffle." Witness told him to take the medals back to his brother-in-law.
….P.S. Groves deposed that on the 28th August the prisoner came to him and complained of having been assaulted at the Pine Apple. Witness went with him to the house, and saw a man who said to prisoner: "You ought not to wear your brother-in-law's medals." Witness asked prisoner if the row was about medals, and he replied in the negative. On the 4th September, witness arrested him at Stroat, in Gloucestershire, and charged him with the theft of the two medals, which he denied, stating that they were Coronation medals which he had bought. He could not, however, produce the medals to prove his statement.
….The defence was that the medals which prisoner was seen wearing were Coronation medals, which he had had in his possession for a long time, and that for some freak he pinned them on his coat on the day in question. The medals were subsequently lost.
….Mrs Morgan, mother of the prosecutor, and prisoner's mother-in-law, said she only saw the bronze medal (Humane Society) in the house, and she did not know what had become of the other one. Her son got married in April, and previous to that, when going to Newport to see his sweetheart, he asked her to fetch him the bronze medal, which she did.
….Elizabeth Ann Morgan, prosecutor's sister, gave corroborative evidence, and prisoner went into the box and asserted that he never had prosecutor's medals. Those he wore were Coronation medals which were purchased some time ago.
….His wife also spoke to his having had such medals.
….In the result the jury found prisoner not guilty, and he was discharged.
The County Observer, Saturday 24th October 1903
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