LOOK BACK IN TIME: 5 April 1919

The IW Observer published on 5th April, 1919 recounts this tale about a former soldier who lost his temper and started smashing things up, apparently acting on the instructions of his late mother. The episode saw him sentenced to three months hard labour, which cannot have been easy for a man with only one leg!


At Newport, on Saturday, before Mr. G. Sheldon, (Chairman), and a full bench.


William Gosden, a one-legged shoemaker, of Freshwater, who has formerly served in the Roy-al Garrison Artillery, was summoned for wilful damage. – His aged father, James Gosden, of New Village Freshwater, said on December 12th, last, defendant, who had been living with him up till that time, suddenly in a fit of temper, began smashing the things indoors with his crutch, breaking a large overmantel, pictures, ornaments, lamps, and crockeryware all to smith-ereens, and afterwards he went to work with the windows, breaking all the glass. He had been given no provocation. The things he did break did not belong to the defendant. Defendant went away after doing the damage. – P.C. Clark said that on visiting the house at the request of the last witness, he saw a gilt-frame looking glass, a number of pictures, and a quantity of crock-ery, ornaments etc., lying about being smashed, the whole place having being turned upside down, and every window in the house was broken. Later he saw defendant who said, “I meant to get my own back. That is the way to do it.”

When told the glass could not be replaced for £10, defendant said, “That is the way they should serve the Germans.” – Defendant said the things were left him by his mother, but his father and sister were removing things from the home and doing everything to annoy him. He said his mother told him that if there was any dispute he was to smash and burn the lot. – Defendant, who had several previous convictions against him, was now sentenced to three months’ hard labour.