HOW R.S.M. R.J. SWANSTON, BERWICK WON HIS D.C.M
The official account has now been issued as how R.S.M. R. J. Swanston, 7th (Ind.) Div. M.G. Batt., M.G.C., Berwick, earned his D.C.M. R.S.M. Swanston, who was one of the original 7th N.F. mobilised at the outbreak of war, has been very reticent as to what he did to win the medal. He is the son of Mr and Mrs Swanston, Woolmarket, Berwick, and has recently returned to work with his former employers – Messrs W. Elder and Sons.
The official record is as follows: – “For conspicuous gallantry during the attack on Beit Lidd on 20th September, 1918. When all his men had become casualties, he continued by himself to carry up ammunition to his sections under very heavy fire. Throughout the day he, by his coolness and gallantry, under trying circumstances, set a very fine example to all.”
During the last little bit they have been laying underground telephone wires in the Berwick streets and the officials of the Electric Supply Coy. have been trying to trace faults in their cable. To the outsider it seemed a lengthy and fairly difficult business. At Wallace Green Literary Society on Monday night, Mr A. C. A. Steven explained how they did that sort of thing at the front under shellfire. With the help of maps and diagrams, he showed what a huge network of lines there was, and how communication was always being interrupted by explosions. For the most part the cables were buried, and repairs were carried through at night.
As a captured German map showed, the positions of these cables was known to the enemy, who had their range and tried, with a good deal of success, to destroy them in the daytime, and to put the men repairing them out of action at night. Mr Steven’s modest narrative made plain how much the Army owed to its technical experts, and what a lot there was to do at the front besides fighting. Another of Mr Steven’s interesting exhibits was a parcel of German propaganda newspapers, which were floated across the British lines by balloon. Mr Jardine was evidently the fittest member of the audience to propose a vote of thanks, and the Padre fully rose to the occasion.
HIS QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE POST
It is interesting to know that there were 12 applications for the position, and after the Committee had gone through all the applicants’ testimonials, a short leet of three was selected. Mr Douglas S. Twigg and Mr T. Ross Pratt were interviewed last Thursday at Berwick, when the Committee were highly satisfied with the information then laid before them.
Mr Twigg, who is a Yorkshireman, is at present Assistant Solicitor to the Corporation of the County Borough of Bournemouth, and he has previously held appointments as Assistant Solicitor to the Corporation of the city of York, and a like position coupled with the Deputy Clerkship of the Peace of Merthyr Tydvil.
He is 33 years of age, and has had sixteen years’ legal and local Government experience. While at Bournemouth he has carried through the purchase of two estates for housing purposes and has conducted the correspondence with the Ministry of Health and Housing Commissioner relative to obtaining of the necessary approval to the scheme and the sanction to loans. Mr Twigg has attended meetings of the Council and the Committees and has conducted the whole of the Police Court cases of the Corporation and is thoroughly familiar with the work of a Town Clerk’s office. Mr Twigg is expected to take up his duties in Berwick in about a month’s time.
The ladies of the Congregational Church, Spittal, have every reason to congratulate themselves upon the success of an undertaking which, locally at least, was one of a unique and, at the same time, interesting nature. For some time past the need of laying on a water supply to the church, and with it the provision of other conveniences, had pressed itself upon the female section, and they determined on their own account, to put forth some effort by which their object could be accomplished. As one of the readiest means to this end, a concert suggested itself to their minds, together with the confiscation of the pulpit on the Sunday, where a lady was to be substituted for the pastor. No help of any kind was to be asked or accepted from any male member of the church; indeed, so much was this stricture to prevail that should any member of the “nobler sex” be so indiscreet as to even offer a suggestion, he, poor unfortunate, was to pay the penalty for his folly with a fine. There were a few transgressors, who were actually made to stump up!
GAVE ANOTHER MAN’S NAME
Peter McLaughlan, labourer, Berwick, was charged with riding a cycle without a light at Velvet Hall at 10.15 p.m. on the 2nd January. He pleaded not guilty.
P.C. Richardson proved the case and said when he spoke to the accused he said he had come from Berwick. He gave the name of John Spiers, vaman with Mr Scott, flour merchant, Berwick. Witness found that accused had given the name of another man and he later had some difficulty in tracing the accused to serve the summons at the house.
Accused – I was never on the road. I am not the man. I would like to ask the policeman how he did not recognise me when he passed me twice in the street.
P.C. Richardson – I never saw you in the street, otherwise I would have recognised you. I recognised you at once when I met you and warned you to be at Court, also informing you that the summons had been served on your sister.
Capt. Tippings pointed out to accused that if he was not the man he should have no difficulty in proving an alibi. He had been rather late in thinking about bringing witnesses.
Accused, in the box, gave a very contradictory story of his movements on the night in question. First he said he was at home all that evening and then stated that he had taken a girl for a walk. He refused to give the girl’s name and could not give the names of anyone he met. He knew the man Spiers, but he had never given Spiers’ name to the police.
The Bench decided to adjourn the case for a month to allow accused to bring witnesses in support of his alibi.
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