|From the Northampton Mercury & Herald, Friday, May 8, 1942|
|"FURIOUS STRUGGLE" IN FIELD
OFFICIAL ALLEGES FARMER RAINED BLOWS AT HIM
A furious struggle between a farmer and a War Agricultural Committee officer who was inspecting the farmer's land was described at Kettering Police Court.
The farmer, Samuel Jonathan Dunmore, 28, Kettering Road, Burton Latimer, was summoned for obstructing Edgar Philip Goddard, District Officer of Northamptonshire War Agricultural Committee while he was inspecting land in the occupation of the defendant, by threatening and striking him, at Burton Latimer, on March 30. Defendant pleaded not guilty.
Mr. F. mallows, barrister, prosecuting for the Ministry of Agriculture, said Dunmore had said he resented "Interference" by the committee.
Describing the alleged assault, Mr. Mallows said it was "absolutely unprovoked." Edgar Philip Goddard, 15, Queensway, Wellingborough, said he wrote to defendant stating he proposed to visit the farm respecting his spring cultivation. He duly called on him and found him in the middle of a 30 acre field.
"I'LL KILL YOU"
"I walked across to him," witness said, "whereupon he stopped the tractor. I said 'Good afternoon,' but he shouted in reply: 'Get off my field; what do you want?' He raved in a very excited manner, and said, 'I was working all day yesterday: I can't do any more,' He sprang towards me, saying 'I will kill you -----------. " "He had such a crazy, murderous look that I said, 'You will be hanged if you do.' He rained blows at me and half-stunned me I did my best to defend myself. There was a struggle. He was trying to get at my throat, and during the struggle on the ground I found I had my stick in my hand. I struck his head with it, and eventually he released his hold. I was winded and exhausted.
"Dunmore went towards the tractor, and thinking he was going for a weapon, I ran towards my car. Turning back, I saw he was following me. He had an iron bar in his hand, and I decided the best thing to do was to get to the nearest phone and call the police.
In reply to Mr. Mallows, witnes said defendant's farm was known as a "Category C" farm. Defendant had told him he resented any "interference" by the committee, but witness had not had a previous quarrel with him. Witness added that he contacted about 400 farmers. He always used the most diplomacy and tact, as he did in the case of Dunmore.
Defendant: Why did you consider it necessary to urge me to greater acceleration in my spring work? - I had instructions that "Category C" farms must be kept up to scratch.
Were you aware that ploughing was completed and that that was the only field I had to crop? - I was not aware of it.
Dunmore suggested he had had contradictory instructions from the committee and the district officer. He added that one member of the committee had recently complimented him on the appearence of his farm.
"Why did you bring a heavy stick with you if you did not anticipate a quarrel? " defendant asked the district officer, who replied: 'It is a light stick and I always carry it with me."
Defendant: Did you receive any blows? - I had them rained on me; I was half-stunned.
What did you do with the pieces of neck-tie you pulled from me? - I did not know I did pull them, but I should not be surprised considering the furious struggle that went on.
I suggest you brought the stick to chastise me with, but that you ran away? - There is no truth in that.
You dealt me some severe blows on the head? - Blows with a light stick in an endeavour to get you to release your hold.
P.C. Ward said that when Goddard reported the matter he was in a distressed condition and had not his cap or glasses on. He was afterwards found they had been picked up from the hedge of defendant's field.
Dunmore in a statement, said "I received a letter from him about the acceleration of the spring sowing. I told him I had been working the previous day until 8 p.m. I lost my temper and went for him. He struck me on the head."
Witness felt his (Dunmore's) head and found a lump the size of an ordinary walnut there.
Defendant called his wife, who said she was driving another tractor about 40 yards away from her husband's at the time, an emplyee being away that day.
"Mr. Goddard was poking the ground with his stick in a manner calculated to irritate," she said. "I saw him clutching my husband by his tie. I did not stop my tractor because I knew my husband could look after himself. Not at any time did my husband strike him. His tie was torn completely in two. In reply to Mr. mallows, she said her husband was a very peace-loving man.
P.C. Ward, recalled, said he saw no marks of violence on Goddard's face.
Dunmore, in evidence said he was coming down the field with his tractor, his wife ploughing in the same direction.
“I got off my tractor to speak to Goddard,” he said. “He spoke in a nasty offensive sort of way. He threatened me with a stick and I caught him by the coat to check him. He fell and pulled me downwards. When he realised what he had done he began to run off, but later returned with P.C. Ward.
Defendant was fined £2 with 10s. 7d. costs.
For details of Mr. Dunmore's entry in the WW2 Farm Census click here and follow the link