100 YEARS AGO: SALFORD TRAM DRIVER COMES TO THE POLICE'S RESCUE WITH A CAST IRON POINTS BAR
I came across this entertaining story from the pages of The Salford City Reporter from August 1921 which tells of the mishaps that befell Acting Sergeant Groves, one night on Regent Road, Salford and a crowbar wielding rescuer.
The full story came out at Salford Magistrates Court in Bexley Square when Samuel Royle aged 19 from West Union Street and Gilbert Saunders aged 20 from Gledhill Street, appeared charged with being drunk and disorderly and assaulting Acting Sergeant Groves.
A/S Groves who took the stand sporting a black eye and limping heavily gave his account of the fateful night, he said that he saw Royle. singing and shouting, and acting in a drunken manner, and asked him to be quiet and move along.
To which Royle, replied, "Who are you spoofing?",then punched him in the face at which point all hell broke loose as A/S Groves was punched from behind and kicked to the ground by several people.
Royle broke free and ran some fifty yards along Regent Road before being rugby tackled to the ground by the .plucky A/S Groves again a group of men joined in kicking and punching him in an attempt to release Royle.
Help came from an unlikely source as a passing tram driven, driven by a Mr Connell came to a halt, he grabbed a cast iron, points iron and waded into the mob attacking the policeman, hitting anyone in his way and as he told the Court, "I used the points iron to some good effect" which was met with laughter from the public gallery.
Mr Connell then helped the injured onto his tram and took him to the nearby, Salford Royal Hospital for treatment to his injuries which included, black eyes, bruised legs, knees and arms, these resulted in him being off work for several days.
P.C. Wood took the stand and told the Court that he heard a police whistle and went to his comrades aid, there he saw, Royle rolling about on the floor with, A/S Groves, he manged to restrain him and took him to Regent Road Police Station where he continued to act like a "mad man"
Saunders then went into the witness box and said that he had heard, screams and shouts and saw his pal, Royle on the floor when somebody hit him on the head knocking him out, and he woke up in the cells, possibly our crowbar wielding hero had claimed another victim?
The Stipendary Magistrate, Mr F.W. Atkin, clearly didn't believe a word that Royle and Saunders had said and took the side of the police.
Both men were fined, £1 for being drunk and disorderly and a further punishment of one months hard labour in Strangeways Gaol for assaulting A/S Groves was added.
Seems a lively night on Regent Road and Mr Connell wasn't a man to be taken lightly by all accounts, as they say, The Good Old Days!