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100 YEARS AGO: SAVAGE SPANISH SEAMAN STABS SALFORD SOLDIERS!

History With Flynn
I have mentioned in previous articles about the importance of Salford Docks and the prosperity it brought to the area not to mention how may tables were laden with food brought home by "enterprising" dockers.

It also attracted various characters including "Ladies of the Night" who were keen to meet foreign seamen and show the myriad attractions of Salford and The Barbary Coast, a popular nickname for Trafford Road and Cross Lane which had dozens of pubs, some of which had tables screwed to the floor, just in case of brawls, The Fox being a good example.

This story concerns Angel Diaz, a Spanish seaman who appeared at Salford Magistrates Court in February 1919 charged with assaulting Albert Davies and Joseph Schofield on Trafford Road, Salford.

Diaz had appeared at the courts the week before charged with this offence and was remanded for a week in custody whilst investigations were made.

Davies a recently discharged soldier told the court that he was walking along Trafford Road when he met Diaz who to him, appeared to be under the influence of drink.

He gentlemanly stepped aside to let Diaz pass him, however Diaz muttered something to him, then seized him by the throat, forcing him against the railings at the side of the road.

A struggle ensued in which Diaz drew out a knife and struck him in the back, cutting his overcoat and wounding him twice.

A soldier named Schofield and some civilians came to Davies's assistance, Diaz then stabbed Schofield in the leg to which Schofield punched him to the ground no doubt concerned for his own safety.

Diaz was pinned to the ground and detained by several citizens and no doubt a few sly digs and kicks were administered to him in order to fully restrain him.

P.C. Noddle -his real name! - arrived at the scene and took Diaz into custody possibly for his own safety whilst Davies and Schofield were treated for their injuries at Dr Cranes surgery on Regent Road.

In court the Spanish Consul spoke out for Diaz and said that Diaz and another seaman were walking along Trafford Road with two girls when Davies and Schofield stopped them and told them to leave the girls alone or there would be trouble.

The other seaman ran off no doubt worried for his health and Diaz had only pulled out his knife to protect himself.

Detective Clark however said that the police had been unable to find any foundation for Diaz's suggestions.

The Magistrate then sentenced Diaz to one months imprisonment with hard labour.

So was Angel Diaz a happy go-lucky seaman looking for a night out in Salford with two lady companions when he was threatened by irate locals and it all turned nasty?

Perhaps it would have been better if he had followed his friends example and ran away instead of flashing a knife about and stabbing two people.

A months imprisonment for stabbing two people is very lenient and perhaps the Magistrate took into account that Trafford Road could be quite a daunting place for a foreign seaman with a pocket of money looking for a good time.

Finally I wonder how Diaz managed to get another ship out of Salford assuming that that his ship had sailed without him, in more ways than one.

Sailor beware!




Tony Flynn



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