Don’t mess with an English Queue

Doing some fishing before work? Going to be late? Well, whatever you do, don’t jump the queue! Especially not in England.

My 4th cousin 1x removed, Leslie Edwin Attwood did just that on 29 Jun 1941. Even with a war on, you don’t jump the queue. At almost 23 years of age, Leslie should have known that.

The Surrey Mirror of 12 Sep 1941 relates:

Ignored Bus Queue

Leslie Edward Attwood, Thorneloe-gardens, Waddon, was summoned for attempting to enter an omnibus at Godstone, on June 29th, otherwise than in the line of queue, and also for disorderly conduct on this occasion. He pleaded guilty.

Mr. B. H. Clegg, for the London Passenger Transport Board, said on Sunday, June 29th, at about 6 p.m., an inspector decided to form a queue for the buses. By 6:14, when a bus was due, some thirty people were waiting in the queue. As the bus was drawing up, defendant, who had apparently been sitting on the bank, jumped on the platform. The inspector told the conductress to tell this man to leave, but he refused. He also refused the inspector’s request and adopted a very aggressive attitude, saying, “Because you are a London Transport inspector, you think you can do what you like.” He also remarked he was on the bus and intended to stay there. He was finally ejected.

In a statement, defendant said he went to Godstone for some fishing and just missed a bus because he was a cripple and could not run fast enough. He did not join the queue, because standing gave him pain. When the bus came in he had to choose between jumping on the bus and of being late for work.

The Chairman told Attwood civility cost nothing. His was very stupid conduct, and he would be fined 5s for not keeping in the queue and 15s for disorderly conduct, and one guinea costs.

5 Shillings in 1941 would be worth £23 in 2000 – so not worth jumping the queue. I bet the crowd cheered when he was ejected too. Poor Leslie, do you think he was late for work?


London bus drivers Albert Greenfield, George Heath and Thomas White stand in front of a number 24 bus to pose for the camera, probably at Victoria bus depot. They are all wearing their summer coats. This photograph was probably taken in September 1941.

By Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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