Beware when opportunity presents itself

Sometimes you make a bad decision. Tempted by opportunity, knowing what is right and wrong, you nevertheless are swayed by the dark side and do the wrong. This is what happened to my uncle Harry who died on this day 3 Feb 2001.

Harry Arthur Young Togo

Harry Arthur Young

The Dover Express of 18 Apr 1914 tells his story:

Prison for Cheque Fraud

Harry Arthur Young (19) and Arthur Harry Culver (59) were charged with being concerned together in obtaining £8 19s 6d by means of a worthless cheque, from E. T. Fasham, Ltd. Aylesham.

Young pleaded guilty, and Culver not guilty.

D. Sgt. Chamberlain prosecuted.

Capt. Guy Eric Vulse Greville said that on March 14th he opened the cash box in his office, and found a blank cheque missing. He notified the Bank to stop payment. The only person who could have taken it was the paper boy, whilst witness was of of the office for a few moments. Except for a few moments each day the cheque book was locked up.

Sidney William Hoskin, Manager of the Post Office Stores, Aylesham, said that on 13 March Culver came to the shop and asked for a cheque of £8 19s 6d to be cashed. It was endorsed , and had the signature of Capt. Ackroyd, so witness thought it was in connection with the Home Guard. The cheque came back marked “No account.”

P. Sgt. Robson, Aylesham, said that the matter was reported to the Police on March 20th. He obtained a receipted bill, which was in the same handwriting as the endorsement on the cheque, and on 3rd April he was keeping observation in Barham with P. Sgt. Blee, when he saw Young. Defendant Young admitted taking the cheque, and made a statement that at about 8:45 a.m. on Monday or Tuesday a fortnight previously he went to the Army office, and there was no one there. He left the newspapers, and saw a cheque book on the table and took a blank cheque out of it. As he was in need of money he thought about filling it up. He asked his step-father (Culver) about it, and he said it was funny business but would help fill in the cheque, but he (Young) would have to take the blame. Later, his step-father came back and gave him £8 19s 6d, and Young told him he coud have the 19s 6d. Young concluded his statement by saying that he would pay the money back if he had a chance. P. Sgt. Robson went on to say that he saw Culver, who admitted that he cashed the cheque, and said, “Although I admit getting the money from Aylesham I had no intention of defrauding anyone. I filled the cheque up.”

Arthur Epps CulverArthur Harry Culver

Culver gave evidence that he was in bed when Young brough in the cheque and said “Will you fill this in for me?” Witness had only just woken up at the time. He asked what the money was for, and whether it was in connection with a Police Messenger job Young had. Young said “Yes.” On Young’s instructions witness made out the cheque for £8 19s 6d. WItness did wonder whether Young might have changed the amount on the cheque, and said, “There is nothing comical about this, is there?” and Young said “No.” He took Young’s word for it. Then Young asked him to go to Aylesham to cash it, and witness did so, and gave Young the notes, and said that the silver was downstairs in his pocket. Young said, “You can have that.”

D. Sgt. CHamberlain: You put another name of the cheque? – I put Capt. Ackroyd because I thought it was in connection with the Home Guard.

Young said that he did not know what made him do it.

Culver said that he would have been a “bit soft” if he knew he was defrauding and only got 19s 6d.

Both defendants were found guilty.

D. Sgt. Chamberlain said that Young was born at Barham, and was at present employed as a newspaper boy at a weekly wage of £1 12s. He had passed his medical examination for the Army. Culver was born at Dunkirk, in Kent, and served in the Royal Navy throughout the Great War. He had since been employed at Snowdown Colliery and his average earnings were £4 a week.

The Chairman said that as Young was soon to go in the Services he would be bound over for 12 months under the Probation Officer, and would have to repay half the money. As regards Culver, there was no excuse for him, and he would go to prison for two months.

Harry had been born in Barham, Kent on the 29 Nov 1921 and he was living at 3 Forstal Road in Woolage Village when the 1939 Register was completed on 29 Sep 1939.  At that time he was a grocers assistant. He was living with my grandmother and step-grandfather Culver who was a coal hewer working underground. From the map below you can see that Barham, Woolage Village and Aylesham are all close together.


Map showing Barham, Woolage Village and Aylehsham

My uncle Harry served his time in the Royal Artillery and later the Royal Army Service Corps and never again led a life of crime, tempted to the dark side by opportunity.

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