We don’t touch on nearly enough history in YourThurrock, which is to our shame. We will have a little more time in august to start correcting that.
Here is a story from July 1940 recalling a meeting between a Tilbury man and a Norwegian. It is unclear, whatever became of the drunken sailor.
“Stanley V. Humphrys, 30, of Tilbury, Essex, who shot and wounded a drunken Norwegian seaman, who he suspected of being a German parachutist, was sentenced at Gray’s Police Court to one day’s imprisonment, which meant immediate release.
The magistrates ruled that, while he had acted unlawfully, Humphrys nonetheless had very reasonable cause for suspicion.
The defendant had pleaded not guilty to maliciously wounding Egil Larsen, who was under the influence of alcohol at the time. Humphrys recalled that he heard somebody trying to get into his front door while searchlights were in action and aircraft overhead. Humphrys got his shotgun and challenged the man, who was Larsen.
Larsen said, ‘You English swine. Wait till the Germans come and see what you will get.’
He spoke with his natural Scandinavian accent and Humphrys, thinking he was a German parachutist, warned him off, and said that he intended to go to the police.
Larsen is said to have walked off a little way and then put his hand in his pocket. Humphrys, thinking Larsen was reaching for a weapon, fired immediately and wounded him. He then called the police.
Larsen, in his evidence, said he remembered nothing of what had happened, due to his inebriated state.
One of Humphrys’ neighbours, Henry Hunsworth, said that he too thought Larsen was a parachutist and had heard him talking about ‘English swine’.
The bench reduced the charge from one of malicious to unlawful wounding to which Humphrys then pleaded guilty.
The chairman, Alderman A. Brooks said, ‘We appreciate that you had very reasonable cause for suspicion. It was obvious you thought this man might have been a German who was attempting to do no good to you. At the same time you cannot take the law into your hands.’
Humhrys was released immediately and also allowed to have his gun back.