Notebook from the British Summary Court 1919

This is interesting.  It’s an old British Summary Court notebook dating back to 1919, which I found amongst some old books and papers, as posted earlier.

Summary Court 2 003

Notebook with accompanying letter

Summary Court 1 002

Example page

It contains a letter from Cyril Percy Bassingthwaighte, which is addressed to a Colonel Day of 119 Earlham Road, Norwich.  Bassingthwaighte was a Captain and Adjutant in the Norfolk Regiment between 1914 and 1922 and was evidently (see letter) based in Brühl in Germany after the First World War.

According to this Wikipedia article, The British Summary Court was a court created by the Treaty of Versailles that sat as part of the Inter-Allied Rhineland High Commission to oversee the occupation of the Rhineland.


Margaret Pawley at home in Oxford and disguised as an ambulance driver in 1944

It lasted ten years, from 1919 to 1929 and was described in detail by former spy Margaret Pawley in her book “The Watch on the Rhine: The Military Occupation of the Rhineland”.  The article goes on to say that “the court heard 4,295 cases between 1919 and 1925, with possible sentences for minor offences including fines and prison sentences of between seven and fourteen days, normally served in a standard German prison”.

The Summary Court notebook makes for some fascinating reading as it lists the details of many minor misdemeanors committed by locals in the area of Brühl in 1919, not long after the First World War.

For example (see second image above), one Peter Zensen was sentenced to a fine of 50 Marks or 10 days in prison for “not raising his hat when the British National Anthem was played”. That seems rather harsh to me.  He must have agreed – he didn’t attend the court session and had to be summonsed.

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