Saturday, December 3, 2011

An Army Deserter – Aston near Stone, Staffordshire - 1901

An extraordinary story has just come to light near Stone, Staffordshire. In July last a young man named Elie Robert Lewis Colquhoun was reported as a deserter from the Royal Army Medical Corps, and a full description was published in the Police Gazette. Nevertheless he managed to evade capture, and in the very strangest way. It now appears that at the beginning of August he went to Aston, a little village near Stone, where he was on intimate terms with a young woman, who was engaged as a lady's maid to the vicar's wife. This girl secreted the deserter in her bedroom all unknown to the other occupants of the house. For nearly six months everything went on smoothly, but at last a rumour was started in the village that someone was hiding at the vicarage, and it was not long in reaching the ears of the police. The Rev G. B. Browne, the vicar, was considerably surprised when a policeman called upon him and told him that a deserter was being harboured in the house; the rev. gentleman laughed at the very idea. Somewhat ruffled, the officer produced a warrant to search the house; the vicar said he would be delighted to help him in his search. Nothing happened till the room occupied by the maid was reached. There, crouching under the bed was found the missing soldier. He at once saw the game was up, and admitted his identity.

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