Law and Order

KEEPING LAW & ORDER – A POLICEMAN’S WARTIME DUTIES

Enos Fudge, Bourton’s bobby on the beat, came from a long line of Sturminster Newton agricultural labourers and at first followed his father, Jonathan, into the same occupation.

In 1899 Enos married Ellen Barnes who had worked as a Glover in Stalbridge before her wedding. Seeing her husband’s potential she encouraged Enos to join the Police Force two years later.  Five years older than Enos, barely topping five foot and frail in appearance, she ruled the household, and him, with a rod of iron.

PC Enos Fudge pictured (second right)

Shortly before the war began Bourton’s Police Station in Foundry Lane (now Bridge Street) became the Fudge family home to Enos, Ellen and their four sons, Alec, Charles, Lesley and Ronald.

Bourton Police Station with notice boards on either side of the door

For a family of six living on a policeman’s pay was a struggle. Enos‘s wage scarcely covered the basic necessities of life – food and clothing – although Charlie‘s contribution to the family purse from foundry and farm work must have helped. Enos kept hens and a couple of pigs, and often helped farmers at haymaking time.

           Charlie                  Leslie             Ronald                 

The River Stour was just a few feet away from the Fudge boys’ home.

Lack of education prevented Enos qualifying for promotion. Ellen helped him write his reports. She also encouraged her sons to study hard at school, seeing them pass the Diocesan Scripture exams and, in the case of Lesley, succeed in the entrance exam to Gillingham Grammar School. However the family could not afford for him to go and so he left school at the age of 14 years.

By autumn 1917, because of general shortages, the cost of living had doubled. Eventually the Dorset Police Force was given a War Bonus which started at 2s in 1915 and reached 10s by the end of the war. Enos definitely earned his. With a shortage of officers across Dorset, the area of his beat was increased, he worked up to 16 hours a day (not the usual 9) with one day off a fortnight and all leave cancelled from July 1915 until the end of the war.

As well as wartime duties Enos still had routine responsibilities as well as keeping an eye on officers billeted at the Vicarage and soldiers based in Main Road and West Bourton Road as he pounded the beat on foot or his police-issue bicycle. (As long as the bicycle hadn’t been stolen, a frequent crime especially when left outside the Red or White Lion.)

A Magnet bike used by Dorset Police and manufactured by Lights in Gillingham

PC Fudge had to check no lights were shone from buildings during the hours of darkness, arrest service absentees under the Military Services Act 1916, who were then taken to court, fined and returned to the Military Authorities. It was also his responsibility to enforce the No Treating Order in Bourton’s pubs to make sure drinkers only bought their own alcohol.

Those that bought rounds (even a drink for their wife) were taken to court and fined. For a man who enjoyed a drink, enforcing this legislation on his friends and neighbours at the Red Lion must have been difficult.

Regular drinkers outside the Red Lion (including Doctor Pope Bartlett – back row)

Despite their father’s long hours and low income, his four sons followed in his footsteps. After army service during WW1 Alec entered the Dorset Police Force. Charles joined in 1924 and for two years they served alongside their father before he retired in 1926.

Charles, Enos and Alec Fudge circa 1924

Eventually their younger two brothers joined them.

In his last year’s service Enos was moved to Poole, but with little experience of town duty was not very happy. His days in Bourton bringing up his family, keeping hens and a pig and playing an important role in a rural community had kept him in touch with who he was, a country boy at heart.