Uniform Without Authority

A Canvey Artist Charged

Cutting from the Essex County Chronicle 22nd October 1915.


At Southend Petty Session on Wednesday, before Ald. Brightwell and other justices. Gerrard Kunhardt Rule, an artist, Canvey Island, was charged with wearing a military uniform without authority, contrary to the Defence of the Realm Regulations.

PC Butcher stated that upon his going to the defendant’s house in regard to the matter and asking for the uniform, defendant produced it from a box. At Southend Station he said, “I applied for a commission last November. I felt certain I should get one. That is the reason I bought the uniform.” Witness added that he had seen him scores of times wearing the uniform, which was that of captain of the Middlesex Regt.

Sec. Lieut. George Hughes, 70th Provisional Battalion, stated that on Sept. 245 he saw the defendant in uniform. His suspicions were aroused as to mhis bona fides and he was instructed to ask an explanation. Witness said, “I see you hold a captaincy?” and he replied “Yes. I am expecting to be invalided out, as I have no nerves.”

PC Chaplin produced the following statement, signed by the defendant at Rochford Police Station. “I was born June 14th, 1878, at Corringham Road, Shepherds Bush, London. My father I believe, was born at Elgin Avenue, Notting Hill, and was employed by the Admiralty Naval Contracts Office for 30 years or so. My mother was born at Stattin Island, New York. Her maiden name was Kernhardt, her Grandfather was a German, named Kernhardt, and he emigrated to America, where my mother’s father was born to the best of my belief. My father and mother are at present residing at 124 Sinclair Road, West Kensington and have been there for over 30 years. In November last I applied for a commission in the Army and got my papers signed. I had a few pounds by me, and I bought my uniform at Whiteleys, London, for about £15. I had the uniform and wanted to get into it and not hearing about my commission I got into it and wore it for about three months in London, off and on. One day someone told me I was wrong to wear it and then I came down to Canvey and remained there until I was arrested.”

Mr Brestley, the defence, pointed out that when the defendant was told he was doing wrong by wearing the uniform he took off the military buttons and the badges, and substituted leather buttons. He used the uniform in the garden with the intention of wearing it out as soon as possible. The evidence showed that the case was of a very minor character indeed.

A fine of £25, with an alternative of three months’ imprisonment with hard labour, was imposed.

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