This Week in 1935: 26 May – 1 June

26 May – 1 June:

A number of interesting stories – so here they are:

31 May: The Salford Murderer was executed at Strangeways Prison, Manchester. John Harris Bridge, aged 25, was sentenced to death on the 3rd of May for having murdered his 26-year-old sweetheart Amelia Nuttall. Mrs. Violet Van de Elst, who had been conducting a campaign against capital punishment, waited outside the prison and as she prepared to leave there was a noisy demonstration. A number of women refused to allow her to speak and one shouted, ‘If it was your girl the boot would be on the other foot.’ Eventually the police intervened and, accompanied by an escort, Mrs. Van der Elst walked to her car followed by shouts from the mob of women.

1 June: From this date it was compulsory to pass a driving test in order to get a license to drive a motor-car.

2 June: The King had been very ill and The Times reported today that he had recovered from his cold and had taken a walk in the gardens with the Queen. The report noted that, ‘it was emphasized in Court circles that His Majesty’s cold was not in any way of a serious nature.’ King George V was seventy years old and died the following year (January 1936).

2 June: This story has the making of a Hollywood film:

‘An American boy called George Weyerhaeuser (9) was kidnapped 9 days ago at Tacoma, in the State of Washington. He was released yesterday morning after his parents paid a ransom of $200,000 for him. His captors left him on a high road at dawn near Issaquah, 25 miles from Tacoma, telling him his father would come and get him. After having waited vainly for some time the boy walked six miles to the farm of a man named Bonifas. He said, “I am the boy who was kidnapped,” and Mr. Bonifas, who is the father of 10 children, lost no time in starting with him in a motor for Tacoma.

Mr. Bonifas tried to get to the telephone operator at Renton on the way to let him into the office so that he might telephone to the boy’s parents. But she refused to open the office before 7 o’clock. Later he stopped at a petrol-station and telephoned to the police in Tacoma after he had failed to call the boy’s parents. A newspaper reporter went out from Tacoma in a taxicab and took the boy to his parents, both reporter and boy lying on the floor of the cab so that the former might get an “exclusive” story before his rivals knew of the boy’s whereabouts.

Young Weyerhaeuser said that he had been kidnapped by three men. They had told him there were six of them, but he had never seen more than three at a time. They blindfolded him whenever they took him anywhere, and when he was not blindfolded they always wore masks. He was able to give their Christian names and described the colour and make of the two motor-cars which they had used. Two of the men he had seen for a short time without masks while he was being kidnapped. They had threatened him with harm if he cried out, but they had not hurt him and they had fed him well. Once they had passed a car full of policemen. Sometimes when in the car they had made him lie hidden in a trunk.

He thought that one house on which he has been kept for four days was somewhere near Issaquah, but was unable to describe the outside of it because he had been taken in and out of it blindfolded. He had been chained up occasionally to keep him from running away.’

What a feat of endurance and bravery from a nine-year-old boy!

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