Prison Years

On his return home after the first jail term, Arthur found that his family now occupied three of the seven cottages in Gibraltar Gardens thanks to the hard work and business acumen of his sister ‘Mighty’. His youngest brother was married and living in one of the houses, whilst in another lived a family of tenants paying rent, one of which, the youngest daughter of 13, later became Arthur’s wife.

After his first spell in jail, Arthur vowed never to go back, but just a few months later he was back in for another five years. This time it was not his fault. His close friend Spencer, a soldier at weekdays, but a pick-pocket at weekends, had received £35 from a robbery. Stolen notes were unchangeable to a criminal at that time because the serial numbers would get reported stolen.

Arthur didn’t know the notes were stolen when he came back, and went round different places to change them. All would have worked out fine thanks to Arthur’s quick thinking and natural gift of the gab, but his solicitor committed suicide during the trial period - ‘just my luck’ - and Arthur got sent back to jail under the charge of knowing the notes were stolen.

These two jail terms were in quick succession and combined they meant that Arthur completely missed the First World War. ‘The Coon’ on the other hand got called up to fight and returned a war hero, obtaining the military medal.

Prisoners have been forced to build many different places in the past, such as Portland Docks and Dartmoor Prison. Arthur helped build a new sea plane station for the admiralty in Peterhead, Scotland, something which he relished greatly.

Arthur became actively involved in social issues within the confines of the prison. At one point he was petitioning the home secretary to remove the rule which claims prisoners should have their hair cropped off. To Arthur, this served only to label people as criminals and failed to serve any further purpose.

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