"ALLEGATION OF MURDERNot intoxicated? Two pints, three double Scotches, two single gins and 5 glasses of Lager - that's a fair amount of booze.
U.S. PRIVATE & A.T.S. GIRL
A MURDER of a private in the A.T.S. was alleged at a United States Army court-martial at Exeter yesterday.
Accused was Robert Joseph Himmelmann. private in the United States Army, and he pleaded "Not guilty" to a charge of murdering Phyllis Irene Kent, 25, at Rowancroft, an Exeter A.T.S. Hostel in Heavitree-road. It was stated that her home was at Stoke-on-Trent and that her husband was serving in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.
Among the earlier witnesses who testified was Pte. W Hedges, a United States soldier, who was with Himmelmann on the night of the alleged murder. He said that accused, a sailor, and himself, visited a public-house and had two pints of beer each. They went to another public-house and had three double Scotches, two single gins, and a glass of lager with each drink of spirit. Afterwards Hunmelmann and witness went to fish and chip shop, where they met two civilian girls. Coming out, they walked along in pairs for awhile, until Himmelmann dropped behind and witness lost sight of him. Accused did not seem to be intoxicated.
Dr. D. M. Longridge, of Exeter, said Pte. Kent was just alive when admitted to the casualty department of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital on the night of August 3. There was a wound on the left side of her neck and she was moribund. There was no wound of the heart as far as he could see, and in his opinion death was caused by a stab wound in the neck.
Photographs of the dead girl and the A.T.S. hostel were produced by Det. E. E. Steer, Exeter City Police photographer.
Det.-Inspr. Fred Bennett, chief of the Exeter C.I.D., produced blood-stained articles of clothing and a pocket knife, which he found in Himmelmann's watch pocket.
P.C. Frank Palmer said he went with the police ambulance to Rowancroft, where he saw Pte. Kent, who was bleeding extensively. She was in the wash-up on the ground floor, her wound was dressed, and she was taken to hospital as quickly as possible.
The hearing was adjourned until today, following motion by the Trial Judge Advocate that the president, with others members of the Court, should visit the hostel in order to obtain first-hand knowledge of the lay-out of buildings and ground."
Western Morning News - Thursday 02 November 1944, page 3.
It all sounds rather normal, getting tanked up in the pub then going for fish and chips. Except for the murdering bit. I've rarely done that on a night out. It seems that after eating his chips Himmelmann got it into his head to go to the A.T.S. hostel. Why is a bit of a mystery.
"ON MURDER CHARGEAs Kent said "an American" rather than naming Himmelmann, it appears that he didn't know him. So why did he go into her room and stab her? It makes no sense. Unless he was crazy.
Dramatic Story At Exeter
DYING WORDS OF A.T.S. GIRL
DYING declarations A.T.S. private, Phillis Irene Kent, who was stabbed at Rowancroft, an Exeter A.T.S. hostel, last August, were repeated by witnesses who testified before an American Army court-martial, resumed at Exeter yesterday.
Pte. Kent, aged 25 and the wife of a serving soldier, died the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital from a stab wound in the root of the neck. Accused of murdering her is Robert Joseph Himmelmann, a private in the United States Army. He is pleading "Not guilty."
A dramatic story was told by the first witness called yesterday. She was A.T.S. C.S.M. Elsie M. Glass, who said that about 9.40 p.m. on August she came out of the sergeants' mess at Rowancroft and saw an American soldier standing at the bottom of the stairs leading to the bedrooms. The soldier was short and fair, and she asked him what he was doing. Receiving no coherent answer — only a mutter — she said to him, "Get out of it." The soldier took no notice so she repeated in him to "clear out." Himmelmann left by the front door and the next witness saw of him was when he was crouched behind a shrubbery in the hostel grounds. She then went to 'phone for the military police. Afterwards when talking with other A.T.S. girls she heard terrifying screams coming from inside the hostel.
SHOUTED "STOP HIM."
"I ran towards the house as fast as I could," continued C.S.M. Glass. As I got to a bend in the drive saw the same American soldier running out as hard as he could go. Some of the girls shouted 'Stop him. He has attacked Kent.'"
Witness said she tried to trip the soldier as he passed. Next a Royal Marine closed with him and knocked him over. The American got up, however, and ran quickly into the main road. Here two policemen joined in the chase, and a British soldier also came towards the American. Finally, the American soldier was caught in the grounds of a nearby house.
Asked to identify the soldier. C.S.M. Glass unhesitatingly walked towards the accused and said: "That is the man here." Another member of the A.T.S., Pte. Elsworth. said she was just inside the front door of the hostel when she heard terrible screams. An American soldier rushed out and there was something which resembled blood on his forehead. An A.T.S. girl tried to hit him with her handbag.
Witness identified Himmelmann as being the soldier concerned, and then went on to say that she saw Pte. Kent trying to get up the stairs. Kent staggered and fell on her left shoulder. She was screaming, and between her screams she said: "I am dying." When witness asked Kent what had happened, the latter said: "He came into my room and assaulted me."
Lce.-Corpl. Pearce said she had just got into bed when she heard screams. She also heard shouts "I am bleeding." She ran downstairs and saw Kent, who was bleeding from a wound in the chest Kent looked directly at witness and said an American had assaulted her and that she was bleeding to death. She also said that an American had done it and that she knew she was going to die.
The hearing was adjourned until today."
Western Morning News - Friday 03 November 1944, page 3.
In an attempt to keep up the beer theme, I looked to see if I had details of any Exeter beers from the period. Here the ones I could find from either side of the war:
|Exeter beers 1925 - 1955|
|1925||Carr, Exeter||Family Ale||Pale Ale||4d||pint||bottled||1007.1||1030.5||3.03||76.72%|
|1949||City Brewery Co, Exeter||Mild Ale||Mild||1/1d||pint||draught||0.06||1006.8||1032.6||21 brown||3.35||79.14%|
|1953||Norman & Pring||Imperial Strong Ale||Strong Ale||1/6d||nip||bottled||0.05||1051.8||1081.2||16 + 40||3.74||36.21%|
|1953||Norman & Pring||Light Ale||Light Ale||6d||nip||bottled||0.05||1011||1031||17||2.58||64.52%|
|1955||Norman & Pring||Nap Ale||Strong Ale||1/-||half||bottled||0.05||1011.8||1037.7||33||3.35||68.70%|
|1955||Norman & Pring||Pale Ale||Pale Ale||11d||half||bottled||0.05||1009||1031.1||20||2.86||71.06%|
|1928||St. Anne's Well Brewery||Six Ale||Pale Ale||6d||pint||bottled||0.08||1009.6||1032.3||2.94||70.28%|
|1949||St. Anne's Well Brewery||Mild Ale||Mild||1/1d||pint||draught||0.06||1003||1034.9||20 Brown||4.16||91.40%|
|1952||St. Anne's Well Brewery||Brown Ale||Brown Ale||9.5d||half||bottled||0.06||1005.1||1034.1||15 + 40||3.77||85.04%|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002|
You may remember that the St. Anne's Well Brewery was a very early Lager brewer.