“Sealed with a Cross”
The essence of this tale is that a gentleman who was a steelworker (aged 35) and a lady (aged 33) travelled together from Barrow-in- Furness to Whitehaven and they booked into a hotel for the evening. At the time the rules required hotel guests to fill in a form giving their names, address, nationality and so forth. Presumably this was for the good of the National Security. The steelworker from Barrow-in-Furness completed his personal details on the form. Additionally, he filled in the details for his good lady, whom he registered at the hotel as his wife. Because the lady claimed she was unable to write, she signed her name with a cross. They couple were then shown to their room. For some reason, the hotel owner was suspicious about this particular couple and called in the police.
Nevertheless all went well for the Barrovians until the following morning. By then the forms had been checked by the local constabulary and they too were suspicious. After being questoned by a police inspector it transpired that the lady was not actually the wife of the gentleman she was with. She was married, but to someone else. Subsequently, the lady in question was charged at Whitehaven Court and appeared before the local Magistrates. The charge was one of "making a false statement to the manager of a West Cumberland Hotel". The gentleman to whom she had claimed to be married was charged with "aiding and abetting". Both parties pleaded guilty.
Strange as it may seem nowadays, the lady’s real husband went on to be questioned by the police to verify this was the case. At the first hearing of the case it was the real husband who had written a letter to the Magistrates on behalf of his wife with the guilty plea. To conclude this sorry tale, it may be appropriate to state that by this time the whole affair had become a serious matter. Please pardon the pun. There were some strange goings on in wartime!