Armistice 100: Actress summoned over petrol use and reports of torture from the front

Dateline: August 22, 1918: American actress Miss Shirley Kellogg, who had the year before introduced the people of the UK to the joys of the motor scooter, was arrested for using petrol without authority.

Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 10:09 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd August 2018, 10:35 am

Kellog was a well-known revue actress, with a national profile. She appeared at Brentford Police Court to answer a summons for using petrol without authority. The police stated that when her car was stopped at Hounslow she explained that she was going from her

home at Langley to attend a rehearsal in London.

Miss Kellogg informed the Bench that she was not using petrol for pleasure. She had to go to the Hippodrome for a re-hearsal [sic], and could not get a convenient train. She also had two broken cylinders which she wanted to take to London, and she thought she could do the two things at once.

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In her defence, she pointed out: “The police never stopped me when I was bringing up dozens of eggs a day for wounded soldiers,”

The Chairman of the bench noted: “Unfortunately, this time you met the police.”

The defendant (laughing), added: “Oh, I don’t mind it.”

The Chairman finished with : “It is very nice of you to say that. We will be lenient with you this time, and you need pay only 20s as costs.”

There were reports from Picardy, where the Germans suffered defeated, that “revenge” was being meted out on around 300 British prisoners, most of whom were forced to stand in a confined room for 16 days with hardly any light or water and only “a repulsive broth” for food. Many apparently succumbed to the torture and died.