Leeds nostalgia: Jewel thieves and Churchill

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Dateline: August 7, 1948: On this day 70 years ago, thieves stole jewellery worth hundreds of pounds from the home of Arthur C Nicholson, a director of the firm J Nicholson & Sons, Hunslet chemical manufacturers.

According to reports from the time, only the best gems were taken from in the Horsforth raid. Police immediately put out a county-wide alert. Included among the haul was an emerald, diamond and a platinum ring, a pearly necklace and an aquamarine diamond brooch.

Police said thieves gained entry to the 12-bed detached property on North Road via a ground floor window. The raid took place while the Nicholson’s were out.

In other news, Leeds veteran of the Battle of Omdurman, Sudan, Mr W J Mills, believed he was the only man from Leeds present at the battle.

In a story in the Yorkshire Evening Post from the day, Mr Mills, of Chelwood Drive, Street Lane, told how he fought in the battle 50 years earlier, when he was 22 and a private in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

He was also in the company of greatness, although he didn’t know it at the time, for a young Winston Churchill was also present.

There was a charge by the 21st Lancers, among whom was the son of Lord Randolph Churchill. It was the start of a young Mr Churchill’s career. He was a lieutenant and led the charge.

The overall battle was commanded by Lord (then Sir Herbert) Kitchener, although they never saw him on the field of battle.

Mr Mills observed at the time: “I can only conclude that the came to the fort dressed as a BEdouin. We had seen one squatting on his haunches near the entrance.”

Mr Mills’ army career began in 1892. He also served in both world wars.