Gunner’s wedding ends in chase

Opening of the new school by the home secretary in October 1927. The headmaster, Canon Barton, is on the lowest step, on the left. Dorothea Barton is possibly there, somewhere. (PGS Archive)

NOSTALGIA: A red bluestocking at Portsmouth Grammar School

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On this day in 1871 A Royal Marine Artillery gunner, James Harrald, who reportedly ‘wooed and won a female keeping an Eastney beerhouse’ felt unable to stay at Eastney barracks in the few days before their wedding and went absent without leave.

As the happy couple, accompanied by the best man and bridesmaids, left St Thomas’s Church, the groom caught sight of a policeman, ran back into the church and tried to escape from another door – but was met by another policeman.

According to the Hampshire Telegraph a ‘regular chase took place between the tombstones to the great amusement of a small crowd of persons who had congregated’ – from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.