Historical event records


[HOWL is the magazine of the Hunt Saboteurs Association; Cruel Sports the magazine of the League Against Cruel Sports]


26th October: After the UK Election Winston Churchill is Prime Minister again. Margaret Hilda Roberts, the future Margaret Thatcher, was the youngest Conservative candidate at this election.


6th February: King George VI dies.

29th September: John Cobb, land speed record holder, killed on Loch Ness.


29th May: Mount Everest scaled by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.

2nd June: Queen Elizabeth II crowned in Westminster Abbey, London. Outside, despite the cold wet weather, two million people waited.


6th May: Roger Bannister becomes the first man in athletics history to run the mile in under four minutes.

3rd July: End of all rationing in Britain.


5th April: Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister and is replaced by Anthony Eden (1897 – 1977).


January: Sentence of 21 months gaol was passed at Worcestershire Assizes on Sir Harry Leonard d’Arcy Waechter (43) baronet, Joint Master of the North Ledbury Hunt, who pleaded guilty to four charges of indecently assaulting youths who were employed by him and one of attempting to procure an ex-Borstal or approved school boy in order to commit indecency…..Mr Justice Hallett told the accused: “The psychiatrists evidence wholly unconvinced me because it shows you were for some time habitually corrupting young men who came to work for you. At the very end, in the autumn of 1954, you were trying to get a fresh supply of boys to misuse them.” (Berrows Journal January 1956)

[Sir d’Arcy Waechter was joint master of the North Ledbury foxhounds from 1948 to 1956 (with Lady Waechter). Sir d’Arcy Waechter had previous brushes with the law. In June 1936 he was fined £15 at Crownhill, Devon for larceny from an electric meter and £5 for maliciously damaging the meter. He also had eight convictions for motoring offences.]


3rd November: A dog named Laika became the first living creature in space. She suffered no ill-effects from acceleration or weightlessness, but died when oxygen in the Soviet Sputnik 2, which was not designed to return to earth, ran out.

25th December: The Queen makes her first Christmas television broadcast.


14th March: Suffragette Christabel Pankhurst dies.

24th July: First life peerage awarded in Britain.


28th March: Two monkeys return alive from a US space trip.


19th February: Prince Andrew born.

22nd August: Two dogs return to earth from Soviet space trip.

9th November: John F. Kennedy is elected US President.


12th April: Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space.


14th January: The European Economic Community agrees on a Common Agricultural Policy.

2nd April: Prince Charles arrived as a new pupil at Gordonstoun school, near Elgin.

24th September: The Daily Express reports that Prince Charles was “blooded” at his first shoot. (The History of Hunting. L.G. Pine p176)


The Hunt Saboteurs Association (HSA) was formed by 22-year old Devon journalist John Prestidge. John was appalled when he found himself working on the story of a pregnant hind that had been driven into a village and killed by the Devon and Somerset Staghounds. He said to a colleague “someone ought to sabotage the hunt”. (Animal Revolution. Richard Ryder. P185)

The League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) received a letter form Michael Ramsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, which stated his, rather than the church’s view on harecoursing. He said: “You are free to quote me as being strongly against the practice of coursing as a cruel one”. (The Politics of Hunting. Richard Thomas. P93; Cruel Sports, Winter 1963, p1. Widely quoted in the national press 9th January 1964))

Thursday 8th August: The Great Train Robbery happened at Bridego railway bridge, Buckinghamshire. £2.6 million was stolen.

Friday 22nd November: The 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.


The League Against Cruel Sports (LACS) discovered that there had been no elections to the Badminton Parish Council, South Gloucestershire, for 17 years. There were seven seats and always seven candidates –the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort and five estate officials employed by them, one of whom said “we always consult his Grace first”. (The Politics of Hunting. Richard Thomas. P94). The Duke of Beaufort was Master of the Duke of Beaufort’s foxhounds, kennelled at Badminton.

Saturday 10th January: HSA supporters go out for the first time against the South Devon foxhounds. The hunt finished early after failing to kill a fox. (The Hunt and the Anti-Hunt. Philip Windeatt. P27) (HOWL 29, Spring 1985)

2nd May: HSA supporters attend a meet of the Culmstock otterhounds. Hunt supporters surround a carload of HSA supporters, whipped the car, then dragged Leo Lewis, a Brixham café owner, out from it and broke his jaw with an otterhunting stave. On the 29th September Axminster Magistrates imposed small fines on four of the hunters for assaulting Leo Lewis. The main assailant was fined £50 and two others £10 each. The next day seven of the HSA supporters, including Leo Lewis and John Prestidge, the Secretary of the HSA, were bound over to the sum of £50 to keep the peace for a year. (The Hunt and the Anti-Hunt. Philip Windeatt. P28) (Animal Revolution. Richard Ryder. P185) (HOWL 29, Spring 1985)

12th June: Nelson Mandela jailed for life in South Africa. He was imprisoned on Robben island.

15th October: Labour wins the UK election with majority of four. Harold Wilson becomes Prime Minister.


Control operations by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) kill 265 mink in Devon. (HOWL 24, Spring 1983)

24th January: Winston Churchill dies aged 90.

February: Supporters of the Bournemouth HSA are attacked, with an axe and a starting handle, by hunt followers at a meet of the Sparkford Vale foxhounds. At the resulting court case a hunt supporter was fined £15 for breaking an anti-hunt protestor’s guitar with an axe. Eight of the protestors were also fined £10 each for “threatening behaviour” (throwing flour bombs). (HOWL 41, Spring 1989) and Western Daily Press 6th February 1965.

9th November: The death penalty was abolished in Britain.


MAFF control operations kill 276 mink in Devon. (HOWL 24, Spring 1983)

31st March: Labour wins a landslide election victory.

Friday 21st October : Aberfan disaster near Merthyr Tydfil leaves 147 dead, including 116 children.


The Fell & Moorland Working Terrier Club (F&MWTC) was created. (HOWL 37, Autumn 1987) It was founded by a Cumbrian terrierman, Cyril Tyson. (HOWL 38, Winter 1988)

During the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 1967 Lt.-Col. Frank Mitchell, Joint Master of the Hambledon foxhounds, was fined £5 by Petersfield Magistrates for letting two foxhounds stray within an affected area. (Cruel Sports Vol. 12, No. 1. Autumn 1970)

January: Live Hare Coursing (Abolition) Bill introduced to the House of Commons by Eric Heffer MP (1922-1991). The annual Waterloo Cup harecoursing event took place at Altcar, near his constituency.

18th March: The giant oil tanker the Torrey Canyon ran aground on the Seven Stones reef between the Scilly Isles and Land’s End. Massive pollution was caused to nearby coastlines.

1st September: Siegfried Sassoon dies. He was the author of Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man.

November: Live Hare Coursing (Abolition) Bill introduced to the House of Commons by Eric Heffer MP.


4th April: Martin Luther King, Jr a prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

23rd April: The first decimal coins appear in the UK.

6th June: In the USA Robert Kennedy died after being shot by Sirhan Sirhan the previous day in Los Angeles, California.

November: Live Hare Coursing (Abolition) Bill introduced to the House of Commons by Robert Sheldon MP.

December: The Master of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds was fined for assaulting a female protestor whilst out hunting. A Parliamentary question was asked by Marcus Lipton MP and as a result the Master, a local Magistrate, was removed from the list of Magistrates for a year. (The Politics of Hunting. Richard Thomas. P98)


Brian Davies set up the International Fund for Animal Welfare. (Animal Revolution. Richard Ryder. P226)

2nd March: The supersonic passenger airline Concorde makes its maiden flight at Toulouse in France.

21st July: Neil Armstrong (1930-2012) became the first man to walk on the moon.

5th September: ITV makes its first colour transmission in Britain.

October: A pet lamb was killed by 15 rioting hounds of the Cambridgeshire foxhounds. This resulted in a court case at Cambridge Magistrates Court the following year when the Joint Master, Mrs. Jean Crossman, was summoned under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act and fined £20, and had to pay 50 guineas costs. Mr. Peter Cazalet for Mrs. Crossman expressed his apologies and explained that as soon as the hounds realised they were not attacking a fox they left off and then went on to say: “If the animal had been a fox it would have been pulled apart and killed.” (Cruel Sports Vol. 11, No. 2. 1970)

November: Deer Hunting and Hare Coursing (Abolition) Bill introduced to the House of Commons by Arnold Shaw MP (1909-1984).


European Conservation Year

Lt.Col. Frank Mitchell, Joint Master of the Hambledon foxhounds, was sued at Southampton County Court on three separate counts in a case brought by the LACS. Judge Michael Lee QC awarded Mr. And Mrs David Pearse £7 for the loss of one of their four Siamese cats, Mr. and Mrs. Chapman were awarded 1s for trespass and Mrs Thelma Unwin was awarded £3 damages. The Judge refused to grant an injunction saying: “No injunction will be granted and I hope no injunction will ever be brought against the hunt which has known how to behave for 170 years.” (Cruel Sports Vol. 12, No. 1. Autumn 1970)

Hounds of the Essex foxhounds rioted and ripped a 5-month-old kitten called Billy to pieces near his home at Ford End, Chelmsford. The same hunt killed another cat at Ford End the previous season and two cats at Shudy Camp near Cambridge. The Hunt Master was Paul Carden, the owner of the kitten a Mr. Charles Sewell. (Cruel Sports Vol. 11, No. 2. 1970)

A motorist, Mr. Denis Beales, of North London, complained to the LACS that a huntsman cracked a riding crop across the roof of his Ford Cortina car, damaging the new paintwork and when he got out to protest the huntsman hit him across the chest. The incident took place near Northaw, Hertfordshire, where there was a meet of the Enfield Chase foxhounds. Mr. Beales was driving with his wife when they met the hunt in a narrow lane. There was a thump on the roof said Mrs. Beales. “We got out to protest and the hunt claimed we had knocked one of their horses. This was completely untrue. A man then hit my husband on top of his chest and made him stagger back and threatened to hit me if I did not shut up.” The Master of the Enfield Chase foxhounds, Mr. Ralph Richardson, denied that a hunt member was involved. LACS investigators sought out and identified the hunt supporter within 24 hours. He admitted that he was out hunting and that he was the person who struck Mr. Beales. (Cruel Sports Vol. 11, No. 2. 1970)

The National Assembly of the Church of England passed a strongly worded resolution against hare coursing. (The Politics of Hunting. Richard Thomas. P93)

The Duke of Beaufort’s foxhounds killed a number of badgers at Wickwar, Glos. Young children present witnessed the slaughter. A hunt official told a LACS investigator: “In the process of getting the fox out there were badgers in the way and I think they had no alternative except to kill them.” The Duke of Beaufort is reported to have said: “We certainly did not kill any badger. This is not true.” But the Huntsman, Mr. Brian Gupwell, said: “We did kill some badgers, I can say no more.” (Cruel Sports Vol. 11, No. 3. 1970)

Anti-hunt farmer Mr. Stuart Saunders and his two sons, Philip and Keith, brought a private prosecution before Tiverton Magistrates against stag-hunt supporter Desmond Roger Sharp after an incident on their North Devon farm where they guarded for many hours a tired and exhausted stag which had sought refuge from the Devon and Somerset staghounds. Desmond Sharp, who pleaded “Not Guilty”, was bound over to keep the peace for two years in the sum of £25 and forfeited a similar sum for a breach of a previous recognisance. A charge of trespassing with a firearm was dismissed as the Magistrates considered there was reasonable doubt as to whether Sharp actually crossed the Saunders’ boundaries. Prosecuting, Mr. Philip Stephens said: “the background of the case stemmed from the banning of hunting activities on Mr. Saunders’ farm.” Mr. Stephens continued, “On the day in question a hunt had been in progress which resulted in a stag running into a stream on Mr. Saunders’ land. A large crowd of hunt followers lined the boundaries blowing horns and shouting, but farmer Saunders and his sons prevented them from driving the stag out. Sharp was seen to climb through a fence and go down a railway track. His intention had obviously been to get to the stag.” Subsequently, Sharp went to a pair a of gates on either side of the track, and following an altercation told Philip Saunders, “You want to watch it, boy, or I’ll get you.” In cross examination Mr. Philip Stephens asked Sharp what he would have done to make good his threat to Philip Saunders, Sharp replied, “Oh, I’d have give him a thump.” (Cruel Sports Vol. 12, No. 1. Autumn 1970)

January: West Somerset foxhounds trespass over LACS sanctuary at Luxborough near Minehead. They later pay £15 in compensation. (Cruel Sports Vol. 11, No. 3. 1970)

February: The Church Assembly voted to condemn hare coursing, deerhunting and otterhunting as cruel, unjustifiable and degrading. The Assembly urged Christian people in the light of their Christian profession and responsibility, to make plain their opposition to activity of this sort and their determination to do all in their power to secure its speedy abolition. The motion was carried by a total of 91 votes to 52 with majorities in all three houses. (Bishops 6-3, Clergy 42-15, Laity 43-34). (Cruel Sports Vol. 11, No. 3. 1970)

April: At the Grand National held at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool, only 7 of the 28 starters finished the race. One horse, “Racoon” was so badly injured that it had to be destroyed. The LACS issued a five-point demand to the stewards of the course afterwards: (1) to lower jump No. 3 by 6 inches, (2) make all fences less rigid, (3) a responsible official to check all fences for correct height immediately before the race. (4) the drop on the far side of Beechers to be made less severe, (5) veterinary surgeons to be stationed at all jumps. (Cruel Sports Vol. 11, No. 3. 1970)

May: The Hare Coursing Bill was adopted by the Government. This Bill had had its Second Reading and had very good chances of becoming law, but in the necessary hurry caused by the dissolution of Parliament and ensuing general election in June, the Bill was lost. (The History of Hunting. L.G. Pine p168) The Bill had passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons with a majority of 203-70. (Cruel Sports Vol. 12, No. 1. Autumn 1970)

18th June: Conservative Party wins the UK General Election with an overall majority of 31 seats. This was the first election in which 18-year-olds were allowed to vote. Edward Heath (1916-2005) became Prime Minister.

December: Hare Coursing (Abolition) Bill introduced to House of Commons by Kevin McNamara MP.