Some people’s stories still leave me amazed

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MANY people think they don’t have a story to tell, but no one’s life is without incident.

And sometimes, you are (well, at least I am) left open-mouthed by some of the extraordinary experiences of folk in the past.

James Roche was such a man.He was an Irishman, who came before magistrates in Shields in 1902, charged with begging in Salisbury Street in the town – at the age of 104.

He told the court he had been in the Army for 18 years, and had served in India and the Crimea, where he had been shot in the leg, which had left him lame.

His pension of seven shillings a week had been stopped.

In fact, on investigation, he didn’t actually know how old he was, except that he had been born 19 years before the Battle of Waterloo (which was in 1815), in which his father had fought.

He was asked if he didn’t think he would be better off in the workhouse, but he said he had tried that but didn’t like it because they wouldn’t let him have his pipe.

He was committed to Durham Gaol for one month where, they said, “you will be looked after.”