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CRIME CHRONICLES: A war wife breaks hearts and the law with multiple marriages

 Published on: 21st December 2021   |   By: Bryn Holmes   |   Category: Uncategorized

For those of you left exhausted by the crimes of the modern age, its always interesting to look back into the past and see what criminal justice looked like over 100 years ago…

This month’s figure is a woman named Silvia Ann Crampton, a 25-year-old Rickmansworth shop assistant who found herself in the dock on June 15, in 1918 for committing one of the country’s long-standing moral offences: bigamy.

Whilst her husband of eight years Arthur Henry Crampton was out fighting in the First World War, an Austrian soldier named Albert Adolphus Andrews had taken lodgings with her mother while on sick leave.

Introduced to each other, the pair quickly became enamoured. Pretending to Albert she was not currently married, they were wed on March 24, 1918.

But after information was passed to the police, Silvia confessed to the whole affair and would eventually plead guilty to the charge of bigamy at court.

She was deeply distressed during the whole trial. She wept upon seeing her first husband called as witness and continued throughout. 

When asked by the judge if there was any reason as to why she did what she did, Mrs Crampton said: “No, except to say that I must have been mad. There was no reason. He was one of the best husbands that could be. I don’t know what made me do it.”

The judge eventually sentenced her to prison with hard labour with six months for the act. She had to be carried out of the courtroom, wailing all the while.

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