4 August 2023

Riverina Rewind: Man smashes glass door to find false teeth

| Chris Roe
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Wagga Dental Mechanic Ken Chambers at work in the 1960s. Photo: CSURA RW, Tom Lennon Collection.

Back in the days before fluoride and modern dental hygiene, the likelihood of keeping your teeth for life was pretty slim.

Dentures were big business and a nice new set of choppers didn’t come cheap!

So it was in June of 1948, 24-year-old labourer Raymond Charlton faced court in Wagga, accused of smashing a hotel door in an attempt to locate his missing dentures.

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The Daily Advertiser reported that the licensee of the Royal Hotel, William George Spicer, had encountered a very drunk Charlton “looking for his false teeth inside the front door, and after a great deal of persuasion, he put him off the premises and locked the front glass door Charlton then punched the door and broke it”.

A witness said he had seen Charlton walking away from the Royal Hotel at around 6:45 pm. The glass front door was smashed and Charlton was bleeding and very obviously intoxicated.

When confronted, he denied that he had broken the door but said he had lost his false teeth somewhere down near the Royal Hotel and was looking for them.

When Police Sergeant Lithgow arrived on the scene and told Charlton that he had been identified as the culprit who put his fist through the glass, he replied “That must have been how I got this cut on my wrist”.

He was taken to Wagga base hospital, where he received two stitches and was again questioned by Sergeant Lithgow.

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“I remember punching at someone. There were two or three onto me at the time,” he replied before repeating, “I’ve lost my false teeth. Do you think you can find them for me?”

The Sergeant located the man’s missing teeth in his coat pocket.

Slapped with a £3 fine and ordered to pay £14 compensation for the door, a repentant Charlton told the court, “I’d like to apologise to Mr Splcer, and I would like to pay for the damage I caused.”

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