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 post-13074-0-08543200-1414265741.jp post-13074-0-62651800-1414265706.jpgI am researching the death of a Regents Canal Dock Police Constable on the 30th November 1927. Regents Canal Dock is located in Limehouse, East London and is now known as Limehouse Basin a marina and surrounded by luxury flats. Ships entered the dock from the Thames and items were either directly loaded onto barges or stored in any one of several warehouses which surrounded the dock. Conversely goods were brought into the dock via the Regents Canal or the River Lee for loading onto sea going vessels. In the Victorian and Edwardian periods it was an extremely busy place, crime was a constant companion.

 

Leonard Harold Wetherall had been a RCD constable since being demobbed from the Royal Navy in 1919. The weather was damp and cold that evening when he was on a late turn duty. He was found dead at the bottom of a warehouse well (through which goods were lifted/dropped by crane) when a search was started after he failed to book off.

 

The inquest a few days later recorded an accidental death, although the coroner felt that the death was mysterious as the officer had left his own beat crossed a number of barges, a pipeline and climbed some steps to enter the warehouse. The matter was investigated by a local detective.

 

The grandchildren of Leonard tell me that the family always believed that the death was as a result of a criminal act, but had no proof.

 

The coroners papers have been destroyed.

 

The newspaper reports provide nothing useful.

 

The Met no longer have a record of the incident.

 

There is nothing on the internet.

 

I will be checking the records of the RCD Company, held at TNA.

 

I am trying to locate descendants of his colleagues to establish whether anything has been passed down.

 

Any suggestions as to what else I can do?

 

The group photograph is of RCD Police and may have been taken after the funeral of PC Wetherall.

 

The second photograph is of Leonard.

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Polsa  -  I am sorry that no-one replied to your post of 25/9/14.   I suppose that this is subject that few people will be able to help with ?

Hopefully, with it back at the top, it may jog someone's memory  ?    Mervyn

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Thanks Mervyn......it is indeed a complex subject....maybe I was just looking for reassurance that there was no other places to look. A few days ago I was at the National Archives checking the records of the Regents Canal Dock Company. It is extremely strange that there is no reference within those records to the death.

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Polsa  -  you did your best  -  I am wondering if it would have been dealt with by the Met. and therefore the papers

might be in our archives.   Have you tried coroner's reports ?    When I was at Bethnal Green I crossed the Regent's Canal

twice daily  - to and from work.   You could look down from the footbridge at Victoria Park and I would often see safes that

had been forced and then dropped in.   Hackney always hated to hear from me  -  they are difficult to get out. Best wishes Mervyn

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Polsa, Try Anthony Rae at the Police Roll of Honour Trust, although  I know Weatherall does not appear Mr Rae just may be able to assist or point you in right  direction as he has great experience of such research.

Regards

Peter.

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Polsa, Correction, after re searching the RofH I find he is on it under the BTP but only with the information that you have.

A glancing search of Ancestry shows that he is, if same man,  variously refered  to as Leonard Harold, Harold Leonard with the surname Wetherall, Weatherall and Witherall. He was b. Dartford, Kent 1897 and appears to have married a Miss. Vincent in 1922.

Regards

Peter

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Thanks Mervyn and Peter for your assistance and advice. Checking with the Met, I am told that no records of inquests for that period or information of the investigation exist. Checked with the Coroners Office and the London Metropolitan Archives with no success.

I will keep this enquiry on the back burner as I am convinced that there was more to this death than was publicly reported.

Best wishes

Steve

Edited by Polsa999
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