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Hi,

I was hoping somebody might be able to assist me with some information on Scotland Yard during the 1940's and 1950's period.

I am researching an Inspector Charles James John Law who was promoted to Inspector in 1940 and transferred to the A3 department at Scotland Yard and he remain there until he retired in 1955. This might seem a bit daft but I cannot identify what department A3 refers to....... would that be the fingerprints or photography department or does it refer to the division or something else.

Any help would be much appreciated and I hope I have done this entry properly, as it is now only my second posting on the forum.

many thank.

Alan.

 

 

 

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Hi,

I just thought I would add some more details on Inspector Charles J. J. Law, in case, it might help in identifying what is the A3 department in Scotland Yard in 1940 or assist in providing any other information on him.

Charles James John Law, born Marylebone, in London, on the 25/6/1902.

Served in the Army between 1921 to 1925. [don't know the actual military details]

Joined the Metropolitan Police in 1925, assigned to 'J' or Bethnal Green division.

Promoted to sergeant and transferred to 'C' or St James's division in 1931.

Promoted to station sergeant and transferred to 'P' or Camberwell division in1937.

Promoted to Inspector and transferred to A3 department at Scotland Yard in 1940.

Retired in 1955, Inspector at Scotland Yard. [I think he was still an Inspector.]

Died on 30/4/1993.

My impression would be that A3 is likely to be a sub-group/section with the main department ie C.I.D. department and A3 could be fingerprint section etc but I just do not know.

regards,

Alan. 

 

 

 

 

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Good morning Alan. If you ask the moderators to move your inquiry to the “Mervyn Mitton Police” forum, I’m sure that you will attract the attention of some of the experts who haunt that forum. There is a wealth of historical information within the membership. I’m certain that they will be eager to assist you. Mike. 

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This is just an observation but it always seems funny how it can be so difficult to locate more recent information ie A3 department at Scotland Yard in the 1940's and 1950's and yet when you go back much further, say 130 or 160 years etc, then there can be a mass of information at your fingertips i.e....................

Inspector Charles James John Law's grandfather was :-

 

Inspector John Law, Metropolitan Police.

Born 14/8/1840, Devonshire.

Joined the Metropolitan Police 21/4/1862. PC [H205/collar number] in 'H' or Whitechapel division.

Retired on pension 4/10/1887, Inspector with 'B' or Chelsea [Westminster] division.

John Law was over 5 feet and 9 inches tall.

Dark hair,

Hazel eyes.

Fresh complexion.

Scar on right wrist.

47 years old. [ in 1887].

Maybe this fact, encouraged his grandson, to also join the Metropolitan Police.

Alan.

 

 

 

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My May 1929 bible of Scotland Yard identifies 'A' Department was for Administration. A3 covered Promotions & Transfers, Pay Rates, Ceremonials, Special Duties, Medical & Sick, Police Orders. Previously called the Executive Branch A3 was mainly clerical duties, but also included Constables attached to Scotland Yard for special purpose such as motor drivers, and wireless operators. It also included the telegraph office. 

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Hi Nick,

Many thanks and it all makes sense now because when you think of it..... he was a station sergeant from 1937 to 1940 and station sergeants were responsible for the overall administration of the station. Station sergeants had 4 chevrons, instead of the 3 chevrons identifying a normal sergeant. Although, I cannot remember when the 4 chevrons were dispensed with as a rank marking.

I should have also guessed that the letter 'A' may have been used to indicate administration.

Anyway he spent 15 years in the administration the Metropolitan Police and there would have been hundreds of civilian staff involved in supporting these uniformed staff.

I really do appreciate this information and now I know what he was actually doing at Scotland Yard.

Alan. 

Edited by Alan Baird
grammer
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi,

This is just for general information but it seems there were 2 Inspector Law's serving at New Scotland Yard during this period ie 1940/50's.

The other, ' Inspector Law,' was Detective Inspector Percy Law who was in charge of the Photographic Section, part of the CID, at New Scotland Yard. There was a Metropolitan Police recruitment advertisement in the papers in the 1950's which included a photograph of a plain clothes detective photographing a gun to highlight and record the fingerprints on the pistol. The same picture is on one of the, 'Boy's Annual books,' of that period and that picture is of Percy Law.

Obviously, there would have been a great many people working in New Scotland Yard but who knows, they may have even known each other and I suppose there must have been quite a few famous characters/detectives that were around during this period ie Fabian etc. 

Alan.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the thumbs up......and your right, a simple thing like understanding and not guessing, what A3 meant, did help a great deal in finishing my research. The Gentleman's Military Interest Club is a very nice and helpful site....so many thanks. 

It always feel strange when a Metropolitan Policeman who served from the 1920's to 1950's is difficult to research but if you take a Metropolitan Policeman from Victorian times, then you can discover his whole life story ie work, family etc and even complete the research in just a few hours.

Alan.    

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Alan,

The Met is a weird and wonderful organisation, there is often no rhyme or reason as to why some paperwork / records were kept over others. It can be most frustrating, but perseverance is key and you’ve achieved your aim. 

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  • 1 year later...

My grandfather was Charles James John Law and yes he worked his way up from a PC to Inspector.  HIs cousin Percy George Law was also an Inspector at the Yard at the same time and he worked in the photographic section.  Charles was in administration.

Charles police and sporting medals were advertised on Ebay but alas I was not the winner of this auction.  I found reference to Percy in a 1950 newspaper with an image of him photographing a gun for fingerprints but I would love to know more.  Charles grandfather was also an Inspector and I believe some of the other Laws were also in the police force.

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Hi,

It is getting a bit late at night here but it is a good time to post this information to you in Australia.

Go onto 'Ebay' and then 'Scotland Yard' and then 'paper and ephemera' and you fill find part of an article which has a picture of  'Detective Inspector Law of Scotland Yard's Photographic section. It is only £2.00 and they post worldwide. I believe it comes from and 1950's articles on the scientific aspects of Scotland Yard. The newspaper clipping will probably be only a few inches in size but you will probably never see another example.

regards,

Alan. 

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Hi and thanks for putting in the link.

 

Unfortunately, I never realised that Charles and Percy Law, who were both Inspectors at Scotland Yard and served there during the same period..... were related. I missed that link.

I do not have any of the original research any more but some of the details are extremely interesting .

Detective Inspector Percy Law [Scotland Yard, C.I.D. Photographic Branch] is quite famous because he was involved in one of the most famous serial killer cases in British history in 1953. When John Christie left his flat at 10 Rillington Place in Notting Hill, he left behind his wife's body under the front room floor-boards, three bodies hidden behind an alcove in the kitchen and then for good measure, two more bodies buried in the garden. I believe I read somewhere he served as 'special constable' during the war in London

I have never read the full story but you would have thought the smell in the flat would have become unbearable.

It was Detective Inspector Percy Law that took the photographic evidence which was presented to the court in the trial of John Christie. That photographic portfolio would be part of the trial records and I would guess it might be available from the National Archives because the trial records were opened to the public in 2002.

I used the 'British Newspaper Archives' searching under John Christie or Rillington Place, until I found an article that gave his full name as Inspector Percy Law, most of the articles just stated Inspector Law.

If you search the internet you will find copies of the original black and white crime scene photographs somewhere.

It must have been horrendous photographing the bodies within that dark and shabby and run down ground floor flat.

Alan. 

 

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21 hours ago, Alan Baird said:

...When John Christie left his flat at 10 Rillington Place in Notting Hill, he left behind his wife's body under the front room floor-boards, three bodies hidden behind an alcove in the kitchen and then for good measure, two more bodies buried in the garden. I believe I read somewhere he served as 'special constable' during the war in London...

As I understand it, he was actually War Reserve Police, though he is frequently described as being a Special Constable in articles and such, as well as his Wiki entry alternating between the two when referring to his previous Police duties.

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Hi,

Thanks for pointing out the difference between 'War Reserve Police' and 'Special Constables' as I did not know that. During the Second World War it must have been very difficult to check/search the records for individuals whilst London was being bombed and also having a desperate need for officers especially with so many men off serving in the forces.

Although I have never read the ''John Christie'' story, I knew I had a copy somewhere in the house.

Eventually I found it...…….''John Christie of Rillington Place by Jonathan Oates.''

Interestingly in 1953, Detective Percy Law is now Detective Chief Inspector Law within the Photographic branch of the C.I.D. at Scotland Yard. He presented the photographic evidence to the Judge and jury during the early stages of the trial.

''''One of the Police Officers recalled, 'over the years I have seen some shocking sights but never one so un-nerving as that which greeted ourselves. It should be stated that the alcove [kitchen] containing the three bodies was packed indeed, as it only measured 4 feet high and was five feet and six inches deep. Yet there was worse to come...……….''''

Alan.

 

SS858084 (2).JPG

SS858090 (2).JPG

SS858096 (2).JPG

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If he was a War Reserve (and I believe he was), he would not have been entitled to the SC LS medal. His entitlement to the Defence Medal would depend on how long he served. In any event, I doubt that he would ever have been awarded it. He had a rather pressing appointment with Albert Pierrepoint.

Dave.  

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Hi,

Just a brief summary :-

It says in the book, 'John Christie enlisted as a Private in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment, number 106733, on the 19th of September in 1916, nearly seventeen and a half years old. He was entered into the reserve and not mobilised until the 12th of April in 1917. He was picked to serve as a Signaller. On the 2nd of April in 1918 Private Christie was sent to France and later injured by the blast of a mustard gas shell and demobilised on the 22nd of October in 1919. 

That must mean he could not have got the WW1 trio?

Alan.

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Having regard to Christie's activities, I would not be inclined to take any notice of medal ribbons he may be wearing. The man was obviously seriously disturbed and was probably always so. He was also a "con man" of the first order. He gave evidence at the trial of a man (Timothy Evans), who was subsequently wrongly executed for a murder that he (Christie) committed.

Dave. 

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20 hours ago, Dave Wilkinson said:

If he was a War Reserve (and I believe he was), he would not have been entitled to the SC LS medal. His entitlement to the Defence Medal would depend on how long he served. In any event, I doubt that he would ever have been awarded it. He had a rather pressing appointment with Albert Pierrepoint.

Dave.  

Good Point Dave, well made :lol::lol:

20 hours ago, Alan Baird said:

Hi,

Just a brief summary :-

It says in the book, 'John Christie enlisted as a Private in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment, number 106733, on the 19th of September in 1916, nearly seventeen and a half years old. He was entered into the reserve and not mobilised until the 12th of April in 1917. He was picked to serve as a Signaller. On the 2nd of April in 1918 Private Christie was sent to France and later injured by the blast of a mustard gas shell and demobilised on the 22nd of October in 1919. 

That must mean he could not have got the WW1 trio?

Alan.

It's all coming back to me now. He'd have only been entitled in a BWM & Victory medal, although in the picture it does look like he's wearing a set of three medal ribbons? 

19 hours ago, Dave Wilkinson said:

Having regard to Christie's activities, I would not be inclined to take any notice of medal ribbons he may be wearing. The man was obviously seriously disturbed and was probably always so. He was also a "con man" of the first order. He gave evidence at the trial of a man (Timothy Evans), who was subsequently wrongly executed for a murder that he (Christie) committed.

Dave. 

Agreed.

Would be interesting to know  whether his medals are known to exist?

Along with this fella's, of equal or indeed greater notoriety..........................

 

PC 001.jpg

PC 002.jpg

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22 hours ago, Alan Baird said:

It says in the book, 'John Christie enlisted as a Private in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment, number 106733, on the 19th of September in 1916, nearly seventeen and a half years old. He was entered into the reserve and not mobilised until the 12th of April in 1917. He was picked to serve as a Signaller. On the 2nd of April in 1918 Private Christie was sent to France and later injured by the blast of a mustard gas shell and demobilised on the 22nd of October in 1919. 

That must mean he could not have got the WW1 trio?

 

1 hour ago, bigjarofwasps said:

It's all coming back to me now. He'd have only been entitled in a BWM & Victory medal, although in the picture it does look like he's wearing a set of three medal ribbons? 

...

Would be interesting to know  whether his medals are known to exist?

Medal Index Card of John Christie confirms entitlement to the standard BWM and VM only. It is interesting to note that the card bears a pencilled inscription of 11 over 5 over 53. This is a simple date code to show that the card was examined on the 11th of May 1953. Given Christies arrest on the 31st March 1953 and trial beginning on the 22nd June the same year it appears that his surviving military records were being checked as part of this process.

Given Christie had sold virtually everything of value by the turn of 1952/53 and was reduced to living in near poverty it is likely that his medals (if still surviving in his possession at that time) went the same way before his crimes were detected...

 

 

John Reginald Halliday Christie MIC.jpg

Edited by ayedeeyew
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Just to round this off, so to speak, CHRISTIE was convicted and sentenced to death on 25th June 1953 by Mr. Justice Finnemore at the Old Bailey. He was executed at HMP Pentonville by Albert Pierrepoint on Wednesday 15th July 1953. 

Although he was convicted of the murder of seven persons, the police believed his victims numbered as many as twelve.

Dave.

 

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4 hours ago, Dave Wilkinson said:

...Although he was convicted of the murder of seven persons, the police believed his victims numbered as many as twelve...

My understanding was as per the following information from his Wiki entry - namely that although guilty of multiple murders he was only ever convicted of one - his wife - essentially on the grounds of it being the one with which a conviction was most likely to be secured (and succeeded):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Christie_(murderer)

“Christie was tried only for the murder of his wife Ethel. His trial began on 22 June 1953, in the same court in which Evans had been tried three years earlier. Christie pleaded insanity and claimed to have a poor memory of the events. Dr. Matheson, a doctor at Brixton Prison who evaluated Christie, was called as a witness by the prosecution. He testified that Christie had a hysterical personality but was not insane. The jury rejected Christie's plea, and after deliberating for 85 minutes found him guilty. Christie did not appeal against his conviction.”

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