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Alan Baird

Police Constable 240H Ernest Thompson

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Hi,

This first part of this post is the basic general information and background on Police Constable 240H Ernest Thompson and later I will add the second part relating to him ie either tonight or tomorrow.

 

'''Murder of Frances Coles.'''

Police Constable 240H Ernest Thompson, on his first solo beat duty found the body of Frances Coles in Swallow Gardens in 1891. To be exact, the discovery of her body was at 2.15am on Friday the 13th of February in 1891.

Police Constable Thompson blew his whistle to raise the alarm and even although he heard the distant footsteps of somebody walking away from the scene, he decided to remain with the victim during her apparent last moments of life.

The murderer was thought to be '''Jack the Ripper''' or''' James Thomas Sadler''' who was the man that had been paying for Frances Coles company over her last couple of days or maybe it was somebody else. 

The incident is well documented and I believe Police Constable 240H Ernest Thompson often relived the events of that night and wondered if he should have gone after the unknown stranger.

 

'''Murder of PC 240H Thompson.'''

Now if we jump approximately a decade later, we find that Police Constable 240H Ernest Thompson is again on night shift. It is the early morning hours of the 1st of December in 1900 and he is attempting to disperse some people near a coffee stall in Commercial Road.

Police Constable Thompson is stabbed twice in the neck by Barnet Abrahams. This occurred at the same time as some prisoner's were being transferred from Leman Street Police Station to Arbour Square Court. Two of the escorting Policemen immediately went to their injured colleagues assistance. Although Police Constable Thompson had been fatally wounded he still held on to his prisoner until the other Police Constables took over. The main artery in his neck had been severed and he died very soon afterwards.

Barnet Abrahams was later found guilty of manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years penal servitude.

 

'''The funeral of Police Constable 240H Ernest Thompson.'''

Ernest Thompson was a family man leaving a widow and three young children. There was a huge outcry at the Police Constable's murder. Very large crowds gathered for the funeral procession to make its way to Bow Cemetery.

Heading the cortege was Whitechapel or ''H'' division's band, followed by the family/friends carriages and then followed over 3,000 officers and men of the Metropolitan Police and other Constabularies etc. All along the funeral route the streets were packed with grieving spectators and hundreds of wreaths were also taken to the grave. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi,

Somebody that almost certainly knew Police Constable 240H Ernest Thompson was Inspector Henry Thomas Weidner who was also serving in Whitechapel or ''H'' division.

At the inquest on the death of Police Constable Thompson...….Inspector Henry Thomas Weidner gave evidence regarding the coffee stalls that were located in Commercial Street. One of the main witnesses was a coffee stall vender.

It is also known that Inspector Weidner was in charge of the Whitechapel or ''H'' division band during the funeral cortege and  that ''H'' division's band lead the procession.

Inspector Henry Thomas Weidner was a Whitechapel or ''H'' division Inspector from the 21st of November in 1891 until he retired on the 29th of October in 1906.

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'''General information on Inspector Henry Thomas Weidner.'''

Henry Thomas Weidner was born in Barking, in Essex, in 1856.

Henry had a younger brother '''George Weidner''' and one interesting fact is that they both ended their careers as '''Metropolitan Police Inspectors.'''

Henry Thomas Weidner served between 1874 to 1906.                                                                                                                                  George Weidner served between 1876 to 1901.

Inspector George Weidner retires from Marylebone or ''D'' division and with the rank of Sub Divisional Inspector in 1901.

Inspector Henry Thomas Weidner's pension records in 1906 record that he is residing at 76 Leman Street in Whitechapel and therefore he is living in the family accommodation at the Leman Street Police Station 

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'''Sub Divisional Inspector John Pickett.'''

Another person that almost certainly would have known Police Constable 240H Ernest Thompson was Sub Divisional Inspector John Pickett.

From the records we can confirm that he attended Police Constable Thompson's funeral especially as he was representing the senior officers and men within the Whitechapel division of the Metropolitan Police.

Sub Divisional Inspector John Pickett joined Whitechapel or '''H''' division on the 27th of August in 1898 and remained there until he retired on pension on the 26th of July in 1904.

On the day of the funeral there was a dark and threatening grey sky and the burial took place at Bow cemetery.  Whitechapel or '''H''' division had previously purchased a plot of land at the cemetery and it was to be used to bury officers that were killed in the line of duty. Not only were there 2,500 Metropolitan Police officers attending the funeral in uniform, Dockyard and City of London Police also sent squads of men and a score of firemen also attended. The Whitechapel divisional band headed the funeral cortege but divisional bands from Lambeth and Highgate also were present within the funeral formation. There were also hundreds of wreaths to be carried to the Police Constable Thompson's grave.  

It must have been an impressive sight to see and a sombre moment in the Metropolitan Police's history.

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and here are these two Whitechapel or '''H''' Inspectors medals shown side by side...……………...

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Hi,

Here is a copy of Sub Divisional Inspector John Pickett's pension records from 1904...………...

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Hi,

I have added some more information on Sub Divisional Inspector John Pickett's Metropolitan Police career which also includes his time serving in Whitechapel or '''H''' division.

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A few years back, this medal sold on EBay. Bit of conjecture as to whether he did actually attend the COLES murder scene after hearing THOMPSON’s whistle. 
 

Is £320 a bit steep?

I don’t know, he was certainly wounded at Sidney Street. 

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Hi,

That was very interesting.

At first I could not remember who '''Leeson''' was until you mentioned '''Sidney Street'' from 1911.

I must admit I have not read anything that states Police Constable Leeson assisted Police Constable 240H Ernest Thompson after he raised the alarm to Frances Coles murder.

Police Constable Hyde and Hinton and then followed by Police Constable Elliott did but not Police Constable Leeson.

Although Detective Sergeant Ben [Benjamin] Leeson certainly was a very brave man at 100 Sidney Street. I believe he was shot and gravely wounded when they originally banged on the doors and called out for the two anarchists to surrender. Ben Leeson recovered but due to his injuries was invalided out of the Police at a later date. 

So maybe he was there in 1891. 

 

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Hi,

They say '''a picture is worth a thousand words,''' so here we have a photograph of Ex-PS [Whitechapel/'H' division] Ben [Benjamin] Leeson

The photograph was taken from his book which he had published in 1934.

The book is titled, '''Lost London The memoirs of an East End Detective.'''

If you thought the medal was expensive......….the book is selling on ebay for £145.00 …...…….free postage.

 

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The book does come up from time to time and always commands a premium for some reason, certainly worthy of a reprint. 
I have concerns about whether LEESON was a bit of a fantasist, as I seem to recall he claims to have seen Jack the Ripper on a train in Australia years later.......

 

Walter DEW’s book is worth a read and a lot cheaper. He had a confirmed involvement in the Ripper case. 

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