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Old 02-15-2015, 11:32 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is online now
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Default The Absence of Mr Monro

This thread follows on from my "Gripes of Mr Williamson" thread. In that thread, I discussed the issue of why Alexander Carmichael Bruce, the A.C.A. appeared to receiving reports for the A.C.C. regarding the murders of Tabram and Nichols. The initials of James Monro, the A.C.C. are nowhere to be seen on the documents. I believe I now know why.

As I will demonstrate, Monro was ill during July (or claimed to be) and I believe this accounts for the following Office Regulation introduced by Sir Charles Warren on 21 July 1888 (MEPO 4/10):

"Whenever an Assistant Commissioner is away on leave or becomes absent for any cause so as not to be able to superintend his branch, that branch will either be superintended directly by the Commissioner or by an Assistant Commissioner deputed by him and if the absence of the Assistant Commissioner is more than a day, this should be inserted in the Office Regulation for the information of the Commissionerís Office.

Whenever an Assistant Commissioner is doing duty for another branch he should be addressed in memoranda relating to that branch he should be addressed in memoranda relating to that branch as though he were the Assistant Commissioner in charge. For example, if A.C.A. is doing duty for A.C.B. he should be addressed with reference to civil business as A.C.B.

(sgd) C.W. 21.7.88
"

In the absence of Monro, therefore, Sir Charles was laying the groundwork for another Assistant Commissioner to cover for him.

Three days later the following exchange of correspondence occurred between James Monro and Sir Charles Warren (MEPO 4/487):

From James Monro to Sir Charles Warren

Sir C Warren

I came to town today being sent for by S of S. I had intended to return to office but was unable. I am unfit for work and shall be glad to have leave to the end of the week, after which I propose taking my [usual] leave for August.

J Monro 24 July


From Sir Charles Warren to James Monro

Mr Monro

I am sorry to hear that you are ill. You can as you propose have leave till the end of August and I will arrange for your duties during that time to be carried out by another Assistant Commissioner.

C.W. 24.7.88


There was more to this than Monro simply being unwell but we don't need to go into that.

On the same day as the above correspondence, Sir Charles wrote a memo to Alexander Carmichael Bruce referring to him as "A.C.A. acting for A.C. C.I.D."

Monro does not return to Central Office until he resigns at the very end of August.

One can understand, therefore, why the JTR Sourcebook refers to Bruce as the A.C.C. but I'm not sure to what extent that is strictly true although, as we can see, he was certainly the Acting A.C.C. from at least 24 July 1888 until the appointment of Sir Robert Anderson on 1 September 1888 (and then covered for him again when Anderson went on holiday/sick leave a week later).

We might note that the Evening Post published a reasonably well informed account of the dispute between Sir Charles Warren and Sir James Monro in its issue of 5 September 1888 in which the following was stated:

"Matters reached a crisis early in July, when the Chief Commissioner and Mr. Monro went to see the Home Office and had a lengthy interview with the Secretary of State, at which it was decided that Mr. Monro should immediately take leave of absence, with a view to his subsequent resignation."

The newspaper also reported that: "Sir Charles Warren, who has been taking a very quiet holiday in the South of France, returns to Scotland Yard within the next few days."

That Sir Charles was on holiday at the time is confirmed by his letter to Anderson dated 28 August 1888, which can be found in the Sourcebook, which shows he was in France (albeit not the South of France) at the time, due to return in London on about 7 September.

In conclusion, therefore, the A.C.C. was absent from Central Office during the entire month of August, the Chief Constable of C.I.D. was not, apparently, informed of the murder of Martha Tabram until a week after it occurred and special reports on crime were being sent to the Superintendent of the Executive branch, Charles Cutbush (himself not in the office in late August when he was replaced by Inspector Davis) until mid-September and forwarded by him to the Acting A.C.C. who was the A.C.A. With Sir Charles Warren also absent from the office during at least the latter part of August (and possibly for all of it?), Robert Anderson not properly in place until October, there was evidently a complete lack of proper senior leadership in situ at Central Office during the time of the first murders in Whitechapel
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