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Why Bond?

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  • Why Bond?

    Given the current interest in Dr Bond I thought I would share a snippet of information that I stumbled across at the National Archives; something that was news to me but for all I know is the subject of an article somewhere in the reams of Ripperlogical publications.

    I think it is the answer to the question of why Dr Bond out of all the medical men in London was called to be present at the autopsy of Mary Jane Kelly. After all, he was the surgeon for 'A' Division in Westminster and had nothing to do with the 'H' Division of Whitechapel.

    Ah, but I hear you say, he had been instructed by Robert Anderson on 25 October to provide an opinion on the Whitechapel murders due to his "eminence as an expert in such cases". Yes, indeed, but why had Bond of all people been chosen to provide such an opinion?

    An easy one? Because he was the Divisional Surgeon to Scotland Yard?

    Well, no actually. And that's the thing. All of the officers within Scotland Yard were removed from Dr Bond's responsibility by Sir Charles Warren in January 1888. In other words, Dr Bond was sacked as the Divisional Surgeon to Scotland Yard (albeit retained for the rest of 'A' Division).

    The reasons given were that Dr Bond was too busy to take care of so many officers and also that most officers in Scotland Yard lived south of the river so that Dr Bond being in Westminster was inconvenient.

    Dr Bond, who had not been consulted about the change in arrangements, was furious, especially because it would result in a loss of annual income to him of about £100. He complained to the Home Secretary that the Commissioner did not have the authority to make such a change. There seemed to be some sympathy in the Home Office for this view.

    Correspondence between Warren and the Home Office about this issue dragged on for some months, with a defensive Sir Charles, under pressure to justify his action, saying in a letter dated 18 April 1888:

    'I beg to say that it would be that it would be quite impossible for me to carry on the duties of Commissioner without danger of a fiasco, if it is in any way understood or implied that I cannot move men from the medical care of a Surgeon without reference to the Secretary of State; or that I am in any way restricted as to my authority in placing men under the care of a Divisional Surgeon.'

    With a resolution to the issue seemingly difficult to find, the problem for the Commissioner came to an end on 4 October 1888 when Dr Bond agreed to resign as the Divisional Surgeon for Scotland Yard/Commissioner's Office.

    The Chief Surgeon explained to Sir Charles that Dr Bond, 'has had a very large Medico-Legal experience, and he would naturally prefer to be referred to by the Commissioner as a Medico-Legal Expert, than to retain charge of an extra number of men which would necessitate frequent long journeys to the south of the river, and which would further in many instances disqualify him from being consulted in Police Civil and Criminal business in his higher capacity of Medical Jurist.'

    Lo and behold, within a few weeks of tendering his written resignation, Dr Bond was being given what was no doubt a lucrative assignment of providing his opinion on the Whitechapel murders!

    Although there is nothing in writing to this effect, I have little doubt that the assignment given to Dr Bond was part of a compromise agreement between the doctor and Sir Charles Warren. In return for dropping his claim against the Commissioner for being unfairly dismissed as the surgeon at Scotland Yard, Dr Bond was to be treated by Scotland Yard as an expert in criminal cases and handed paid work on that basis.

    The covering letter of the Chief Surgeon referred to above was actually dated 1 November but I'm sure that was just the formal written statement and the matter had been discussed between the parties involved prior to this.

  • #2
    David

    that is very interesting information, I have often wondered why he was apparently parachuted into the investigation, Phillips appeared to be doing ok, and no obviously in need of help.


    steve

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Elamarna View Post
      David

      that is very interesting information, I have often wondered why he was apparently parachuted into the investigation, Phillips appeared to be doing ok, and no obviously in need of help.


      steve
      Whether Phillips was in need of help or not would not have been of much material interest, I think - the magnitude of the whole affair was such as to call for top resources being called into action. With the press breathing down the necks of the ones responsible, they were never going to be able to keep it low-key in any sense.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
        Whether Phillips was in need of help or not would not have been of much material interest, I think - the magnitude of the whole affair was such as to call for top resources being called into action. With the press breathing down the necks of the ones responsible, they were never going to be able to keep it low-key in any sense.
        Hi Fisherman

        While i don't disagree, putting more doctors in would not help solve the case, there were no forensics to speak of.

        The cost of drafting in Bond must have been equal to a fair number of police on the ground, that would be far more likely to quell uneasy at the results obtained.

        Steve

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Elamarna View Post
          Hi Fisherman

          While i don't disagree, putting more doctors in would not help solve the case, there were no forensics to speak of.

          The cost of drafting in Bond must have been equal to a fair number of police on the ground, that would be far more likely to quell uneasy at the results obtained.

          Steve
          I am not disagreeing with you over how Phillips would have been well qualified and able, Steve. But those considerations are regularly showed aside when subjected to a press broadside.
          The case was a worldwide sensation. In situations like that, the responsible parties will choose the wording "We are doing all we can" over "We are doing all we need to". And the more visible the effort, the more likely it will be employed...

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
            Whether Phillips was in need of help or not would not have been of much material interest, I think - the magnitude of the whole affair was such as to call for top resources being called into action. With the press breathing down the necks of the ones responsible, they were never going to be able to keep it low-key in any sense.
            The issue raised by this thread, Fisherman, is not why another doctor was brought in but why Bond specifically was brought in.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
              The issue raised by this thread, Fisherman, is not why another doctor was brought in but why Bond specifically was brought in.
              I think it has certainly been suggested in the past that Bond was brought in on account of his specific experience in medical jurisprudence ( I certainly thought this myself) but this was based on the fact he lectured in the subject at the Westminster Hospital. Your new finding that the position was probably given to placate him and avoid disharmony is interesting. Thanks FWIW
              ,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸, Debs ,¸¸,ø¤º°`°º¤ø,¸¸,

              I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

              Comment


              • #8
                Good work, David.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi All,

                  In his 25th October 1888 letter to Bond, Anderson wrote -

                  “He [Warren] feels that your eminence as an expert in such cases—and it is entirely in that capacity that the present case is referred to you, will make your opinion especially valuable.”

                  Regards,

                  Simon
                  Last edited by Simon Wood; 06-01-2016, 02:31 PM. Reason: spolling mistook
                  Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
                    Hi All,

                    In his letter to Bond, Anderson wrote -

                    “He [Warren] feels that your eminence as an expert in such cases—and it is entirely in that capacity that the present case is referred to you, will make your opinion especially valuable.”
                    That was quoted by me in the third paragraph of the OP.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi David,

                      Well spotted.

                      Regards,

                      Simon
                      Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
                        Hi David,

                        Well spotted.
                        It was more a case of recollection of what I had written, actually, Simon.

                        And, of course, Sir Charles Warren valued Dr Bond's eminence as an expert so much in January 1888 that he summarily kicked him out of Scotland Yard, and indeed out of the Commissioner's Office, and decimated his medical practice in the process, without any consultation.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi David,

                          So we only have Anderson's word that Warren held Bond in such high professional esteem.

                          Regards,

                          Simon
                          Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                            The issue raised by this thread, Fisherman, is not why another doctor was brought in but why Bond specifically was brought in.
                            I was answering Steves post (2). I know what the thread is about.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
                              Hi David,

                              So we only have Anderson's word that Warren held Bond in such high professional esteem.
                              You never fail to amuse me Simon. I think the point here is that Warren and Anderson were saying that they held Bond in such high professional esteem after he had withdrawn his complaint against Warren and resigned as the Divisional Surgeon for Scotland Yard.

                              Perhaps it would be helpful for me to quote the letter written by Sir Charles Warren to Godfrey Lushington at the Home Office on 2 November 1888:

                              'I have to acquaint you for the information of the Secretary of State that the matter is one which now appears to have been adjusted to the satisfaction of all parties.

                              The Chief Surgeon informs me that Dr Bond entirely appreciates the difficulties that might arise from his having medical charge of officers in the Commissioner's Office and at the same time the many very important police medical duties which he has to perform in connection with Police Civil and Criminal business, and he naturally prefers to be called in by the Commissioner for Civil and Criminal business in which he is an expert instead of other specialists, and I believe he also fully appreciates the enormous extent of the 'A' Division as it stands without connection with the Commissioners Office.

                              The Chief Surgeon has accordingly forwarded to me Dr Bond's resignation of the medical charge of Police of the Detective Department, Scotland Yard and other branches of the Commissioner's Office.'


                              As mentioned in the OP, that letter of resignation was dated 4 October 1888.

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