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  • Thankyou Stewart.
    What I have also completely failed to understand, is why the words of one Chief of Police of equal standing and seniority with another Chief of Police are treated with such imbalance and disparity.I am ofcourse speaking here of dismissive attitudes that prevail concerning Sir Henry Smith, Chief Commissioner of the City Police, by those who prefer to present as "the truth" the words of Sir Robert Anderson, Head of CID,spymaster and as such a master of "disinformation".
    Henry Smith was actually around in London, acting Chief Commissioner at the time of the murders.He was on the scene of the Mitre Square murder, within minutes of the City Police surgeon,Gordon Brown, and actively involved in the hunt for the killer.So it follows that IF Kosminski WAS the City police suspect,Smith would surely have been one of the first to know about it? Yet he doesnt comment,indicating that that line of enquiry was a dead duck.
    Moreover he asserts very emphatically that Anderson was WRONG and that the very basis for Anderson"s assertions is WRONG .He is at pains to correct this "misinformation" as he, Smith , sees it. He reminds us HE,HENRY SMITH was actually at the crime scene the night of the Mitre Square murder,while Robert Anderson was still in Paris having missed out on all four the murders bar the later one of Mary Kelly and he adds ,unequivocally," I have no more idea now where he[the Ripper] lived than I had twenty years ago -- for he completely beat me and every police officer in London."
    This City Police Chief, goes on to strongly denounce the comments of Robert Anderson"s and the idea that he somehow knew something other Police Chief"s did not,by describing his comments regarding the identity of the Ripper as "RECKLESS ASSERTIONS" referring as they do to a community of people "whose conduct contrasts most favourably with that of the Gentile population of the metropolis".- Smith even goes on to spell out the absurdity of Robert Anderson"s claim that such a people would be willing to be "accessories after the fact in a murder case,making them liable to penal servitude for life".
    So here we have one of Sir Robert"s contemporaries of equal rank,Sir Henry Smith,who had been Chief Commissioner of the City of London Police from 1890, who not only dismissed the very idea that Anderson could have known but also went on to make a very powerful case against everything Robert Anderson claimed he knew about the Ripper.......beginning his chapter on the Whitechapel Murders by saying that the Ripper "COMPLETELY BEAT EVERY POLICE OFFICER IN LONDON."
    So why then,where all things are equal over rank and certainly over "hands on experience" in particular, select the word of Anderson over and above the word of Smith?
    Norma
    Last edited by Natalie Severn; 08-06-2008, 12:54 PM.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Stewart P Evans View Post
      I have noticed a tendency for some of the posts on this thread to be turgid and confusing. In addressing multiple points and meandering from this aspect to that I fear the general reader may well get lost or lose interest. I shall therefore endeavour to keep to the point and address the minimum of points in one posting.

      This thread is, basically, concerned with the vexed question, "Did Anderson know?" And, of course, germane to answering such a question is the character of the man himself and the reliability of his word. Even the newest tyro in Ripper research is aware of Anderson's importance and relevance to any attempt to identify the Ripper. The basic research tool The Jack the Ripper A-Z devotes no less than five and a half pages to Anderson's biography alone, and informs us in the second sentence that Anderson "Stated several times that the identity of the Ripper was known." This is unequivocal and, given Anderson's status, could lead any reader to immediately believe that the case was, in fact, solved by the police.

      To bolster Anderson's claims the A-Z tells us "It is therefore important to weigh carefully Anderson's reliability as a witness." It notes that Anderson was opinionated and self-satisfied, also that he had some eccentric theological and penological ideas. That said the authors note that "At the same time he had a peculiarly scrupulous regard for the truth and would never have lied directly."

      There is a caveat that when Anderson "thought anti-social criminals were involved he was prepared to mislead with half-truths or mental reservation (as he did before the Parnell Commission). His statements about the Ripper's identity are far too direct to fall under this heading." The final paragraph sums up by stating "Anderson may have been quite wrong. But persistent attempts to disprove his statements by denigrating his character are almost on a par with the outdated game of abusing and dismissing the police as a whole (and Warren in particular) in order to allow irresponsible theorising from some other source."

      This, then, is the generally accepted view of Anderson portrayed in this reference work. It paints a favourable overall picture of Anderson with regard to acceptance of his word on points relating to the Ripper case. It also seeks to deter others from making critical comments about Anderson and his character and, in overall effect, suggests to the reader that what Anderson had to say about the identification of 'Jack the Ripper' should be accepted as the truth, or at least the truth as Anderson saw and believed it to be. It does not allow for any confusion caused by advanced years nor for any dishonesty on Anderson's part. However, I suggest that a deeper study of Anderson and his works indicates that all possibilities should be considered when assessing the claims of this eccentric individual.
      I am of the opinion that Anderson believed he knew.

      We have Littlechild's statement that Anderson "thought he knew." This is far different from "Anderson made the whole thing up."

      We also have secondary evidence of Anderson's theory(Swanson, Sims, Littlechild). Secondary evidence is damn scarce in the Ripper case. Some of this secondary evidence supports Anderson, some of it raises doubt against him.

      Comment


      • Focus

        I was intending to try and get some focus on specific aspects of this problem but find myself facing multiple questions. I shall try to address them in a coherent and orderly manner - and as simply as possible.

        I am asked, "What do we do with Anderson?" Well, the simple answer to that is do not dismiss him out of hand. He is too important to be ignored and, indeed, this is why so much has been written about him and his claims. But as with every questioned area that has no definitive answer we are left with a problem. The authors of the A-Z had a valid point when they highlighted a previous tendency for other commentators to dismiss him, and they redressed the balance - but too much in my opinion. And the problem is that highly regarded authors, such as they are, have a great influence over the reading public. Not everyone has ready access to the available material and much has been overlooked in the past. Much that militates against Anderson was never published as the pro Polish Jew Suspect era emerged.

        Everything with regard to Anderson, and his claims, has to be considered before a measured and informed decision as to the weight to be attached to his pronouncements is reached. So researchers such as Rob House and Chris must be congratulated for their dogged research into the validity of 'Anderson's suspect.' I would never discourage anyone from doing this. By the same token I will not be influenced by high profile and obviously biased pro-Andersonites. That is why I have for a while been trying to redress the balance in taking a total view of the Anderson argument - and supplying relevant material that pro-Anderson authors have chosen to exclude from their books.

        It is a nonsense to suggest that I 'dismiss Anderson readily.' For goodness sake, I first considered his words over 40 years ago and it is after years of research and reading that I have reached the conclusions that I have detailed in my books, especially Scotland Yard Investigates, and I don't intend to go through them all again here. Suffice to say that we have information from one who knew him that by this time he was forgetful and confusing cases and his own boasting in black and white. However, I don't recall anyone calling him 'a doddering old fool' - where did that come from? His theory was not described by him at length until 1910 by which time he was not a young man, and 69 was a good age for a Victorian to reach, albeit he did not die until 1918. It is usually in the sixties that the mental faculty begins to noticeably diminish.
        SPE

        Treat me gently I'm a newbie.

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        • Believed

          I suppose that in the context of this debate saying 'Anderson believed he knew' is much the same as saying 'Anderson thought he knew.' And there is a high probability that Anderson's theory, for that is what I believe it was, to him was the correct answer. And although he did not 'make the whole thing up' I feel sure that he 'gilded the lily' and deceived his readers. Deceiving his readers has been proved by the fact that in his 1910 book he describes an unsolved murder of 1888 [Mylett] unequivocally as a death from natural causes. Here there must be a fine line between what he believed to be true and deliberate deception of, and misinformation for, his readers.

          I was rather intrigued to see Martin Fido state that if Anderson could be proved to have thought the case to be unsolved in 1889 then he would drop his Cohen theorising and also readily dismiss Aaron Kosminki who, in his opinion, is a total non-starter as the Ripper. Well, it has been pointed out in the past that in a footnote in his 1910 book Anderson clearly states, "I am here assuming that the murder of Alice M'Kenzie on the 17th July, 1889, was by another hand..." Well, if Anderson's definitely ascertained Polish Jew suspect was safely 'caged in an asylum' by July 1889 surely Anderson would have known that the murderer was not the Ripper, and he would not be merely assuming that it was another murderer. Here it is in black and white from his book -

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          I wonder if Martin Fido will have a re-think?
          Last edited by Stewart P Evans; 08-06-2008, 04:24 PM.
          SPE

          Treat me gently I'm a newbie.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Stewart P Evans View Post
            I

            It is a nonsense to suggest that I 'dismiss Anderson readily.' For goodness sake, I first considered his words over 40 years ago and it is after years of research and reading that I have reached the conclusions that I have detailed in my books, especially Scotland Yard Investigates, and I don't intend to go through them all again here. Suffice to say that we have information from one who knew him that by this time he was forgetful and confusing cases and his own boasting in black and white. However, I don't recall anyone calling him 'a doddering old fool' - where did that come from? His theory was not described by him at length until 1910 by which time he was not a young man, and 69 was a good age for a Victorian to reach, albeit he did not die until 1918. It is usually in the sixties that the mental faculty begins to noticeably diminish.
            Hargrave lee Adam 1908

            " I had asked Sir Robert to write a Preface for a book in which I had dealt with a certain phase of the sex question, although , I trusted, with discretion and reserve, I have been able to quite understabnd what his words meant. His memory also apparently began to fail him, and he fell into the error of mixing cases. For instance , in reference to the Penge murder which I was discussing with him, he said or rather wrote: 'I am too tird tonight to recall it. But I think it was a night dress that the officer was put to watch-its hiding -place having been discovered, and when he awoke it was gone, carried off, they supposed, by Alice Rhodes'

            He was clearly mixing up the Penge case with that of the Road murder, in which a woman's nightdress figured prominently?' END.

            I'm not certain who used 'Doddering old fool' not i. However doesnt Anderson specifically state here 'I am too tierd to recall it'.

            We all get tierd, and when working from memory we make mistakes..

            However when writing his book surely he had time to prepare and work from notes..check it when fresh? He cant have written the book in 1910. Books take ages to research and put together. Surely he had been working on it for a long time before 1910...in his 60's.

            Working from notes and working from memory is a very different things.

            My memory on fine detail is often poor now...however I have a good over veiw of complex ideas, and can source information when required.

            Adam also discribes Anderson as 'emphatic in speech and prolific in delivery" "he has a keen, rather grim sence of humour which when he indulges it, is accompanied by a demure and self-satisfied grin."

            This may sound like a man able to confuse the odd fact. But not like a man that might make major errors about an identification.

            Pirate

            PS many thanks for your time and input. It is a very important area of discussion and obviously relivent to the work being done by Rob and Chris. Thank you.

            Comment


            • Hi Stewart,

              The only problem is that Monro DID think M'Kenzie was a Ripper murder.

              It therefore follows that Monro, as Commissioner, was unaware at the time of Anderson's Polish Jew Ripper being safely caged in an asylum.

              This beggars belief so, on balance, I would say that Anderson was once again talking out of the back of his hat.

              Regards,

              Simon
              Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
                Hi Stewart,

                The only problem is that Monro DID think M'Kenzie was a Ripper murder.

                It therefore follows that Monro, as Commissioner, was unaware at the time of Anderson's Polish Jew Ripper being safely caged in an asylum.

                This beggars belief so, on balance, I would say that Anderson was once again talking out of the back of his hat.

                Regards,

                Simon
                Not if Aaron was the suspect.

                Comment


                • For those who have not yet read it,it may be of help to actually read Anderson"s 1910 memoirs,"The Lighter Years of My Life". He describes himself in it as a bit of an odd ball , and on more than one occasion. On one occasion he was accused by two extemely agitated ladies who had been seated in the same railway carriage as him ,as having exposed himself to them.I seem to remember that he rather cavalierly dismissed the claim in " The Lighter Side of his life-didnt he say it had been an optical illusion or something?

                  Comment


                  • I think Natalie that Anderson claimed that the policeman followed the wrong man, but I would say that a senior police officer is always the 'wrong man' when he is pursued by a lower ranking officer.
                    Despite being the 'wrong man' both ladies identified him as the 'right man'.
                    Anderson also claimed that the flasher was well known to the police, which sounds about right.

                    Comment


                    • Thanks AP.Yes, I thought there was something queer - one cant help wondering! One things for certain,by the time he was publishing his memoirs and announcing to the world he could name the Ripper, he was beginning to do a number of peculiar things to be noticed.The story of how he gathered the world"s press,outside his door in Kensington in April 1910 to hear his "confessions" is astonishing,ie that it was him [Anderson] who had written,along with the forger Pigott,the 1887 "Parnellism and Crime" articles for The Times.No wonder he was threatened with losing his pension by a red faced government and his "stories" referred to as "Anderson"s Fairy Tales "!

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Natalie Severn View Post
                        Thanks AP.Yes, I thought there was something queer - one cant help wondering! One things for certain,by the time he was publishing his memoirs and announcing to the world he could name the Ripper, he was beginning to do a number of peculiar things to be noticed.The story of how he gathered the world"s press,outside his door in Kensington in April 1910 to hear his "confessions" is astonishing,ie that it was him [Anderson] who had written,along with the forger Pigott,the 1887 "Parnellism and Crime" articles for The Times.No wonder he was threatened with losing his pension by a red faced government and his "stories" referred to as "Anderson"s Fairy Tales "!
                        Can we please start to put a time frame here....

                        When exactly did Anderson start work on his book? not publish it?

                        Pirate

                        Comment


                        • Yes, you live in 2008.
                          Jack lived in 1888.
                          And Anderson was shot from the moon, too late for the cheese, in 1988.

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                          • AP,-I enjoyed that bit about 1988!

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Natalie Severn View Post
                              AP,-I enjoyed that bit about 1988!
                              OK you both have me? What are we talking about? Does this have anything to do with the year of the Rabbit?

                              Comment


                              • Above The Law

                                An interesting impression that I have of Anderson is that he actually believed that he was, himself, above the law. A few years back I purchased a pile of correspondence and ephemera from Anderson's files. These included several letters that should not have been in his possession as they were official communications and should not have left the Government or police office where they belonged. Anderson chose to take them home and kept them after his retirement. This is nothing less than theft of official documents. Below is one of the envelopes from this material.

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                                SPE

                                Treat me gently I'm a newbie.

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