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Smith, P.C. William

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Chris View Post
    In the 1901 census he was at 18 Denmark Street, St George's in the East, a Metropolitan Police Constable, with his wife Alice (31) and children William (6) and Alice (8), all born Stepney.

    In fact he must have emigrated at least a year after resigning from the force, as the family seems to have been still in Tottenham at the date of the 1911 census - wife Alice Maud (42) and children Alice Maud (18), William George Henry (16), Jessie Mary Eliza (9) and Albert Edward (0).
    And in 1891 he was a boarder in the household of George Henry Browning at 27 Smith Street, Mile End Old Town, whose daughter Alice Maud, a school teacher, was evidently his future wife. (They were married in the 3rd quarter of 1892 at Stepney, and no doubt their elder son William was given the middle names George Henry in honour of his maternal grandfather.)

    That being the case, I wonder if Florence L. Smith (birth registered 2nd quarter of 1913) and Doris M. Smith (4th quarter of 1915), both children of a Smith-Browning marriage, whose births were registered at Edmonton (which includes Tottenham, where the family was living in 1910 and 1911) were further children of the marriage. If so, their departure for Canada must have taken place some years after William's retirement from the force.

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    • #17
      Chris wrote:
      To be fair, it does say that his son "formed the impression," and not that he had explicitly told his son that. I suppose if he had said he was unhappy about the investigation, and his son later read about royal conspiracies and cover-ups, there might have been an element of putting two and two together.

      Makes much more sense this way.
      Thanks so much for the research on PC Smith. By the by, it sounds weird that he became a father on the year of his retirement, but then he retired at 47 years of age. Those were the days...
      Best regards,
      Maria

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      • #18
        I can confirm Robs post above.

        Monty




        Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.

        http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1445621622

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        • #19
          As I Recall

          As I recall it, the photograph of William Smith in old age and the story came from Keith who was in touch with Smith's family. This was in the 1990s I believe, so much later than the birth of the Royal conspiracy nonsense.
          SPE

          Treat me gently I'm a newbie.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Stewart P Evans View Post
            As I recall it, the photograph of William Smith in old age and the story came from Keith who was in touch with Smith's family. This was in the 1990s I believe, so much later than the birth of the Royal conspiracy nonsense.
            Thanks Stewart.

            Rob

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Chris View Post
              In fact he must have emigrated at least a year after resigning from the force, as the family seems to have been still in Tottenham at the date of the 1911 census - wife Alice Maud (42) and children Alice Maud (18), William George Henry (16), Jessie Mary Eliza (9) and Albert Edward (0).
              I had a chance to check William Smith's entry in the 1911 census yesterday. The family was living in a 4-roomed property at "6 South Witham - Mount Pleasant Road - Tottenham - Nth," with William described as "Pensioned police constable now wharf "gatekeeper"."

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              • #22
                Hello Chris,

                Thanks for this info... wharf keeper eh?.. Tottenham. Seems he moved well away from the area upon retirement. Not quite Bournemouth perhaps, but there you go. I wonder if the local North London mewspapers had anything penned by him.. another little line to trawl.

                best wishes

                Phil
                Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙


                Justice for the 96 = achieved
                Accountability? ....

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Phil Carter View Post
                  Thanks for this info... wharf keeper eh?.. Tottenham. Seems he moved well away from the area upon retirement. Not quite Bournemouth perhaps, but there you go. I wonder if the local North London mewspapers had anything penned by him.. another little line to trawl.
                  Actually, his address in 1911 was only a stone's throw from the address he was living at when he retired a year earlier. Curiously - considering the statement in the "A-Z" that he emigrated to Canada with his family - the two youngest children who appear in the 1911 census were both living nearby in Enfield in the early 1940s.

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                  • #24
                    Hello Chris,

                    Thank you for explaining that for me.. must be this 'flu I picked up in London at the conference! and yes..it is indeed curious indeed re his children.

                    best wishes

                    Phil
                    Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙


                    Justice for the 96 = achieved
                    Accountability? ....

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      It turns out that William Smith died in 1914 at the same address where he had been living at the date of the 1911 census.

                      According to his death certificate, he died on 4 May 1914 at 6 South Witham, Mount Pleasant Road, Tottenham, aged 52, of "Aneurism of Aorta." His occupation was given as "Pensioned Metropolitan Police Constable" and the informant was his son William Smith, of the same address. He was buried on 8 May at Tottenham Cemetery.

                      His widow Alice Maud and elder son William George Henry were listed at the same address in the 1923 electoral register, but by March 1942 (when his younger daughter Jessie made her will) the family had moved to 86 Faversham Avenue, Bush Hill Park, Enfield. Alice Maud continued to live there with her two younger children until her death on 4 February 1957. She was cremated at Enfield and her ashes were taken to Tottenham Cemetery, presumably to be scattered on William's grave.
                      ________________________________________
                      South Witham, 11 Mount Pleasant Road, Tottenham.
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                      • #26
                        So what of the William Smith who emigrated to Canada and died there in 1951, whose opinions about the Ripper case were passed down to his descendants, as reported in the new edition of the A-Z, and whose photograph certainly shows a marked resemblance to that of PC William Smith the witness?

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                        There can be no doubt that the William Smith who died in Tottenham in 1914 was the Berner Street witness. His H Division collar number (452) is specified in the records from 1888; it is also given together with his warrant number (67565) in the entry for his transfer to H Division in Police Orders for 25 June 1886; and the warrant number appears on his pension record (in MEPO 21/39) which gives his date and place of birth (Milton in Oxfordshire), his wife's name (Alice) and his address in 1910 (78 Dunloe Avenue, Philip Lane, Tottenham). These personal details agree with those in the 1911 census for the William Smith at 6 South Witham, Mount Pleasant Road, Tottenham (except that the age is a year out, as is often the case), and that address is only about 500 yards from Dunloe Avenue.

                        After finding the record of the Tottenham William Smith's death I contacted Keith Skinner, and he was kind enough to share with me the notes of his research into the Canadian William Smith.

                        The information had come from a lady living in Texas, who said she was the granddaughter of PC William Smith, and who had made contact in 1997. Her father, also William, had been born at Chigwell Row in 1906, and had gone to Canada with his parents in 1910. She was able to provide a certain amount of biographical information about her grandfather, as well as the photograph of him and his wife in old age. Comparison with the pension record of PC Smith the witness showed a couple of discrepancies - in the dates of birth and the wives' names - but of course in the 1990s it would have been difficult to research the matter further in contemporary records, particularly given the commonness of the surname.

                        Now, however, with the help of online indexes, it's possible to give a reasonably full outline of the Canadian William Smith's career.

                        He was the son of Philip Smith and Sarah Jane Collard (whose marriage was registered at Billericay in 1863). He was born on 22 March 1865 at Maldon in Essex. In 1871 the family was at Ullams Farm, Latchingdon, Essex, and in 1881 at Hockley, Essex, with the 16-year-old William described as an agricultural labourer.

                        William married the Glasgow-born Catherine Gilchrist at Bethnal Green in the first quarter of 1891, and immediately afterwards they were recorded in the 1891 census at 27 St Jude Street, Bethnal Green, where William was described as a Metropolitan Police Constable. By 1901 they were living, with six children, at Chigwell Row, Chigwell, Essex; William was still a Metropolitan PC.

                        A search of the embarkation lists in BT 27 showed the whole family, with an additional three-year-old son William, leaving Liverpool on 4 June 1910 on the SS Canada bound for Montreal. The former PC Smith was described on the passenger list as a painter (BT 27/658).

                        There are now transcripts and/or photographs available online for a number of Metropolitan Police staff records (http://yourarchives.nationalarchives...rds_of_Service), including the relevant Register of Leavers (MEPO 4/343). This contains several possible William Smiths, but the census addresses suggested J Division, which narrowed it down to (probably) the William Smith who resigned on 22 March 1909 after 25 years' service. Keith kindly checked his pension record (in MEPO 21/37), the details of which confirmed that it was the right man. He had originally joined G Division, and had transferred to J Division in August 1886.

                        So the William Smith who went to Canada was indeed a Metropolitan Police Constable, but in 1888 he was serving in J Division, not H Division. That means it's not unlikely that he was involved in the Ripper investigation in some capacity, which may explain the opinions attributed to him by his family - though of course there may have been an element of embellishment as well. But in any case, those opinions don't have anything to do with PC William Smith the Berner Street witness.

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                        • #27
                          well done

                          Hello Chris. Well done! This is how Ripper studies ought to be undertaken.

                          Cheers.
                          LC

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                          • #28
                            Hello Chris,

                            This is excellent news indeed. Another stone turned over, brushed off and true identity found. Well done indeed!

                            best wishes

                            Phil
                            Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙


                            Justice for the 96 = achieved
                            Accountability? ....

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