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  • Francis Hanson Hall

    According to Reynolds's News, "Early in his career he was associated with the pursuit of notorious criminals. It was he who very nearly captured Jack the Ripper. He was, of course, then a young officer, but had already a large reputation for resource, daring, and initiative. (Reynolds's Newspaper, 12 June 1927).​

    He joined the Metropolitan Police in 1892

  • #2
    He must have been an amateur crime fighter before he joined the Met Debra. I don’t know if anyone else has heard of him but he certainly rings no bells with me.
    Regards

    Sir Herlock Sholmes.

    “A house of delusions is cheap to build but draughty to live in.”

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
      He must have been an amateur crime fighter before he joined the Met Debra. I don’t know if anyone else has heard of him but he certainly rings no bells with me.
      He was certainly involved in some high profile cases later on in his career, Michael.
      But he's only an armchair detective if your preferred suspect was said to have been caught/died before 1892?!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Debra A View Post

        He was certainly involved in some high profile cases later on in his career, Michael.
        But he's only an armchair detective if your preferred suspect was said to have been caught/died before 1892?!
        Is there more information on him Debra?

        Also, is there any news on the updated A-Z?
        Regards

        Sir Herlock Sholmes.

        “A house of delusions is cheap to build but draughty to live in.”

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

          Is there more information on him Debra?

          Also, is there any news on the updated A-Z?
          Michael, I have researched his background and dug out quite a lot of newspaper articles on his later career, he was involved in a couple of murder investigations in the 1910's and gained a reputation for ridding Limehouse of some of it's opium dens in the same era. These things are all mentioned in his retirement piece, accompanied by a photograph of him - I checked if he was involved in any of the cases mentioned in the retirement piece and he was. He was also photographed with Frederick Wensley at an exhumation related to one of these crimes.
          What intrigues, me is the claim in the retirement piece that he 'almost caught Jack the Ripper'- As I mentioned, Hall didn't join the Met until 1892. I initially looked on it as journalistic padding to make Hall's career sound more exciting when I discovered the date he joined the force, but as JTR was never offically caught, the claims about JTR (which were not elaborated on at all) are still interesting. I just wndered if anyone else had heard of him or had an idea.y

          Re the A to Z? As a researcher on the A to Z, I am busily working every day on the massive database we use to gather the information for over one and a half thousand JTR related entries. That's all I know.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for that Debra; intruiging stuff. And thanks for the A-Z update too. You have a weighty task on your hands especially when you’re coming up with interesting new stuff like Hall.
            Regards

            Sir Herlock Sholmes.

            “A house of delusions is cheap to build but draughty to live in.”

            Comment


            • #7
              "Early in his career he was associated with the pursuit of notorious criminals. It was he who very nearly captured Jack the Ripper. He was, of course, then a young officer, but had already a large reputation for resource, daring, and initiative." (Reynolds's Newspaper, 12 June 1927)

              Francis Hanson Hall was born in 1869 in Flint, Wales, the son of John Hall and Susan Hanson. Of his seven sisters and three brothers, only one brother, Alfred, was also born in Wales. The rest of the children were born in different areas of Surrey. He married Alice James Benton in 1898 and the couple had four daughters and one son, born in Leytonstone Essex, Islington and Wood Green. The 1901 census shows the family at 20 Corrine Road, Islington, 1911 5B The Promenade, Green Lanes, Palmers Green, Middlesex.


              Francis joined the Metropolitan Police on 2 May 1892, Warrant No. 77640. Assigned to K Division (Bow)
              He resigned to pension on 29 May 1927.His last posting was to K Division as a Divisional Detective Inspector.
              Before he joined the Metropolitan police Francis was a dairyman in Flintshire where he is shown with his parents and siblings on the 1891 census.

              So, if Francis "very nearly captured Jack the Ripper" it must have been after 1892.

              Other career highlights mentioned in the 1927 Reynold's article were that involved in the capture of Albert Milsom and Henry Fowler who murdered 79-year-old Henry Smith in 1896. In 1922 he was involved in the arrest of Edith Thompson and Frederick Bywaters for the murder of Percy Thompson, Edith's husband. Hall found the murder weapon, and also love letters Edith had written to Bywaters.

              This account is true. The Pall Mall Gazette of Friday 06 October 1922 reported on Hall's appearance in the witness box at the trial and the Daily Mirror 3 Nov 1922 reported on the trial captioning a photograph of "Divisional Detective Inspector Inspector Hall (left) with Superintendent Wensley C.I.D. leaving the City of London Cemetery Little Ilford after their visit to the grave of Mr Percy Thompson, victim of the Ilford murder." (below)​

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              Last edited by Debra A; 06-11-2024, 07:17 AM.

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              • #8
                It was also reported that Chief Inspector one of Francis Hall's greatest achievement was clearing Limehouse of its opium dens and putting the "dope gangs" out of business.

                George R Sims wrote, "In one case I know of he found men and women in evening clothes lying about in a squalid den which reeked with the fumes of opium. Two at least were people of title who had succumbed to the vice. There was a terrible scene. But with that admirable discretion which made him famous, Inspector Hall got them away and roped in the owners of the den, who were smartly fined." This story is an interesting reflection on the police getting the titled customers away without publicity. On another raid on a drug den "a dead Englishman was found in evening dress. He was lying in an anteroom, and had evidently been killed by an overdose of some drug. Two men were arrested and were convicted of keeping a drug house, but it was found impossible to bring home to them the capital charge." (Reynolds's Newspaper, 12 June 1927)

                This story also checked out:
                Before Mr Booth at the Thames Police Court Lo Ping You, thirty three a Chinese subject of 24 Limehouse causeway was charged on remand with being in possession of opium prepared for smoking and smoking utensils. Detective Inspector Hall K Division found a small bottle of opium when he was searching the house on another matter. It was alleged that the address was used an opium den. Hall mentioned that the defendants wife [Ada Lo Ping You known as Mrs Ping] had been detained in connection with an inquest on the body of an actress [ Leonora Stewart aka Miss Billie Carleton] Pall Mall Gazette - Friday 13 December 1918

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                • #9
                  The actual phrase from Reynold's News " very nearly captured Jack the Ripper" is an interesting one.

                  The natural inference is that the phrase refers to Hall's time in the Met, although this is by no means certain.

                  Does it mean that Hall physically pursued a suspect either on foot or by pulling together evidence which just fell tantalisingly short of evidential proof?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by barnflatwyngarde View Post
                    The actual phrase from Reynold's News " very nearly captured Jack the Ripper" is an interesting one.

                    The natural inference is that the phrase refers to Hall's time in the Met, although this is by no means certain.

                    Does it mean that Hall physically pursued a suspect either on foot or by pulling together evidence which just fell tantalisingly short of evidential proof?
                    Francis was working as a dairyman in Flint, Wales on the 1891 census and he joined the Met a year later in May 1892 but there's no indication of when he made the move to London from Wales, apart from it was apparently after April 1891, so it seems unlikely any encounter/experience he had with a 'Jack the Ripper' would have been before his time in the Met.

                    I also think it is possible that it could be referring to a person who was under suspicion who was being watched by Hall/the Met. and got away or who there was no evidence to arrest but there was rumour that he was JTR. There are similar stories from other detectives of the period, like Alfred Ward. He believed a medical student he encountered during inquiries was suspicious and was given permission by his superiors to do his own investigations only to have the medical student skip town. His big regret was that he hadn't taken a chance and arrested his suspect despite having no proof he was the man wanted.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi Debra


                      Thank you for highlighting this fascinating individual; he appears to have been a very successful police officer who worked his way up the ranks. A career police officer.

                      I see that in the 1921 census he was living in Disraeli Rd in Forest Gate; just south of the main Romford Rd.

                      I have subsequently read the article in the Reynolds newspaper and I must say that I find it rather intriguing.

                      I believe the claim of him having nearly caught Jack the Ripper perhaps carries some truth, but not directly.

                      From reading the article I get a sense that the claim is used to enhance; and possibly inflate his stature as a relatively very successful officer.

                      However, I do believe that the timing itself is perhaps the biggest point that seems to imply that the Ripper was still active when he joined up.

                      The fact that he joined the police AFTER the autumn of terror; ergo, after the conclusion of the Canonical 5; it does suggest that the police still believed the killer was actively carrying out atrocities.

                      Therefore, it may be that the article tells us indirectly that the Ripper was operating AFTER 1888, and that is potentially very significant.


                      RD
                      "Great minds, don't think alike"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It seems pretty strange that someone would make such a claim without explaining what he meant by it. Perhaps he did but it just hasn’t surfaced as yet?
                        Regards

                        Sir Herlock Sholmes.

                        “A house of delusions is cheap to build but draughty to live in.”

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Debra A View Post

                          I also think it is possible that it could be referring to a person who was under suspicion who was being watched by Hall/the Met. and got away or who there was no evidence to arrest but there was rumour that he was JTR.

                          Kosminski



                          The Baron

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by The Rookie Detective View Post
                            Hi Debra


                            Thank you for highlighting this fascinating individual; he appears to have been a very successful police officer who worked his way up the ranks. A career police officer.

                            I see that in the 1921 census he was living in Disraeli Rd in Forest Gate; just south of the main Romford Rd.

                            I have subsequently read the article in the Reynolds newspaper and I must say that I find it rather intriguing.

                            I believe the claim of him having nearly caught Jack the Ripper perhaps carries some truth, but not directly.

                            From reading the article I get a sense that the claim is used to enhance; and possibly inflate his stature as a relatively very successful officer.

                            However, I do believe that the timing itself is perhaps the biggest point that seems to imply that the Ripper was still active when he joined up.

                            The fact that he joined the police AFTER the autumn of terror; ergo, after the conclusion of the Canonical 5; it does suggest that the police still believed the killer was actively carrying out atrocities.

                            Therefore, it may be that the article tells us indirectly that the Ripper was operating AFTER 1888, and that is potentially very significant.


                            RD
                            Hi RD
                            Thanks for the thoughts. Yes, it could be taken that this snippet of information was used to inflate his career successes, but then it's not technically a success, he didn't apparently actually capture JTR, so why mention it when he had other more successful career highlights mentioned in the piece and this was so many years later? In the years between 1888 and the 1920's there were many claims from senior police officers that JTR was known. It reminds me of the Pc/sergeant? who had put Peter Sutcliffe's name forward to senior officers and was convinced that man was the the Yorkshire Ripper but was ignored. But I agree with Herlock in why wouldn't he have elaborated on who this was or what the story was if this was a similar motive for mentioning this.
                            The canonicals were Macnaghten's invention? As JTR was never caught I can't see how the number of victims could be definitely determined, unless we admit that Macnaghten was right and Druitt was the ripper. The files remained open and that's what probably counts?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
                              It seems pretty strange that someone would make such a claim without explaining what he meant by it. Perhaps he did but it just hasn’t surfaced as yet?
                              It might be that the claim was made by the newspaper, not by Hall. They might have spiced it up to sell more papers. If Hall had made the claim, it seems baffling that the paper didn't press him for details.
                              "The full picture always needs to be given. When this does not happen, we are left to make decisions on insufficient information." - Christer Holmgren

                              "Unfortunately, when one becomes obsessed by a theory, truth and logic rarely matter." - Steven Blomer

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