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Augustus Robertson Raff?? = August Raffel

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  • Augustus Robertson Raff?? = August Raffel

    Recently I've been going over all the Ripper letters including a supposed confession of identity. What struck me about this confession was how unique the name was, so I set about trying to find who Augustus was.

    After various in depth searches of all surnames beginning with Raff such as Raffal, I couldn't find any matches with the first name Augustus or any variations. Then I discovered August Raffel. In the 1881 census he was 24 years old living in Liverpool but that part that caught my eye the most was that he was a butcher.

    In 1888 he would be around 30 years of age, still be or at least have the knowledge of a butcher and since he was born in Germany would likely have an foreign appearance and a slight German accent.

    Sadly outside the 1881 census I was unable to find any more records about him or his wife Julia. I also checked the British newspaper archives but no mention of him in there either. If anyone else manages to find anything on him that would be greatly appreciated.

    I will attach the letter and census record below. The screenshot of the letter is from the book Letters from Hell by Stewart Evans and Keith Skinner, a wonderful resource on correspondences claiming to be from Jack the Ripper, which contains an extensive transcription of the letters. It's a book I highly recommend if you're interested in that part of the case.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Originally posted by Astatine211 View Post
    Sadly outside the 1881 census I was unable to find any more records about him or his wife Julia. I also checked the British newspaper archives but no mention of him in there either. If anyone else manages to find anything on him that would be greatly appreciated.
    It looks like he's living in the East End in 1891, in the home of a watchmaker and his wife, at 112 Campbell Road, Poplar, which is east of Mile-End, and south of Bow Road; he is listed as August Riffel. I cut-off the right-hand side of the sheet, but his birthplace is Mainz, Germany. Julia is nowhere in sight, but at least you know that he may have moved from Liverpool to East London between 1881-1891.

    Cheers,

    R P

    Click image for larger version

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    • #3
      Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

      It looks like he's living in the East End in 1891, in the home of a watchmaker and his wife, at 112 Campbell Road, Poplar, which is east of Mile-End, and south of Bow Road; he is listed as August Riffel. I cut-off the right-hand side of the sheet, but his birthplace is Mainz, Germany. Julia is nowhere in sight, but at least you know that he may have moved from Liverpool to East London between 1881-1891.

      Cheers,

      R P
      Brilliant! Looks like the chances of him being the subject of the confession letter is a lot more likely. Thank you for finding this!

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      • #4
        Nice find there, well done.

        Retired at 34? Or buckled?
        Thems the Vagaries.....

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        • #5
          Very nice, Astatine, well done (RP too)

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          • #6
            Good detective work!
            dustymiller
            aka drstrange

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            • #7
              Nice detective work.

              It would appear whoever wrote the letter may have had this Augustus Riffel in mind. It could as easily be a set up as much as it is a confession. Or simply the ramblings of a mad man.

              He realised after he wrote the letter that Charles Warren was in the police and not the Home Office. Something prompted him to correct it. My guess is reading a newspaper article or some kind of interview with Warren. His mind was focused on Warren specifically.
              Last edited by erobitha; 04-15-2021, 07:36 AM.
              "When the legend becomes fact... print the legend"
              - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

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              • #8
                Very nice find. Well done to you both. Does anyone know where on Goulston #24 is?

                Campbell road is about 4k to the East.

                - Jeff

                Click image for larger version  Name:	GoulstonStr.jpg Views:	0 Size:	156.3 KB ID:	755714
                Last edited by JeffHamm; 04-15-2021, 08:38 AM.

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                • #9
                  Really interesting stuff Astatine and RJP!

                  It's great when new nuggets of information are uncovered!

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                  • #10
                    Another good piece of sleuthing Astatine and Roger.

                    Vanbrugh Park rung a bell. I read a book on the Suffragette Emily Davison recently and she lived there. That’s my totally useless piece of trivia for the day.

                    Regards

                    Herlock



                    Chairman of the National Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To The Old Established Theories.

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                    • #11
                      Remember this discovery by Paul Begg:

                      From Rear Admiral HL Fleet:

                      “When we lived there formerly it was considered dangerous, for the terrible series of crimes committed by Jack The Ripper were then being perpetrated, and many people believed that he lived in Blackheath.”
                      Regards

                      Herlock



                      Chairman of the National Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To The Old Established Theories.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JeffHamm View Post
                        Very nice find. Well done to you both. Does anyone know where on Goulston #24 is?

                        Campbell road is about 4k to the East.

                        - Jeff

                        Click image for larger version Name:	GoulstonStr.jpg Views:	0 Size:	156.3 KB ID:	755714
                        Hi Jeff,
                        No. 24 is near the south end, on the west side. On your map it's the block (no.13-24 Brunswick Buildings) just south of the T at the end of Goulston StreeT, the second block up from the pub and
                        opposite St Paul's church (German).

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post

                          Hi Jeff,
                          No. 24 is near the south end, on the west side. On your map it's the block (no.13-24 Brunswick Buildings) just south of the T at the end of Goulston StreeT, the second block up from the pub and
                          opposite St Paul's church (German).
                          Thanks Joshua. I think I've understood you, and have marked it with the red X. Just thought it would be interesting to see where the letter was referring to.

                          - Jeff

                          Click image for larger version

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JeffHamm View Post
                            Very nice find. Well done to you both. Does anyone know where on Goulston #24 is?
                            Which one is this then, directly opposite where the apron piece was found?



                            1-24 & 24-35?
                            Regards, Jon S.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

                              Which one is this then, directly opposite where the apron piece was found?



                              1-24 & 24-35?
                              Thanks Wickerman. That places it at the other end! And there's 2 of them (or maybe 3). The letter writer has certainly picked the right address to further a mystery!

                              - Jeff

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