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Old 06-01-2016, 11:10 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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Default 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.
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