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Cannon Row Police Station and New Scotland Yard.
Viewed from the WEST

Ted Heath, my mum and that pot of red paint

25 years after his mother threw paint over Edward Heath, our correspondent landed a job with the former prime minister — researching his memoirs

I FIRST encountered Ted Heath at the age of 4 when, clutching me in her arms, my mother threw a tin of red paint over him outside 10 Downing Street on his first day as Prime Minister of Great Britain.

This was the time before security gates were put across the entrance to Downing Street, when curious crowds could still gather virtually on the Prime Minister’s doorstep. At 2pm on Saturday, June 20, 1970, Heath’s motorcade swept into the street. As he got out of his car, smiling and waving, the people packed around us cheered and stretched their necks for a view. Mum wasn’t cheering. Dressed in a red blouse and black skirt, she was grim-faced and silent as she reached into her shoulder bag and opened a small tin of emulsion with her door keys.

On Heath’s first arrival the previous evening, after kissing hands with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, a nest of microphones and cameras had captured the pieties of his victory speech at the steps of No 10: “To govern is to serve . . . Our purpose is not to divide but to unite and, where there are differences, to bring reconciliation.” Unfortunately for Heath, my mother had no wish to be served by him or to be reconciled with those voting Conservative.

His victory over Harold Wilson, in which he turned a Labour majority of nearly 100 into a Tory one of 30, was the biggest electoral upset since Attlee defeated Churchill in 1945. It also defined the era. Coming a few weeks after the Beatles split up, and four days after England were knocked out of the World Cup by West Germany, it seemed to confirm that the vibrant, freewheeling optimism of the Sixties had ended. Thirteen million people had voted for Heath, heeding his warning that the British economy was in a perilous state.

My mother was not a member of the Labour Party or politically active in any way. But as an 18-year-old university student she had voted Labour at the general election of 1964, and was upset by the triumphal glee at Wilson’s downfall.

The memories of my mother’s protest are the most vivid of my early childhood. The acrid smell of slopping emulsion hit my nostrils as she carried me forward through the crowd, then broke past the police cordon and ran up to where Heath and his entourage were standing on the pavement. Saying nothing, she hurled paint over the new Prime Minister, who ducked and raised an arm to protect himself, then, realising he had not been hurt, said: “That was a stupid thing to do, wasn ’t it?”, as if admonishing a niece for writing on the wall. As well as decorating his blue suit, red paint splashed on to the limousine that had just delivered him to Downing Street, and on to William Whitelaw, who was standing by his side. A furious Whitelaw hissed: “You f***ing bitch!” with a venom that she never forgot as he and a bodyguard bustled Heath through the door of No 10.

Then pandemonium began. Tory matrons in the crowd shouted at Mum and tried to hit her as policemen swooped down to separate the two of us. Spattered with paint and terrified, I screamed: “I want my mummy!” so hard that I was given back to her. Seconds later, we were bundled into a van and driven to Cannon Row Police Station. I was reassured that Mum was just answering a few questions because she’d been “naughty”, and was scrubbed down in a sink by a policewoman, then given fresh clothes and a fry-up from the station canteen, a rare treat for a little boy from a vegetarian household. (Most of our relatives were carnivorous Tory-voting Norfolk farmers, who were furious with Mum for what she did.)

My mother was charged with four offences: threatening behaviour, possessing an offensive weapon (the paint pot), wilful damage to one suit (valued at £32), and 54 shillings’ worth of damage to an official car. After an unpleasant couple of nights in the cells at Cannon Row, she appeared at Bow Street Court the next Monday. The magistrate handed her a three-month suspended sentence, telling her: “What you did goes well beyond the bounds of reasonable protest.”

At the time, she was a picture researcher at Macmillan Publishers, which was then still owned by the former Prime Minister, and Heath’s political mentor, Harold Macmillan, whom she would occasionally see around the building. The firm’s directors were as appalled as our family had been at her behaviour — not least Harold’s son, Maurice, who had just been re-elected as a Tory MP. Although they hoped she would resign, when Mum returned to work nothing was said to her and she was allowed to keep her job, probably because they feared that sacking her would look like a political act. Years later Macmillan published my first book.

My mother eventually left publishing and went on to become a respected figure in the London art world. Heath went on to preside over one of the most troubled periods in recent British history, which led to him being demonised by neo-Conservatives.

Satirists saw the incident as a curse on his premiership. After Heath lost the general election of October 1974, and his rivals began manoeuvring into position, the cover of Private Eye showed him splashed with paint, the caption reading “OK Chaps I'll resign! I'll resign!” Even his finest hour was coloured by the event. On January 22, 1972, as he arrived at the Palais d’Egmont in Brussels to sign the Treaty of Accession to the European Community, a woman hurled ink over him in a copycat attack.

Forced-feeding protest, 1912

25th June 1912

I beg to acquaint the Serj[ean]t at Arms that at 5.45 pm 25th Isabella Irvine (apparently a Suffragette) of 13 Victoria Road Brighton entered St Stephens Hall and enquired for Sir Frederick Banbury M.P she was accompanied by 2 other women, PC 191a Cooper gave her a card (attached) which she handed back to him the other two then engaged him, Irvine was carrying a cloak over her arm and passed behind him going up the steps she pulled out a new hammer and smashed the right side of window leading to Central Hall, exclaiming that it was a protest against forcible feeding, and the imprisonment of Emily Davison, she was taken into custody charged at Cannon Row Police Station by Mr P E Ridge Clerk of Works with wilful damage to the value of 20/- from enquiry she appears to have been charged previously outside, I am of opinion that it is an isolated act and not done with the knowledge of the Womens Social and Political Union to which body she says she belongs to, as there were several in the Hall at the time, they although they knew her seemed surprised at her action Mrs Despard of the Womens Freedom League was a witness and repudiated her action.

She will appear at Bow Street 10 am 26th.
C Scantlebury Chief Insp[ector


A murder took place on the Crumbles in 1924 and was known for years afterwards as 'The Bungalow Murder'. A few cottages, once Occupied by coast guards, stood isolated on the beachland at the border of Eastbourne and Pevensey. One, called the Officer's House, was a neat whitewashed building and in the spring of 1924 was leased for two months at a rent of three and a half guineas a week to Patrick Herbert Mahon, a man of thirty four, using the name of Wailer.

Mahon had taken on the bungalow ostensibly as a romantic hideaway fohimself and his mistress, Emily Kaye, and on 7 April 1924 Emily traveled to Eastbourne and moved into the bungalow believing that this was the start of a new life with her lover.

Oddly enough she was also a shorthand typist but unlike Irene Munro she was not a foolish young girl but a woman of thirty seven, tall, fair-haired and coolly attractive. A thoroughly nice person according to a cousin who said a better girl never lived'.

However, the warning bells had not rung for Irene Munro and they did not ring for Emily Kaye. She worked for a firm of accountants in London and had met Patrick Mahon who often called at her office and soon began an affair with him. She knew he was married but believed he would leave his wife and that they would start a new life together. She also knew by chance that Mahon had previously been in prison for a bank raid but she was pregnant and very much in love with the dark good-looking Irishman. She readily agreed to leave her job and embark on the venture he proposed.

Unfortunately for Emily she did not know that Patrick Mahon was an indefatigable and practised womaniser with an unsavoury past which included fraud as well as the bank raid which had landed him in prison for five years.

He had married a young Irish girl when he was twenty one and his wife, Mavourneen, had stood by him when he was imprisoned. Now Mahon was involved with a woman who did not take the affair lightly, who was pregnant, and who expected him to leave his wife. He was in a fix.

Having installed Emily in the Crumbles cottage Mahon continued to go home to his wife most days during the week. True to form he struck up a new acquaintance with a young woman at Richmond, an Ethel Duncan. Never one to miss another romantic interlude he arranged to take her out to dinner during the following week.

On 11 April Mahon returned to Eastbourne and moved Emily's large travelling trunk to the bungalow. He then returned to London, apparently to make arrangements to secure a passport but on Saturday, 12 April, he went to an ironmonger's shop in Victoria and bought a large cook's knive and a tenon saw.

He returned to Eastbourne and Emily, and the two were together in the bungalow for the next three nights.

On Tuesday evening, 15 April, Emily Kaye met her fate. Afterwards Mahon swore that her death was an accident, the result of a quarrel about their future and that she had fallen heavily and hit her head.

Mahon dragged the body into the spare bedroom and locked the door. The next day he returned to London, met Ethel Duncan and took her out to dinner. Incredibly he invited her to spend the coming Easter weekend with him at the bungalow on the Crumbles, to which the unsuspecting girl agreed.

On the morning of Good Friday Mahon was back in Eastboume and a further horror began. He dismembered Emily's body with the saw and knife bought in London and the dreadful parcels were put in Emily's trunk in the spare bedroom.

In the evening Mahon met Ethel Duncan at Eastbourne station and they spent the weekend together at the bungalow. Ethel saw the trunk in the spare bedroom and Mahon said he was it was full of valuable books he was looking after for a friend. While she was there he screwed up the door. Ethel Duncan did not find his behaviour suspicious and on Easter Monday she returned to her home in London.

During the following week Mahon built a fire in the sitting room grate and burned Emily Kaye's head, which had been severed from the body. Other parts followed, disposed of in the same way, then the torso was further dismembered and boiled in stewpans in the kitchen so that they could be cut into smaller pieces. Mahon put most of these last remains into a Gladstone bag and threw them from the carriage window of a train when he later travelled to Waterloo Station in London.

It was then that he made the first and only mistake in his cold and methodical plans. He left the Gladstone bag at the left luggage office at Waterloo station and while he was away from home on the weekend of 25 April his wife searched the pockets of his suits and found the cloakroom ticket.

Mavourneen had been worried by his absence over the two previous weekends and believed he might be frequenting racecourses and returning to his old ways. She said nothing to her husband but enlisted the help of a private investigator, John Beard.

On 1 May they went together to Waterloo and retrieved the Gladstone bag. Beard was no fool and although the bag was locked he probed into one end and found something that prompted him to call Scotland Yard. When the police arrived they took a small piece of cloth from the bag which revealed human blood. Mavourneen was sent home, still unaware of the find, to return the cloakroom ticket to Mahon's suit.

Now a trap was set. Two detectives kept watch on the left luggage office and on 2 May Mahon collected the bag prior to another trip to Eastbourne. As soon as it was in his possession the police pounced and Mahon was taken to Cannon Row police station and confronted by the Contents which included a few pieces of blood stained clothing, a large Cook's knife and a canvas tennis racket bag with the initials E B K.

He remained cool and told the police he supposed 'he had carried meat home for the dogs' in the bag, but finally after hours of interrogation he admitted the death of Emily Kayc and his disposal of the body.

Two police inspectors were sent to Eastbourne to the Officer's House and what they found there was a scene described by the experienced Home Office pathologist, Bernard Spilsbury, as the most gruesome he had ever come across. There was a terrible stench in the small bungalow as four parcels still remained in the trunk in the bedroom.

The presence of the police and the pathologist soon became known and while Spilsbury made his painstaking study of what was left of poor Emily Kaye, a task which took eight hours, a crowd of horrified people gathered outside.

On the following Tuesday Mahon was charged with murder at Hailsham magistrates court and the next day an inquest was held at the bungalow, attended by Mahon at his request.

A thousand sightseers surrounded the building, booing and jeering as the accused man was led in under heavy police escort.

Strenuous efforts to find other parts of the body were made but despite searching nearby areas and digging up the garden of the cottage, nothing was found. The inquest resumed in May and Patrick Mahon was sent for trial at Lewes Assizes on 15 July.

Sir Henry Curtis Bennett led for the prosecution and Mr J D Cassels defended Patrick Mahon. The unfortunate Ethel Duncan, considerably distressed, spent an hour in the witness box and maintained she had seen nothing to arouse her suspicion during the weekend she spent with Mahon. As the trial continued and the macabre story unfolded two jury-men collapsed. They were replaced and Mahon gave evidence for more than five hours.

The story he told was of a woman infatuated with him and one who had drawn him reluctantly into an affair. He told the court on the evening of Emily's death they had a furious quarrel and according to him he was attacked by his lover.

At this point he broke down in tears and still sobbing went on to relate that in the struggle they fell and Emily's head hit the coal scuttle. This, he said, must have caused her death and, because he was in a state of fear and shock he remembered little of the next hours except that he went outside. When he returned he panicked and decided to conceal everything.

At the end of this dramatic story Mahon's counsel asked him: "Did you desire the death of Miss Kaye?" Mahon, calm again, replied: "Never at any time".

The defence did its best to plead that Mahon was the victim of extraordinary circumstances rather than cold hearted murderer, but members of the jury, who had no knowledge of his previous record, were not convinced. The cause of death given by the accused man was refuted by the pathologist who said a fall on a coal scuttle would not have caused injuries that would have had such a rapidly fatal result.

Most damning of all for the jury's opinion of Mahon's character was his assignation with Ethel Duncan, at a time when he had a wife and child at home and a mistress in a bungalow at Eastbourne. He was found guilty of murder.

The bungalow on the Crumbles became a strange tourist attraction when the lease was taken over by a group of entrepeneurs of doubtful taste but sounds business instinct. Visitors were charged a shilling each for guided tours of the cottage and as the queues increased cold drinks were served from the front gate. There was considerable local protest and for two weeks the bungalow was closed, only to open again with the entrance fee increased tols 2d as coachloads of the curious continued to arrive.

Before his execution on Wednesday 3 September Mahon wrote a kind and loving letter to his wife from his cell. Mahon's wife remained loyal to the end !

Peter Edmonds
(Filed: 15/03/2005)

Peter Edmonds, who has died aged 56, was awarded one of the first Queen's Gallantry Medals as the Metropolitan Police officer responsible for capturing the man involved in the attempted kidnapping of Princess Anne in The Mall in 1974. Edmonds was on duty as a temporary detective constable at Cannon Row police station when the call about the attack was received.

He drove to the scene in his own car, and saw a man with a gun running across St James's Park. Edmonds gave chase and, although threatened with the gun, threw his coat over the fugitive's head, forced him to the ground and arrested him.

Princess Anne had been returning to Buckingham Palace from an official function with her then husband, Captain Mark Phillips, when a small car slewed in front of the royal limousine and braked sharply.

A 26-year-old man, Ian Ball, leaped out brandishing two handguns, smashed one of the car's windows and, pointing a gun directly at the princess and Captain Phillips, ordered them to alight.

Inspector James Beaton, the princess's protection officer, drew his firearm and confronted him, but was shot three times; he was later awarded the George Cross.

Ball fired again - one bullet passed between the royal couple, and another wounded the Princess's chauffeur.

Others at the scene who attempted to restrain Ball included Pc Michael Hills and Ronald Russell, a cleaning company manager who, having manoeuvred his car in front of Ball's to block his escape, ran across and punched the assailant. Both of them were shot, both later received the George Medal.

A Fleet Street reporter, Brian McConnell, who heard shots and leaped out and tried to reason with Ball, was shot in the chest; he was awarded a Queen's Gallantry Medal, as was the chauffeur, Alexander Callender.

In the end it was left to Edmonds to capture Ball, who was subsequently sentenced to indefinite detention under the Mental Health Act.

Peter Roy Edmonds was born at Nottingham on December 12 1948. The family moved to Plymouth, where Edmonds was educated at local schools.

He became an apprentice shipwright at Devonport dockyard, but later went to South Africa for two years to work in a shipyard at Durban. On returning to England, he became a maintenance engineer in London before joining the Metropolitan Police in 1971.

As a detective, he served mainly in the East End and had several spells in such units as the Stolen Car Squad.

Three years after the incident in The Mall, Edmonds and a detective sergeant were confronted by a gunman who had stolen a car to rob a post office. The robber ordered Edmonds and the detective sergeant to raise their hands, then turned and ran, firing as he went.

The two detectives eventually overpowered him, and Edmonds received a Commissioner's High Commendation.

Edmonds retired from the Metropolitan Police as a detective sergeant in 1998. During his service he had been commended by an Old Bailey judge, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Bow Street magistrates; he had been awarded two Commissioner's High Commendations and received five Commendations for bravery and detective ability.

After retiring to Devon, Edmonds pursued his hobbies of building restoration, surfing and music. He achieved his life-long ambition of visiting New Orleans and playing keyboards with various groups.

Peter Edmonds married Gillian Darby in 1977, but they divorced 11 years later. He is survived by a son and two daughters of the marriage, and by his long-term companion, Joan Watts.

1975: London's Spaghetti House siege ends

The six remaining hostages held by armed men in the cellar of a restaurant in Knightsbridge, London have been released unharmed after five days.

The crisis began on 28 September when nine staff of the Spaghetti House chain gathered to collect the week's takings amounting to almost 13,000 pounds

Three men burst in and led the staff, all Italians, down into a small basement storeroom. One man managed to escape and alert the police who quickly cordoned off the area.

The gunmen held the rest in a storeroom, which was cramped and hot but well-stocked with tins of food. Over the next couple of days they released two hostages who became ill.

'Hostages are coming out'

When it became clear the police would not give in to the gunmen's demands, the siege finally ended at 0340 GMT today and Franklin Davies, the gang's leader, shouted out: "The hostages are coming out."

Commander Christopher Payne ordered them out one by one and the Italians emerged tentatively before collapsing into the arms of police and being taken by ambulance to hospital for check-ups.

The Metropolitan Police had taken a hardline but tactful approach to the situation.

It had dismissed the group's claim it was part of a Black Panther splinter group, the Black Liberation Army, fighting against capitalism and the oppression of black people.

After referring to Home Secretary Roy Jenkins, Sir Robert Mark, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, had refused their demands for a plane and safe passage to Jamaica.

But the group had been given a radio, coffee and cigarettes in exchange for the release of two hostages who were unwell.

The freed hostages were Mario Roscelli, Enrico Mainini, Gino Barni, his brother Bruno, Renato Nasta and Giovanni Scrano.

Two of the gunmen who are West Indian - Wesley Dick, aged 24 and Anthony Gordon Munroe, aged 22 - have been charged at Cannon Row Police Station.

Davies, a 28-year-old Nigerian student, is being questioned at St George's Hospital.

Police had found him lying in the cellar with a gunshot wound and a .22 pistol beside him.

Praise for police

The Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, has sent a telegram to Sir Robert praising him for the successful handling of the siege, the first of its kind in Britain.

At a news conference at Scotland Yard, Sir Robert paid tribute to the 400 officers who worked on securing the safe release of the hostages.

He also praised Italian Consul General Mario Manca whom he described as "a sensitive, gallant and truly unselfish man" and presented him with a mounted crest of the coat of arms of the Metropolitan Police.

At the height of the siege, Mr Manca had offered himself as a substitute for one of the hostages who was taken ill and then released.

Sir Robert also thanked the hostages and their relatives for their patience and fortitude, and also the press for their careful reporting of the situation.

Louisa Entwistle, Blackburn Suffragette

Louisa Entwistle, Blackburn suffragette was gaoled for her part in a raid on the House of Commons on Wednesday 15th February, 1907. Here she recounts her experiences to the Blackburn Weekly Telegraph of 9th March, 1907.

Barbara Nightingale has kindly supplied us with this information about her ancestor.

Louisa Entwistle

It is said that when Miss Louise Entwistle the young Blackburn mill girl who went up to London to fight in the “battle of the suffragettes,” took her stand in the dock at the Westminster Police Court the morning after she and fifty others of her sex made the now famous raid on the House of Commons on the opening day of the present session, somebody in court, struck with her youthful appearance, exclaimed, “Votes for children!” Miss Entwistle pleads guilty to the accusation of youthfulness, for she does not attain her majority until near the end of the present month, but despite this a talk with her reveals the fact that she has clear and well-formed ideas on many of the social and political questions of the day, and a strong and burning enthusiasm for the cause she has taken up. She looks forward with a bright hope to the time when women may take their part with men in the endeavour to produce better and happier conditions under which the toilers may work and live. Miss Entwistle returned to Blackburn a week ago, and I seized the opportunity to pay her a visit and learn something first hand of the fierce battle which raged round the portals of the “mother of Parliaments” on the evening of the 13th of February. It was my first personal encounter with a real, live “suffragette,” and I must confess that I faced the ordeal with a certain amount of trepidation in view of all one has read of the “raging, tearing propaganda” the women suffragists carry on. On this occasion, at any rate, I must confess that all my fearsome conjectures were pleasantly and completely dissipated.

If Miss Entwistle is to be taken as a typical example of the genus suffragette, then the pictures we have had of her friends have been not merely considerably overdrawn, but rather the work of some particularly gifted imaginations. While yielding the palm to none of her colleagues in enthusiasm for women’s suffrage, the young lady who has removed the “disgrace” which Mrs. Cobden Sanderson remarked rested upon the fair name of Blackburn has certainly none of that desire to make herself into a mock martyr which has been attributed to the suffragettes generally, and when telling me the story of her adventures in London indulged in no heroics or false modesty. She told it in simplestraight-forward Lancashire fashion, without embellishment, and expressed her views on the question generally with the same plain simplicity. Above all, she had the saving grace of humour, and I could not resist joining in her merry laugh as she told me how two policemen picked her up bodily and carried her across the street during the scrimmage at Westminster, only for her to run back again and again until her action, in the opinion of the police, at length came under the description of “disorderly conduct, “ and she was forthwith marched off to the Cannon Row Police Station.


And now to let the story be given in Miss Entwistle’s own words. “I left Blackburn on Tuesday” (the day before the incidents at Westminster) she told me. “We had the meeting on Wednesday in the Caxton Hall, and then we decided to go to the House of Commons. We had our battle cry, ‘Rise up, women,’ but we went quite in an orderly way along the streets in procession, and the traffic was held up as we passed across the roads. When we got to Westminster, however, the police tried to stop us, but we told them we had come there for a fixed purpose. It was through us being so determined that the police stopped us. I got them right angry. I expect they thought because I was so little they would soon dispose of me. I got angry, too, and started talking back to them, and they told us to pass along, but we wouldn’t. Then two policemen picked me up and carried me across the road, but I got back through the crowd again. Once I saw six policemen lined across the road in front of me, and I called out to them, ‘Just fancy, six “bobbies” to a little one like me.’ The crowd laughed at that, and then one of them came up to me and said, ‘Come along, we’ve had enough. I’ll take you.’ We were taken into Cannon Row Police Station, but we were jolly enough there. We were singing songs, ‘England, arise!’ and ‘The Red Flag,’ until we were bailed out.”
I asked Miss Entwistle if the police were really rough in their treatment of the ladies, and she replied, “Well, the one that took me was a real good sort. He only took me by the arm, but I believe some of the prisoners were taken hold of by the necks.”

My last question was whether Miss Entwistle intended to return to London to take a further part in the agitation. Her reply was that she “could not be spared from home.” I could not help thinking that in some measure it was a reply to those critics of the “suffragettes” who have insinuated that in engaging in the fight for the vote they are neglecting the true duties of womanhood. If, as I say, Miss Entwistle is to be taken as a true type of the suffragettes - and there appears to me no reason why she should not - I cannot help thinking that the criticisms of the “shrieking sisterhood” type have been perhaps a little too harsh. These women feel strongly about the cause they have taken up. Though many consider their authority-defying methods mistaken and short-sighted, one must remember that many of the liberties which the “mere men” of today enjoy had to be fought for in very much the same way. 


5 minute warning - then 11 injured

Guardian reporters describe the events at the House of Commons yesterday when a terrorist bomb exploded

Tuesday June 18, 1974
The Guardian

The bomb which exploded in the House of Commons yesterday, injuring 11 people and setting offices and a canteen ablaze beside the ancient Westminster Hall, raised the urgent question in the minds of MPs and police of how a building used daily by so many people can ever be made even moderately secure.

The bomb went off at 8:28 a.m. when very few people were in the Palace of Westminster. Five minutes earlier, a warning was telephoned by a caller with an Irish accent to the Press Association. The caller used the code word which identifies IRA calls and said that a bomb would go off in five minutes. The man would not give a more specific location and rang off.

The police received the warning at 8:26 a.m. and seconds before the bomb went off, workmen on the site of an underground car park being built for MPs and overlooked by the canteen were given notice by the police of an imminent explosion. According to eyewitnesses, the explosion was followed by intense heat and blinding smoke inside the building. Glass was blown out of several windows. Clouds of black smoke could be seen miles away.

Mr Albert Quigley, a workman on the car park site was standing outside the canteen when the foreman told him to go and warn the men underground that a bomb might be about to go off. "I was just walking away when the blast came and blew glass from the canteen windows all around. Three of my mates were working on the tip of a corner tower and could not get down for dust and smoke when the blast went off."

The works foreman, Mr Alex Maxwell, aged 35, said that when the bomb went off everyone was in a state of panic "We heard a woman crying 'get me out' from a first floor window. There were flames on the ground floor but a couple of the lads got a ladder and climbed up to get her, but the heat and smoke were so intense that they could not reach her."

One of the men who went up the ladder, Mr Pat Arundel, a scaffolder, said: "We smashed a window but we could not have gone in more than three steps because of the dust and smoke. We never saw the woman but we said to her to come to the window. She cried that she could not, her leg was broken."

Firemen later brought the woman, Mrs Patricia Gaskin, a cleaner, down by ladder. She was taken to St Thomas's Hospital.

Mr Maxwell said the Keirs, the contracting firm building the car park employed about 140 men on the site. Many of them were Irish, Mr Maxwell said, but he added: "All the men carry passes to get into the site but there is no differentiation between the Irish and non-Irish. They are first class lads all of them."

Four of the people rescued from a first floor office in Westminster Hall annexe were almost asphyxiated by the time ambulance men reached them, Mr Ernest Jacob, an ambulance crew leader, said: "When we arrived a group of people were shouting at a first floor window. They were engulfed in black smoke and I do not know how we got them out alive. There were four people, two dressed in overalls and two in suits, and below them the fire was an inferno.

"If they had not been rescued they would have been asphyxiated in another two minutes. They were all in a very shocked condition and we gave them oxygen in the ambulance on the way to hospital.

MPs and Ministers arriving at the scene expressed anger at what had happened. Mr Edward Short, the Leader of the House, said that such intimidation would not affect the workings of Parliament.

Mr Bob Mellish, the Government Chief Whip, said: "It is a tragedy that these awful people should destroy part of a great heritage. I suppose we ought to be grateful they did not throw a bomb in the Chamber, and if it had been later in the day there might have been a few lives lost."

Mr David Steel, the Liberal Chief Whip, was one of four MPs at their desks when the bomb went off. "I heard the blast, I waited until the noise subsided and then went out to look at the damage, but there was so much dust and smoke it was impossible to see anything at all. The building was then ordered to be cleared."

Assistant Fire Officer Trevor Watkins said that the greatest danger had been that the timbered Great Hall would catch fire. MPs' desks and secretaries' rooms in the annexe were badly damaged when the burning roof caved in on them, and firemen had to hack at the lead and tiles on the hall's roof in order to check that the flames were not spreading through the beams inside. Some MPs lost all their files and correspondence.

Seven of the injured, six men and one woman, were treated at St Thomas's Hospital after the blast. Mrs Patricia Gaskin, aged 43 of Westbridge Drive, Battersea was found to have her leg broken in three places.

The others were less seriously injured. They were; Mr Leonard Lee, aged 62, of Whitestile Road, Brentford, Middlesex: Mr John Thomas, aged 34, Pendennis Close, Basingstoke; Mr John Byrne, aged 35, Portland Avenue, Sittingbourne, Kent; Fireman G L Hill of Greake Road, Gillingham; Mr Wigginton, aged 57, Canton Street, Poplar; and Mr William Fairweather of Blondel Street, Battersea.

Four people were treated for shock. Mr Lee and Mr Thomas are resident Post Office engineers in the Commons and they were in the north-western Turret on the second floor when the bomb went off. They and two other Commons staff were rescued by Mr Jacob's ambulance team.

After the blast, security warnings went out from Scotland Yard to all Government and public offices, and patrols around Whitehall were increased.

A number of men, including, it is believed, Irish workmen from the Parliament car park, were interviewed at Cannon Row police station.

Commander Wilford Gibson of A Division, who is responsible for security outside the Commons and for some security arrangements inside the building said that it was impossible to make Westminster totally secure unless policemen were placed shoulder to shoulder around the buildings. Talks on security were held almost continuously.

There were renewed requests from some MPs for measures to prevent more violence. Mr Patrick Cormack, Conservative MP for south-west Staffordshire said: "Although I have not been one of those who have advocated it in the past, Parliament should bring in the death penalty immediately for all crimes of terrorism committed in the United Kingdom."

Mr Alex Fletcher, Conservative MP for Edinburgh North, agreed and said that "this is not a dispute between two people - they are at war with us."

In the House of Lords, Lord Vernon said that security was little better than a joke at Westminster. He suggested that everyone who worked in the building, including MPs and Lords, should be given a pass.

Security at Westminster was tightened in 1970 after two CS gas canisters were hurled from the gallery on to the floor of the House by a man shouting: "Belfast, see how you like it."

In 1885 a bomb planted by Irish nationalists damaged the windows and roof of Westminster Hall when it exploded on the pavement after being snatched out of the crypt by a policeman. Two policemen were seriously injured in the blast. The hall was built in 1097 and its famous hammer-beam roof was built by Richard II 200 years later.

(A Kid In The Blitz)

I was born in Fulham in 1938. My father worked as a cashier/supervisor in one of the London Clubs and my mother was usually in some sort of cleaning job having been in service during her younger days.
We moved about London a few times and my recollection of the war started in Balham when we lived in a flat at 2 Carmenia Road. I know we had been bombed out twice, the last in Effingham Street, Victoria before moving to Balham.
At the outbreak of was my father was required to join the police war reserve as he was unfit for miltary service. This was in addition to his daily work which he had to fit in with the demands of being a war time policeman working out of Cannon Row Police Station. His beat included Buckingham Palace, Downing Street and Trafalgar Square.During the course if his duty he met the King and Queen and Winston Churchill.
We were evacuated twice, each time accompanied by my mother, the first occasion to one of the lodges at Ascot racecourse and subsequently, in 1940, to Shripney, Near Bognor Regis in West Sussex where my younger brother was born.
When living in Balham we were regularly in the house cellar.As things got worse we went to the local shelter but later slept in the underground at Trafalgar Square station - I can well remember the noise of the trains, the heat and thirst with not enough water for all the family.
Every morning after an air raid my elder brother and I would hunt for bomb shrapnel which was usually still hot to handle.
I think the worsat part of the war for me was the start of the V1 rockets, or doodlebugs as we knew them. Often I would be out playing in the street and hear the sound of a rocket. I would the start to run for home, panicking when the rocket's engine cut off - knowing that it would now come down. It was a frightening and common daily occurrence.
One day in 1944 my father had just left in his police uniform to catch a bus to work, when a V1 came over, cut its engine and then started to descend. My mother brothers and I went to the cellar where we heard the explosion very close by. On coming ou we werecovered in coal dust and the house was in disarry. The window frames on the back of the house had been blown in onto the furniture and there was soot everywhere. Wallk paper was hangin off and i can remember shouting hysterically to my mother "you must get the decorators in". I was then all of 6 years old.
My father, waiting at the bus stop. sawc the V1 go down and feared the worst, running home to find us standing outside at the all clear.
We were taken to Cannon Row Police Station where we spent the night sleeping in one of the cells. The road at the rear had been wiped out so we were just so lucky but others were not.
The next day my father began emptying what he could from the house and we all went back to
Shripney by train. I can still remember seeing my first live cow!
Two days later the house received a direct hit and we lost many of our possessions including my rocking horse.


(Item displayed as  presented by the author).


A bearded lion

A competition that became a matter of principle and a challenge to the Home Secretary has been recalled by Terry Oglethorpe, a former Pc with the Met. The contest took place 44 years ago and was organised by the night shift at Cannon Row Police Station.

The challenge was for who could grow the best beard during a three-week nightshift period. When the period came to an end the officers were paraded - in those days it amounted to between 30 and 60 officers - and advised to shave or be transferred to three weeks night duty in the gardens of Buckingham Palace. All but two of them complied and they were ordered to shave. But Jock Dean refused saying that he would keep his beard because it was not a disciplinary offence to have a beard.

He was later charged, in 1957, with the offence of "whilst on duty was untidy in his person" and "disobeying a lawful order". Jock Dean was found guilty and required to resign. His appeal to the Commissioner was dismissed. Jock then appealed to the Home Secretary and after a lengthy suspension the Home Secretary, R A Butler, gave way and Jock was reinstated. He immediately shaved off the beard. Some time later he was promoted to sergeant. The story is recalled in The London Police Pensioner magazine.


Sercombe stantial lunch

In February John Sercombe retired as the longest serving police officer in the Met with a total of 41 years service - unless you know something different. And that awesome amount of service did not including two years as a cadet. John is a native of Yeovil, Somerset, and a life long supporter of Yeovil Town Football Club whom - police duties permitting- he regularly follows around the country. Among his duties in his many years as a Westminster Pc, John was responsible for all petitions handed into Downing Street where he made many influential friends. Some of his work mates at Cannon Row and Charing Cross police stations decided to mark his farewell with a special lunch at London's Savoy Hotel. Unfortunately 'Town' had managed to draw their 3rd round FA Cup match away to Cardiff City and the replay was scheduled for Huish Park on January 14. This just happened to clash with the date agreed for John's surprise lunch at the Savoy. Drastic measures were called for and Inspector David Moore set about producing a Special Operation Order which ordered Pc Sercombe to parade in uniform, 1 pm sharp, for a "Royal Visit". Meanwhile Mrs Sercombe, who was in on the ruse, was asked to attend the foyer of Pinafore Restaurant at the hotel complete with John's best lounge suit. Pc Sercombe paraded promptly as instructed and was told to change into mufti to join a small group of friends who'd met up to lunch him. His surprise lunch hosts included Baroness Thatcher, Lord Peter Imbert QPM, the Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, Sir Paul Condon QPM, Commander Michael Messinger, Ch Supt Bob Mackie and Garrison Sgt Major Mason MBE and too many others to mention.

Palace of Westminster

Metropolitan Police

Cannon Row Station 4th April 1910

th April 1910 I beg to report that at 6.30pm 3rd inst. whilst PC 438 Horndike night watch was patrolling his beat at the vestibule adjoining Strangers Dining Room, Smoking Room Corridor, House of Commons which is approached by South East door lower waiting hall. He opened a glass panel door 3 ft high x 1ft 6" in wide about 3 ft from the floor which opens into a new pull ventilation shaft and extends from basement to upper Committee Corridor fitted with steam pipes for conveying heat to the upper part of the building. He found a woman standing on a ladder in the shaft just above the temporary staging fitted up from workmen. He said 'What are you doing here?' she said  'I am a Suffragette and my ambition is to get into the House to ask a question'. PC asked else if anyone else was in the shaft, she said 'No, I am entirely on my own'. The PC called me. I asked her how she got into the building, she said I came into the House by Victoria Tower about 3pm on Saturday when the House was open to visitors. I asked her why she went into the shaft, she said  'I want to ask a question in the House of Commons tomorrow'. Her hat and jacket were found on top of a ladder in the shaft about 10ft from the doorway in which she had entered. Her face and hands were black and her clothing very dirty , she asked to have a wash which she had. She then gave the mane of Emily Davison, 4 Clement's Inn, Strand, Teacher. I told her she would be detained until her statement proved to be verified and accompanied her to Cannon Row Station where she was detained until 9.30pm and liberated.

The following was found written in pencil on a window pane '3rd 1910. Patience 36 hours here. Will they ever go. I am so thirsty. Nearly 36 hours have gone and I found water Thank God E W Davison April 10 Rebellion against Tyrants in obedience to God.'

rd 1910. Patience 36 hours here. Will they ever go. I am so thirsty. Nearly 36 hours have gone and I found water Thank God E W Davison April 10 Rebellion against Tyrants in obedience to God.'


Pall Mall Gazette
5 October 1888


Matters stand now so far as the East-end murderer is concerned just where they did on Sunday last, and it is safe to state that not the faintest evidence likely to lead to detection and arrest has yet been forthcoming. There is one person in custody at the present moment. The number of detectives on duty in the Whitechapel district last night was as large as ever, and there were also about fifty working men on voluntary patrol duty, most of whom remained in the streets until daylight. The local Vigilance Committees have charge of this movement, and they hope to arrange matters so that no man shall be required to give more than one night per week to the work.

A man has been arrested at Tiptree Heath on suspicion of being concerned in the Whitechapel murders. He was met by Police-sergeant Creswell, of whom he asked alms. He objected to be searched, and insisted on keeping his hand in his pocket. He was taken to Kelvedon, and it was seen that the appearance of the man answered to the description circulated by the metropolitan police of the Whitechapel murderer in almost every particular. He was detained in custody.

Early this morning a man was found wandering through the streets of Whitechapel, and his movements being suspicious and his replies unsatisfactory he was taken into custody. On being searched at the police-station a bayonet was found upon him. Inquiries by the police, however, showed plainly that he could have had no connection with the crime, and he was released.

In connection with the Mitre square murder, it may be mentioned that the foreman of the sewer hands who are engaged in Aldgate in sweeping the streets and clearing away the refuse, &c., in the early hours of the morning, has stated most positively that at the time when the murder is supposed to have been perpetrated he was standing not more than 20 yards away from the spot where the body was subsequently found by the constable and himself. He states emphatically that he never heard any woman's cries for help, nor did any sounds of a struggle reach his ear.

Another sister of Catherine Eddowes has been found by the police, and has also identified the body, notwithstanding its mutilated condition. She saw it yesterday, and at once recognized it. She is a married woman, and lives in the South of London.


The hon. member for North-West Lanark, in the course of a letter to a correspondent on the murders, says:--"One thing that poor London both thinks and says is that had the victims been titled profligates instead of poor prostitutes that a pretty stir would have been made, and that the reward offered by Government would have been counted in thousands sterling. It does not much matter what becomes of the poor in England, and especially in London; and this, I think, has been brought home to the poor by the callous indifference of Sir Charles Warren and Mr. Matthews to the whole affair. To do them justice, they care nothing about the matter, and are quite convinced that a police force is intended to be used to put down public meetings in the metropolis, and not to defend the lives and property of the citizens. I wonder if, when the long winter nights are coming in--when the cry for bread rises to deaf ears--when the 'starving season' is approaching, it is wise to deliberately neglect and insult to show the poor of London that their cry is disregarded, that their lives are not valued. I have heard that opportunity makes them commit crime. There is opportunity plenty in London. I hope the poor will disregard its promptings, and give those who wish to goad them to fury no chance to ride over and shoot them down afterwards. I hope that for once all classes will concur in calling for the dismissal of two men who during the past year have done more to further the cause of anarchy than any ten Nihilists. . . . Who shall say that the man who has made a policeman a marked man in London, who has made the very name of law and order a mockery, who has demoralized a good force that he found in good order, has not been the means of giving the murderer a better chance to escape? Poor London is hard to arouse, but, when aroused, terrible; and I hope that this indifference on the part of Authority to its sufferings may do it."


The inquiry relative to the discovery of mutilated remains on the site of the new police officers, Victoria Embankment, is being actively prosecuted by the police. The first idea in regard to this discovery of remains on the site was that the murderer had climbed an eight feet hoarding in Cannon Row, by reason of its loneliness, darkness, and unprotectedness, dragging after him this parcel, that in the dark he made his way to the darkest and most secret part of the unwatched works, and picked out, in the darkness, the place which would always be dark. This is now thought to be impossible. Equally unlikely was it for any one to have climbed the hoarding in daylight on Saturday afternoon or Sunday, when it would have been possible to have walked across the works. On examination of the other sides of the site it was considered equally improbable that the murderer found his way either from the gardens at the rear of Buccleuch House or from the westward side. There is therefore only left the road by which the loaded carts enter, and curiously enough this is the nearest way to the recess where the body was found. Brought in a cart, and carried as a load across the planks on to the building its disposal would be easy in the recess. Upon another point there is no doubt whatever, and that is that the deposit was made by some one intimately acquainted with all the intricacies of the underground part of these works. This fact narrows the examination, and the authorities are not hopeless of touching upon some evidence which will reveal the whole of the fearful crime.

The theory that the victim of the crime was a lady, or at any rate a person of good position, which has been asserted, is not much countenanced by the police or doctors. It is much more likely that she was a person of the unfortunate class or a servant. Dr. Neville, the acting divisional surgeon of the B Division of police, adhered to the opinion that the hand showed indications of hand work, the skin being rough and hard, and the finger nails were dirty. The medical men who made the post-mortem examination, it is said, are agreed that death took place about five weeks ago, although the detailed result of the autopsy will be kept secret until the inquest on Monday next. It is believed that the head had been clearly cut from the body by a very sharp instrument, and that the victim was a dark-complexioned woman, presumed to be about twenty-six years of age, and in stature 5 ft. 7 in or 8in.

Royal Buckley Town Band

GRAND CONCERT BY THE ROYAL BUCKLEY TOWN BAND To commemorate the retirement of Bandmaster - Glyn Smith Elfed High School Theatre Buckley at 7.30 p.m. on Friday 26th March 1993 Proceeds of Concert to Buckley Cancer Research Campaign Ticket Price 2.40 (Adults) 1.25 for SeniorCitizens/Children) .......................................................... 

Glyn Smith retired as conductor of the band. He had been a member for 46 years and the band performed about 50 engagements a year. He was to return to the back row cornets. He joined the cornet section in 1947, and moved on to principal cornet. He served as deputy conductor for 12 years before being appointed musical director. Barry Jones wrote the following to mark the occasion: BIDDING A FOND FAREWELL TO A GREAT AMBASSADOR. Buckley Band Master, Glyn Smith, is to retire. When I met three special trains at Euston Station in 1973, Glyn and his band were present. We marched at the head of the Shotton Steelworks column. At Lambeth Bridge, Glyn's base drum was arrested. It was taken to Cannon Row Police Station. The band made the day most memorable. Nearly 3,000 Shotton men and women formed up outside the Commons. When the traffic stopped, steelworkers climbed the front of the red London buses to place posters on the top deck windows. The Daily Mirror put the parade on its front page. Glyn has seen his band serve many communities on Deeside. At the head of every civic parade, it seems, and at every remembrance parade, he has been an ambassador for Buckley. Thank you, Glyn.


Ray Arrested in London

James Earl Ray, 40, the alleged assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was arrested by Scotland Yard detectives at Heathrow Airport in London June 8. Ray had been the subject of an intensive manhunt organized after the murder of Dr. King April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee. The news of his arrest, announced in the U.S. by Attorney General Ramsey Clark, came as funeral services were being held for the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, himself a victim of an assassin's bullets.

Ray was apprehended when he went to the airport to board a plane for Brussels. Arrested on charges of possessing a fraudulent Canadian passport and of carrying a revolver without a permit, Ray was taken to London's Cannon Row Police Station and detained under conditions of maximum security. He was moved to Brixton Prison June 10 and to Wandworth Prison June 11.

Nabil Shaban does some painting and decorating at the Embassy

A "freelance" protest against the policies of the South African government gave police a wet and sticky problem in London last week. The incident happened when actor and writer Nabil Shaban, best known for his roles in Dr Who and with Graeae theatre, emptied a pot of red paint on the steps of the South African Embassy in Trafalgar Square last Thursday.
Shaban decided on his action after the declaration of the state of emergency. After dumping the paint he got himself out of his wheelchair and into the middle of the paint, producing a placard that read 'Apartheid blood bath'

And, after an initial retreat, police eventually "produced a blanket and asked if I'd be so kind as to roll onto it,' said Shaban. He was taken to Cannon Row police station where he was asked which 'groups' he was from. 'I told them I was freelance,' said Shaban. 'They said "oh. freelance hooligan, eh?" but after that they were quite friendly.'

The actor was charged with criminal damage at Bow Street court the following day. He told the magistrate that Margaret Thatcher and her government should be on trial instead for taking no action against what was happening in South Africa. He was given a conditional discharge and made to pay 20 pounds towards the cost of the damage.

Emmeline Pankhurst and the Militant Suffragettes

Guide to the Readings:

The W.S.P.U. (Women's Social and Political Union) was established in 1903 as the most outspoken and activist organization established to attain the vote for women in Britain.  It was led by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, Christabel and Sylvia.  Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence and her husband Frederick were the editors of the group's newspaper, Votes for Women.  Pethick-Lawrence and the Pankhursts parted ways in 1912, when the Pankhursts led the W.S.P.U. towards a more radical resistance to the government and police.
The majority party in Parliament was the Liberal party, under the leadership of Prime Minister Herbert Asquith.  Although the Liberal party often made statements in favor of women's suffrage, many in the Cabinet, including Winston Churchill, opposed granting the vote to women.  The official residence of the Prime Minister is 10, Downing Street, not far from the Parliament Buildings.  The radical suffragettes staged most of their demonstrations in these two places.

The selections from Pethick-Lawrence refer to events in 1909.  The subsequent selections pick up significant parts of the story the W.S.P.U. afterwards in the years leading up to World War I in 1914, when the movement came to an end as the demands of patriotism in wartime took precedence over all other political concerns.

Click here for short biographies and pictures of the women discussed in this reading

Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, My Part in a Changing World

I has been well said--so well said I wish I had originated the saying--"the Suffrage Campaign was our Eton and Oxford, or regiment, our ship, our Cricket match".  It was our education in that living identification of the self with the corporate whole, which means an intesification and expansion of consciousness.  "For thirty years," writes Rachael Ferguson, "I made jokes about the feminine ballot to please the men, and one fine day, I found myself at the head of a section surrounded by banners bearing many a stange device, marching down Whitehall and revelling in every moment of it.  By my side marched a dowager duches and a laundry maid."
 Together with the quickening of the intelligence and wit, and with the development of the power of rapid action, there was in the personnel of the movement a quicening of the whole emotional life which wnet out in ardent admiration and sympathy to those who were in prison and to thoe who performed exceptional deeds of fortitude and daring; a new meaning was given to personal friendship, and in many a face that had borne traces of emotional starvation I saw the awakening of revewed youth an dzest.  Amongst the elderly, the shadow of loneliness passed away, for the love shone into the heart--love that was emulation was sometimes akin to worship.  But it was from the young that came the overwhelmingly great response to the call of the hour.  they laughed at danger, they laughed at arrest and imprisonment, and found cause for mirth in all their unsual experiences.  Christabel had once said on a public platform:  "We young people find a world run on ideas entirely contrary to our own.  We mean to mould a new world to our will!"  And youth rose to the challenge.
 It was not ony amongst women that new friendships and new loyalties were realized.  Sympathy with ideas, and regard for individuals, brought many men into active fellowhip with us.  When we resumed, in February 1909, our usual Monay afternoon meeting in the Queen's Hall, the principal speaker was the popular actor, Mr. Forbes Robertson, who received an ovation from a crowded audence when he came to the platform with Gertrude Elliott, his distinguished wife.   . . . Beginning with a declaration of faith in woman suffrage which from the bottom of his heart and soul he regarded as the greatest reform of modern times, he wen on to deal humorously and brilliantly with some of the arguments of the "Antis", and ended with an invocation:  "Mary Wollstonecraft!  John Stuart Mill!  may your spirits, your beautiful, noble, and generous spirits, look down upon us, and assist and encourage us to soften the hearts of those opposed to us!  And when the hour of our victory comes--as most certainly it will--may the Master of all convey to you the joyous news, that you may rejoice great with us!"

In January the first Cabinet Council of 1909 met at 10, Downing Street to consider the programme for the ensuing session of Parliament.
        Speaking in December 1908, the Prime Minister had declared that he was receiving "deputations from all quarters and from all causes urging that their particular measure should be mentioned in the King's Speech." [included in the Government's legislative agenda for the year]
        In order that our cause might not be omitted from his consideration, four of our members, headed by Mrs. Mary Clark (a sister of Mrs. Pankhurst), called at 10, Downing Street to add our quota to the "stream of advice" that the Prime Minister had said was pouring in upon him "both night and day."  Knocking upon the door of the house, they were all arrested.  Each of them made in the dock an excellent short speech in her own defence.  Each of them went for a month to prison. . . .
        Since we had been made aware of the decision of Mr. Asquith to exclude woman suffrage from the King's Speech, another protest meeting--the sixth "Women's Parliament"--at Caxton Hall, Westminster, was announced for February 24th.  It meant that another deputation would be sent to the House of Commons.  This time I was to lead it.  Lady Constance Lytton was determined to come with me.  She told nobody except myself of her decision.  She spent the 24th with me, and came somewhat disguised to the meeting in the evening.
        Long before eight o'clock, when proceedings were timed to begin, Caxton Hall was filled to overflowing, and later was besieged by clamouring applicants for admission.  A resolution, framed on the usual lines, was carried by acclamation and a copy of it was handed to every member of the deputation, whose duty it became to carry it into the House.  As I appeared with the deputation on the outside steps of the Hall, there was a roar of cheers from the crowd, who broke through the police lines and ran beside us as we proceeded towards Great Chapel Street.  Almost immediately the police closed in on the deputation that was marching two abreast, and broke it up and scattered its members.  But the remnant marched with me up Victoria Street, cheered by people in the passing buses.  Entering Parliament Square on the south side, we came directly up to the Strangers' Entrance, where we were met by Superintendent Wells, of the Metropolitan Police, with a double row of constables behind him.  I explained to Superintendent Wells what I had come for, showed him the paper in my hand, and demanded to be allowed to enter the House.  He told me politely that this was against his orders, and after some further parley and my refusal to leave the spot, he signed to the police to rush us back.  I now turned and began to address the crowd, who were prepared to push me forward.  The mounted police were sent for and came trotting up, but we knew that the hourses would do us no injury.  After I had been pushed back and forward between the police and the crowd for some time, I was taken into custody and marched off between two quite friendly constables to Cannon Row.  My brave comrades endured a far worse fate.  Like the other leaders, I was personally known to the officers of the Metropolitan Police.  We understood each other and played the rules of the game.  They knew in advance our plans and arrangements and kept an eye upon us to see that we were not roughly handled by their subordinates, and when arrested we usually fell into their hands.  Just as in a war the soldier in the ranks gets all the hardships and suffering, while the generals reap the honours, so in our movement (as in all revolutionary movements) the unknown members received the worst of the hard knocks and met them with the greatest heroism, while the leaders were rewarded not only with the devotion of their followers, but with the acclaim of a large section of the population.. . . .Lady Constance Lytton gives in her record, Prison and Prisoners, a heart-rending account of her own experiences that day in Parliament Square.  Three times her almost breathless body was seized by the police, lifted up and thrown violently to the ground, and although in every case friendly hands in the crowd saved her from the actual impact with the road, yet the agony was intense, and it was in an almost fainting condition that she reached Cannon Row Police-Station which, she writes, had "all the attraction of a harbour after a storm." 

On the Birth Centenary of Udham Singh

Udham Singh and the Death of Michael O'dwyer
At 10 p.m. on 13 March 1940 Udham Singh was charged with the murder of Sir Michael O'dwyer, who was responsible for the Amritsar (Jallianwala Bagh) massacre of 13 April 1919, which claimed the lives of several hundred innocent Indian men, women and children, whose only crime was to hold a peaceful protest meeting. The charge stated that Mohamed Singh Azad, the name he gave on his arrest, 'Did feloniously murder Michael Francis O'dwyer, at Caxton Street, Westminster, on 13 March, 1940'.

udham singh newsThe circumstances leading to the killing of Sir Michael O'dwyer, Udham Singh's arrest and his being charged with O'dwyer's murder are described in a Metropolitan Police report, file MEPO 3/1743 written by Divisional Detective Inspector John Swain. We reproduce here the relevant sections of this report:

'At 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 13 March, 1940, a meeting of the East India Association was held in conjunction with the Royal Central Asian Society at the Tudor Room, Caxton Hall, Caxton Street, Westminster, and a lecture on 'Afghanistan: The Present Position' was delivered by Brigadier General Sir Percy Sykes.

'The Chair was occupied by the Marquess of Zetland, P.C., and included amongst the speakers were Lord Lemington, Sir Louis Dane and Sir Michael O'Dwyer (deceased).

'The meeting commenced at 3 p.m. and terminated at approximately 4.30 p.m. Admission was by ticket and it appears that at least 150 people attended. The seating accommodation is 130, but in view of the number that turned up the side passages were occupied by people standing, and the prisoner was one of these having taken up a position in the right hand passage and quite near to the front row of seats.

'When the meeting closed and people were preparing to leave, a number of shots were fired by the prisoner at those gentlemen who had been speaking, with the result that Sir Michael O'Dwyer received wounds which proved fatal: Lord Lemington received a wound in the right hand; the Marquess of Zetland was hit on the left side of his body, and Sir Louis Dane was shot in the right forearm. The injuries to the last three named gentlemen are not serious, but Sir Louis Dane, who is over 80 years of age, is being detained for a few days in Westminster Hospital for a minor operation to the hand.

'The actual shooting was seen by quite a number of persons and the selected statements will be dealt with later.

'Immediately the shooting took place there was considerable commotion and the prisoner was seen to make an effort to rush for the exit. He was intercepted by Bertha HERRING who placed herself in his path and caught hold of his shoulders. At that moment Mr Wyndham Harry RICHES jumped on AZAD's shoulders and threw him to the ground causing the revolver to fall from his grasp. Mr RICHES flicked the revolver away and it was picked up by Major Reginald Alfred SLEE and passed to Sir Percy SYKES, who eventually handed it to P.S. 51 "A" McWILLIAM.

'Inspector Robert William STEVENS (a Barrister), Metropolitan Special Constabulary, was in the building at the time of the shooting as there is a Special Constabulary Office in that building. He heard six shots fired and hurried to the Tudor Room where he assisted to hold the prisoner until the arrival of P.S. 51 "A" John McWILLIAM....

'On the arrival of P.S. McWILLIAM this Officer noticed that the doors of the Tudor Room were open, a number of people standing about and there was a strong smell of burnt powder. He also saw a blue haze of smoke in the room. The Sergeant then searched the prisoner and in the left hand pocket of his overcoat he found a 'linoleum' knife. In the right hand pocket of his jacket he found a box containing 17 rounds of revolver ammunition, and in the right hand trousers pocket he found 8 similar rounds loose....

'Inspector DEIGHTON asked the prisoner if he could understand English and he said he could. He was cautioned and told he would be detained pending enquiries and said, 'It no use. It all over' and nodded his head in the direction of the dead body of Sir Michael O'Dwyer, at the same time saying, 'It is there'. AZAD was then removed to another room and left in the custody of Detective Sergeant Sidney JONES.

'At 5.30 p.m. I [John Swain] arrived at Caxton Hall and saw the dead body of Sir Michael O'Dwyer and made certain enquiries.

'Statements were taken from everyone present in the Tudor Room when the shooting occurred. Amongst those selected is one from Brigadier General Sir Percy Molesworth SYKES (retired), of 26, St George's Court, Gloucester Road, who delivered the lecture at Caxton Hall on 'Afghanistan: The Present Position'. He states that at the conclusion of the lecture Lord Zetland made a speech lasting about ten minutes, followed by Sir Michael O'Dwyer, Mrs Audrey MALAM, and finally Sir Louis DANE spoke for ten minutes.

'Lord Zetland then asked Lord Lemington to close the meeting and he did so, the speech lasting a few minutes . This was about 4.30 p.m. Sir Percy says that Lord Zetland stood up to bid him (Sir Percy) Goodbye, when, just at that moment, he saw flashes in quick succession being fired from a revolver by a man who had been leaning against the wall of the hall. He saw Sir Michael fall to the ground, and then noticed Mr RICHES detain the assassin. Sir Percy then took possession of the revolver from Mr RICHES and handed it to Police (Inspector Stevens).

'The body of the deceased was removed to Westminster Mortuary, Horseferry Road, SWI.

'At 8.50 p.m. the same day I saw the prisoner in a room at Caxton Hall. I told him who I was, cautioned him and said, 'I am going to take you to Cannon Row Police Station where you will be charged with the murder of Sir Michael O'Dwyer'. He said, 'I will tell you how I made a protest.' He was conveyed to Cannon Row Police Station where, under caution, he made a statement, which I took down in writing at his request. He read it himself and signed it.

'At 10 p.m. on 13th March, 1940, the prisoner was charged with the murder of Michael Francis O'Dwyer. The charge was read over to him and he was cautioned. He replied, 'I did not mean to kill. I just did it to protest. I did not mean to kill anybody.'

On 14 March, 1940, Udham Singh appeared at Bow Street Police Court and was remanded until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 21 March.

Detective Inspector Richard Deighton, who on arrival at the Tudor Room in Caxton Hall at 4.50 p.m. on 13 March, found Udham Singh 'composed and smiling' said to the latter: 'Do you understand English?' and received the reply 'Yes' Inspector Deighton then cautioned him saying: 'You will be detained pending further enquiries' to which Udham Singh replied: 'It no use. It all over' then nodding his head in the direction of the deceased O'Dwyer he said: 'It is there'.udham singh arrested

Udham Singh was then removed to another room in the building and searched by Detective Sergeant Jones who found, and handed over to Inspector Deighton, a 1940 diary containing many significant entries. The date 13 March carries the entry: '3 p.m. Caxton Hall, SWI Meeting.' Other entries bear the following words and phrases: 'Action' 'only the way to open the door' 'My last month' 'I have seen the world. The only ambition have left. I like to see India free.' The diary also contained the addresses of Lord Willingdon, former viceroy of India (1931-34), and the Marquess of Zetland, the then Secretary of State for India.

At 7:20 p.m. on 13 March, Udham Singh's room at number 8 Mornington Terrace, Regent's Park, was searched by Inspector Deighton, accompanied by Detective Inspector Whitehead, Special Branch, and a 1939 diary was found containing, among others, the address of Sir Michael O'Dwyer in South Devon.

After Udham Singh's search, as Sergeant Jones was preparing a list of the property taken by the police from him, Udham Singh now and then made several remarks. The police report again:

'...pointing to the 'linoleum' knife 'I had that knife with me because I was set about in Camden Town a few nights ago'. Sergeant Jones told AZAD that he had already been cautioned by Detective Inspector Deighton and advised him to keep quiet. AZAD then said 'I did it because I had a grudge against him. He deserved it. I do not belong to any society or anything else'. Just then Inspector Deighton placed four empty cartridge cases on the table and AZAD pointed to them and said 'No. No. All the lot, six'. at the same time holding up six fingers. Later AZAD said 'I don't care. I don't mind dying. What is the use of waiting till you get old. That's no good. You want to die when you're young, that is good. That's what I am doing.' These remarks were short outbursts. Sergeant Jones then drew AZAD's attention to the fact that what he was saying would be given in evidence at a Court. AZAD then said 'I am dying for my country. Can I have a newspaper?'

'Shortly afterwards AZAD said, 'Is Zetland dead? He ought to be. I put two into him right there', indicating with his hand the pit of his stomach in the left side. A little later he said 'I bought the revolver from a soldier in a public house at Bournemouth. I bought him some drinks you know'. After another short pause AZAD said 'My parents died when I was four or five. I had property which I sold. I had over 200 pounds when I came to England.'

'AZAD remained quiet for several minutes and then said, 'Only one dead eh. I thought I could get more. I must have been too slow. There was a lot of womans about, you know.'

'Sergeant Jones then accompanied me to Cannon Row Police Station with the prisoner.'

At 1:15 p.m. on the 15th of March John Swain, in the company of Chief Inspector Rawlings, went to see Udham Singh at Brixton Prison in an effort to clear up the question of what was his real name. The police were keen that Udham Singh should not be allowed 'to turn his villainy into a political affair', that the whole thing be treated as a case of simple and mindless murder. In the words of the C.C. (CID): 'In this clear-cut murder case in which the ordinary evidence is very strong, it will be a pity if all the 'rubbish' which came from the lips of the prisoner is to come out in Court, and then in the newspapers.'

Udham Singh for his part quite correctly wished to stress, first, that his action in Caxton Hall was motivated by the highest of political considerations, namely, his ardent desire to see India free from British imperialist occupation and, second, that even the name he chose for himself had a political significance, namely his passionate love of secularism and his irreconcilable opposition to, and hatred of, every type of communalism and religious bigotry. After a number of exchanges in Brixton Prison with Inspector Swain who had insisted that the name Udham Singh would be substituted for the name on the chargesheet for that of Mohamed Singh Azad, he said: 'It makes no difference to me whatever. Do what you like, but I still say I am Mohamed Singh.' (John Swain's report, 16 March 1940).

In his letter of 16 March, written from Brixton Prison to Mr Sands, Superintendent of Police, Udham Singh stresses that his name is Mohamed Singh Azad:

' to tell you one thing do not try to change my name whatsoever I have given to you my name is Mohamed Singh Azad I do not care if anyone say anything let then go to hell. But I want to keep my name I have told your man they came to see me. That is so'.

In his statement to the police, Udham Singh spoke of the reasons which caused him to take the action that he did in these words:

'I thought it was time to go to this afternoon meeting to protest. I take my revolver from home with me to protest. In the beginning of the meeting I was standing up. I did not take the revolver to kill but just to protest. Well then when the meeting was already finished I took the revolver from my pocket and I shoot like I think at the wall. I just shot just to make the protest. I have seen people starving in India under British Imperialism. I done it, the pistol went off three of four times. I am not sorry for protesting. It was my duty to do so. Put some more. Just for the sake of my country to protest, I do not mind what sentence. Ten, twenty, or fifty years, or to be hanged. I done my duty. Actually I did not mean to take a person's life do you understand. I just mean protesting you know.'

On 4 June, 1940, Udham Singh was arraigned before Mr. Justice Atkinson at the Central Criminal Court, the indictment charging him with the murder of Sir Michael O'Dwyer. He pleaded not guilty. The trial lasted for two days at the end of which he was found guilty and sentenced to death.

Throughout the trial the defence had maintained that Udham Singh's intention at Caxton Hall had been to shoot into the air and not to shoot at anyone. However, someone near him, seeing Udham Singh draw the revolver, knocked it down, with the result that bullets wounded Sir Michael O'Dwyer fatally and injured three other persons seriously. On 15 July, 1940, the appeal by Udham Singh against the death sentence was heard at the Court of Criminal Appeal and dismissed. And Udham Singh was hanged at Pentonville Prison on 31 July 1940.

Prior to passing sentence, Mr. Justice Atkinson asked Udham Singh if he had anything to say, to which the latter replied in the affirmative and began reading from prepared notes. Throughout he was repeatedly interrupted by the judge who ordered the press not to report Udham Singh's statement.

James Wallace BEATON, GC, CVO (Living Recipient)

No. & Rank at the Time of Action: Inspector

Unit/Occupation: Metropolitan Police (Royal Bodyguard).

Date and Place of Birth: 16th February 1943, St. Fergus, Aberdeenshire, Scotland


Early Life:

Date and Place of GC Action: 20th March 1974, London

The London Gazette: 27th September 1974

Citation: "THE QUEEN has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following awards of the George Cross, the George Medal and the Queen's Gallantry Medal and for the publication in the London Gazette of the names of those specially shown below as having received an expression of Commendation for Brave Conduct.

(To be dated 5th July 1974)


James Wallace BEATON, Inspector, Metropolitan Police.

At about 8 p.m. on 20th March 1974, Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips were returning to Buckingham Palace from an official engagement. Their car was being driven by Mr. Callender and they were accompanied by Princess Anne's personal Police Officer, Inspector Beaton, and her Lady-in-Waiting.

As the Royal car approached the junction of the Mall with Marlborough Road, a white car swerved in front of it, causing Mr. Callender to stop suddenly. Leaving the vehicle, the driver went to the Royal car and Inspector Beaton, who was seated in the front passenger seat, got out to see what was wrong. As Inspector Beaton approached, the man pointed a revolver at him and fired, wounding him in the shoulder. Despite his wound the Inspector drew his pistol and fired at the man, but the shot missed. He was unable to fire again as his gun jammed, and as he moved to the nearside of the car and tried to clear the stoppage the gunman told him to drop his weapon, or he would shoot Princess Anne. As he was unable to clear the weapon the officer placed it on the ground. The gunman was trying to open the rear offside door of the Royal car and was demanding that Princess Anne went with him, but Princess Anne and Captain Phillips were struggling to keep the door closed. As soon as the Lady-in-Waiting left by the rear nearside door Inspector Beaton entered the same way, and leant across to shield Princess Anne with his body. Captain Phillips managed to close the door and the Inspector, seeing that the man was about to fire into the back of the car, put his hand up to the window directly in the line of fire to absorb the impact of the bullet. The gunman fired, shattering the window, and the officer was wounded in the right hand by the bullet and by broken glass. Despite his wounds the Inspector asked Captain Phillips to release his grip on the door so that he might kick it open violently to throw the man off balance. However, before he could do so, the man opened the door and fired at the officer again, wounding him in the stomach. The Inspector fell from the offside door and collapsed unconscious at the gunman's feet.

Mr. Callender meanwhile had tried to get out of the car, but the gunman had put the pistol to his head and told him not to move. Undeterred, he got out of the car at the first opportunity and grabbed the man's arm in an attempt to remove the gun. Although the gunman threatened to shoot him, Mr. Callender clung to the man's arm until he was shot in the chest.

Mr. McConnell was travelling in a taxi along the Mall when he heard shots. As a Royal car appeared to be involved, he stopped the taxi and ran back to the scene, where he found the gunman shouting at the occupants of the car. Seeing the gun in the man's hand, Mr. McConnell went up to him in a placatory manner and asked him to hand over the gun. The man told him to get back, but when Mr. McConnell continued to approach he took aim and fired, wounding him in the chest. Mr. McConnell staggered away and collapsed.

Constable Hills was on duty at St. James's Palace when he heard a noise and saw the cars stationary in the Mall. Thinking there had been an accident, he reported by personal radio and Went to the scene. He saw a man trying to pull someone from the back of the car and touched his arm, whereupon the man spun round, moved a few feet away and pointed the gun at the officer. As Constable Hills moved forward to take the gun, the gunman shot him in the stomach and returned to the rear of the car. The officer staggered away and, using his personal radio, sent a clear and concise message to Cannon Row Police Station reporting the gravity of the situation and calling for assistance. As he walked round the back of the car he saw Inspector Beaton's discarded gun, and picking it up returned to the offside of the vehicle intending to shoot the gunman. However, he felt very faint and did not use the weapon as he could not be sure of his aim. He was assisted to the side of the road where he collapsed.

Mr. Martin was also driving along the Mall and when he saw the situation, he drove his motor car in front of the gunman's car to prevent any possible escape. He then went to the Royal car to render assistance, but the gunman pushed a gun in his ribs. At this point Constable Hills intervened and was shot and it was Mr. Martin who assisted him to the side of the road.

Mr. Russell was driving along the Mall when he saw the gunman attempting to open the door of the Royal car. He stopped and as he ran back he heard shots. Arriving at the car, he saw the man with the gun in his hand and Police Constable Hills being assisted to the side of the road. Regardless of the obvious danger, and seeing that the gunman was holding Princess Anne by the forearm and trying to wrest her from the car, Mr. Russell ran up and punched him on the hack of the bead. The man immediately turned and fired at him, but fortunately the shot missed. Mr. Russell then tried to get Constable Hills' truncheon, but hearing more commotion he returned to the Royal car from which the gunman was still trying to drag Princess Anne with one hand, while pointing a gun at her with the other and threatening to shoot if she refused to come. While maintaining her refusal, Princess Anne managed to delay the gunman and to distract his attention by engaging him in conversation. Captain Phillips kept his arm firmly round her waist and was trying to pull her back into the car. Mr. Russell now ran around to the other side of the car, and saw that Princess Anne had broken free from the gunman and was about to leave by the nearside door. She was almost out of the car when the gunman came up behind Mr. Russell and once again tried to reach Princess Anne. Captain Phillips promptly pulled her back into the car and Mr. Russell punched the man on the face. At this point other police officers began to arrive in response to Constable Hills' call for assistance and the gunman ran off.

Constable Edmonds was one of the first police officers on the scene, and he saw the gunman running away with the gun still in his hand. Without hesitating the Constable gave chase shouting to the gunman to stop, but the man continued to run and pointed the gun directly at the officer. Completely undeterred, the Constable charged the man and knocked him to the ground. Other police officers who had also given chase immediately threw themselves on the man and disarmed him.

The wounded men were all taken to hospital, where bullets were removed from Inspector Beaton, Mr. Callender and Mr. McConnell. Constable Hills received treatment for his wound, but no attempt has been made to remove the bullet from his liver.

All the individuals involved in the kidnap attempt on Princess Anne displayed outstanding courage and a complete disregard for their personal safety when they each faced this dangerous armed man who did not hesitate to use his weapons. It is entirely due to their actions - as well as to the calmness, bravery and presence of mind shown both by Princess Anne and by Captain Mark Phillips in circumstances of great peril - that the attack was unsuccessful."

Account of Deed:

Remarks: In addition to Insp Beaton's GC, the following awards were made in the London Gazette:


Michael John HILLS, Constable, Metropolitan Police, Cannon Row Police Station

Ronald George RUSSELL, Area Manager, Exclusive Office Cleaning, London E.2.


Alexander CALLENDER, Chauffeur, Royal Household.

Peter Roy EDMONDS; Constable, Metropolitan Police, Cannon Row Police Station.

John Brian McCONNELL, Freelance Journalist, Dulwich Village, London S.E.21.

Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct

Glenmore Thomas Walter MARTIN, Chauffeur, Lydney, Gloucestershire.

The above awards of the QGM were the first made since its creation. This was the first occassion when all four levels of post 1974 civilian gallantry awards were made for the same incident.

Chief Supt J W Beaton GC Metropolitan Police was later made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO) 13.6.87 (LG 13.6.87, p.B3)

Additional Information: BEATON, James Wallace, GC 1974; CVO 1992 (LVO 1987); security manager; Chief Superintendent, Metropolitan Police, 1985-92; b St Fergus, Aberdeenshire, 16 Feb. 1943; s of J.A. Beaton and B. McDonald; m 1965, Anne C. Ballantyne; two d. Educ: Peterhead Acad., Aberdeenshire. Joined Metropolitan Police, 1962: Norting Hill, 1962-66; Sergeant. Harrow Road, 1966-71; Station Sergeant, Wembley, 1971-73; Royalty Protection Officer, 'A' Division, 1973; Police Officer to The Princess Anne, 1973-79; Police Inspector, 1974; Chief Inspector, 1979; Superintendent, 1983. Director's Honor Award, US Secret Service, 1974. Recreations. reading. keeping fit, golf, hill walking. (WHO'S WHO 2001, p137-138).

Beaton was elected ‘Man of the Year’ in 1974 by RADAR (Royal Association for Disability & Rehabilitation)

Final Rank: Chief Superintendent, Metroploitan Police

Other Decorations/Medals: Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, QSJM, QGJM, Police Long Service & Good Conduct Medal. Director's Honour Award, US Secret Service