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Funeral Of P.C. Thompson

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Funeral Of P.C. Thompson

Post by Karen on Mon 10 Jan 2011 - 21:00



The funeral of Police Constable Ernest Thompson, who was murdered in Commercial-road, E., during the early hours of Saturday morning last, took place yesterday afternoon at Bow Cemetery, in the presence of many thousands of persons.
The ceremony was of a most impressive and imposing character. The dead constable, who met death while in the execution of his duty, was followed to his last resting-place by 3,500 of his comrades, representing every police division in the Metropolitan area.

Floral Tributes.

Hundreds of beautiful and costly wreaths were sent to the deceased's residence in Princes-street, Redman's-row, Stepney, from all parts of London.
Five rooms of the house were filled with these tributes of sorrow. The floor of the front room, in which the coffin lay, was strewn with the wreaths, and the coffin itself was buried in them.
Prominent among them was a huge cross of violets and snowdrops from the dead constable's comrades at Leman-street police-station.

Leaving the House.

The cortege left the house shortly after one o'clock, the coffin being carried by eight policemen of the H Division, to Christ Church, Jamaica-street, where the first part of the burial service was conducted.
The coffin, of the triple moulded type, was of polished oak, with massive brass mountings. The brass plate on a large oak mount at the head of the coffin bore the following simple inscription: -

Who departed this life
1st December, 1900
Aged 32 years."

The interior of the coffin was lined with white satin and swansdown.

Inside the Church.

The memorial service at Christ Church was most impressive. Among those who took part in it were the Bishop of Stepney and the clergyman who married the deceased officer five years ago.
The building was packed by policemen in uniform. As the coffin was carried up the aisle the organ played the Dead March in "Saul."

"He Died Bravely."

The coffin was placed on a raised platform at the chancel steps with the head facing the altar.
At the close of the service the Bishop of Stepney delivered a short address from the side of the coffin, "What shall we say first," said the Bishop. "Ah, that he died bravely at the post of duty," and then, after a pause, "Yes, as bravely as any of the heroes and soldiers in South Africa."

The Mournful Scene.

Then followed the hymn, "Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows," sung by the choir and the congregation.
The Dead March in "Saul" sounded mournfully throughout the sacred edifice as the eight uniformed pall-bearers bore the coffin out.
The Bishop of Stepney, with the Rev. F.J. Hobbins, vicar of Christ Church, the Rev. E. Dalton, rector of Stepney, the Rev. J.A. Faithful, rector of Whitechapel, and several other local clergymen, followed by Mr. Stuart M. Samuel, M.P. for Whitechapel, and Mr. Spencer Carrington, M.P. for Mile End, headed the cortege to the street.

Service Over.

As the procession moved slowly on its journey the massed police bands played the "Dead March."
The service had lasted about a quarter of an hour.
The hearse was an open one, drawn by four black horses. The car was covered from top to bottom with beautiful wreaths. An open cab had to be requisitioned to convey to the graveside those which could not be placed on the hearse.

Mounted Police Patrol.

Outside the church there were over ten thousand people. Immediately in front of the hearse was a mounted police patrol, while alongside the car were the eight stalwart pall-bearers, each carrying a truncheon and a brass wand.
Behind the hearse were four mourning coaches drawn by pairs of horses.


In the first carriage were the chief mourners - the widow of the murdered constable, his father and mother, who journeyed to London from Warham, in Norfolk, and his brother and sister. The brother is also in the Metropolitan Police Force, being attached to the M Division in Southwark.
The three other coaches were occupied by the deceased's relatives and intimate friends.

Firemen and Police Officers.

Then came a detachment of Metropolitan firemen, and three massed police bands.
The procession was brought up by nearly 4,000 constables.
The procession was nearly a mile long, and it formed one of the most remarkable sights ever seen in London.

The Route.

Leaving Christ Church about half-past one the procession took the following route: - Jamaica-street to Paterson-street, Arbour-square, past the Thames Police Court, Copeley-street, Oxford-street, round by Stepney Church, Ben Jonson's-road, Hartford-street, and Bridge-street to Bow Cemetery.

At the Cemetery.

All along the line, and outside the cemetery gates, there were huge crowds of people, who, out of respect for the murdered constable, bared their heads as the procession passed.
The cortege wended its way to the burial ground provided for constables who have fallen whilst in the execution of their duty.
The scene round the graveside was most impressive. A hollow square was formed round the grave by the 4,000 policemen, who stood with their helmets in their hands as the committal service was being read.

With Other Dead Officers.

The dead constable was interred alongside Police-constable Barber who fell through a skylight and was killed whilst chasing a burglar along the roofs of the warehouses in the Minories.
In the same grave lies Police-constable Pascoe, who was drowned whilst endeavouring to capture a man who was badly "wanted" by the police.
Mr. J.W. Gillmore, undertaker, of Cable-street, had charge of the funeral arrangements.

Source: The Echo, Friday December 7, 1900

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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