In The Line Of Duty

Back in March Nick Hayter was scheduled to decorate our kitchen and sitting room. The first coronavirus lockdown put paid to that. He rebooked this for tomorrow. We are going into another full lockdown on Thursday. We don’t know how much Nick will be able to do in the available time, but, ever optimistic, we spent much of the morning removing nick-knacks from the sitting room.

This afternoon I scanned another batch of colour slides from

Abney Park cemetery produced in

November 2008

and March 2009. John Turpin, writer of “The Magnificent Seven”, is walking down the path in the third picture of the above gallery.

The Victorian fascination with Egyptology is reflected in the iconography of the capitals to the entrance gates and of various lodge lintels.

Selected memorials are these of 18th century hymn writer Isaac Watts; the Rogers Family Tomb; and the policeman, William Frederick Tyler, killed in the line of duty. Unfortunately the black and white image in the book of this third monument incorrectly attributes the memorial to a different gentleman, a member of the fire service.

The story of constable Tyler’s death is told in

as follows:

‘One winter Saturday morning two armed Russian/Latvian anarchists, Paul Hefeld and Jacob Lepidus, attempted to seize the wages’ cash (£80) being delivered to the Schnurmann Rubber Factory in Chesnut Road, Tottenham.  The sound of bullets was heard at the (extremely) nearby police station and officers ran to the site.  The robbers ran away down Chesnut Road, firing at the pursuing policemen; some on foot, some in a car.  Follow the chase on the map at Tottenham-Summerhill Road. At Mitchley Road Hefeld stopped to reload his gun.  One of the pursuing drivers tried to run over the gunmen but only succeeding in crashing the car and injuring those inside.  Ralph Joscelyne, 10 years old, was caught in the cross-fire and killed.  One of the police borrowed a gun from a member of the crowd that had gathered but failed to hit either of the robbers who ran on towards Tottenham Marshes.  Constables Tyler and Newman attempted to cut them off by running behind a tall fence.  Tyler met them at the end of the fence and shouted “Come on, give in, the game’s up.”  But Hefeld shot him in the head.  Constable Newman stayed with the dying Tyler while the gunmen ran on, reaching and crossing the River Lea.  The chase carried on, along the south side of the Banbury Reservoir to Chingford Road where they hijacked a tram.  The police commandeered another tram and 40 officers boarded.  A horse-drawn carriage driven by another officer crashed when Hefeld shot the horse.  Being told there was a police station coming up the gunmen jumped tram and took over a milk cart, by shooting its driver.  They drove this until they crashed it, when they hijacked another horse cart.  They had a crowd of followers led by a motor car carrying armed police who were exchanging fire. Others were on horseback, on bicycles, on foot; some wielding cutlasses, others brandished truncheons. A woman throw a potato. The followers included footballers, labourers, duckshooters and gypsies. Hefeld and Lepidus crashed again at Fulbourne Road and Wadham Road (where the North Circular now is).  They ran towards the River Ching and Lepidus climbed a tall fence.  Hefeld failed to get over and attempted to shot himself but survived (but was not able to continue running, you’ll be relieved to hear).  Lepidus ran on into Hale End Road and into the end house, Oak Cottage, where lived the Rolstone family.  They got out as the house was surrounded by police and a gun battle ensued during which Lepidus successfully shot himself.  This was near the Royal Oak pub where none of the buildings of that date remain. We have read that the pub itself was built on the site of Oak Cottage.

The above is, mainly, a condensed version of the story told at History by the Yard and the detailed description given by Wikipedia who summarise with: “The incident lasted more than two hours, covered a distance of six miles with an estimated 400 rounds fired by Helfeld and Lepidus. Twenty-five casualties were reported, two fatal and several serious.“  The two deaths were Constable Tyler and the little boy, Ralph.  Lepidus died at the scene and Hefeld (or ‘Helfeld’) died in hospital on 12 February, both at their own hands.

5 minute Youtube with photos of many of the buildings involved.  12 minute film with recreation of the event.’

Readers clicking on the Youtube link will be warned that it may not be still available. It is.

Ralph Joscelyne is also buried in Abney Park, but I did not see his grave – the Youtube film shows why.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken, bacon, and vegetable stoup; fresh bread and butter; and savoury sausage rolls, with which I finished the Corbieres and the Culinary Queen abstained.