Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Churchill’s Last Stand by David Hamilton

Those who dare call for control and common sense in open-door immigration are demonised as “Nazis” and “Racists by the dominant Socialist-communists, and the New Left which took over in the 70.s. This is highly offensive as many lost family fighting Nazism and we had a long and noble tradition of conserving our homogeneity. This negative propaganda worked for a long time and few know Sir Winston Churchill opposed immigration. In 1955 he wanted the Conservatives to adopt the slogan “Keep England White”. (1) The multi-racialists try to make out that those who want common sense in immigration follow Hitler when really we follow Winston Churchill. Biographers, journalists and historians usually leave out his racial views and have created a false picture of him.

In “Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill” (2003) Gretchen Rubin looked at everything but this central feature: ”To shield his reputation, this account has downplayed Churchill’s deplorable attitude towards race...For example, he wrote that at a September 1944 conference he” was glad to record” that “the British Empire...was still keeping its position, with a total population, including the Dominions and Colonies, of only seventy million white people.”

In fact he was aware that races compete with each other for power and territory and he knew the truth of slavery. In “The River War” he expressed thoughts that would now get him prosecuted by our totalitarian Governments for inciting racial hatred: "The qualities of mongrels are rarely admirable, and the mixture of the Arab and Negro types has produced a debased and cruel breed, more shocking because they are more intelligent than primitive savages. The stronger race soon began to prey upon the simple aboriginals... But all, without exception were hunters of men. To the great slave-market at Jeddah a continual stream of Negro captives has flowed for hundreds of years. The invention of gunpowder and the adoption by the Arabs of firearms facilitated the traffic by placing the ignorant negroes at a further disadvantage. Thus the situation in the Sudan for several centuries may be summed up as follows: The dominant race of Arab invaders was unceasingly spreading its blood, religion, customs, and language among the black aboriginal population, and at the same time it harried and enslaved them” and, "Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it.

“No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and, were it not that Christianity sheltered it, the civilization of modern Europe might fall as fell the civilization of ancient Rome." (2)

His St. George’s Day address of 1933 warned of the types who were taking over our political and intellectual life: “The worst difficulties from which we suffer do not come from without. They come from within. They do not come from the cottages of the wage earners. They come from a peculiar type of brainy people always found in our country who, if they add something to the culture, take much from its strength. Our difficulties come from the mood of unwarrantable self-abasement into which we have been cast by a powerful section of our own intellectuals. They come from the acceptance of defeatist doctrines by a large portion of our politicians. But what have they to offer but a vague internationalism, a squalid materialism, and the promise of impossible utopias?" 3

In October 1930 he advised that, if Hitler were to come to power in Germany, England's response must be – “If a dog makes a dash for my trousers, I shoot him down before he can bite.” His response to Munich, “How could honourable men with wide experience and fine records in the Great War condone a policy so cowardly? It was sordid, squalid, sub-human, and suicidal ...The sequel to the sacrifice of honour.”

A tribute to the Royal Marines in 1936 showed his piety to our past: “Those who do not think of the future are unworthy of their ancestors,” which is a strand of Conservatism found in Edmund Burke: “Society ... is to be looked on with other reverence; because it is not a partnership in things subservient only to the gross animal existence of a temporary and perishable nature. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living and those who are dead, but between those who are living and those who are dead, and those who are to be born.”(Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs)

His admiration for Jewish people - “the most formidable and the most remarkable race in the world” - was part of his belief in superior and inferior races. (4) He was a great wit. During the war a black official of the Colonial Office had been stopped dining at a London club when American officers took it over. It was brought to Mr. Churchill’s attention. He quipped, “That’s alright. Tell him to take a banjo, they will think he is one of the band” (5)

Before the war he had struggled with appeasers of Hitler now he had to struggle with appeasers of Commonwealth leaders.

On 25th November 1952 the Churchill’s Cabinet first discussed immigration when Churchill asked in Cabinet if the Post Office employed large numbers of “coloured workers”. “If so, there was some risk social problems would be created.” The postmaster General was asked to report on it and did so 3 weeks later. He said explained as the largest Government employer it was bound to employ the largest number. He added that “...the Post Offices main unions raised no objections to their employment at basic grades.” He added,” If it is felt that coloured workers should not be allowed to obtain employment in this country, I should have thought the proper course would be to deny them entry to the country.” Despite “the risks involved” they continued with the policy of free entry for immigrants. (6)They kept no records of numbers entering, apparently because the immigrants were as Commonwealth citizens British subjects, nor did they give practical support, leaving it to local councils and voluntary organizations.
Documents held at the Public Records Office clarifies much of modern history. The Prime Ministers Papers for November 1952 record his three attempts to illicit details of the consequences of immigration on English people. He asked his staff to find out about problems in Lambeth, Brixton and Cardiff. This led to B.G.Smallman, PS to the Colonial Secretary producing a paper on “The Coloured Population of the UK. This estimated the numbers to be 40-50,000 which included about 6,000 students. (7) They could not face it so ignored it. Accurate figures of immigrants were not kept because they were British subjects, though they kept records of emigrants to Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

In Eminent Churchillians Andrew Roberts reports that The Commonwealth Relations Office worried that with restrictions “ there might well be a chance of the governments of India and Pakistan introducing retaliatory restrictions against the entry or residence of members of the British business community.” Commonwealth Secretary Earl Home, worried that they should not give the impression that Commonwealth citizens from India, Pakistan and Ceylon would be less favourably treated than those from the Dominions otherwise there could be retaliation.

Roberts other private interviews show the decadence of many around him: “A Minister closely involved in the decision-making process, ‘ In fact…we were just stalling and hoping for the best’… One of Mr. Churchill’s private secretaries, ‘at that time it seemed a very good idea to get bus conductors and stuff’ … a junior minister, ‘it was becoming hard to find somebody to carry your bags at the station’.’’

On the 27th of June 1953 Sir Winston suffered a stroke that left him paralysed down the left side. Interviewed by Andrew Roberts his Foreign Affairs Personal Secretary Anthony Montague- Brown recalled that he was “simply too tired to deal with the immigration problem. He could concentrate on a few big issues at a time- like the Russians -and the rest of the time he could only give a steer and not see it through.” (7) His Private Secretary, Sir John Colville, noted in The Fringes of Power, "He is getting tired and visibly ageing. He finds it hard to compose a speech and ideas no longer flow. (8)

Just before he gave up the Premiership in 1955 Mr. Churchill told Spectator owner and editor Ian Gilmour that West Indian immigration "is the most important subject facing this country, but I cannot get any of my ministers to take any notice". (9)

Two had noticed: Oliver Lyttleton (later Lord Chandos) wanted a £500 deposit paid by immigrants to prevent them coming here for welfare benefits; the fifth Marquess of Salisbury believed that immigration was “a threat to the fabric of society and the flow attracted by our welfare state would increase even if employment dropped.” On the 20th of March 1954 he wrote to Viscount Swinton: “Though only just beginning to push its ugly head above the surface of politics. It may eventually “fill the whole political horizon” (10)

Cabinet set up an Inter Departmental Committee under chairman W.H.Cornish of the Home Office, to look into preventing an increase in the number coming for employment. It reconvened in January 1953 and reported its findings in December of that year. This Inter Departmental Committee comprised Ministry of Labour and National Service, the National Assistance Board, the Colonial Office and Chief Constables from areas where immigrants were settling. January 1954 Home Secretary Maxwell Fyfe reported on the findings of the Home Office “Working party on the Social and Economic Problems Arising from the Growing Influx into the United Kingdom of Coloured Workers”, which had deliberated for 13 months. He stated “the unskilled workers who form the majority are difficult to place because on the whole they are physically unsuited to heavy manual work…”(11)

Britain was the only Commonwealth country that allowed every Commonwealth citizen automatic entry. Mr. Churchill asked his staff to find out about difficulties in Lambeth, Brixton and Cardiff. (12)

The Cabinet Secretaries Notebooks released to the public in August 2007 are the handwritten notes made by the Cabinet Secretary of Cabinet Meetings as the Senior Secretary. This was Sir Norman Brook. They record that on 3 February 1954, for example, under the item 'Coloured Workers', Sir Winston stated ‘Problems which will arise if many coloured people settle here. Are we to saddle ourselves with colour problems in the UK? Attracted by Welfare State. Public opinion in UK won't tolerate it once it gets beyond certain limits.' Florence Horsbrugh, Minister of Education and Conservative MP for Manchester Moss Side, added: 'Already becoming serious in Manchester.'

David Maxwell-Fyfe, the Home Secretary, gave a figure of 40,000 compared to 7,000 before the Second World War and raised the possibility of immigration control. He said: 'There is a case on merits for exclude. riff-raff. But politically it wd. be represented & discussed on basis of colour limitation. That wd. offend the floating vote viz., the old Liberals. We shd. be reversing age-long tradition that. British Subjects have right of entry to mother-country of Empire. We should. offend Liberals, also sentimentalists.' He added: 'The colonial. populations are resented in Liverpool, Paddington & other areas by those who come into contact with them. But those who don't are apt to take a more Liberal view.' Churchill intervened: 'Question . is whether it is politically wise to allow public feeling to develop a little more before taking action.' Adding that it would be 'fatal' to let the situation develop too far, the Prime Minister is recorded as concluding: 'Would like also to study possibility of "quota" - no. not to be exceeded.'

Another cabinet member referred to an "increasing evil" and said that principles "laid down 200 yrs. ago are not applicable to-day. See dangers of colour discriminn. But other [Dominions] control entry of B. subjects. Cd. we present action as coming into line...& securing uniformity?" Churchill said the question was whether it might be wise "to allow public feeling to develop a little more - before takg. action...May be wise to wait...But it wd. be fatal to let it develop too far." (13)

The Cabinet was divided. There were M.P.s who were under pressure from their constituencies with immigrant populations but others who believed in the Commonwealth and those who feared the consequences. This division was very much between the more practical ones on the back benches and the utopian idealists in power. Salisbury and Lyttleton wanted restrictions though Swinton and Maxwell Fyfe wanted powers to deportation convicted criminals and those on National Assistance.
The Cabinet Minutes show, that in March 1954 Maxwell Fyfe told Cabinet, “that large numbers of coloured people are living on National Assistance” and that “coloured landlords by their conduct are making life difficult for white people living in the same building or area…the result is that white people leave and the accommodation is then converted to furnished lettings for coloured people, with serious overcrowding and exploitation”. In a Cabinet memorandum of 8 March Maxwell Fyfe feared “serious difficulties involved in contemplating action which would undoubtedly land the Government in some political controversy.” (14)

In cabinet in October 1954 Mr. Churchill warned Maxwell Fyfe, “that the problems arising from the immigration of coloured people required urgent and serious consideration.” Maxwell-Fyfe emphasised that there is no power to prevent these people entering no matter how much the number may increase. (15)
On immigration Mr. Churchill remarked to Sir Hugh Foot, Governor of Jamaica, in 1954, “It would be a Magpie society: that would never do.” (16)

The Prime Minister’s Papers for November show three further attempts to get information on the situation. By the end of 1954 Churchill had overseen thirteen Cabinet discussions on controlling immigration. Further, he was having a Bill to deport criminals and those who were a charge on the state drafted but it was not prepared until June 1955, two months after he had retired. His succesor Anthony Eden was an internationalist who told Conservative Cyril Osborne in the House of Commons, “There is no question of any action being taken to control immigration and in any case most were from Eire.” Then in November Eden’s Cabinet buried discussion of immigration. If Sir Winston had been well we would not know be suffering the gun killings and knivings or Muslim bombings of our people. Harold Macmillan entered in his diary for January 20th 1955, "More discussion about the West Indian immigrants. A Bill is being drafted - but it's not an easy problem. P.M. thinks 'Keep England White' a good slogan! (17)

David Hamilton

1Peter Hennessy, 'Having It So Good - Britain in the Fifties' (Allen Lane, 2006) p 224

Hennessy's reference is: Peter Catterall (ed.), 'The Macmillan Diaries: The Cabinet Years, 1950-1957' (Macmillan, 2003) p 382. This is an example of how people have tried to keep this aspect of Churchill’s beliefs quiet. We have heard nothing of this since 2003!

2 Longmans.1899. pp. 248-50

3 Reprinted in This England.

4 Robert Harris. 16/4/1994. Spectator

5 Zig Layton-Henry. 1992 The politics of immigration. p31

5 The Diaries of Alexander Cadogan. 1938-45, for 13/10/1942).

6 CC100(52)8(cabinet Conclusions on 25/11/1952, CAB 128/25; The Post Master General’s report and the Chancellor being asked to restrict entry to the Civil Service is in CC106(52), 8/12/1952, CAB 128

7 PREM11/824. The papers of British Prime Ministers are classified under PREM.

8 Sir John Colville.1985.The Fringes of Power. P654

9 Inside Right. Sir Ian Gilmour (Quartet.1977)

10 For The views of Lord Salisbury and Oliver Lyttleton (later Lord Chandos) see British Immigration Policy since 1939:The Making of Multi-Racial Britain,
Ian R.G.Sencer.1997.Routledge.

11 P.R.O. CC100(52)8 Cabinet Conclusions) on 25th November, CAB128/25. His papers for this month show three other attempts to discuss immigration.

12 Report of the Working Party on Coloured People Seeking Employment in the United Kingdom. 17th December 1953. CAB124/1191

13 PRO, PREM11/824CC (54) 7 Conclusions, minute 4, 3 Feb.1954.

14 Cabinet Secretaries Notebooks. The eleventh Notebook (CAB 195/11) (released August 2007) covers the period 3.12.52 - 26.2.54.

15 Nicholas Deakin.s PHD thesis. The Immigration Issue.p32

16 ibid Peter Hennessey and Peter Catterall

Thursday, 2 August 2007


History is exciting narrative and can also guide us with contemporary problems. It does not repeat itself exactly but similarly and study can clarify present disorders. A major problem for decent people living their everyday lives is the take over of our towns and cities by violent gangs that have been allowed here by the authorities. A precedent 1920’s Sheffield, England, was terrorised by gangsters. They lived in cramped back to back houses in courtyards which sociologists use as the excuse. But joining a gang gives power, a sense of importance, of belonging to something, money, possessions, prestige and women offering themselves to you. It gives identity as most gangs are formed on Ethnic lines and based on a territory.
These gangs gambled. Bookies operated outside factory gates with “runners” inside collecting bets for them and one made £75 to around a £100 each day even though it was illegal. Another popular form of gambling was “pitch and Toss.” This was a simple form of betting that required no equipment to pack up and carry away. It was tossing 3 coins into the air with the two forefingers and betting on the proportion of, say, heads that turned up. The biggest and most profitable “Pitching” site was on “Sky Edge” a promontory that gives a panorama over the city and with well-placed lookouts or “Crows” raiding policeman could be spotted from afar.
The head was a “towler” or “toller” because he made a toll of between 2/6d to 4-/- in the pound, on bets placed. They had helpers like “ponter”, “pilners” or “scouts” who were also called “pikers” or “crows” because they kept watch from strategic viewing spots and carried large sticks to prevent trouble. The business itself was a “joint” and the ring a “pitch” and as all these were paid well, alert to police raids. The game began on a cry of “Heads a pound” for the stake and a return of “Tail it” when another matched the stake which was placed in the centre of the ring. Oddly, the toll was only paid by the better and into the Toller’s pocket. Sky Edge used three halfpennies and flung by a tosser. The ponter picked them up and announced the winner. If left, the money doubled with each succeeding toss. If any suspected a miss toss they could shout “barred.”
After the war with munitions work gone a slump set in and the leader of the Sky Edge ring, George Mooney, jettisoned his erstwhile associates from Park district where the pitch was, which caused a war for territory to avenge loss of profit and hurt pride. Bookmaker Sam Garvin formed a gang from Park and a gang war developed. Garvin was a promoter of bare-knuckle boxing matches in pub yards where fighters bound their knuckles with straw that was picked from facial wounds between rounds.
The first attack was Mooney’s mob raiding the home of William Furniss. As a reprisal Frank Kidnew was slashed 100 times near Sky Edge then helped to hospital where he lamented his ruined suit. The Park mob visited Mooney’s home and tried to crash their way in. The Mooney’s defended themselves with guns and one attacker George (Ganner) Wheyall was shot in the shoulder. Police found a double-barrel shotgun, a rifle, revolver and ammunition, which earned Mooney a £10, fine. These vicious tit for tat attacks went on through 1923 with Garvin’s mob gaining domination and Mooney’s disintegrating with members fighting amongst themselves as well as against the Park Gang.
An attack on Mooney’s home on May 18th 1925, led to an elderly spectator being hit on the neck by a brick and several police officers getting medical treatment. The thugs escaped up the labyrinthine passageways at the backs of the courtyards and the only one caught received a £1 fine for the old man and £6 for assaulting a policeman. On Christmas Eve the Park mob stormed Mooney’s home. Sam Garvin and three associates broke in and terrorised not only Mooney but also his wife and six children. One thug enlightened Mooney’s 15 year-old daughter, “We’ve, come to wish your father a merry Christmas.” The terrified man escaped being slashed by hiding in a cupboard upstairs. He left Sheffield for a year. Though they now ruled the roost the Garvin mob kept up the attacks. The following December (1924) they raided former Mooney follower William Furniss’s home firing bullets and throwing bricks through the windows, smashing up the house, and a visiting friend with chair legs.
After the attack on Furniss, exasperated Chief Constable Lieut. Col. Hall-Dalwood, told After a report by the Inspector of Constabulary to the Home Secretary, stating that each year the police finding I harder to uphold the law because they were having extra work put on them, and courts were reluctant to convict and if they did punishments were to light. In an interview with the Sheffield Daily Telegraph on 7th May, Chief Constable Hall-Dalwood bemoaned “The public of Sheffield is paying rats for police protection which under the circumstances it cannot possibly get. In Sheffield we have to admit we are floating on very thin ice indeed and we have to admit that, unless more generally helped by punishment to fit crimes…Sheffield’s police force is utterly inadequate numerically to cope with the wave of crime that must necessarily follow in the wake of the unemployment situation.” He added, “It is the boast of the really bad man that he gets the best run for his money in Sheffield. He would rather be caught in Sheffield than any other part of the country because, he says, you have to produce more evidence for the prosecution in a Sheffield court to get a conviction than in any other town in the country. Moreover, the convicted man in Sheffield is invariably pleasantly surprised by the light character of his sentence. What is happening is that we are making thieves.”
He was contradicted. The Sheffield Telegraph alleged that often the wrong people were convicted. A few weeks later it dismissed the gangs “Although there are a number of gangs in conflict” the danger “has been over-exaggerated in some quarters and there is a noticeable tendency to attribute the slightest breach of the peace to activities of one gang or another.” What did the authorities think? The response of Alderman Alfred Cattell to the warnings of the Sheffield Independent which had compared Sheffield to the violent parts of Ireland, was, “No, I never look at your papers.” J.P. Harold Fisher commented, “We have on the bench some J.P.s who grapple with the cases before them, but older magistrates possess more pluck than the recent additions.” He been personally threatened as he walked through the city, he added. The Sheffield Mail revealed that some members of the Corporation Health Committee were themselves landlords of slum properties.
Councillor Moses Humberstone J.P. “I think they should not be fined or bound over, they should be locked up until we get the whole gang in prison.” Alderman Wardley J.P. Was living in the past, “I recollect 50 years ago, that gangs were in existence in the City that could swallow up the Mooney Gang.”
At a conference of clergymen, the vicar of St.Mathew’s told his audience, ”They are terrorising even the magistrates and other people, and the magistrates hardly dare sentence them to punishment.” There was police corruption and drinking. In January 1930 three constables and nine bookmakers were charged with bribery. It emerge that around twenty officers from the Brightside area had been getting regular payments of small sums to turn a blind eye between 1922 and 1929. There was a break for a year 1925-26, when a plain-clothes officer refused all bribes. Three officers were actually prosecuted, but only one convicted and he was found not guilty. Three bookmakers received fines.
On the 27th the Mail informed the blissfully ignorant, ”The leaders of these gangs and freebooters are men who live on the fat of the land. They are men of good appearance. They possess persuasive personalities and glib tongues. They use every possible art and device to carry on their nefarious business. At one moment they spend money freely as though it were water…the next they are grabbing a glass of beer from a man’s mouth. They are a nuisance and a danger to publicans –they break glasses, assault customers, smash windows, serve themselves beer and don’t pay for it. They work the confidence trick on inoffensive people, row with one another and demand drinks after closing hours. Everyone goes in fear of them and they know it. One of their pet methods of assault is to break a glass on the counter and attack a man’s face with the jagged edges.”
Their main income was the tossing ring and “All kinds of men are employed by the proprietors to deal with various classes of “business”. They have glib-tongued contricksters who can lay a man out as easily as rolling over a nine-pin. One of the principals has himself been a boxer. Others dress flashily, wear heavy gold watch-guards and display their wealth arrogantly. These are not ignorant ruffians. They are men who have calculated quite coolly and calmly the gains to be won by their terrifying outlawry. They are prepared to put up a stiff fight for supremacy. Strong measures will be necessary to beat them down.” Gangsters have families but the boundaries stop with their own - those outside the circle were fair game for bullying and robbing. Innocent people who went out after dark were waylaid. Men were robbed of their wages on their way home from factories; thugs smashed pubs up and demanded protection money; some picked-pockets while others went “Bottling” (mugging). Genuine bookies and their clerks were intimidated by protection rackets and, if they did not pay, would be beaten and robbed, their stands smashed and satchels stolen. Gangsters also took winnings after races were run.
A consequence of gangs thriving was young people looked up to them as heroes and
emulated them. “Junior Gangs” were in their late teens and early twenties. They made violent attacks on innocent members of the public and like their role models they carried knives, coshes and razors. A trick learnt from their heroes was for several to walk into a pub and demand free drink and cigarettes, while one outside kept watch. If refused they would smash up the bar by throwing glasses, bottles, stools at the mirror behind the bar, then assaulting landlord and any remaining customers. If the police were notified they would return and do it again. People were too frightened to testify against them but if any did the magistrates were lenient.
In August 1923 four men who had been to a show at Sheffield Empire were attacked by four youths on Leopold Street, one was hit over the head with a bottle. That very evening a young woman was talking to friends when a gang of youths punched her in the face. She would not take any action. A stranger was walking along Cambridge Street and passed a young man who asked if he wanted to buy a ring. When he refused he was punched down then five more appeared. He ran into the Albert Hall. The scam was usually done by a pair preying on innocent people and trying to sell them rings. The accomplice would also start bidding to up the price. If they refused they were “mugged”, for their money and valuables. As today these gangs had girls too. A set up in Wellington Street in September was a girl screaming for help with a gang of youths around her. One appeared to punch her and when a passer-by went to her aid she and the gang jumped him. Taxi drivers were regularly threatened and intimidated and forced to take gangsters home free.
The Sheffield Mail of 21st September commented on it, “The whole proceedings have caused considerable excitement in the city, and a new cry has been raised for the suppression of gangs.” These were young men acting as clerks or shop assistants. “They debauch and gamble and have one or two young girls in their train who are prepared to sacrifice themselves body and soul to the ruffianly crowd who are their masters. Their chief income is derived from picking pockets and selling dud jewellery. A new epidemic appears to have broken out, it will be interesting to see what measures are taken to suppress the disturbances.”
The next evening the 22nd a stranger was attacked on Cambridge Street. A man asked him if he would buy a ring and upon his refusal punched him in the face and as he rose five other men attacked. He got away into the Albert Hall and called the police but no one was arrested.
The scam with dud jewellery was usually gangsters operating in pairs. They would seek out a victim and one approached to sell the ring and when the victim was examining it the other would approach and, pretending interest, offer say two shillings for it. Then pretended he had forgotten his money and this show often conned the mark into buying. If h were not interested he would be “mugged.” Like their role models the juniors carried various weapons including guns.
Lt.Col.Hall-Dalwood told the Mail on 23rd January 1925, “We have broken the rings up. We have made numerous raids and brought the men before the magistrates, and we, as police, can do nothing more. So far as hooliganism is concerned, it must be well known to everybody who reads the papers that we are bringing in men sometimes three or four times a week for these offences. Whenever the law is broken we bring men before the magistrates. We are handicapped by the fact that the prosecutors are sometimes got at and we cannot bring our witnesses, but we do everything in our power.”
Sky Edge ring was safe from police raids because of its being a high promontory and well watched by sentries. But as the Mail explained the magistrates were passing lenient sentences such as the “large batch” the police caught at Tinsley but the highest fine was forty shillings. Straight after the case the offenders hired taxis and went back to gamble. They could rake in up to £40 a day! The Quarter Sessions that week had sentenced members of the Park Brigade to the second division, an easier prison regime than hard labour which was “like sending them to Scarborough.”
The turning point was1925 with the hanging on September the third and fourth, of brothers Wilfred and Lawrence Fowler for the murder of William Plommer. Plommer, a labourer and father of four, was not involved with gangs and had no criminal convictions. There had been a fight the previous evening between Wilfred Fowler and another and Plommer had made them fight man to man. Fowler was a Garvin boy, so next evening Garvin and two others made threats against Plommer. Then they caught a tram to the Wicker and attacked another with razors and a cosh. Meanwhile the Fowlers and others attacked and murdered Plommer. The fatal weapon was thought to be a bayonet. Plommer had manfully but foolishly left his house to fight each of the six one by one. They surrounded him and got him down.
They appealed and this was heard on April the 18th 1926 in the Court of Criminal Appeal in London and was dismissed. Defence lawyer Mr.J.W.Fenoughty obtained statements from people and wrote to the Home Secretary Sir William Joynson Hicks with new evidence on Lawrence Fowler. Then two days later he wrote again requesting the Home Secretary to advise His Majesty King George V to grant a reprieve. The devastating reply arrived on 1st September,
Sir, … I am directed by the Secretary of State to inform you that he has given careful consideration to all the circumstances of the case, and I am to express to you his regret that he has failed to discover any grounds which would justify him in advising His Majesty to interfere with the due course of the law. It was signed by the Under Secretary of State for Home Affairs.
The Daily Mail observed on August 20th, “We may hope that the dismissal by the Court of Criminal Appeal of the application for leave to appeal made by the brothers Fowler, found guilty of the murder of a man in Sheffield in brutal circumstances, will have the effect of striking fear into these gangs and breaking them up. Hicks also wrote to the Sheffield authorities asking them to quell the gang attacks!
On the 1st of May 1925, four days after Plommer was murdered, Hall-Dalwood formed the Special Duty Squad of the four hardest men in the force. Sgt. Robinson, the leader, had served in the Coldstream Guards; P.C.Walter Loxley 6ft 2in, 19 stone 8lb a war-time Royal Garrison Artillery, in France; as had P.C.Herbert Lunn, who won the Military Medal at Bullecourt for rescuing wounded under heavy fire; the fourth was P.C.Jack Farrily, a hard Irishman, experienced in street fighting. Their orders were to harry and beat the gangsters up. They became known locally as the “Flying Squad” and first mentioned in court on September 21st, 1925 in a case over the Junior Park gang. In his evidence Sgt. Robinson said that serious complaints had been made of people being kicked around a fairground by the gang and “That is why we are on special duty breaking up these gangs.”
The first mention of the “Special Duty Squad” was on July 16th. Prosecuting Solicitor, G.H. Banwell told a court Sergeant Robinson and P.C. Lunn were instructed to prevent the gangs gathering in the City. Sergeant Robinson explained,”That is why we are on special duty breaking up these gangs.” Two gangsters were sentenced – one to six months, the other to three.
There had been regular assaults on the police by gangsters but these were hard men who wore plain clothes and were allowed to go in the pubs used by gang members and tell them to leave or beat them up. A brawl at the Red House, Solly Street on 14th September, 1925 gives an insight into the “Squads’” methods. In court, Wheywell’s brief Harry Morris asked P.C.Lunn ”What Wheywell has done to you, you paid back with 4,000 per cent interest?” He replied,”I do not look at it like that. I only did my duty, knowing the man as I do. Then under further questioning, “These men have been ganging together. No licensees in Sheffield want them. They will only serve them through fear. We have had enough of gangs.”
Mr.Barnwell then asked,”Are you one of the Flying Squad?” “Yes”. “And your main duty is that of a sort of disturbance queller?” “Yes, principally.”
Mr.Morris explained that Wheywell had summonsed first and this was in the nature of a test case. There is a system of assaults on these men. But that would be a substitution of an alleged gang terrorism by the police.” The Doctor who had treated Wheywell at the Royal Infirmary said that his patient “had four fairly large bruises, was dazed and looked as if he had been knocked about.”
Under cross-examination Wheywell described “the Squad” as having launched a “cowardly assault.” The landlord gave evidence for Wheywell and said he did not mind them using his pub. He added that he had not called the police but” The Sheffield police have told me I must not serve these men. It is through no complaint of mine.”
The case went to the Sessions where the three “Squad” members were acquitted and Wheywell given three months hard labour! The Recorder warned, “The police must be protected from acts of violence.”
We get insights into how gangs are formed for then as now and even in the middle ages a family is at the nucleus. In a case of 11th July the Recorder asked, ”How do you become a member of these gangs?” Albert Foster replied, ”Well Sir, I have known these men for years, from being a boy. As a matter of fact we have been boys together.”
On the 25th of November two defendants appeared in court after being heavily beaten in custody. One Windle was in facial bandages with blood-stained clothes and scarf. In answer to questioning by Harry Morris the defence solicitor “No, it was through falling.” On another occasion a woman shouted at the police from the gallery, “You’re as bad!”
After six months of the Special Squad Hall-Dalwood had to resign apparently from ill-health but blamed “evil attempts” to undermine him and “insidious influences from outside.” He had had constant conflict with Sheffield Watch Committee to get his force brought up to strength and also to get magistrates to give stronger sentences.
He was replaced by Captain Percy Sillitoe who had served in the South African police. Sillitoe became famous as the “Gang breaker” and went on to tackle Glasgow’s “Razor gangs.” He finished his career as Director-General of MI5. He also visited America to advise J. Edgar Hoover on combating Chicago’s more stylish gangsters.
We need to employ army officers as police chiefs because they have a greater understanding of violent and disorderly people than the academics who are currently raised up because s university graduates they are more open to ideas, or political ideology and more inclined to enforce an orthodoxy rather than keep morality and behaviour within reasonable bounds.
Sillitoe followed where Col. Hall-Dalwood had led and made important innovations like adding P.C. Pat Geraghty who stood 6ft 5in and could pick up five tennis balls in one hand. He had the “squad” trained in Ju Jitso by European champion Harry Hunter. To embolden the magistrates he would appear in court to back his men and take the responsibility for the sentences. His first court appearance was on 28th September. It was over the arrest of a husband and wife for fighting each other. A crowd had gathered and tried to free them. The “Squad” were as bad as the gangsters but with indifferent authorities had to take illegal but drastic measures to restore order to the city.
On modern streets of warfare the “Special squad” would need to be Paras or SAS and openly challenge contemporary gangs and shoot them dead in the streets if need be. One significant difference now is that the young gangs who are shooting each other on our streets are not from our communities but have been brought here. In these cases we should deport the criminals to the countries of their ancestors where they might be socialised as we have failed to do this in our culture which is alien to them.
Edmund Burke remarked that society should be based on human nature. In his autobiography “Cloak Without a Dagger” captain Sir Percy Sillitoe gave this insight into human nature, “There is only one way to deal with the gangster mentality. You must show that you are not afraid. If you stand up to them and they realise you mean business they will knuckle under. The element of beast in man whether it comes from an unhappy and impoverished back ground, or from his own undisciplined lustful appetites, will respond exactly as a wild beast of the jungle responds – to nothing but greater force and greater firmness of purpose.”

The Sheffield Gang Wars, by J.P.Bean (D&D) Publications.2004

Cloak Without Dagger, Sir Percy Sillitoe. (Cassell.) 1955

Sir Percy Sillitoe, A.W.Cockerill. (W.H. Allen.) 1975

About Me

Mike Smith, is Chairman of the Conservative Democratic Alliance (CDA). He was formerly on the Executive Council of the Conservative Monday Club. He is a Chartered Surveyor. Distinguished members of Mr Keith-Smith's family include James Keith, the legendary Prussian Field-Marshal, and his brother George Keith, hereditary Earl Marischal of Scotland and friend of Frederick the Great. Through his paternal grandmother he is descended from Frederick Philipse, Dutch-born merchant of New Amsterdam. Distinguished members of the family who subsequently made their life in England included General Sir Frederick Philipse Robinson. Smith was a member of the Conservative Party for 32 years, attaining area rank and serving for several years as Vice-Chairman of Portsmouth South Conservatives. In 2002 he was expelled from the party for attacking Iain Duncan Smith in print. Challenging this unlawful expulsion with a writ, he was readmitted and his costs paid by Central Office. In the 2005 General Election he stood as the UKIP candidate for Portsmouth North. Smith recently won a major test case for libel over the internet against a former schoolteacher.