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Photo Bourne Hall Museum Funeral procession for Sgt. Thomas Green

An inconvenient murder by Paul Kelbie

A

n international appeal has been launched to find the relatives of men involved in the murder of a policeman covered up on the orders of the Prime Minister and Home Secretary to protect the Prince of Wales. It’s the stuff of Hollywood movies and beloved by conspiracy lovers - but truth is often stranger than fiction. Even though the name of the self-confessed killer is known the circumstances surrounding the aftermath of the events of 17 June 1919 remain a mystery. It is 100 years since Police Sergeant

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Thomas Green was killed by a Scots-Canadian soldier identified as the ring leader of a riot involving more than 400 angry and embittered troops in Epsom, Surrey.

Following the Armistice in November 1918 many Canadian units were billeted on the Downs near Epsom. They were among the last troops to be sent home because there were too few transport ships and Britain needed to keep soldiers on standby until Germany officially signed the Treaty of Versailles. Bored, homesick and angry the soldiers’ resentment spilled over and, on the fateful day, a brawl broke at The Rifleman pub in Epsom between

soldiers and local residents.

The police were called and a Canadian soldier was arrested, along with another trooper who tried to intervene. At nearby Woodcote Army Camp, where more than 2,000 Canadian troops had been billeted, a bugle call to arms succeeded in forming a rescue party of more than 400 soldiers who marched on the town, smashing windows and tearing down fences on the way. Police Inspector Charlie Pawley and a Canadian army officer tried to reason with the mob but were forced to retreat when the soldiers began hurling rocks, smashing windows and ramming the front door of the police

Profile for Scotland Correspondent

Scotland Correspondent Issue 30  

THE magazine for lovers of all things Scottish. Great stories and pictures covering history, heritage, lifestyle, travel and much more. In...

Scotland Correspondent Issue 30  

THE magazine for lovers of all things Scottish. Great stories and pictures covering history, heritage, lifestyle, travel and much more. In...