Dr. A.P.Moore-Anderson – the Jack the Ripper link!

4 07 2008

What my father fails to mention in Chapter 5 is that the Dr Moore-Anderson (APMA) to whom he refers was the son of Sir Robert Anderson who gained fame (or was it notoriety) as the man in charge of Scotland Yard CID at the time of the “Jack-the-Ripper” murders towards the end of the 19th Century.

I have in my possession a copy of APMA’s biography of his father, The Life of Sir Robert Anderson (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1947), in which the Ripper murders play a relatively small part:

“The “Jack the Ripper” scare, resulting from the Whitechapel murders of the year 1888, synchronised with my father’s appointment as Assistant Commissioner of Metropolitan Police and Chief of the C.I.D. For reasons of health he was ordered two months’ complete rest before entering upon his duties, and after a week at the Yard he left for the Continent. The second of the murders was committed the night before he took office and the third occurred during the night of the day on which he left London. The newspapers soon began to comment on his absence, and when two more victims had fallen to the knife of the murderer-fiend, an urgent appeal from the Home Secretary brought the new Chief back to duty. ” We hold you responsible to find the murderer were the words which greeted him.

“Going back to the time when my father entered upon his new duties, he found that the officers of the C.I.D. had become demoralised by the treatment accorded to Mr. Monro-a strong esprit de corps always existing in the department. They believed too that they were regarded with jealousy in the Force. The feeling of discouragement had affected their work, the Commissioner’s report for 1888 recording that crime had shown a decided tendency to increase. So strong was the feeling about Mr. Monro that the new Chief had some difficulty in persuading Chief Superintendent Williamson not to resign. My father only learned afterwards that he himself had been protected by Sir Charles Warren when the Home Office wanted to call him to account because there was not an immediate change for the better.

“Warren had not only to suffer the nagging ways of the Home Office, but to face considerable public criticism on account of failure to find ” Jack the Ripper.” A cartoon of the period in the Pall Mall Budget shows an East End deputation in the Commissioner’s office. Upon walls and desk and lying on then- floor are regulations and instructions about drill. A police officer stands stiffly at attention. The deputation protests : ” Another murder, Sir Charles, the fourth in . . .” The Commissioner in uniform with sword and medals replies : ” Why bother me over such a trifle ? Still, if something must be done, what do you say, Inspector, to another hour’s battalion drill ? ” The Home Secretary, Mr. Matthews, was also attacked in the Press. Innumerable letters with theories and suggestions were sent to the police and the papers. One theory propounded was that the murderer was a Malay serving in a ship, who committed the crimes during brief shore leave.

“The facts were that the locality in which the crimes occurred was full of narrow streets with small shops over almost every one of which was a foreign name. The victims belonged to a small class of degraded women frequenting the East End at night. However the fact be accounted for, no further murder in the series took place after a warning had been given that the police would not protect them if found on the prowl after midnight. The criminal was a sexual maniac of a virulent kind living in the immediate vicinity. The police reached the conclusion that he and his people were aliens of a certain low type, that the latter knew of the crimes but would not give him up. Two clues which might have led to an arrest were destroyed before the C.I.D. had a chance of seeing them, one a clay pipe, the other some writing with chalk on a wall. Scotland Yard, however, had no doubt that the criminal was eventually found. The only person who ever had a good view of the murderer identified the suspect without hesitation the instant he was confronted with him ; but he refused to give evidence. Sir Robert states as a fact that the man was an alien from Eastern Europe, and believed that he died in an asylum.” (pp 49 & 50)

Considering the enduring fascination these murders have had on people for more than a century I find this most strange.

I vaguely remember being taken to visit Dr Moore-Anderson when I was almost five years old. The copy of the book that I have has an inscription in it:

“Murray & Marjorie McGregor,

with happy memories,

A.P. Moore-Anderson

M.C.C. Moore-Anderson

November 1948”

I imagine that he gave the copy to my parents during the visit I remember so vaguely.





Witness to a Century of Change

7 06 2008

This site will contain the text of the memoirs of my late father Murray McGregor, who was born in Worcester, Cape Province, on 26 May 1908, when the Province was still a colony of Great Britain. He died in 2002, having lived through two World Wars, the unification of the four British colonies into the Union of South Africa, the exit of apartheid South Africa from the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1961, when it became a republic, and its increasing isolation from the rest of the world, and then the birth of a new, non-racial democratic country after April 1994, which once again joined the British Commonwealth of Nations.

He was in many ways a man ahead of his time and also in so many ways a man very much of his time. His memoirs will show him to be a man of deep compassion and insight, with a sometimes firm grip on his own position in life and sometimes a less firm grip on that. He was a man of principle which earned him many friends and admirers and also some enemies, and it also made him sometimes seem quite stern and unbending. At other times his lively sense of humour would shine through to the delight of all who loved him , and we were many who did.

Blessed with a photographic memory he was a mine of information and could remember masses of facts. This made him a formidable subject teacher, especially in his favourite subject of history. It also made him an expert on ships and shipping, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of ships of the Royal Navy, especially his great love, the famous Four-Funnelled Cruisers.

Margery McGregor

The portrait shown above was painted by Will Macnae in 1987, some months after the death of his beloved Margery (left), who died in December 1986. They had been married 51 years.

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

From John Masefield’s “Sea Fever”, one of my father’s favourite poems.

Two themes run strongly through my father’s life: the sea, in a rather romanticised way often, and the Christian faith. He was deeply religious and committed to spreading the Word and the life of faith. In addition to these two themes he had a deeply-held belief in personal growth, that all people in whatever circumstances, can be better, can grow in knowledge and wisdom. This belief flowed directly out of his Christian convictions.

In practical terms this belief in human growth led to his commitment to missionary work which took up most of his life. So the sub-title he gave to these memoirs is:

Murray McGregor’s Missionary and Maritime Memories

Page One of the Manuscipt

Page One of the Manuscipt