David Bateman (Milton Keynes)
A possible link to the police hunt for Jack the Ripper and the shadow of a court martial hanging over his father’s history drove David Bateman to enter the competition.
Lance Corporal Alfred Bateman of the 2nd Bn Queen’s Royal Regiment was sentenced to 112 days’ hard labour and discharged from the Army in 1933 for theft.
But, on appeal, his sentence was reduced to 28 days without hard labour and he was allowed to stay on in the ranks.
The research turned up a charge sheet alleging that L/Cpl Bateman had stolen a jacket belonging to Private W Calvy and handed it in to a tailor’s shop to be altered so that it would fit him. That was sufficient for a conviction.
The much more serious business of catching the Ripper in London’s East End in 1888 may, Bateman thought, have involved his great-grandfather, James Thomas Hall. He was a slippery customer who went by two names and apparently lied about his age on joining the Metropolitan Police in 1875. No evidence was found linking him to the Ripper inquiry and a family legend that he had come up with the theory that Jack was actually a woman seems unlikely to be true. James T Hall was working nowhere near the area where the Ripper’s killings took place.