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Remembered Today:

Can anybody solve this mystery? The man who arrested the "Monocled Mutineer".


teabreak

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Can anybody help solve this mystery?

 

It concerns Edwin T Woodhall. Woodhall was a pre-WW1 member of Special Branch who claimed to have moved into counter-subversion work during WW1, and arrested Percy Toplis during the 1917 Etaples Mutiny. He wrote about his experiences after the war. He has been mentioned in other threads on this forum. 

 

However, its hard to find a record trail for him. On ancestry there is an attestation form which may be his - it is for somebody who indicates a willingness to serve in the Scottish Rifles and gives his place of birth as Finchley. Edwin T Woodhall was born in Friern Barnet in 1885 and claims in his biography that he served in the Cameronians.

 

However, the attestation form states the soldier's age as 19, and also has "Scottish Rifles" crossed out and "Labour Corps" inserted; the occupation is shown as clerk.

An Edwin T Woodhall shown as "8859 Cameronians" also appears on 1918 Absent Voters List; he was discharged from service as a private where his occupation was also shown as electrician.

 

There are too many points of coincidence and yet too many discrepancies to say whether the attestation form belongs to the same Edwin T Woodhall who also wrote about his experiences as a member of Special Branch and intelligence work during the war. I cannot find any other service records for an Edwin T Woodhall.  

 

One other mystery - despite being a prolific author Edwin T Woodhall disappears from view after writing his biographies. There is an Edwin T Woodhall who dies in Burnley in 1942, but the Special Branch Man/author had no apparent connection with Lancs, and there is no grant of probate. Is this the same man?

    

         

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This may be of interest:

https://pixelsurgery.wordpress.com/2017/10/27/secret-service-days-woodhall/

 

Woodhall eventually left the Secret Service to found a Detective Agency. He had more than forty books published, mainly based on famous old crimes. He also appeared in a Peter Lorre film in the 1930's, narrating the prologue. His scripts fetched thousands of pounds. However, he died penniless in 1941.

http://www.casebook.org/dissertations/rip-woodhall.html

 

Edit:  Woodhall's service papers are on ancestry.

 

JP

Edited by helpjpl
Service papers
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#8559 E Woodhall of the Scottish Rifles later served as P16349 of the Military Foot Police as per the medal rolls.

 

Craig

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20 minutes ago, Moonraker said:

see Chapter Eight

 

(Secret Service Days by Edwin T Woodhall. Nothing about Toplis, and S*d's law says the most significant pages will be missing.)

 

Moonraker

 

See my first link in #2.

The War Chapters of Woodhall's book can be read in full in the pdf 's. The chapter on Toplis is Chapter III. 'Military Ishmaels', page 143. Toplis is first mentioned on page 147.

 

JP

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My link was to just one chapter by Woodhall  called "Secret Service Days" in what appears to be an anthology. It seems to be a précised version of part of Woodhall's complete book, accessible via your link., which I confess to having overlooked. I haven't fully compared the two versions, but Woodhall's book looks an interesting (and more useful) read.

 

Moonraker

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If anyone is interested in the entire book, not just the WW1 section, it is available as a series of four pdf downloads

 

Detective & Secret Service Days by Edwin T Woodhall 1929. Pdf download, in four parts, with one download titled "Book II : Secret service days". STOU Digital Repository Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, Thailand. 

 

Cheers

Maureen

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Many thanks to helpjpl, Moonraker,  ss002d6252 and Maureene for your replies which clarifies that the attestation papers on ancestry do belong to the Edwin T Woodhall who wrote "Secret Service Days etc" - he is also the man who moved to Burnley during WW2.  As always, this forum is a source of great expertise, so thanks!   

 

I attach his account of the arrest of "the Monocled Mutineer" for anybody who is interested:

 

 

 

extract.JPG

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The TV adaptation portrayed the scene as it is described above, though it didn't include the "brutal assault" nor did it reflect Toplis's  "singularly ferocious character". It was the TV programme that interested me in Woodhall and I did a little research into him, and I'm grateful for this interesting thread.

 

Moonraker

Edited by Moonraker
original post in wrong thread, hence this waffle to replace it!
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Woodhall of the Scottish Rifles, Lab Corps and MFP, whose papers are available on Ancestry, is the man.

 

He served three years with the colours in the Scottish Rifles from 1904-07 and then  joined the Met.  He was recalled at the outbreak of war, went to France with 1/Scot Rif on 15 Aug 14, and served with the Intelligence Corps in France from at least Dec 1915 until Nov 17 when he returned to 1/Scot Rif.  He was transferred to Lab Corps in Jan 18 and then to MFP in Aug 18.  He remained with them until being discharged in Feb 1919.  He left the Met (as a PC) in Jul 1919.  

 

Thanks to those who posted links to his literary endeavours - that's a few hours of my future accounted for.

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