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Remembered Today:

Interview Report


PhilB
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Charles Edward Green, former soldier, 40 years old, from Braintree, Essex (possibly Pte 19137, Norfolk Regt) was interviewed in 1928 for a post as assistant hangman by Maj A Benke (possibly ex Civil Service Rifles). The report said:-

Most unsuitable, the only point in his favour is, I fear, his total disregard for the sanctity of human life.

Common, rough type, smelt of drink and probably already boasted in Braintree about what he would do if he became executioner.

Uneducated to the degree that he could not spell "June", "Irish" and "Driller" etc without assistance. His application is written in another person`s hand.

No enquiry to the local police deemed necessary. A Benke Governor, HMP Pentonville.

Is Green a product of his time?

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Out of idle curiosity, what type of person might then have been considered acceptable for such a....um....position? A sensitive, well read and literate scholar seems somehow pointless. B)

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From the Edmonton Bulletin of the 23rd of January, 1914:

"OFFICIAL HANGMAN

PLACED UNDER ARREST

IN MONTREAL THEATRE

MONTREAL Jan 22 --- Arthur Ellis,

the Dominion executioner, who ar-

rived in the city today from Prince

Rupert, having been called here to be

present in his official capacity at the

hanging of William Campbell on Sat-

urday morning, is locked up in the

Chenneville arrest station.

He was arrested in a box at the Or-

pheum shortly before the closing of

tonight's show, when the hangman is

alleged to have pulled a 38 calibre

gun from a holster in his belt, caus-

ing great excitement among the

theatre's patrons.

He is being held without the option

of bail on a charge of being drunk

and carrying a revolver."

Arthur Ellis was the traditional name of the public executioner for several generations.

Remember, YOU asked!

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Out of idle curiosity, what type of person might then have been considered acceptable for such a....um....position? A sensitive, well read and literate scholar seems somehow pointless. B)

The main qualification seems to have been that your father or uncle did the job already! However, a proper sense of respect and a genuine wish to do the job as efficiently and humanely as possible also rated highly. See the (probably ghost-written) autobiography of Albert Pierrepoint, "Executioner: Pierrepoint".

Ron

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Are you asking if all former soldiers were illiterate, drunken, sadists?

Sue

I`ll assume your question is not serious, Sue.

It did strike me that there might have been a great shock in store for some "nicely brought up" young men who, having volunteered in a rush of patriotic fervour, found themselves in a bunk alongside someone like this chap. You can see why battalions like the PS would be popular? I don`t remember coming across anyone quite like him in the army, although virtually all strata of society were conscripted. I hope he wasn`t a familiar type, but I wonder if, in those times, he might have been?

As to the requirements for a hangman - a combination of characteristics which must have been very difficult to find, especially among a relatively small number applying.

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QUOTE (Phil_B @ Dec 4 2007, 10:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I`ll assume your question is not serious, Sue.

There's boundless confidence for you :o

Actually it was a serious question. You asked if he was a product of his time. I would say he was a product of any time from the Roman invasion to Christmas 2007. I was just having trouble linking this solitary event in 1928 with the Great War.

Sue

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I would say he was a product of any time from the Roman invasion to Christmas 2007.

Have to agree with you Sue....they still exist, and probably will always exist. I think a certain amount of compassion is needed for the job,

cheers, Jon

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I was just having trouble linking this solitary event in 1928 with the Great War.

Sue

Possibly that both men involved were soldiers of WW1?

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PS - Public Schools battalion where a man would be fairly insulated from having to serve with "rough, common" fellows like Green.

The requirements for a hangman`s assistant`s post I haven`t seen laid down. It was apparently a one to one interview with Maj Benke or someone like him. Comments indicate that they were looking for a man of reasonably mature age, army or police service an advantage, no evidence of bloodlust or interest in the gruesome aspects, no liability to be indiscreet and a quiet private life. Police checks were run to see if he had any record of crime, drinking, womanizing or indiscretion.

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