Unsolved Murders

Alfred Edwin Harris

Age: 39

Sex: male

Date: 29 Apr 1915

Place: Aldershot

Alfred Edwin Harris was found dead at the bottom of some stairs outside his quarters in Aldershot.

It was said that he had been afraid that someone might murder him because he had acted as a blackleg during a strike in London.

He was a blacksmith by trade and had run foul of strikers in Deptford. He had lived in Decca Street in Deptford.

He had been working as a transport driver at the time.

A letter to his brother that he had written read: Dear, A last few words to let you know they intend brutally murdering me tonight and bury me with all my clothes so as to make out I am a deserter. What a rotten ending to a blackleg life! They came in my camp last night, but the one what was told orf to do it lost his chart. But it is all round Aldershot now it is to come orf tonight. What thousands of thoughts I have had today is terrible. To hear of a grave already near my camp! So now you know the truth. Bad job for my wife and the children. God bless them'.

In a letter that he sent to the War Office he wrote: Sir, Being sent from Stratford to Aldershot last Monday with the ASC transport workers, and having no regimental number yet I write to you for advice as regards my action. I am sorry to inform you it has come to the knowledge of all labourers and packers at Aldershot that I am blackleg of 1897. Having heard threats of what they intend doing, my life, I consider, is in danger. I left Aldershot on the night of March 31, and was posted as a deserter. I am quite willing to work for His Majesty's Government if you will favourably transfer me elsewhere as quickly as possible.'.

A man said that on 29 April 1915 at about 11pm he heard a thud and that when he went out he saw Alfred Harris lying on the kerb. He said that he thought that Alfred Harris could have tripped on some steps or that he could have been thrown from the window above.

It was said that there were three steps into the married quarters where he lived.

A doctor Lieutenant said that Alfred Harris died from a fractured skull and said that if he had been thrown from the window then he would have expected to have seen extensive bruising on his body but said that there was none.

His commanding officer said that he believed that Alfred Harris had had a grievance that someone wanted to do him injury on account of him being a blackleg but said that he had inquired into the matter and said that if he had found that anyone had been using threats against him that he would have taken steps to protect him.

Alfred Harris's brother said that there was no doubt that Alfred Harris had gone in fear of his life in Aldershot.

The jury returned an open verdict.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Larne Times - Saturday 08 May 1915

see Illustrated Police News - Thursday 06 May 1915