Flashback: A ghostly visit, borough-wide search for weapons and Good Friday turns bad
- Credit: Romford Library
A look back at the biggest local stories from this day 20, 40 and 60 years ago.
A dead man’s appeal for help to find his half-sister Nene who lived in Romford, startled a large audience in Laurie Hall during a demonstration of clairvoyance by Dulwich medium Ethel Moss.
The incident occurred in the latter half of the meeting when Mrs Moss, standing on the platform in the full blaze of electric lights, suddenly clasped her head in her hands. Then she cried out to a middle-aged woman: “I’m getting an awful condition.
“A young man – he gassed himself. Oh my head, my head, my head.
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“What that poor soul went through. It was quite a tragic business.”
“It was, most decidedly,” the woman in the audience said. The medium continued: “He’s calling Nene and wants you to help him. He’s crying: “Oh, if only they would understand.
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I have been knocking, knocking.”
Later, the Recorder questioned Nene at her home. She explained the medium had addressed her by the nickname known only to her family. Nene confirmed that her half-brother’s suicide in Romford in 1956.
A team of crack detectives were scouring Havering in a search for dangerous guns and bullets. Following a tip-off, police discovered an arsenal of machine guns, shot guns, pistols and ammunition “up for sale”. But detectives believed more weapons may have been sold in pubs and clubs around the Romford and East End areas. And they were appealing to people to be on the lookout for firearms being offered for sale and ask anyone with information to contact them. The seized weapons included sub-machine guns, 38 revolvers, pistols, gas-pistols, shotguns and a light machine gun. All the weapons were completed with bullets, cartridges, clips and magazines totalling about 2,500 rounds. Detectives from East London’s No.9 Regional Crime Squad were handling the investigation. Forensic scientists were also test-firing the guns to see if they matched up with spent bullets used in firearms crimes.
The squad said the guns were mostly from the Second World War and may have been part of a collection.
Hooligans went on a double orgy of destruction, turning Havering’s Good Friday into Bad Friday. They wrecked parts of a major crematorium, the last resting place of thousands of relatives of Havering residents, and desecrated the war memorial in Romford’s Coronation Gardens. This followed 29 attacks on churches or church halls in the past month. Staff at South Essex Crematorium in Corbets Tey, Upminster, discovered the aftermath of the attack at the weekend. The main targets were two dovecotes where doves, the symbol of peace, were nesting. One dovecote was stolen, despite being on top of a 12ft support. The other was smashed beyond repair. The hooligans ripped up 10 benches, each bearing a commemorative plaque.
Two were smashed and the others were stacked up so the vandals could scale the metal poles.