SHINIGAMITTS シニガミツ (mr_mitts) wrote in little_details,

Murder Investigation in 1920s/30s Britain involving Army records and wax-seals...

Location: Great Britain
Date: Somewhere in the 1920s/1930s

A retired British Army general of Great War legend and venerable age is horribly, brutally murdered in his home. The police, naturally, begin to investigate. Here endeth the facts and begineth the questions.

1) I can well imagine that the army show a sufficient interest in investigating this themselves or at least want to go through his abode to remove anything prescient to national security. In this case who might carry this out? I know that the Military Police had no investigative force until 1940, when they were moved in from the Met. In that case, would it be Special Branch? The Security Service? Shadowy men from the War Office?

2) I've seen British crime scene photographs from the era, and have many books on the laughable forensics of the day, including original articles and writings of Sir Bernard Spilsbury and company. However, none of the accounts I've read say how buildings were sealed after forensics work was done. Since the general's family are unable to arrive soon (and the police might want to look at the scene again) I would assume them to seal it in some way. Today we would wrap the place up in police-tape, and I have read that in that period wax seals were placed on likely entrance places with signs affixed. Were these seals used in the UK? Did they gum up the entire door or were they only done over a small area (such as near the handle)? Were they impressed with the constabulary logo? I'm at a loss on this one.

3) It soon transpires that research into the records of the general's old regiment might be necessary. Aside from local records and newspaper clippings, our investigators will surely need access to the army service records. I know that in 1922 it was finally decided that all locally held war records would be collated and have formal (though not necessarily central) storage, but where were regimental service records held? The regimental barracks? The War Office? At a central repository? How easy was gaining access to this? Were records altered if the subject was deceased (or presumed deceased)? I know how records are kept today, but I'm unsure of the manner they were in the interwar era.

Many thanks!

(Search terms: all manner - 'wax seal', 'forensic wax', 'police wax seal', 'sealing crime scenes', 'british army investigation', 'military police investigation', 'records great war', 'british army service records', 'british army records historical location', and all manner of dates and alternatives, uncountable and listless)

Tags: 1920-1929, 1930-1939, uk: government: law enforcement, uk: history (misc), uk: military: historical, ~forensics (misc)

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