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The Devil's Derelicts

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  • #61
    You are correct Chris - some Ironclads were still in use in the Great War

    I'm not sure all the ships in the harbour would have been Ironclads though, or even referred to as such in 1914 and beyond

    Apparently the ships were called armoured battleships and the like by that time


    • #62
      Originally posted by Debra Arif
      Has anyone got/read this 1905 (detective fiction?) book or know anything about the author? Thanks


      Thanks to Mike Covell, who tipped me off that the British Library had a copy of the Devil's Derelicts book listed in their catalogue, after a bit of messing about I managed to order a photocopy of the story of 'The Vampire'.

      Harcourt's story revolves around a medical student who had worked at the London Hospital.
      I was hoping, as it was claimed in the advert that Harcourt was a criminologist and it seems had an interest in prisons and prison reform and supposedly visited several prisons for his research for 'Bolts and Bars' that the story of the Vampire may have been based on a real prisoner that Harcourt encountered during his research. However, it looks like a lot, if not all of the story is fictional, rather than fact, although Harcourt does say he met the character he came to believe may have been the Whitechapel murderer, in Portland Prison.
      So, does anyone know of any medical student suspect who worked at the London Hospital, was sent to Portland prison before the murders, released on licence, had his licence revoked for bigamy, and also served some time at Millbank, working in the prison mortuary doing autopsies?!

      Oh, and ended up being sent to Broadmoor.


      • #63
        Pearce illustration from 'The Vampire'

        This is Jack the Ripper about to murder his ex lover, the music hall artiste, Florrie Featherstone aka 'The Japanese Nightingale.'

        Taken from 'The vampire' in the book Devil's Derlict's by F.C.Vernon Harcourt.

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        • #64
          Thanks Debs, Great illustration.



          • #65
            Thanks Rob, Alfred Pearse (I spelled his name wrong in the subtitle on the last post) was obviously a very talented artist. I was a bit disappointed when I first received the copy of The Vampire as the illustration was a really bad very very black and white photocopy but when I turned the page they had copied it again for me at a higher resolution.


            • #66
              He is not my mephew

              Originally posted by Phil Carter
              Hello Nemo, Debs,

              I have mentioned this at sometime before, can't remember when, where or to whom.. but somebody should have a look in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. The papers of Sir William Harcourt are all there.. correspondence with just about anybody.. including those concerning F.C.Vernon Harcourt (papers from 1899-1912)

              I have this odd feeling that many a precious stone may be found in here.


              I found this in the papers recently -Sir William Harcourt addressing a meeting of his supporters during his election campaign near Tredegar in 1900; apparently having a phantom nephew was not reserved just for Superintendent Charles Henry Cutbush:

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              Edit-LOL I'm obviously having a subtitle spelling off day- this one should say nephew.


              • #67
                Thanks for sharing that Debs !


                • #68
                  Thanks, Debs and Phil. Mistakes in assumed familial relationships on account of a coincidence of surnames have probably been a commonplace occurrence over the years. In fact, I have wondered myself over the past few days whether the artist Archibald Wakely, the victim in the bizarre homosexual Studio Murder of 1906 might have been a relative of the pioneer medical coroner Thomas Wakley (1795–1862). Their surnames are spelled differently, of course, but that might not mean anything, because family members sometimes went by a variation of the family name or occasionally changed the spelling of the last name purposely. I have not though seen any indication that they might have been related, and the similar name probably is just that -- a coincidence.

                  Best regards

                  Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
         Hear sample song at

                  Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
                  Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at


                  • #69
                    Chris,the big test would be whether you would be prepared to say there was a familial relationship between the Wakley's without really knowing there was for definite..perhaps like Macnaghten did with Cutbush? Or perhaps like Macnaghten was told?

                    I can see someone intelligent with a knowledge of family names and geography linking the two Cutbushes, why Mac was certain of an Uncle/nephew relationship I guess we will never know. But Looking at this Harcourt claim where there is also a nephew/uncle relationship claimed ( I believe by the papers with out substance) maybe it was the default familial connection when an intelligent person had an inkling but wasn't certain?
                    Just a thought.


                    • #70
                      Frederick Vernon Harcourt

                      Hi, I have been researching this elusive character for some months and came across the discussions on your website - wondered if anyone was still interested enough to know the truth about him - or as much of the truth as can be found for a man who had several aliases, prison records, at least four marriages, and was an actor, playwright, author, poet, lecturer, speaker for the Liberal Party, bigamist, sailor, bible distributor, convict and fraudster, but who must have had the charm of the devil and a great deal of talent. He was an actor all his life and is buried in Actors' Acre at Brookwood Cemetery in Surrey, in an unmarked grave.
                      Looking forward to corresponding with someone who wants to know more.


                      • #71
                        Dear Gail:

                        Thanks for the information ( so far ) !
                        If possible, please provide more on Harcourt....I'd like to read about him and I'm sure everyone else would too.