In genteel Epsom, Surrey in the summer of 1919 a score of semi-rural police officers fought a rioting mob of 400 Canadian soldiers in a battle of Rorke’s Drift proportions. At the end of it the dependable Station Sergeant Thomas Green lay dead, bludgeoned by a bar torn from the police cells.
Green is the only policeman to be murdered in his own police station on the mainland ever and was one of only two killed by rioters in the 20th century – the other being PC Blakelock.
Yet media coverage was subdued and the path to justice tightly managed. Indeed no person was charged with murder. A handful of Canadians were quietly convicted of riot and were back home for Christmas.
We Are Not Manslaughterers lifts the lid on why the case is practically unknown and how political and international considerations deprived Thomas Green of justice. David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill were personally involved in engineering their desired outcomes. Fraying colonial bonds necessitated a manipulation of the system nationally and a backdrop of STDs among the convalescent soldiers triggered a cover-up locally.
Martin Knight is the author of George Best’s final autobiography as well as several other sports, culture and fiction books.