Appeal for descendants to mark 100th anniversary of Epsom Riot

By Rosemary Collins, 25 February 2019 - 4:16pm

Bourne Hall Museum is looking for people whose ancestors were involved in a 1919 riot by Canadian soldiers which killed a police officer

Epsom Riot 1919
Epsom police officers, with Staff Sergeant Thomas Green, who was killed in the Epsom Riot, second row from the front, third from left (Credit: Bourne Hall Museum)

The descendants of those involved in a forgotten piece of post-First World War history in Epsom are invited to take part in events marking the centenary.

Epsom’s Bourne Hall Museum is searching for the families of those involved in the 1919 Epsom Riot, in which a police officer was killed.

Following the Armistice in 1918, hundreds of Canadian soldiers were stationed at a convalescent camp in the grounds of Epsom’s Woodcote Park.

They became increasingly restless as they waited to go home, leading to public disorder in the town.

On 17 June 1919 Epsom police arrested two soldiers following a fight at The Rifleman public house.

In response a mob of around 400 soldiers descended on the police station, demanding the men be released.

The situation soon developed into a riot, as the soldiers smashed the windows of the police station, tore up the iron railings and tried to storm the building.

The Epsom police attempted to keep order but one of their number, Station Sergeant Thomas Green, was struck on the head with a large object. He died of his injuries the following day.

Bourne Hall Museum is planning a programme of events to commemorate the riot on 17 June 2019, including events, talks, walks and a memorial service.

“We wish to contact families whose ancestors were involved on that fateful day, and would welcome them as guests at the memorial events,” said museum assistant David Brooks.

If your family were involved in the Epsom Riot, please contact David on 020839 41734 or dbrooks@epsom-ewell.gov.uk.

 

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