12 October 1936
Mr. Ernest Thompson, who died at Edgware, on Friday, at the age of 63, was Chief Superintendent of the City of London Police when he retired just over a year ago, and was a leading figure in the police investigation which culminated in the siege of Sidney Street.
Five of his officers were shot down, three of them being killed, when they went to make inquiries regarding mysterious sounds which had been heard near a jeweller's shop in East London, and he directed the work of their colleagues, who, in cooperation with Metropolitan police, eventually traced the alien gunmen responsible for the murders to a house in Sidney Street. The fugitives, even when they knew they were cornered, offered such a desperate resistance with gunfire that armed police, reinforced by soldiers, were ordered to return their fire, and finally the men's charred bodies were found in the ruins of the house which was virtually gutted. The then Home Secretary, Mr. Winston Churchill, himself watched the operations at their most dangerous stage. After the siege Mr. Thompson joined in the hunt for the criminal known as "Peter the Painter," and he worked in close collaboration with Scotland Yard's Special Branch in their successful efforts to stamp out the menace of other members of the alien criminal gang to which the Sidney Street murderers belonged. Another famous case with which Mr. Thompson was closely associated was the raid on the headquarters of Arcos, Limited, the Russian trade organization in the City, and police officers had the help of men who used pneumatic street drills to break into concrete strong rooms.
Mr. Thompson served for 41 years in the City Police Force-the third longest period recorded in its history-and was head of the Criminal Investigation Department when he retired. As a young constable he helped in the search for the perpetrator of the Jack the Ripper murders. During his long career he was concerned in many cases involving financial frauds.