Digging History

Historic telegrams that helped catch infamous killer up for grabs

(Henry Aldridge & Son)

(Henry Aldridge & Son)

A unique archive of wireless telegrams that helped apprehend one of the most notorious killers in British history will be auctioned in the U.K. on Saturday.

The telegrams chronicle a dramatic transatlantic chase in 1910 that resulted in the arrest of American doctor Hawley Harvey Crippen, who was later hanged for the murder of his wife in London. “This is a real genesis moment in the history of police/crime fighting, the first time a criminal was apprehended as a direct result of wireless telegraphy,” explained Andrew Aldridge of auction house Henry Aldridge & Son, in an email to FoxNews.com.

Related: Molly Brown's Titanic cup sold at auction for $200,000

Dr. Crippen was fleeing to Quebec on board the Canadian Pacific ship Montrose when he aroused the suspicion of the ship’s Captain Henry George Kendall. The archive comprises 13 Marconi signals and starts July 22 with a telegram sent by Kendall. “Have strong suspicions that Crippen, London. Cellar murderer and accomplice are among saloon passengers, moustache taken off growing a beard, accomplice dressed as boy, voice manner and build undoubtable a boy, both travelling as Mr & Master Robinson,” it states.

After receiving the telegram, Detective Inspector Dew of Scotland Yard boarded the SS Laurentic, a faster ship than the Montrose, and arrived in Quebec first. Dr. Crippen was arrested on board the Montrose July 31.

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Devizes, Wiltshire-based Henry Aldridge & Son held a major auction of Titanic memorabilia last month. A cup presented by Titanic survivor Molly Brown to the captain of rescue ship Carpathia sold for $200,000 during the auction.

The collection has a presale estimate of between $12,169 and $18,254.