Geogie King and the Racetrack War

At around 1910, George King, a Jewish gangster was the ‘guv’nor’ of Walthamstow racetracks, making all the stall holders pay rent to him. A fish shop in the area called Crayses disliked King and they hired Arthur to protect them, hoping to get rid of him from the racetracks once and for all. So Arthur and four of his close pals went to Walthamstow and started having a drink in the pub. Suddenly King burst through the door and said what translated roughly to “who wants to have a go?”, but knew he was beaten because there were five of them, all with guns, and only one of him.

Arthur left the scene after explaining that King’s interference with Crayses would not be tolerated, and headed home on the train. Arthur knew that someone might end up getting killed, and a moment of clarity on his train journey home enlightened him to the reality that the risk of death could well be just around the corner. He was not far wrong.

The next evening, Arthur was outside Clarks Coffee Shop whilst his boys were in the pub, ‘The Hare’, just nearby. Out of the blue, King came walking along the road, crossed over and pulled a gun out of his pocket. Arthur turned sideways so as to be less of a target and at that moment, Taylor came round the corner and put a gun into his back. King knew he was beaten.

The next day, the gang wanted to go and have it out with King, and went to meet him at the racetracks fully armed and ready to kill. Arthur, not wanting to get killed and not advising the idea to any of his gang, stayed at home. He was sitting waiting for his gang to arrive back from the tracks, fearing that they may have been in trouble or worse. Very late into the night, he heard gunshots only a few metres away at the end of his road in Gibraltar Cottages. He ran out of his front door.

The scene was pretty ugly. One Jewish chap called Phil Schonk, part of Georgie’s gang, was sprawled out in the road and the shop on the corner was peppered with bullets. Many Jewish gangsters were there, including ‘Darky the Coon’. Arthur spotted King disappearing down an alley way and decided to pursue, holding an Irish constabulary revolver. Fortunately for King, two uniformed policemen were walking up and stopped Arthur in his tracks.

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