The employment on light duty – wherever reasonably possible – of men discharged from the colours on medical grounds

Policemen returning from the armed forces were not to suffer for their service.

11 January 1919

REINSTATEMENT OF POLICE

A circular from the Secretary of State, Home Office, dated 21 November 1918, was read as to the employment on light duty – wherever reasonably possible – of men discharged from the colours on medical grounds who are below the standard of health required of candidates for appointment to the Police. In such cases where men who are drawing army pensions are so employed, they should be given the full pay appropriate to the work. Any reduction of pay on account of pension is inadmissible.

Chief Constable’s report…

PC 58, Giles, has been re-examined by the Police Surgeon after three months’ trial on light police duty, who certifies that he is fit for indoor work or to act as a chauffeur of motor car. As this Constable was wounded in the wrist by a gunshot wound when on military service, I propose, subject to your approval, to allow him to remain in the Force to carry out duties as recommended by the Police Surgeon, so long as he continues medically fit for such duties.
Approved.

The following Constables have been released from military service, and commenced, or will commence, Police duty as follows:

PC 180 Plumb 16 December 1918
PC 186 Newman 1 January 1919
PC 55 Sellwood 1 January 1919
PC 187 Hankins 1 January 1919
PC 4 Green 1 January 1919
PC 26 Rogers 1 January 1919
PC 29 Simmons 6 January 1919
PC 67 West 6 January 1919
PC 163 Hubbard 20 January 1919
PC 86 Tubb 20 January 1919

Steps will be taken for the re-attestment of all men who rejoin the Force after being employed on military or naval service.

I also recommend that men who rejoin this Force should be allowed to reckon their military or naval service not only towards approved service for purposes of Police Pension (as provided in the Police Emergency Acts) but also for promotion and allowances in the scale of pay, etc.

Approved.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Work of a very important nature

The Chief Constable returned to his police duties.

5 October 1918

A letter, dated 24 August 1918, from the Army Council was read, stating that the Council offered no objection to the release of Lieut-Col. Poulton to enable him to take up his duties as Chief Constable, and expressing the appreciation of the Council for the valuable services rendered by Col. Poulton since the commencement of the war – his work had been of a very important nature and had been carried out to the entire satisfaction of the Council.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

German PoW on the run “is alleged to have drawn a formidable looking dagger (which was afterwards discovered in a rick where the fugitives had been hiding”

Three Germans PoWs on the run were foiled by the brave actions of a Berkshire policeman and three Special Constables.

6 July 1918

CHIEF CONSTABLE

Lt-Col Poulton attended the Committee and stated that he had been absent from his Police work for three years, and he thought it was time he returned to such work; that his Army work was now so organized that it could be easily carried on by some other officer; and that he had now reached the age of 60; and suggested that the Secretary of State be asked to apply to the War Office for his relase from Army Service to enable him to resume his duties as Chief Constable of the County, as from 31 August, 1918.

Resolved:
That the Secretary of State be asked to make the application to the war Office as suggested.

Resolved also on the motion of the Chairman [J. Herbert Benyon] and seconded by Sir R. B. D. Acland, knight: That the very best thanks of the Committee be accorded to Col. Ricardo for services rendered as Acting Chief Constable.

Capture of three escaped German prisoners

The Acting Chief Constable has brought to the notice of the Sub-committee the action of PC 105 Reginald Jordan, stationed at Burghfield, and of Special Constables Webb, Holland and Hill, in effecting the capture of three Prisoners of War who had escaped from Bramley Camp on 24 April 1918.

PC Jordan challenged these men whom he met at Burghfield at midnight, and, finding they were foreigners, attempted to arrest them. After a struggle in which one of them is alleged to have drawn a formidable looking dagger (which was afterwards discovered in a rick where the fugitives had been hiding), the Germans succeeded in escaping, but were discovered and recaptured the following evening by PC Jordan – with the assistance of the Special Constables above-named, who had been working indefatigably all day in search of them.

The Military authorities sent £4.10s.0d as a reward, which was apportioned as follows: PC 105 Jordan, £2; Sergeant Taylor (who had also assisted) and the three Special Constables, 12s.6d each.

MOTOR CARS

The two motor cars which were so kindly placed at the disposal of the Superintendent at Maidenhead and Wokingham at the commencement of the war by the late Mr Erskine have now been returned to the present owner, Mrs Luard of Binfield Grove, and I beg to recommend that a letter expressing the gratitude of this Committee for the use of the cars, which have been of very great value to the Police, be sent to that lady.

I should also like to take this opportunity of referring to the loss sustained to the Force by the death of the late Marquis of Downshire, who, as a Special Constable from the commencement of the war, had kindly placed his valuable time and the use of his two cars (free of any charge) at the disposal of the Superintendent of the Wokingham Division, and by this means saved the County a great deal of expense.

I recommend that a letter be written to the present Marquis from this Committee, expressing regret at the death of his father, and its appreciation of his generous services.

The present Marquis of Downshire has very kindly placed his car at the disposal of the Superintendent at Wokingham on condition that the County keeps the car insured, [and] pays the licence duty and cost of running.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

The question of the employment of women as Clerks and Chauffeuses is under consideration by the Berkshire Constabulary

More Berkshire policemen were called on to join the army, leading to the county considering the drastic step of recruiting females for support roles.

20 April 1918
Identity books issued to Aliens

In March 1916 Identity Books were sent to the Acting Chief Constable from the Home Office with instructions for same to be issued to Aliens, for which a fee of 1/- each was to be paid, the same to be retained by the Police.

The Acting Chief Constable has recently written to the Under-Secretary of State for directions as to the disposal of the sums so received, and has been informed that it is left to the discretion of the Police Authority, the general practice being to credit such sums to the Police Fund or the Police Pension Fund.
… The sum of £38.16s.0d has been paid to the Pension Fund.

Application for Allowances to Wives

Application has been made by four Constables now serving in the Army for allowances to be made to their wives under the Police Constables (Naval and Military Service) Acts, 1914 to 1917.

These and 13 other Constables have (after first obtaining the permission of the Acting Chief Constable in accordance with the Regulations of the Force) married since joining the Army, and as in all (or nearly all) these cases applications to get married was only made after the Constables were selected to join the Military Forces, and no homes have been provided by the Constables for their wives, who are in receipt of the Army separation allowance, the Sub-committee recommend that the application be not acceded to.

Police for Military Service

The Acting Chief Constable has received a letter from the Home Office to the effect that, in view of the new emergency which has arisen, it has become necessary to make a further call on the Police to release at an early date a further contingent to join the Army. The quota … for Berkshire is 13….

As regards filling the vacancies caused by the Constables joining the Army, the question of the employment of women as Clerks and Chauffeuses is under consideration.

Recommended: That the Acting Chief Constable be authorised to make arrangements for such employment at 35s pay per week, and also for the calling up of further Police Reservists for regular police duty if necessary.
Adopted.

Col. Poulton has offered to release PC Wheeler (whose services as a Chauffeur the Committee allowed him to retain) for police duties.
Recommended: That his offer be accepted and that the 1/- per day hitherto paid to the County by Col. Poulton for PC Wheeler’s services be discontinued after 1 May.

I regret to report that PC 219, Alfred F. W. Davis, was killed in action on 20 January last. He joined the Force on 1 November 1913, and the Army on 19 June, 1915. He was 22 years of age at the time of his death…

PC 192, H. Boshier, rejoined the Force on 11 February, 1918, having been discharged from the Army as medically unfit. He has been examined by the Police Surgeon, who has provisionally passed him as ft for Police duty.

PCs 158, Sidney H. Giles, 55, Percy Sellwood, and 71, George H. Wheatcroft, have I understand been wounded, but at present I have no information as to the extent of their injuries – except in the case of PC Giles, who is now convalescent.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

“Exceptional zeal in the performance of his duties”

Burghfield’s postmaster was commended for his work as a Special Constable.

Special Constable George Cooper

It will be learnt with pleasure that attention having been called to the good services of our old friend Mr G Cooper, Postmaster of Burghfield, who was one of the first to be sworn in, Colonel F C Ricardo, the Acting Chief Constable of the County Police, issued on 13th December a memo expressing his great gratification, and stating

“It is evident that Special Constable Cooper has displayed exceptional zeal in the performance of his duties; and taking into consideration his age and his business requirements, I can only record my high appreciation and commendation.”

Burghfield parish magazine, March 1918 (D/EX725/4)

A policeman’s widow

The widow of a policeman who had been recalled to the army was allowed to keep her special allowance from the police force for a period after her husband’s death.

1 December 1917

The following report by the Acting Chief Constable as to proposed allowance to the widow of the late PC 58 Frank Brown was read:
I beg to report the death of PC 58 Frank Brown, who was killed when in action with the British Expeditionary Force on 9 October last.

The widow, Mrs Daisy Brown, was, at the time of his death, in receipt of an allowance of 9d per day under the Police Reservists Allowances Act, 1914, and I recommend that such allowance may be continued for a period of six months from the date of his death….

Adopted.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Drawing on the nation’s too limited wool supply

By this point in the war 10 Berkshire policemen who were serving at the Front had been killed. Closer to home, demand for army uniforms was monopolising the nation’s wool supply. Most men’s outdoor clothing was based on woven woollen cloth, which was warm and waterproof.

6 October 1917
Clothing for 1918

The Acting Chief Constable has received the following letter from Messrs Titley, Son & Price, whose tender for the supply of clothing for the year 1918 has been accepted.

19, Cheap Street, Bath
13th Sept. 1917

Dear Sir

When we tendered for 1918 overcoats, something serviceable at old prices, we anticipated some difficulty but this has been increased by the few men, on the two lists we have received, who are doing without them. We calculated that we might obtain sufficient material to supply about half your force; and in the state of the wool market, which as you know is practically commandeered for military requirements, we do not see how we can fill more than that. We have plenty of blue to enable us to offer Capes, Serges, or Trousers in lieu, without drawing on the nation’s too limited wool supply. Could you kindly, at the next pay day, help us by causing to be discovered if there are not a large number of men with overcoats sufficiently new to enable the exchange to be made.

Yours obediently in all commands
Titley, Son & Price.

The Committee recommend that the Acting Chief Constable be empowered in all cases where the Superintendents report that the great coats now in the possession of the men are serviceable and likely to last until the next issue in 1920, to issue capes, serges or trousers in lieu thereof, or to grant, as compensation, £1.1s.0d on the understanding that in the event of a man’s coat not lasting until the issue in 1920, he shall repay an amount in proportion to the period unexpired.

Constables killed in action

I regret to report the death on active service of the following Police Constables, viz PC 111 Raymond E. Offer, PC 119 Charles Warman, PC 213 Arthur Frank Wheatcroft and PC 82 George William Bennett.

PC 111 Offer died on 20 July 1917 from wounds received in action, and PCs 119 Warman, 213 Wheatcroft and 82 Bennett were killed in action on 1 August, 16 August and 8 September respectively.

All four were unmarried, and so far as I am aware had no one dependent on them for support. Bennett joined the force on 1st January 1907.

This makes 10 Constables who have lost their lives during the war.

PCs 80 Pill and 41 Vile have rejoined the Force, the former on 1 September and the latter on 24 September.

Berkshire County Council and Quarter Sessions: Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Police uniforms will have to be lower quality

The war continued to have an impact on the local police service.

7 July 1917

On 8 May last the Acting Chief Constable was informed by the Home Office that the War Cabinet had decided that further members of Police Forces should be released for military service; and that the minimum number to be supplied by Berkshire was 20. he accordingly released that number of the youngest Constables on 1 June, as follows:

PC 44, James H. Benson Married
PC 193, Wilfred Thomas Ditto
PC 192, Henry J. Boshier Ditto
PC 59, James Strange Ditto
PC 29, Charles J. Simmonds Single
PC 187, Harry Hankins Married
PC 180, George W. G. Plumb Ditto
PC 152, Bertie W. Smith Ditto
PC 4, Charles W. Green Ditto
PC 220, Bertram G. Sherwood Ditto
PC 207, Albert J. Harvey Ditto
PC 160, Allan Miles Single
PC 76, Kenneth Chapman Married
PC 157, James A. Butler Ditto
PC 191, Ernest Culley Ditto
PC 67, Ernest West Ditto
PC 53, Francis G. E. Bailey Single
PC 118, Frederick Bailey Ditto
PC 8, Charles V. Foster Married
PC 121, Thomas H. Fletcher Ditto

In accordance with the Committee’s decision on 5 July, 1915, the allowance to the wives of married Constables during the latter’s absence on military service will be the amount the Constables were receiving from Police Funds for pay and war bonus – less the amount received from Army Funds … and the wives will be allowed to remain in their houses on payment of half the usual deduction for house rent.

As regards the single Constables, PC 29 Simmonds alone has been contributing regularly, 6/- per week to the support of his relatives, and the Sub-committee recommend that an allowance of 6d per day be granted in this case.

No further First Police Reservists have been called up for active Police duty, and endeavours will be made to manage with the assistance of the Special Constables whenever practicable.

Three of the Constables who have now joined the Army formed part of the number furnished under agreement to Newbury Borough, and have not yet been replaced pending the reconsideration of the agreement.

Clothing and Helmets for 1918

A tender was obtained from Messrs Titley, Son & Price for the supply of Police clothing for 1918, but the prices being so much in excess of the previous contract, they were communicated with, with a view to the prices being reduced; and they subsequently offered to supply the clothing at the same prices as in 1917, but stipulated that, while the material would be serviceable, it would be of a lower quality. The overcoats, capes and undress trousers would be of the same weight and appearance as, but would not be, all wool. At the same time they strongly recommended the retention of the Sergeants’ and Constables’ winter trouser material at the price quoted, viz £1.1s.0d, instead of 16s 0d as last year. It is recommended that this offer be accepted.

The garments required for the 1918 issue will be Great Coats, Serges, Dress Trousers, Undress Trousers, and Summer Helmets.

Messrs Christy & Co are at present unable to tender for the Caps and Helmets, owing to the Government having commandeered their stock and, as the Committee understand other firms are in like position, it is recommended that tenders be not invited this year.

Adopted.

Class “B” First Police Reserve

The position and pay of Class “B” men on the First Police Reserve – some of whom have been on duty since the beginning of the war – have been brought to the notice of the Sub-committee. In view of the present high prices of food, etc, the Sub-committee recommend that their rate of pay be increased from 5/- to 5/6 per day as from 1 April, 1917…

Carried: That Class “B” First Police Reserve be granted a bonus of 3/6 per week as from 1 April, 19817, instead of the increased rate of pay as recommended by the Finance Sub-committee.

Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Great and sustained efforts by the staff of the Clerk of the Peace

The Standing Joint Committee heard that the Clerk of the Peace, who did the administrative work for the county Quarter Sessions, was struggling with the shortage of staff due to the war. Meanwhile, a young Berkshire policeman had died from wounds.


The report of the Staff Purposes Committee was presented as follows:
The Sub-committee have received an application from the Clerk of the Peace as follows:-

Sicne the outbreak of war those members of my permanent staff who have not joined the colours have been working under great difficulties, and although I have engaged certain temporary clerks, that assistance has been quite inadequate to carry on the work of the office efficiently without great and sustained efforts on the part of my permanent clerks. Furthermore, the work of my department being of a highly technical nature requiring special knowledge not easily obtainable, the temporary clerks require very close and constant supervision, which has caused an additional strain on the permanent members of the staff. In addition considerable war work has been thrown on me without any extra help – notably the War Agricultural Committee, which has been very heavy.

Owing to the scarcity of clerical labour it has been necessary, in order to obtain temporary clerks, to offer salaries far in excess – in proportion to the work done – of those of the permanent staff. I feel compelled therefore to ask the Committee to reconsider the salaries of the latter (who have all reached their maximums), and respectfully make the following suggestions:-

J. Gentry Birch (married), 28 years service. Present salary £160. 5s. 0d. Maximum to be increased to £180 by two annual increases.
A. W. Longhurst (married), 21 years service. Present salary £150. Maximum to be increased to £180 by three annual increases.
E. Arthur Longhurst (married), 12 years service. Present salary £80. Maximum to be increased to £110 by annual increases of £10.
S. L. Mills (married), 8 years service. Present salary £110. Receive £10 rise.
B. Vivian (single), 8 years service, age 22. Present salary £40. Maximum to be increased to £60 by two annual increases…

Eight members of the staff (including the Deputy) are on active service… I would respectfully ask that a sum be added sufficient to enable me to engage an additional clerk (at about 30/- a week)…

Adopted.

Acting Chief Constable’s report

I regret having to report the death of PC 78, Alfred Mark Thompson, which occurred on 24th August, 1916, from wounds received while fighting in France.

The deceased was a very promising young Constable, who at the time of his death was only 23 years of age, and had served 5 years and 4 months in this Force. He leaves a widow but no children.

Standing Joint Committee minutes, 7 October 1916 (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Fathers at the front, children in trouble

On 15 April 1916 The Chief Constable of Berkshire delivered his annual report to the County’s Standing Joint Committee which oversaw police matters. There had been a reduction in serious crime, but an increase in minor and juvenile offences, which he ascribed to the numbers of absent fathers.

General remarks as regards crime during the year 1915

During the past year the number of Indictable and Non-Indictable Offences again shows a very satisfactory decrease compared with previous years. There is little doubt that the war largely accounts for this.

I would, however, point out the fact that there has been a very large increase in the total number of offences, both Indictable and Non-Indictable, committed by Juveniles. In 1914, the number of Juvenile offences (Indictable) was 39, whereas in 1915 it has risen to 82, and in the case on Non-Indictable Offences it has risen from 38 in 1914 to 82 in 1915.

These Juvenile Offences largely account for the increase in Stealing and Malicious Damage… and no doubt the want of control over children due to the absence of their fathers on Military Service and the consequent extra burden of work thrown upon the mothers, may be looked upon as a primary cause of this youthful indiscipline. The increase in the number of offences under the Education Act may also in a sense be attributable to the same case, owing to children being kept at home to help their mothers….

As regards Tramps, I do not think any comparison can be made between this year and other years, as the whole question of vagrancy has so altered owing to the exigencies of the war. Several Casual Wards have been closed altogether, and no doubt many of the men who would otherwise be classed as Tramps are now serving their country in some capacity or other or have found employment elsewhere.

Death of PC 144, F. B. Hewett
I regret to report the death on 30th December 1914 of PC 144, Francis B. Hewett, who lost his life when HMS Natal exploded and sank. He rejoined the Navy as a ship’s steward on 1st June, 1915, under the provisions of the Police (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1915. He was 21 years of age, was unmarried, and had served 2 years and 2 months in this force at the date of his death.

Chief Constable’s Report to the Standing Joint Committee (C/CL/C2/1/5)

Danger in the darkness

A Reading Methodist Church was inconvenienced by the blackout, and concerned that elderly worshippers might be put at risk.

26 January 1916
It was moved, seconded and carried…
That the Secretary write to the Chief Constable calling his attention to the risk of accident at the entrance steps owing to the darkness and ask if it be possible to have the street lamp opposite the church lit on Sunday nights.

London Street Primitive Methodist Church trustees’ minutes (D/MS59/1A/2)

Three teeth lost to a hostile aircraft

The Standing Joint Committee which oversaw the Berkshire Constabulary met on 9 October 1915 to consider various war-related matters, including an unfortunate accident resulting from the shock of an air raid, whetehr the Chief Constable should abandon his job to take up a role with the army.

A circular having been received from the Board of Trade (Railway Department) dated 6th September, 1915, addressed to Council Authorities, recommending that every effort should be made to accumulate stocks of coal in consequence of the probability that, owing to the number of miners who have joined the colours, the supply for home consumption next winter will be less than usual, instructions were issued to Superintendents to purchase sufficient coal to last the winter (or partly so) if it could be properly stored.

Accident to Special Constable G. E. Loader
The Divisional Officer, Berks Special Reserve, Wokingham Division, has reported that Special Constable G. E. Loader met with a serious accident on 13th September, 1915, while proceeding to his post on an alarm being given as to the approach of hostile aircraft. He ran into a post in the dark and injured his jaw, three teeth being knocked out, which he is having replaced by new ones. I beg to recommend that as the accident happened when on duty, the cost of the new teeth should be paid for out of the Police Fund. The amount would be £1. 19s. 4d.
Recommended for approval. (more…)

Policemen joining up

The Chief Constable of Berkshire was anxious to restrict the flow of his men flocking to the Armed Forces, to the younger unmarried men. He wanted to keep the police service going.

5 July 1915
Police (Emergency Provisions) Act of 1915
The following Constables left to join the Army or Navy under the provisions of this Act on the dates mentioned:-

Dependants
PC 143 C. Lindsay 31st Jan Single Nil
PC 200 T. Spratt 22nd Feb Single Nil
PC 24 G. P. Gould 30th April Single Nil
PC 27 J. Bedingfield 31st May Single Father and mother
PC 144 F. B. Hewett 31st May Single Nil
PC 188 Fredk Batten 18th June Single Nil
PC 153 F. Pill 18th June Single Nil
PC 80 E. Pill 19th June Single Nil
PC 219 A. F. W. Davis 19th June Single Nil
PC 11 T. J. Moss 19th June Single Nil
PC 199 J. Green 19th June Single Nil
PC 47 T. J. Dean 30th June Single Nil
PC 40 V. Burt 30th June Single Nil
PC 176 H. Higgs 30th June Single Nil
PC 126 A. P. Durmon 30th June Single Nil
PC 113 H. Robey 30th June Single Mother

In addition to the above, PC 186 Jordan joined the Army (and Life Guards) for a period of 12 years, but is applying to purchase his discharge from the Army at the end of the war when he would be allowed to rejoin the Force and his case taken into consideration; and PC 66 Legg who joined the Berkshire Yeomanry does not wish to rejoin the Force at the termination of the war.

I would ask that the authority granted by you … last year for the grants to the wives and children of married Constables, and to the dependants of single Constables, be extended to PC 27, J. Bedingfield, and to PC 113, H. Robey…

I have had very carefully to consider the Act together with the need for retaining the Police Force in an efficient condition, especially at a time when so many extra duties Police Forces are called upon to perform [sic].

I have, therefore, considered that it is necessary to limit applications to join the Navy or Army at present to those Constables who are single, under 30 years of age, and have less than 10 years service, until I see how many wish to enlist in the Navy or Army. It may be possible to spare other Constables, but I must see that the Force is kept up to an efficient working state.

Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

An unduly large number of young men of enlisting age in the police

Deputy Chief Constable Colonel Ricardo had been checking to see how the practice of calling up Reservists to the police was working out. He was generally pleased but thought some young men were using police work as an excuse for not joining the army.

BERKS POLICE SPECIAL RESERVE
INSPECTION BY COLONEL F. C. RICARDO, CVO
Maidenhead Police Station

28th June 1915
To the Chief Constable of Berkshire
Sir,

As Chief Organising Officer and Commandant of the Berkshire Police Special Reserve, I was naturally very anxious to ascertain by personal inspection the results of the organization which, in accordance with your request, I initiated in September last.
I therefore, with your sanction and approval, consulted the Divisional Officers as to the feasibility of holding Divisional Inspections during the months of May and June. I was much gratified with the interest shown in the suggestion, and am pleased to be able now to report that I have concluded my inspection of all the eight Divisions.

Admirable arrangements were made for these inspections in each case by Divisional Officers, assisted by the Superintendents of the several Police Divisions to whom much credit and thanks are due.

The result of the inspections may be looked upon as very satisfactory and the attendance parade highly praiseworthy, taking into consideration the inconvenience and difficulties which must have been experienced by a great many members of the Force, and the sacrifice of leisure which their attendance must have entailed.

Undoubtedly the organization of the Force generally has been attended with good results. As regards numbers, the Force, according to the latest returns rendered, has now a total strength of 3,298, which is numerically a falling off of about 800 from the returns rendered in November 1914, when the force attained its maximum strength of approximately 4,100. The decrease in numbers is due in a great measure to enlistment of members in His Majesty’s Military Forces, so cannot be looked upon otherwise than as advantageous, at all events from a National point of view.
Drill has been well carried out and the instruction imparted most creditable to the Drill Instructors.

I was much struck by the great steadiness in the ranks at inspections, and the physique of the men was quite up to expectations. In this respect I would specially mention the Wantage Division in which an exceptionally fine body of reservists has been enrolled.

I would also like to bring to favourable attention the Maidenhead Division, which I consider is deserving of praise for conspicuous steadiness on parade, and a general state of efficiency which is undoubtedly the product of very careful supervision.

I regret that I had to comment at one or two of my inspection parades upon the unduly large number of young men of enlisting age in the ranks. In most cases the explanations offered for their enrolment were satisfactory, but undoubtedly there have been instances of a want of rigid adherence to the instructions laid down in the Text Book which, with your approval, I compiled for general guidance when I commenced the organization of the Force.

I am glad to be assured that Rifle Drill and Musketry have been practised by a fair proportion of the men and that interest has been taken in the instruction of detachments in First Aid work.
A mounted detachment of 12 men has been formed in the Abingdon Division, and, judging from their appearance, equipments and equitation, I am confident they would be a very valuable addition to the Police Force on [sic] an emergency. I consider special credit is due to this detachment for the trouble and personal expense entailed in rendering themselves so efficient.

Reading Division

The presence of an unduly large number of men of enlisting age in the ranks was noticeable…

Maidenhead Division

It was brought to notice that about 64 men have quitted the Division to enlist in the Army, which is evidence of the fact that a proper sense of duty has been instilled into those members whose enrolment was in the first instance somewhat irregular.

Report of Deputy Chief Constable, in Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)

A post of suitable importance for the Chief Constable

The Standing Joint Committee of Berkshire County Council dealt with policing of the county. In April 1915 they heard that the Chief Constable (a retired army officer) planned to take up an army job. They were prepared to release him – as long as he got a senior role.

17 April 1915

Application by Chief Constable to accept Staff employment in the Army should his services be required

I beg to ask your permission to accept re-employment on the Staff of the Army should my services be required and Military Staff employment offered me. I cannot but feel that officers with experience should, in this crisis of war, offer their services to the country, provided that the Authorities under whom they are serving are willing to give them the requisite permission and leave from their present duties….

I therefore made the following application to the Military Secretary [to the Secretary of State for War] on the 22nd March last…

22nd March 1915

Sir,
I have the honour to offer my services for re-employment in the Army, provided the Secretary of State for Home Affairs and the Standing Joint Committee of my County approve and give me the requisite leave from my present duties as Chief Constable of Berkshire.

I am 56 years of age, active, and in good health.

In support of my application I beg to attach a copy of my testimonials when appointed Chief Constable of Berkshire some twelve years ago.

It will be seen from my record of service that I have served in the Navy, Army, and Police for over forty years, and have had staff experience as an Adjutant, Garrison Adjutant, and temporarily carried out the duties of DAQ General under Major General Young, Commanding Cork District.

During my service as Chief Constable of this County my administrative and executive duties have kept me qualified in staff duties, especially in a county like Berkshire, close to Aldershot, and in which military operations and manoeuvres often take place. For these reasons I would prefer staff to regimental work, having been away from a regiment for over sixteen years.

Personally I am willing to serve either at home or abroad, as the Secretary of State for War may think desirable; but of course the sanction of the Home Office and my County Authorities must first be obtained.

I understand that a large Camp is to be formed in Windsor Park shortly, and I would ask that my services might be accepted for staff work for that Camp. I have mentioned this staff work, for Windsor Park and the neighbourhood are in Berkshire. My Police watch the Park and neighbourhood, and, possibly, my County and the Home Office Authorities might be willing to allow me to take up Military duty where I should be in a position to advise and help my Deputy Chief Constable, who would necessarily take over the Police duties during my absence.

May I ask that, should my services be thought acceptable, application may be made to the Chairman, Standing Joint Committee for the County of Berks, The Forbury, Reading; and to the Secretary of State, Home Office, London.

I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
A F Poulton, Major,
Chief Constable of Berkshire
[To]
Major-General Sir F. S. Robb, KCVO, CB
Military Secretary to the Secretary of State for War

The following reply was sent me:-

War Office
23rd March 1915

In reply to the enclosed:-

It is impossible to place your name on the list of retired officers available for service, until you have obtained the requisite leave from your Authorities.

A Leetham, Lieut-Col, for Military Secrtary

I now, therefore, make the necessary application to you in accordance with those instructions…

After considerable discussion, it was Resolved on the motion of Sir Cameron Gull, Bart, seconded by Mr Russell: That the request of the Chief Constable for permission to offer his services to the War Office for staff duties during the war be granted… Direction was given that it should be stated in any letter written to the War Office that the Chief Constable’s services were very valuable to the County and that the Committee could only see their way to release him on condition that a post of sufficient importance were offered him.

BCC Standing Joint Committee minutes (C/CL/C2/1/5)