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)

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A foreign accent betrays escaped German prisoners

The Standing Joint Committee which oversaw the police in Berkshire heard of an exciting incident involving escaped PoWs in Old Windsor. Meanwhile, single policemen were continuing to join the armed forces, while women and the retired were filling civilian jobs.

6 January 1917

The Finance Sub-committee report that at about midnight on 7 December, 1916, PC 177, George Crook, was on duty at Old Windsor when he met two men who were unable to give a satisfactory account of themselves, and, as they spoke with a foreign accent, the Constable telephoned to Superintendent Jannaway at Clewer, who instructed him to detain them and convey them to Clewer Police Station, where it was eventually discovered that they had escaped from the German Officers’ Internment Camp at Holyport that same night. As an appreciation of PC Crook’s prompt action and judgment in the matter, he has been advanced in grade of pay (2d per day) nearly three months earlier than he otherwise would have been.

Police joining the Army

The Chief Constable has written to Lieut-General Sclater, Commanding the Southern District, Salisbury, giving him the number of Constables under the age of 30 years serving in the Force, and a list of those now serving in HM Army, with a view to the possible release of such as can be replaced by men of the Berkshire Police whom it is advisable to release from further military duty, but who are fit for Police duties. (more…)

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)