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)

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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)

In war time we dissipate and destroy national wealth

A Reading vicar observed the increase in public spending due to the costs of the war.

Notes from the Vicar

Financial Brevities

Our pre-War expenditure averaged 200 millions per annum.

Our present expenditure averages 2,500 millions per annum.

This great increase produces artificial prosperity. Why Artificial?
In peace time we accumulate and add to national wealth. In War time we dissipate and destroy national wealth.

When we save and lend to the state (i.e. ourselves), we benefit our soldiers, sailors, airmen, shipping, and ease every industrial problem. When we spend unnecessarily exactly the reverse happens. The National Debt before hostilities begun averaged roughly £40 per head of population. It now averages roughly £100 per head.

During Reading’s “Monitor” Week, March 4th to 9th, it is desired to raise at least £250,000 (£2 10s. per head of greater Reading population) by the sale of War Bonds and War Saving Certificates.

Therefore: Buy bonds; or if you have bought some, buy some more, and remember S. Giles’ Parish Hall Fund is hungry for them if you will make the gift through Col. Poulton, the Hon. Treasurer, of the Vicar.
A.W.T.

Reading St Giles parish magazine, March 1918 (D/P96/28A/35)

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…)

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)

Special Constables in Sulhamstead become efficient

Sulhamstead was among the Berkshire villages to respond to the appeal for Special Constables. The parish magazine reports:

SPECIAL POLICE
In consequence of the appeal made by the Chief Constable of Berkshire (Major Poulton), Sulhamstead has, like most of the other towns and villages in the county, organized a body of Special Police. About 25 men came forward as the result of the appeal.

Drills have taken place for several weeks, and the men are now rapidly becoming efficient. Captain Waring is the Divisional Officer, and the Sulhamstead Section is in charge of Mr Norton.

Sulhamstead parish magazine, December 1914 (D/EX725/3)