1912-21

Reigate Borough Police 1912.

Reigate Borough Police 1912.

1912, 1 January: Bicycle allowance granted for men using their own cycles (limited to one hundred and fifty men). The allowance was £2 per annum at ten shillings a quarter. Bicycles could be used to travel to divisional stations for drill, pay or bench.

1912, 4 July: The Times: At Godalming Henrietta Foster, Methuselah Matthews a farm labourer and James Glue also a farm labourer were remanded on a charge of murder of Alfred Foster the husband of the above. All four left a public house at Alfold and quarrelled on the way home to Dunsfold. Later that evening police received information that the body of Foster had been found in a pond. At the inquest Dr. Leathers of Godalming said he could find no sign of death by drowning. There were bruises on the left cheek and right temple, and a star shaped fracture on the inner layer of the skull. The left lung was in a collapsed state. Death was due to these injuries. The case was adjourned for one week.

1912: Superintendent Jennings, Haslemere: A clerk made off from a bank in Bournemouth with a suitcase containing £2,000, a considerable sum. The superintendent received information that the suspect was on Marley Common, Haslemere and with Sergeant Lightfoot and a number of constables he went to the edge of the common. Darkness fell and having been told the suspect had been seen with a woman on impulse, the superintendent called in a falsetto voice "Reggie, Regie!" To his utter astonishment the superintendent saw the suspect and continuing in his falsetto voice encouraged the suspect to come to him which he did and was arrested. PC Best at Oxted about 1913.

PC Best at Oxted about 1913.

PC Best at Oxted about 1913.

1913, 19 February: Suffragettes were causing problems and the Surrey Constabulary had to deal with three bomb outrages. The first and most famous happened at 6.10 am on 19 February 1913 at a house being built for Lloyd George, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, at Walton-on-the-Hill, in the Dorking Division. Inspector Riley of the Metropolitan Police Special Branch ... more

1913, 1 April: Central Criminal Court: Pankhurst, Emmeline aged fifty three, charged with feloniously procuring and inciting a person or persons unknown to commit felony; unlawfully soliciting and inciting persons unknown to commit felony and certain misdemeanours. ... more

1913, 7 March: PC Harold Weller: Risked his life trying to stop a runaway horse (see also 13 April 1914).

1913: Police Constable Edwin Lawty Guildford Borough was awarded the King's Police Medal for Gallantry for arresting a housebreaker at Newlands Corner. During the severe and prolonged struggle the Constable was injured by being struck by a golf club.

1914, 19 January: The Scotsman: The burning of Lady White's mansion: Woman committed for trial: At Chertsey on Saturday morning, Phyllis Brady a young woman ... more

1914, 13 April: The Times: Police Constable Weller was awarded the King's Police Medal for gallantry for a gallant but unsuccessful attempt to stop a runaway horse on the 7 March 1913.

1914: The outbreak of war caused considerable additional work for the police, with leave and rest days initially cancelled. At the request of the military authorities some fifty eight thousand billets (One hundred and fifty thousand by the end of the winter) had been found for soldiers by police in the county. Often the soldiers did not arrive and all the work was in vain.

Two hundred and fifty aliens had been registered, starting from scratch. A large number of men were called to the colours from the Force, three receiving high awards for bravery: Walter Tuppen a Distinguished Conduct Medal second only to a Victoria Cross, and Thomas Runnegar and Henry Brand Military Medals. Sixteen men were wounded, three of whom were permanently incapacitated and fifteen killed. (To be added those from the Boroughs).20

Surrey was an unrestricted area and many refugees came from London, mainly from the East End, mostly aliens, many undesirable. They arrived in train loads getting off where they thought desirable and then had to be housed and rationed with schools and like buildings taken into service.

Invasion through Surrey from the south or east was anticipated and arrangements made to deal with the receipt and passing of inhabitants, cattle, implements etc., and also arrange for the evacuation of the county itself. Four thousand Special Constables were raised to help with any evacuation; these numbers were an addition to those undertaking normal duties.21 Special Constables were detailed to keep order in the villages and also along selected refugee routes. The rendezvous for all cattle was Richmond Park.

On the first day of the war the chief constable realised that no provision had been made by the military for guarding their line of communications, the railway, from Aldershot to Dover. A posse of armed civilians was organised by the police to continuously guard vulnerable points. This was kept up for two months until relieved by Territorial soldiers. The important powder works at Chilworth were guarded by two unarmed police officers until all danger of sabotage was over, when the police were relieved by the Home Defence Corps armed to the teeth.22

1914: On the outbreak of war there were two thousand Special Constables in the county. During the war some four thousand nine hundred and eighty seven were sworn in.

1914, November: At the beginning of the war leave of absence was also suspended but restored in November 1914.

1914: SCC Archive: Item ref: CC98/14/6 Enquiry into disappearance of a couple at Godalming.

1914-18: Denis Turner: The earliest record of dogs being used by the Surrey Constabulary was during the First World War. A prisoner of war camp had been established at Frith Hill, Frimley and although most inmates were quite happy to sit out the war, from time to time some thought it their duty to escape. The surrounding countryside was ideal cover for the escapees. To assist in searching for them the police at Camberley obtained three Bloodhounds for the purposes of tracking. Kennelled at Camberley Police Station and handled by Sgt. Kenward and his assistant PC Pink they were used several times with some success but their use was discontinued after the war.

1915: Walton on Thames: Serious disturbances – bad feeling against German refugees who were living in the town.

1915, 4 June: Weekly Rest Day suspended due to the war. On 31 December 1915 one rest day in fourteen became the rule until the rest day was fully restored.

1915, 13 October: Guildford experienced its only Zeppelin raid the only casualty a swan in the River Wey and seventeen fowls roosting in trees.23

First World War Attack: Albury Gunpowder Mills: Additional hazards to mill operations were introduced by the First World War. The factory was provided with anti-aircraft guns by early 1915, and St Martha's Church was heavily camouflaged with branches to prevent the building being used by enemy pilots as a landmark for navigation. The worst scare of the war was when in 1915 a German Zeppelin dropped twelve bombs in the St Catherine's area of Guildford not far away whilst the pilot was looking for the gunpowder works. Damage was caused to property but the only casualties were a swan on the river, and seventeen chickens.24

1916, 6 December: Canadian soldier from Witley camp charged with murder. For more incidents involving the Canadian Army follow this link.

1917, 11 March: The Times: Superintendent Arthur Simmonds Surrey Police awarded a King's Police Medal.

1917, 25 September: The Times: Oxted: A twelve year old boy from Limpsfield dropped a stone over a railway bridge onto the Brighton to London train. The stone hit the engine boiler and rebounded through the looking glass which was smashed, the driver narrowly avoiding injury. The engine driver stated boys often dropped stones over bridges to see if they could get them in the engine chimney. The lad was fined £2 and four shillings costs for the glass.

During 1918 the Force employed its first policewoman, a sergeant who was posted to Farncombe to deal with prostitutes who had moved into the area close to the army camp at Witley. After the war she left the Force.

On 11 November 1918, the final armistice was signed and the guns were at last silenced. Eighteen Surrey Police Officers (including Boroughs) paid for peace with their lives. The chief constable prepared a full report recording the Force's experiences during the war years with a view to helping plan a coordinated police response in the event of any "... future war ..." - prophetic words indeed.

1919, 11 March: Before the coming of the Federation there was a recognition post war that there needed to be some form of safety valve for the men who were more reluctant to accept the style of police management before the war. Surrey had changed and officers did not take part in strike action but these were potentially dangerous times.

The chief constable in GO 630 established a Board. One officer and one constable to be elected annually by ballot of the officers and men, respectively, in each division. There would be opportunities for discussion of matters concerned with the conditions of service will be given on each pay day. Should any subject be brought forward or a vote in favour of it be arrived at in any division, such subject shall be put before all other divisions for their discussion and a vote taken on it. Should a majority of the whole force be in favour of it, it will then be brought before the chief constable at the ensuing conferences, and other matters which have been brought up by divisions and agreed to by a majority of the members of the force will be dealt with at the conference.

1919, April: The naked and decomposing body of a newly born girl was discovered on a dust heap in Haslemere. The mother was Harriett Roe; a single domestic servant who was traced and charged with concealment of birth. She had given birth in the lavatory of the house where she worked and hid the baby that was probably dead, in a bucket until she could dispose of it. The court was unable to be convinced that the child had a separate existence and the mother was bound over "to give her an opportunity of redeeming her past".28

1919, 20 May: The Times: The Surrey Police on bicycles and in motor cars are scouring the wild and unfrequented common around Woking in search of an alleged burglar who was captured on the premises of Woking Cooperative Society. Twice he escaped when hotly pursued by the police by plunging fully clothed into the Basingstoke canal and swimming across and twice he was recaptured. A third attempt at escape was successful and he got away. He was described as big and powerful and was initially discovered on the premises by the manager but escaped into the street where he stole a bicycle and knocked down one of his pursuers. He was caught, taken back to the shop by a number of men and as the police were being telephoned he wrenched free from the two men holding him and escaped leaping on another bicycle hotly pursued by police.

1919: Baby farms: Mrs Flitter aged sixty and Mrs Bell aged forty one appeared at Surrey Assizes charged with the deaths of two babies and with the wilful neglect of seven others. The first baby to die was Allen MacDougal at just fifty five days old. The doctor who examined the child described him as pinched and emaciated with the face of an old man. The child was skin and bone with no trace of any fat. The defendants were looking after babies mostly of unmarried mothers for a fee. They were sentenced to eighteen months in prison without hard labour.29

1919: The Police Federation is born: Following a police strike in London in 1918, and subsequent trouble between an unofficial body called the National Union of Police and Prison Officers and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the Government appointed Lord Desborough to head a Committee of Inquiry into the Police Service.

The Committee reported in June, and recommended standard conditions of service for all police forces in Great Britain. The Home Secretary was to become directly responsible for the service, and an advisory Police Council was to be appointed. Desborough also recommended that there should be a Police Federation to represent the interests of constables, sergeants, inspectors and chief inspectors on matters affecting their welfare and efficiency.

The Government quickly accepted the Desborough Report and the pay scales he recommended. This meant a substantial improvement in police pay for most forces. It was also announced that, following the passage of the Police Act and the setting up of the Police Federation, members of the police forces would no longer be allowed to belong to a trade union, meaning the end of the Police Union.

A second strike, called in defiance of the Police Act, was a failure: only on Merseyside was there a large response from the police, and rioting had to be put down by military intervention. All 2,000 strikers were dismissed. In November 1919, the first Annual Conference of the Police Federation took place.30

1919, August: Murder Middleton Road Guildford: Mrs Caroline Martin was at home with her husband Frederick and their twelve year old son Freddy. After lunch on a Sunday Caroline heard a strange noise upstairs and ran there to find her husband standing in the bedroom and Freddy with difficulty trying to get off the bed. There was blood everywhere; young Freddy's throat had been slit. Caroline screamed and a neighbour came to find the boy was dead.

Detective Constable Manfield was called to the scene where at the back of the house in the scullery he found a great deal of blood with a carving knife lying in it. The police opened the lavatory door and found Mr Martin alive but unconscious, bleeding profusely from a cut throat. He was taken to hospital.

It became clear that Mr Martin had syphilis although he had received treatment for some ten years. He was soon to have a minor operation and he was worried that his earlier disease would be revealed. Martin had taken Freddy to the doctor earlier that year to see if there was any trace of the disease in his son but there was none. Doctors thought that Mr Martin had syphilis on the brain, was unfit to plead and was detained at His Majesty's pleasure.31

1919, 3 November: First meeting of the Police Federation in Surrey.

Men returned from the war serving in Woking in 1919.

Men returned from the war serving in Woking in 1919.

Note wound bars and overseas chevrons Overseas service chevrons were introduced in early 1918 and were small and inverted and worn on the right cuff. King's Regulations "no longer fit for military service"; blue stripe indicates one year's overseas service. This was worn on the right lower sleeve. The wound stripe was worn on the left lower sleeve.

c1919: Report from Chief Constable on learning points from policing the First World War: The major points are: Surrey was an unrestricted area and ... more

The 1971 Camberley reunion attended by Arthur George Gunner KPM.

Behind Mr & Mrs Gunner are (left to right): Barney
Mousley, ex-Superintendent Joe Armstrong,
Mrs Trussler and Chief Superintendent Trussler.

1919: PC Arthur George Gunner awarded King's Police Medal for Gallantry when in the darkness on the bank of the River Wey at Godalming tackled and arrested a drunken soldier who immediately before had threatened to shoot a military policeman and who was believed to be armed with a revolver. In 1971 at a Reunion at Camberley PC Gunner was guest of honour when aged 85.

1920: Inspector William Kenward was awarded King's Police Medal for Gallantry after he tackled and arrested a madman armed with a rifle at Woking who had already wounded a constable. (Held the rank of superintendent and deputy chief constable 1922-1931. When appointed superintendent at Godalming, there were no police vehicles - just a pony and trap.) He was succeeded by Superintendent Bird.

1920: First meeting of the Police Council:33 The first meetings of the Police Council of England and Wales drew up new Police Regulations which were approved by Parliament. Many local authorities strongly objected to the new powers of the Home Secretary and complained about the high level of police wages.

1920, 28 February: The Times: Hampshire and Surrey Police are searching for a man who attacked a nurse at North Camp at about 10 pm Thursday. Miss Perry was in Alyson's Avenue, walking from North Camp towards Ash Vale to go to her quarters when a tall man in a military overcoat and cap snatched her handbag. Failing to get the bag, the man attacked with great fury, knocking her down and kicking her on the head and back before running off in the darkness. The nurse was found in a ditch beside the road. She now lies in hospital in a very serious condition.

1920, 1 May: The Times: A woman living at Walton on Thames who had lost her sight and had four children killed in the explosion at Silvertown has been robbed. She took in people for overnight accommodation and two men who stayed ransacked drawers and cupboards and stole clothing.

1920, 11 December: The Times: Surrey Police are investigating a burglary at Furze Hill, Pirbright the home of Lady Stanley the widow of the explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley. Thieves ransacked each room except that occupied by the caretaker but only took a small clock. Fingerprints of four persons have been found by police.

1920: Ex Chief Inspector Gosling: Off Beat October 1972: In the early days of 1920 after receiving "Training" at Guildford and Woking I was transferred to Ripley under Sergeant Gooby. A horse was stolen from Ripley and I received instructions to report in plain clothes and with bicycle at 9 am the following morning. We made for Chertsey and reported to the local superintendent and then made enquiries in a number of pubs – I didn't know there were so many. Later that day an arrest was made and the prisoner taken to Chertsey police station where the superintendent gave permission for the divisional transport, a horse and trap and the divisional "jockey" to take the accused and the sergeant along with his cycle to Woking. I had to travel with the horse and my cycle to Woking police station. On my arrival I was told the man had been charged then it was back on our bikes to Ripley. I received one shilling and sixpence in expenses!

DCC Bird.

DCC Bird

DCC Kenward

DCC Kenward

1921, 27 June: The Scotsman: His Majesty the King bestowed the King's Police Medal upon Inspector William Kenward Surrey Constabulary for acts of special gallantry.

1921, 25 July: The first GO put out following representations of the Police Federation (since November 1919) it was agreed that damage done to boots and clothing as a result of common fires would be made good by the county.34

1921: Standardisation of police pensions:35 The Police Pensions Act standardised pensions for all police forces. However, by requiring officers to serve for 30 years, instead of 26 years, for their maximum pension entitlement, in many areas conditions were worsened.

1921, 30 October: Violet's Fatal Encounter: Doctors agreed that fourteen year-old Violet Mansfield had died while losing her virginity. But was she raped and murdered, or was the sex consensual and her death accidental? A milkman found her body in the grounds of Highlands a large house near Farnham, at 6am on Sunday, October 30th, 1921. She lay in a shrubbery near the gatehouse, her underwear was found nearby and her disarranged clothing indicated rape.

Her home was a cottage only two hundred and fifty yards away, and she had set out alone at 6pm the previous day to spend the evening in Farnham. Her parents were not unduly worried that she hadn't returned when they went to bed. She was often out late on Saturdays, they said, and she was mature for her age.

The doctor who performed the post-mortem examination determined that Violet had died in the early hours of Sunday. He found semen in her vagina, and said that until having sex on this occasion she had been a virgin. He also said there was no evidence of rape.

At the inquest two doctors said they that thought Violet might have died during "rough" but consensual intercourse, and that she might have been accidentally suffocated, perhaps to muffle the noise she was making. One of the physicians added that it was also possible that Violet had suffered an epileptic seizure while having sex.

The police, however, believed that she might have been suffocated because she threatened to "tell on" the person having sex with her, as she was not yet sixteen. The coroner's jury returned a verdict which said simply that Violet had been suffocated, but the police recorded her death as an unsolved murder.36

1921, 29 October: Murder occurred on the Farnham Division with the victim a girl named Mansfield. In the post from Leeds prison was sent a confession from prisoner Sidney James Wyles. Superintendent W.R. Lucas went to Leeds to interview the prisoner on the 19 November 1921 and the sparse papers at the record office include an exercise book containing the questions and answers taken down during the interviews of the murder suspect. The confession was rejected as Wyles gave inaccurate answers in every detail compared to the girl Mansfield's case.37


20 Durrant, A.J. (1951). A hundred years of the Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1951, p. 46.

21 Durrant, A.J. (1951). A hundred years of the Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1951, p. 46.

22 Durrant, A.J. (1951). A hundred years of the Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1951, p. 47.

23 Middleton-Stewart, Geraldine (2001). Surrey Police: a Pictorial History 1851-2001, Guildford, Surrey Police.

24 http://www.weyriver.co.uk/theriver/industry_5_gunpowder.htm [25 January 2010].

28 Maxton, Caroline (2005). Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Guildford, Wharncliffe Books, p. 123.

29 Maxton, Caroline (2005). Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Guildford, Wharncliffe Books, p. 124.

30http://www.polfed.org/aboutus/69DD9AB47F534348AD5D1415843163AA.asp [19 January 2010].

31 Maxton, Caroline (2005). Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Guildford, Wharncliffe Books, p. 128.

33 http://www.polfed.org/aboutus/69DD9AB47F534348AD5D1415843163AA.asp [19 January 2010].

34 Durrant, A.J. (1951). A hundred years of the Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1951, p. 30.

35 http://www.polfed.org/aboutus/69DD9AB47F534348AD5D1415843163AA.asp [19 January 2010].

36 True Crime Library (2008). (October 27).

37 Surrey History Centre, Woking, item ref CC98/11/4, Murder in Farnham: notebook and correspondence concerning false confession.

 

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