1922-31

1922, 21 April: Murder of Gladys Martha Wall: Walton on Thames, known as the "Legless Murder". Gladys was fifteen and had been courting ... more

1922, 9 August: The Times: Oxted Police Court: Aaron Rosher aged fifty two, a farm labourer was arrested at Petworth after being missing for three days and charged with the murder of his wife Edith Daisy Rosher by cutting her throat. He was remanded until August 17th.

1922: The Federation suffers its first defeat:39 The Home Secretary told the Joint Central Committee that a pay cut for provincial forces, as recommended by the Geddes Committee on Public Expenditure, could only be avoided by savings in other areas. It was agreed that there should be: a cut in rent allowances and the abolition of tax refunds on them; a 'levy' of 2.5% of pay; reductions in plain clothes and subsistence allowance; overtime was to start after nine hours duty instead of eight. The 'levy' was considered a temporary measure.

1923: Desborough under threat:40 The levy was renewed for another year. In July, the Government yielded to pressure from the local authorities and reconvened Lord Desborough's Committee to reconsider the pay scales it had drawn up in 1919.

Tom Roberts 1923.

Tom Roberts 1923.

1923, 30 August: The Scotsman: Road dangers: An excellent example of the unintelligent criticism of the motorist is that of Superintendent Kenward of the Surrey Police (sic). He takes the view that it should be an offence to build a touring car which has a greater speed than thirty miles per hour. No more reactionary opinion has ever been expressed. The superintendent's alarm at the "ever increasing toll of accidents" is apparently not shared by the officials of the Ministry of Transport, one of whom stated last week that the number of accidents was not increasing.

1923, 7 September: The Times: May not be in the constabulary area. Close to Kenley a 29 year old man was found dead in the cess pit of a stud farm owned by his father.

1923: GO: Bicycles had to be used for journeys under ten miles and the chief constable commented that the use of bicycles had become customary without any ill effect.41

1923: Special Constables Act provided for a permanent force with an authorised strength in Surrey of one thousand five hundred and twelve. They were equipped with uniform.42

1924, 5 January: The Scotsman: Use of Spotlights: The RAC have communicated with the Home Secretary in regard to the action of Surrey Police (sic) in prosecuting the users of spot lights, which the Club maintain are particularly useful on foggy nights. The secretary of the Club pointed out the useful purpose these lights serve and that the action by the police appeared to be uncalled for.

1924, 8 January: The Times: A cleverly planned burglary took place at Silverlands, Chertsey the residence of Sir Cecil Chubb who presented Stonehenge to the nation. The offence took place on Sunday night between 7.30 and 9.30, whilst the family were at dinner. The thieves reached Lady Chubb's bedroom by standing on the portico over the door. Fortunately Lady Chubb's principle jewellery was in the strong room but £500 worth was stolen along with £150 in notes. Contents of the drawers were scattered all over the rooms. The ladder used was carried from a rick at a farm a quarter of a mile away and it is believed they got away in a motor car. The case is in the hands of Scotland Yard and Surrey Police.

1924: Desborough maintains pay standards:43 Desborough reported that the Committee saw no reason to alter police pay, saying that it was not the right time for "disturbing an agreement come to so recently".

1924, 22 August: PC 86 Thomas Turner aged forty two was knocked down and seriously injured by a car at Windlesham in July whilst on night duty. He died from shock after having one or possibly both his legs amputated.

The Times: A Surrey Police Constable Turner was dangerously injured by a motor car on the London Road near Windlesham at midnight on Thursday and is now in the Windsor hospital.

1924: Blue Anchor Hotel Byfleet poisoning: the John Pierre Vaquier case: Press cuttings and copy-correspondence regarding press interference with witnesses are held at the Surrey Record Centre. The story is of a vain Frenchman who poisoned ... more

1924: August PC William Elkins: Send was experiencing a number of serious burglaries. One morning PC Elkins attended a burglary and searched the house for clues finding a cigarette-end and a small piece of the inside flap of a match box - no more than half an inch by a quarter of an inch. Pursuing enquiries later that morning the constable approached a young man on a punt on the River Wey and asked him for a light. Obligingly the young man handed over a box of Swan Vesta, found to have a piece of the casing missing, measuring half an inch by a quarter of an inch. The man was arrested and found to be a notorious criminal named Anthony St. George and hundreds of pounds of stolen property were recovered.44

1924, 22 December: Baby in the canal: Just before Christmas, during the evening, two men heard screams coming from the Basingstoke Canal in St. John's Woking. They found a woman clinging to the bars of Penley's Lock gate and pulled her out and immediately she indicated that her baby had been in the water with her and was missing. She said "I threw it in; I chucked it in, in a fit of temper". A doctor and police were called and the canal dragged as the woman Flora Derigo was held at Knaphill police station.

Flora's husband was an American soldier who had returned to the USA and although he had made all the arrangements for her to join him, her family had prevented the reunion. She was now living with a Sidney Smith and six weeks before his death, Clifton Barrington Martin Derigo was born. Smith fell out with Flora and moved away on the 18 December and the culmination of all the problems in her life resulted in the baby being thrown into the canal.

At a January inquest attended by the father who collapsed and had to be carried from the court before a verdict of wilful murder was returned. Flora was committed for trial on a charge of wilful murder and appeared on the 25 March at Surrey Assizes where she pleaded guilty to infanticide which was accepted by the court and Flora was bound over in the sum of £50.45

1925, 23 March: The Scotsman: At Chertsey on Saturday Harry Armstrong unemployed hall porter of 45 Princess Street, Camberley was charged with attempting to murder Mabel Brown a domestic servant on Friday night.

PC North of the Surrey Constabulary said that at 10.30 pm on Friday he was called to the shelter on the ladies links and found Brown lying on the floor in a pool of blood, with a knife wound in her neck near the wind pipe. A deer's foot handled knife was sticking through her mackintosh, near the collar band. She was taken to Windsor Hospital. There was no sign of a struggle.

Police Sergeant Titcombe said he went to Princess Street that morning and arrested the prisoner who was asleep in bed. At Bagshot Police Station the prisoner said "It was a deer's foot dagger I did it with." He also said Brown accused him of being the cause of certain trouble she was in, and that was what the trouble was about on the links.

1925: Pension contributions are doubled:46 Following disagreement at the Police Council, a Committee under Lord Lee recommended that the deductions from pay and rent allowances should be ended, but that pension contributions should be doubled to 5%.

1926: Eamonn Priestly Policeman's Remarkable Experience (Staines and Egham News (1926). (April 2).)

PC Streek of Ottershaw has had a remarkable experience, the like of which he has not encountered before in the whole of his twenty seven years service in the police force. A fox on the highway has attacked him. A few days ago in the course of his ordinary duties, he was going up Church Hill at 4.30am, when he heard a noise in the road. It was quite dark at the time, and having located the object that was causing the disturbance, he shone his light on it. No sooner had he done so, than the fox - it was a large dog fox - sprang at him and he drew his staff to defend himself. Two or three times, PC Streek managed to bowl his adversary over, but he could not deliver the knockout blow, and the struggle continued for nearly half an hour. Then the constable obtained the assistance of the chauffeur at Ottermead, and between them they quickly despatched Reynard. It was discovered that the fox had got a small gin trap on one of its front paws, and it was the noise of trying to get this off which first attracted the attention of PC Streek. Doubtless, the pain and the sudden glare of the light caused it to spring at the constable, when he turned the light upon it. The animal was a large one and in fine condition.

Chertsey Police with Superintendent dawes and Chief Constable Sant 1925.

Chertsey Police with Superintendent Dawes and Chief Constable Sant 1925.

1926, 23 June: Superintendent Boshier received a visit at Woking Police Station from a workman who had overheard colleagues discussing a crime they had committed, a burglary at a shop. Gerald Matthews and Thomas Victor Lewis were arrested by Boshier and later released without charge. Letters were exchanged with solicitors Triggs Turner seeking recompense for their innocent clients. The chief constable wrote indicating that Boshier had acted in everyway without malice or ill will – they were merely conveyed to the police station by the superintendent to enable him to clear up certain points which arose during his enquiries.47

1926, 18 August: The Times: Surrey Police are still searching a fourth person who abandoned a stolen motor car which was found wrecked and stained with blood at Leatherhead on Wednesday night.

1926: Police work during the General Strike is recognised:48 The year of the General Strike saw the Times newspaper set up a National Police Fund, in response to public's gratitude for the work of the service.

1926, 24 August: Knaphill: The Lerwill family moved to Nuthurst in Lower Knaphill in June 1926. With the family was seventy seven year old bachelor Hilary Rougier who was soon a serial patient of local Doctor Brewer until one day ... more

1926, 7 September: The Times: An aeroplane crashed in a field at Phoenice (sic) Farm, Great Bookham when the pilot, mechanic and lady passenger were killed. The plane was on route from Bognor to Brooklands but the weather closed in. There were no mechanical defects on the plane.

1926, October: Coal Strike in Derbyshire: Bob Bartlett: Extracted in 1973 from papers in the basement of HQ: The miners were on strike and disorder had broken out in ... more

1926, December: The Force was alerted to the disappearance of Agatha Christie when her car was found abandoned near Newlands Corner. ... more

1926, 8 December: The Scotsman: Motor's fatal skid – driver's evidence given from stretcher: Two victims of the blazing car tragedy the result of the blazing car turning over and bursting into flames during the early hours of Sunday on the main road between Merstham and Redhill. The deceased were Stanley Cohen aged 25 from Clapton Common and Miss Susie Scott from Whitechapel travelling with another man and two women. Wolf Cohen was at the wheel. The car skidded hit the kerb, crossed the road and overturned pinning the occupants underneath and setting fire to the oil tank.

The inquest was held at the East Surrey Hospital, Redhill. The driver gave evidence from a stretcher, his arms and hands bandaged. The driver said he was driving at a moderate pace when he felt the car skid, swerved around and immediately overturned with the oil tank igniting. There was a desperate struggle to get from underneath the car which at that time was blazing furiously.

Sergeant Hilton of the Surrey Constabulary said he was on the scene within minutes of the accident. The car was in flames beside the road and there were two deceased and three injured people. Miss Scott was very badly injured but alive and fifty yards towards London he found Stanley Cohen in a very bad state. When the ambulance arrived it skidded for some distance. The ground was very slippery and covered with ground frost.

Medical evidence showed the two deceased were terribly burned their cases being hopeless from the beginning. There was not the least trace, the least smell of alcohol. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

1927, 11 February: The Times: Camberley Police Court: Lieutenant Barne of the Scots Guards: "By an unlawful act causing the death of Hugh Coghill on February 6" also from the Scots Guards aged 20. Barne was driving a car when involved in an accident and Coghill was killed. Barne could not be in court as he was "confined to his bed" and the case was adjourned. Superintendent W.R. Lucas watched the case for the Surrey Police.

1927: Police given more rights in disciplinary action:49 The Police (Appeals) Act gave members of the police service a limited right of appeal against disciplinary decisions.

1927, 23 May: The Times: Special Constables have been called to assist the Surrey Police to control Sunday evening motor traffic through Dorking and Leatherhead but about half the Special Constabulary said, rather than undertake this work they would resign. Many of the men were small shopkeepers and tradesmen whose day off was Sunday.

1927, May: Frank Melton was posted to Woking where there were just two offices – one a general office where the public came and the other was occupied by Superintendent Boshier. He worked three hours by day and five by night as a regular routine. He lived in the section house.50 The hours of duty typically would be 10-1 and 2-7; 12:30-5:30 and 8-12; 10-1 and 3-8; 2-5 and 4-12; 10-1 and 9-2; 2-5 and 7-12.

1928, 2 February: The Times: Oxted Court: Sidney Mayne a painter of Curtisville, Barfields, Bletchingly was charged with the murder of Harry Butler aged sixty nine. Superintendent Phillip Claydon said the prisoner was brought to the police station late on Saturday night and he charged the prisoner with murder when he replied "That's right; all correct." The prisoner said he wished to make a statement which was written down, read over to him and he signed it. Mayne was remanded in Custody.

1928, 3 March: The Times: Trial of Mayne: Police Constable Gibbs heard the shot and was on the scene almost immediately and saw that Butler had been shot in the thigh but soon died. Mayne said to PC Gibbs "He meant to get me but I got him." The case was adjourned until the 9 March.

1928, February 17: The Times: The Coroner and jury sitting at Woking commended the action of Police Constable Percy Bowd of the Guildford Borough Police who entered the River Wey on the night of January 14 and attempted to save John Cooke an elderly inmate of the Guildford Poor Law Institution from drowning in the flooded river.

1928,: 18 February: The Times: Egham police are trying to trace the relatives of a woman aged about twenty who fell off an omnibus in Englefield Green yesterday morning and fractured her skull.

1928: Frank Melton who served 1927-1952: February 1995 Off Beat: I was responsible for writing up the Occurrence Book at Woking. This book known as the OB contained condensed copies of all reports submitted to the superintendent and one was kept at each divisional station. Most reports at that time were in longhand on foolscap paper there being very few prepared forms and commenced with "Sir, I have the honour to report" and ended "I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient servant, PC 102 Frank Melton". A sergeant submitted two reports for me to transcribe one in a case of cattle mutilation "The horse was slashed across the second weekend in July" and for a youngster reported for stealing a cycle – "It is my opinion that this boy is a cycleogical case".

1928, 19 October: The Times: Accused acquitted of murder: Alan Heron of Titsey charged with the murder of Edward William Constable was acquitted of murder following a drunken fight. When charged by Inspector Seed he said: "I belted him." Heron had intervened when the deceased was involved in a fight with his wife and children.

1928, 22 October: PC 248 William Thomas Herrett aged thirty three was run down when stopping a runaway horse and dustcart in Bagshot where he was stationed ... more

Superintendent Eric Boshier 1933.

Superintendent Eric Boshier 1933.

1928: Superintendent Eric Boshier involved in the arrest and prosecution of a Mr Honeybourne just after Christmas 1928 for the attempted murder of a domestic servant.

After following up his enquiries with great assiduity, Superintendent Boshier traced the couple to a shed in Ash and was just in time to rescue the girl after an attempt had been made to hang her.

He died in 1935 soon after retirement.

1929, 3 April: The Times: Fines mostly on motorist imposed in Surrey police courts for the year ending December 1931 totalled £22,081.

1929, August 13: Missing girl: Disappearance of Winifred Parrant aged eighteen from Esher Division. ... more

1929, 5 November: Disturbances at Chiddingfold bonfire: Eric Boshier Superintendent retired.51 Contrary to modern myth the Riot Act was ... more

Bean van.

The Bean Van

1930: Transport: The Road Traffic Act 1930 authorised the Ministry of Transport to subsidise police cars which it did for Surrey, providing five cars and eleven motorcycles and Surrey had its first motorcyclist, PC John Baker. In addition five Austin Seven cars were purchased for use by the detective or enquiry sergeants who were expected to take with them the constable who first reported the crime. In 1930 there were also five 'Bean' vans.53

1930: The strength of the force was three hundred and fifty six.54

1931: The Federation gains a full-time official, but faces pay cuts:55 The May Committee on National Expenditure recommended a cut of 12.5% in police pay as part of general cuts in public spending, phased over two years. The May report also recommended the abolition of the right to retire on 'half pay' pensions after 25 years' service.

A sub-committee of the Police Council recommended that there should be no change in pensionable pay, but that there should be 'temporary deduction'. The sub-committee was divided on the pension's issue, but a majority proposed that the pay of new entrants should be reduced.

The Government decided to reduce police pay by 10% in two instalments of 5%, taking into account the reduction in police pay when pension contributions were increased in 1925. The Federation held a series of mass meetings of the membership to protest against the pay cuts.

1930, 19 January: The Scotsman: Cemetery Mystery: An unauthorised burial of an infant has been discovered at the cemetery at Caterham under peculiar circumstances. The gravedigger was in the children's section of the cemetery and noticed a spot where the earth had been newly dug. As he had not opened the ground himself the police were informed. After investigation by Inspector Rendell of the Surrey Constabulary, the ground was dug over by the grave digger, who found the body of a male child apparently recently born clothed only in a few rags. The body was conveyed to the mortuary to await a post mortem and the police are making inquiries.

1930, 14 August: The Scotsman: Sequel to "Hold Ups": A man believed to be the motor bandit who early on Wednesday morning visited a motor garage at Camberley, threatened to shoot the petrol salesman, and then rifled a till and drove off, was arrested at Southampton yesterday morning.

At 1.45 am yesterday morning a Mr Jackson of Bournemouth informed Inspector Brake the officer in charge of Camberley Police Station that while he was driving from London to Bournemouth, and coming through Hounslow, another motor car driver hailed him and told him he had been held up by a man about thirty years of age, dressed in a grey suit, the description of whom corresponded exactly with that of the man who held up the salesman at the garage at Camberley.

The motorist told Mr Jackson that the man who stopped him drew a revolver, levelled it at him and threatened to shoot him if he at once did not hand over his car. Mr Jackson informed the police that as he drove through Bagshot the stolen car passed him very fast towards Basingstoke.

Inspector Brake at once communicated with all police stations in that direction asking that a sharp look-out be kept. The suspect was later seen in Odiham where another robbery at a petrol station took place but this time the salesman jumped on the intruder and succeeded in getting the revolver from him. The bandit escaped and drove off in the direction of Winchester. He was eventually traced to Southampton.

Woking Division 1930

Woking Division 1930

1930, 15 September: The Scotsman: Superintendent Boshier the man who arrested Vaquier for the murder of Mr Jones the Byfleet hotel proprietor in 1924 was on Saturday presented by the Woking Magistrates on his retirement after thirty six years service in the Surrey Constabulary with a piece of silver-plate in recognition of his conscientious and successful work. The Justices also presented a silver teapot to Mrs Boshier. Superintendent Boshier was decorated by the King this year for meritorious service.

Superintendent Clayton c.1930

Superintendent Clayton c.1930

1930, 17 September: Policeman injured: Alleged attack in a Golf Clubhouse: Police Constable Gibbs of the Surrey Constabulary was found in the roadway near the Bletchingly Golf Club early yesterday in a collapsed condition.

Shortly after 3 o'clock PC Gibbs heard noises in the golf club pavilion and found a window broken. On entering he found three men who it alleged attacked him with golf clubs. He defended himself with his truncheon but was struck on the head and body. The men got away.

Later two men were detained at Godstone and a third later that day and all three taken before the court in Oxted. The men, one from Leeds, one from Camberwell and one of no fixed address were charged with breaking into the club house and stealing a sum of money. The injured constable was in court with his head in bandages but was unable to give evidence.

Police Sergeant John Henry Higgs of Godstone said he and other police searched the district and found two of the men at Bletchingly and questioned them on their movements the previous night. He noticed that the bottoms of their trouser legs and boots were very wet so he detained them. The third man was arrested by the sergeant and all three were picked out by PC Gibbs when they were put up for identification at Oxted police station. All three were remanded in custody when other charges would be added.

1931: County Archives: Possible abduction of infant: This was a significant enquiry involving a number of police forces and involved James Falkner who had taken his granddaughter from her mother in London where she was living in poor circumstances. Any prosecution was no doubt undertaken in London although the suspect was seen and interviewed in Guildford.56

1931: Surrey Constabulary Old Comrades Association The early minute book of the Association shows and entry "No Sir, I think they never die." This was the reply ... more

Duty sheet - split shifts part day part night

Duty sheet -
split shifts part day part night

1931, April 18: Onslow Village Guildford: A domestic servant Emily Broom gave birth to a boy. She called for help from her employer in the same house and a doctor and nurse soon attended. Emily swore the baby had been dead at birth but she had tied string around the boy's neck and placed him in a suitcase beneath her bed. The post-mortem by Dr. Milligan the police surgeon indicated that the baby had died of asphyxia due to the ligature around the neck as there was evidence of independent life. Emily was charged with infanticide and in May appeared before the magistrates in Guildford and committed for trial in custody at Holloway. She later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two months in prison and taken from the dock screaming.57

1931, 10 June: The Times: PC Edward George Steede of the Guildford Borough Police was summoned for receiving a motor car clock the property of Dennis Brothers Ltd., knowing it to have been stolen. A further summons alleged he stole the clock from the stores at the factory. Both summonses were dismissed. Mrs Steede said that the clock was left in their porch and PC Steede said that he was undertaking enquiries before reporting to the chief constable.

1931, 29 July: The Scotsman: Fatal poisoning of Lieutenant Chevis Royal Artillery after eating Manchurian partridge, his wife who was also poisoned recovered. ... more

1931, 11 November: The Scotsman: Inquest adjourned twice: Surrey police early yesterday exhumed from Addlestone Cemetery the body of Charles Edward Allen a retired building contractor of New Haw. The funeral took place on the 27 October. A post-mortem was held at Guildford Hospital and the remains reinterred. The deceased had returned from a Masonic dinner in London and had been taken ill after he had gone to bed. He expired almost at once.


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

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

41 Durrant, A.J. (1951). A hundred years of the Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1951, p. 27.

42 Durrant, A.J. (1951). A hundred years of the Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1951, p. 73.

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

44 Durrant, A.J. (1951). A hundred years of the Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1951, p. 42.

45 Maxton, Caroline (2005). Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Guildford, Wharncliffe Books, p. 34.

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

47 Surrey History Centre, Woking, item ref CC98/11/7.

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

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

50 Off Beat, May 1978.

51 Off Beat, March 1977.

53 Durrant, A.J. (1951). A hundred years of the Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1951, p. 56.

54 Durrant, A.J. (1951). A hundred years of the Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1951, p. 56.

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

56 Surrey History Centre, Woking, item ref CC98/11/8.

57 Maxton, Caroline (2005). Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Guildford, Wharncliffe Books, p. 126.

 

Surrey Constabulary badge