Owen, Henry, Police Constable.

Paul Watts

William Henry Wightman Recalled To The Colours
Herts Police Historical Society

This is believed to be the correct man but if anyone can either confirm or disprove this please feel free to comment below.

Early Life.

Henry Owen was born on the 4th March 1893 at Croxley Green.

His father also called Henry Owen and married his mother, Mary Ann Turner, on the 5th September 1886 at Rickmansworth. They had 8 children, three boys and five girls who were Sarah Ann (known as Annie) born 1886 at Rickmansworth, Charlotte Elizabeth born 1891 at Croxley Green, Henry, Catherine Mary born 1897 at Croxley Green, William Thomas born 1901 at Croxley Green, Emma Rose born 1903 at Croxley Green, Edith May born 1906 at Croxley Green and John Charles born 1908 at Croxley Green.

At the time of the 1891 census the family were living at New Road, Rickmansworth and Henry senior is employed as a general labourer. By the 1901 census their address was now described as New Road, Croxley Green and Henry senior is now a carter for a contractor.

During the 1911 census the family are probably still at the same address, which is given as 147, New Road, Croxley Green and Henry senior is employed as a carter for a builder.

Early Army Service.

Henry junior has left home and joined the Army and in the 1911 census is shown as Private Henry Owen 4th Battalion, Bedford Regiment living at Hertford Militia Barracks, Hertford. The Militia were often feeder Regiments for Regular Regiments and seen as a way of enlisting young men on a ‘trial’ basis.

No Army Service Records have survived so we do not know for certain where or what he did next. However, if this is the correct Henry Owen then he was later awarded a Silver War Badge and the citation for this states he originally enlisted on the 26th June 1911. He would probably, as was common practice at that time, have signed up for short service of three years in the Colours and nine in the Reserves.

If this is correct then he would have been transferred to the Army Reserve on the 26th June 1914, which fits nicely with the next assumption that on leaving the Army he joined the Hertford County Constabulary.

Police Service.

It is believed that he was Appointed on the 22nd July 1914 and that he started his Probationary training at R Division Headquarters at Hatfield with PC’s William Henry Williams, Herbert Thomas Farrer, Leonard Howard, Frederick Hagger, John Robert Rogers and William Henry Wightman. All seven of them are listed together on General Order 118 of 21st July 1915 (see below) as being stationed in R Division and having been recalled to their military units. None had been issued with a Warrant or Collar Number indicating that they were all new recruits. The Police Service Records for Hagger, Howard and Rogers all survived and all three show an Appointment date of 22nd July 1914, making a strong case for Wightman, Owen and Williams to have joined at the same time.

General Order 118 of 21st July 1915 is a list of 96 officers which included the Chief Constable, 43 Constables who were Army reservists who were recalled and 50 Constables and 2 Sergeants who volunteered for military service. Henry is shown as PC with no number Owen H. R Division recalled to 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards on the 4th August 1914.

Army Service During The War.

There is only one possible match for a Medal Roll Index card, Medal Rolls and Silver War Badge which collectively tell us that a Henry Owen as Private 15311 of the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards landed in France on the 27th August 1914. He was promoted to Acting Corporal and was later awarded the 1914 Star, Victory and British War medals. He was wounded and awarded a Silver War Badge number B91298, date of issue 10th February 1919.

On the 6th May 1918 the War Office Daily List No. 5558 showed Acting Corporal 15311 H. Owen, Grenadier Guards as being wounded. He was therefore entitled to wear a “Wound Stripe” as authorised under Army Order 204 of 6th July 1916. The terms of this award being met by his being named in this list.

As previously stated, his Silver War Badge citation states that he originally enlisted on 26th June 1911 and he was discharged from the Reserve Battalion of the Grenadier Guards on the 9th January 1919. The cause of his discharge is recorded as Wounds 392 xvi which were received whilst serving overseas.

After The War.

There are no further Police or Army records, but his wounds may explain why he didn’t re-join the Police.

Henry Owen married Elizabeth Abbott in 1919 at Watford and records show they had a son, Philip H. who was born in 1920 and died in 1921 at Watford.

The 1939 Register lists Henry, an Instrument Assistant Aircraft Electrical Equipment fitter, and Elizabeth Owen as living at 31, Gonville Avenue, Rickmansworth.

This page was added on 25/01/2020.

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