John W. Cook has not been identified and nothing is known about him until he joined the Hertford County Constabulary.
As part of the process of applying to join the Police John would have undergone a medical examination by the Force Surgeon at Police Headquarters at Hatfield, to ensure he was fit enough for Police duties. He would also have been interviewed and then told to wait for a date of Appointment.
John’s Police Service Record has not survived but he was Appointed as Constable 323 on the 12th October 1914. This date is assumed but as he completed his training on the same date as 21 other Constables, the majority of whom are known to have joined on that date, it is a safe assumption. He started his Probationer training at Police Headquarters on £1/4/6 per week. During his training he would have been Attested and on completion he would have been taken on to the Roll and posted to a Division.
General Order 14 of 21st January 1915 confirmed John’s posting by announcing that he was one of 22 Recruit Constables who had been brought on the Roster for duty and were being transferred from Headquarters. He was shown as PC 323 Cook J.W. posted to C Division at Watford from the 22nd January 1915.
General Order 138 of the 2nd September 1915 announced the following: The undermentioned Constables having submitted applications to resign their appointments as Constables of the Hertford County Constabulary, the resignations are accepted to take effect on 29th September 1915: PC 162 John W. Hunt C. PC 326 John W. Cook C. Police Constables Hunt and Cook will be paid up to and including 29th September 1915 and will be stuck off the strength of the establishment as from that date.
It can be seen that his Warrant number in the second Order was 326 instead of 323. This is believed to be an error as there are no records to show there were two J.W. Cook’s posted at Watford at the same time, the conclusion must be therefore that they were the same man. Which is the correct number is unknown. There was no reference that they had left to join the Military or whether they had the consent of the Chief Constable to do so, a factor critical as to whether any Military service would count towards his Police pensionable service.
Army Service During The War.
John’s Army Service Record has not survived but from information in Medal Roll Index Cards and Medal Rolls it is believed that he enlisted in October 1915 in the Military Mounted Police as Lance Corporal P/2128. There is a record for a Lance Corporal P/2127 John William Hunt, also of the Mounted Military Police, who was Constable 162 John William Hunt. As they resigned from the Police together it is not beyond the bounds of probability they would have enlisted together. However, as neither his Police nor his Army Service records have survived it has been impossible to confirm this. Furthermore, Constable 331 Kimpton, who resigned from the Police shortly after John, is known to have enlisted in October 1915 as Lance Corporal P/2139 in the Military Mounted Police.
John’s Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Roll reveal some further information. He landed in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force on the 2nd June 1916. He served in France until the 11th November 1918, but this is almost certainly an administrative date as many of the Hertfordshire Police soldiers who were in the Military Police have the same date, yet they all served for much longer.
He was awarded the British War and Victory medals.
Like every other soldier John would have been granted 28 days leave on his demobilisation and he could have used this time to apply to re-join the Police but there is no record of him having done so.