Medals left to right: MBE, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Military Medal and bar, Kings Police and Fire Service Medal, 1914 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Defence Medal, George V 1935 Silver Jubilee Medal, George VI 1937 Coronation Medal, Elizabeth II 1952 Coronation Medal, Police Faithful Service Medal.
Abel Camp was born on the 15th December 1895 at Little Amwell. He was baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Little Amwell on the 29th March 1896.
His father, John Camp, was born in 1857 at Little Amwell. He married a Sarah Jane Byott on the 11th May 1878 at Holy Trinity Church, Little Amwell. They had a son, William John Camp, who was born on the 28th January 1879. Sadly, Sarah died shortly after William’s birth.
John then married Abel’s mother Kate Deards on the 17th May 1880 at St Marys Bromley. John was shown as a widower living in Bromley and employed as a labourer. Kate was shown as a spinster and also living in Bromley. She was born in 1857 at Little Amwell.
Kate already had a son, Frederick Thomas Deards, born on the 16th March 1876 at Little Amwell. John and Kate had ten more children all born in Little Amwell:
- Harry George born in 1880. Gunner 9612 Royal Field Artillery.
- Kate born in 1883.
- John born in 1886.
- Matilda born in 1888.
- Sidney James born in 1890. Sergeant 50204 Military Medal Royal Field Artillery.
- Benjamin born in 1892.
- Joshua Robert born in 1894. Gunner 68133 Royal Field Artillery. Private 202151 Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex) Regiment. Killed in Action 3rd May 1917.
- Abel Camp.
- Joe born in 1897.
- Eliza born in 1899.
In the census of 1881 John, Kate and Harry Camp were living in London Road,
Hertford Heath. Kate was employed as a laundress. By the time of the 1891 census the family were living at 1, Church Hill, Hertford Heath. Kate was still employed as a laundress and John was working as a nightwatchman.
The 1901 census records that the family were still living in Church Hill. John is shown as a general labourer and Kate as a laundress and Abel as being at school. Nothing much has changed in the 1911 census. The family are still at Church Hill and although John is still labouring Kate is not shown as working. Abel is employed as a Post Office Telegraph Messenger.
Little more is known about Abel’s life for the next two years until he joins the Army.
Army Service and the First World War.
Abel’s Army Service Record has not survived but from other sources we know that shortly after his 18th birthday, on the 3rd January 1913, he enlisted, probably at Hertford, as Gunner 71578 in the Royal Field Artillery. He would possibly have signed up for short service of three years in the colours and nine in the reserves and undergone his initial training at Woolwich. He was following in his brother’s footsteps as Sidney had joined in 1908 and Joshua had enlisted in 1912.
On the 16th August 1914 he landed in France as part of the 47th Battery, 44th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery in the British Expeditionary Force. As can been seen below Abel was quickly promoted up the ranks to Sergeant.
Award of Military Medal.
It was announced in the London Gazette issue 29749 on page 8998 published on the 12th September 1916 that “His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to award the Military Medal for bravery in the Field” to Sergeant 71578 A. Camp Royal Field Artillery. The citation of his award has not survived.
Published in the Hertford Mercury and Reformer on the 7th October 1916 under the headline Hertford Heath. Local Soldiers Reward For Bravery: Mrs. John Camp, Hertford Heath, has seven sons at the Front, and one them. Abel, who is in the Royal Field Artillery, has gained well merited distinction. Writing to his old schoolmaster. Mr. Chessell, he says, “I thought you would like to know that I have won the Military Medal for bravery in the field. I have also been recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal three times for mending telephone lines under fire and good work all round but have only done my duty as many other Hertford Heath lads have done and are still doing. I expect father and mother will be proud, with all seven boys serving, and you can guess I feel proud, as I am the first to win a decoration. Since I was last home on leave, I have been promoted Sergeant, and have held the rank for about six months now. As you know sir I have been in France since the beginning of the war. I have had a few rough times, but you have to take the rough with the smooth, and on the whole, we don’t have a very bad time. I am sorry I cannot tell you anything about the war owing to the censor; all I can say Is that we will win easy.” Sergt. Camp also mentions the pleasure it gave him recently to meet his brother Sidney at the Front. Sidney is also in the Royal Field Artillery, and the two batteries were in action close together for a time, so they were able to have a long chat about old times and home. It was the first time they had seen each other for about four years, as they were both in the Army before the war. We very heartily wish them both the best of luck in the future, and trust Mrs. Camp may have the pleasure of welcoming all her brave sons back from the war.
Award of a Second or Bar to the Military Medal.
It was announced in the London Gazette issue 29794 on page 10216 published on the 20th October 1916 that “His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to award the Military Medal for bravery in the Field” to Sergeant 71578 A. Camp Royal Field Artillery.
Then the following was announced in the London Gazette issue 29864 on page 12223 published on the 12th December 1916: Sergeant 71578 A. Camp, 47th Battery Royal Field Artillery and Gunner 51540 W. Clough, Royal Field Artillery. The above Non-Commissioned Officer and man have now been awarded a Bar to their Military Medals, the grant of which was announced in the London Gazette of 14th September 1916. The second announcement of the award of the Military Medal which appeared in the Gazette of 21st October 1916, is cancelled. Again, the citation of his award has not survived.
The War Office Daily List No.5428 dated the 28th November 1917 listed Corporal 71578 A. Camp, Royal Field Artillery as wounded. Abel was entitled to wear a Wound Stripe as authorised under Army Order 204 of 6th July 1916 the terms of this award having been met by him being named in this list. No further details are known about the wound or where he was treated although he clearly returned to the UK.
During the first quarter of 1918 Abel Camp married Emily Louisa Thirza Annie Vinal at Eastbourne. Emily was born on the 8th August 1897 at Alfriston, Sussex. They had a daughter Hilda P. Camp who was born in 1922 at Hemel Hempstead.
Award of Distinguished Conduct Medal.
It was announced page 6477 of the Second Supplement (dated 3rd June 1918) of the London Gazette published on the 31st May 1918 that Corporal 71578 A. Camp, Royal Field Artillery (Brighton) had been awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal. The reference to Brighton is clearly an error as it should have referred to his home which was Hertford Heath.
The following was then announced in the Third Supplement to the London Gazette issue 30961 dated 21st October 1918 on page 12330 that Corporal 71578 A. Camp, Royal Field Artillery: With reference to the announcement of the award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal, which appears in the London Gazette dated 3rd June, 1918, the following are the acts of gallantry for which the decoration has been awarded: “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in action. He set a magnificent example of courage and cheerfulness under trying circumstances, and always volunteered when there was any dangerous duty to be undertaken.”
Award of Silver War Badge.
Corporal 71578 Abel Camp, D.C.M. and M.M., aged 23 years of the 4A Reserve Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, who enlisted on the 3rd January 1913 and had served overseas, was discharged from the Army on the 19th December 1918 due to Sickness – Paragraph 392 (xvi) of the King’s Regulation, and was awarded a Silver War Badge number B65448 on the 8th January 1919.
The Silver War Badge was awarded to most servicemen and women who were discharged from military service during the First World War, whether or not they had served overseas. Expiry of a normal term of engagement did not count and the most common reason for award of the badge was King’s Regulations Paragraph 392 (xvi), meaning they had been released on account of being permanently physically unfit. This was as often a result of sickness, disease or uncovered physical weakness and war wounds. Soldiers discharged during the war because of disabilities they sustained after they had served overseas in a theatre of operations (an area where there was active fighting) could also receive a King’s Certificate. Entitlement to the Silver War Badge did not necessarily entitle a man to the award of a King’s Certificate, but those awarded a Certificate would have been entitled to the Badge. The main purpose of the badge was to prevent men not in uniform and without apparent disability being thought of as shirkers – it was evidence of having presented for military service, if not necessarily serving for long.
The discrepancy between his rank as being a Corporal or Sergeant could possibly be explained by the fact that his promotion to Sergeant had been temporary and, having been wounded and whilst recovering, he reverted to his substantive rank of Corporal.
Like every other soldier Abel would have been granted 28 days leave prior to his discharge. It is apparent that he must have used this time to arrange to join the Police.
Abel’s Police Service Record has not survived but from other sources it is known that he was Appointed as Police Constable 138 in the Hertford County Constabulary on the 30th January 1919 on £2/3/0 a week. As part of his application he would have undergone a Medical with the Force Surgeon at Police Headquarters at Hatfield. Whatever the issue was that saw him discharged from the Army as medically unfit he had obviously overcome it, or he would never have been offered a job. He would have completed his Probationary Training at Police Headquarters.
On the 1st April 1919, as part of a national pay increase, he received an increase in his pay to £3/10/0 per week.
General Order 93 of 13th April 1919 announced the postings of eight recruit Constables who were being brought on the Roster for duty and were being transferred from Headquarters to Divisions. Police Constable 138 A. Camp was posted to D Division at Hemel Hempstead from the 11th April 1919. Each officer had to be Attested and the Superintendents concerned had to report to the Chief Constable when this had been done showing date and place of Attestation and before whom taken.
The Electoral Rolls of 1920 to 1925 record Abel Camp as living at 6, Roseberry Villas, Queen Street, Hemel Hempstead.
General Order 43 of 28th February 1920 and General Order 23 of 14th February 1921 informed Abel that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £3/10/0 to £3/12/0 per week from 30th January 1920 and from £3/12/0 to £3/14/0 per week from 30th January 1921, respectively.
(Abridged.) Published in the Hertfordshire Record on the 19th August 1921 under the headline A Brilliant Effort: Hertfordshire Police Sports Day 1921 was held at Clarence Park, St. Albans with prizes being presented by the Marchioness of Salisbury. Taking second place in the four legged race were PC’s A. Camp, W. Nottage and J. Berry. (Taken from 150 Years Policing in Watford District and Hertfordshire County.)
In 1921 Abel was made a Detective Constable. Source: Cutting from an unknown newspaper c. June 1949 reporting the award of the King’s Police Medal and containing a short biography.
The following General Orders informed Abel that he would be receiving an increase in his weekly pay: Order 27 of 24th February 1922 from £3/14/0 to £3/16/0 from 30th January. Order 29 of 14th February 1923 from £3/16/0 to £3/18/0 from 30th January. Order 38 of 28th February 1924 from £3/18/0 to £4/0/0 from 30th January.
D Division Hemel Hempstead Tug-of-War Team 1924. Back row left to right: PC Hull, PS Stapleton, PS Watler, PC Adams, PS Cook. Front row left to right: PS Wade, PC Eames, Supt. Wright, PC Camp.
Qualified For Promotion To Sergeant.
General Order 132 of the 14th August 1924 announced that Abel had successfully passed the exam qualifying him for promotion to the rank of Sergeant.
A Prisoner Confesses.
(Abridged.) Published in the Worthing Gazette on Wednesday 17 December 1924 under the headline Prisoner Brought From Brixton Gaol: Owing to the fog delaying the train in which a prisoner was being brought to Worthing from Brixton Prison, a case at the Petty Sessions on Thursday had to be adjourned until the afternoon. Then John Christopher Langley, a young man formerly of Elm Grove, appeared at the Court in answer to two charges of theft. In the first case the charge was of stealing a cash-box and other articles to the value of £9 10s. and £22 10s. in money, belonging to Mrs. Ellen Veness, the licensee of the Royal Oak, Brighton Road, on October 29th; and in the second the theft was alleged of a watch (valued at £2, and 2s. in money, and a lamp valued at 5s. 11d. and £1 8s. in money, from two barmaids at the Pier Hotel.
Constable Camp, a police officer of Hemel Hempstead, saw the defendant detained on another charge and found in his possession a quantity of jewellery consisting of brooches, rings and watches. He asked him to account for them, and prisoner said, “It’s all my own property.” Later in the day he again saw him, and prisoner then said, “I had better get it all cleared up, some of that stuff I stole at Worthing.” He cautioned him and he said, “The first job I did was about a month ago at the Oak Public House at Worthing. One evening I went upstairs and stole some jewellery and money about £40, I think. I left Worthing by train and went to London.” The second charge was then preferred against the defendant. The Bench sent the defendant to prison for three months with hard labour.
General Order 103 of 30th June 1919 informed Abel that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £3/18/0 to £4/0/0 per week from 22nd July 1919.
Promoted Sergeant And A Transfer.
General Order 62 of the 20th April 1925 announced that Abel had been promoted to the rank of Acting Sergeant from the 18th April 1925. Then General Order 65 of the 25th April instructed him that from the 7th May 1925 he was being transferred from D Division at Hemel Hempstead to B Division at Hoddesdon and to occupy the cottage being vacated by PC 63 Lowin. Promotion brought a pay rise to £5/0/0 per week.
The Electoral Rolls of 1926 to 1929 list Abel and Emily as living at 31, Burford Street, Hoddesdon.
The General Strike.
General Order 62 of the 4th May 1926 concerned the Emergency Regulations of 1926 and instructions for 50 Hertfordshire Police Officers, made up of three Inspectors, seven Sergeants and 40 Constables, to be on standby should the Secretary of State call upon the County Force to draft men elsewhere at short notice. These included officers from A,B,C, D and E Divisions. Orders for equipment and clothing would be issued if and when necessary, but the men were advised that they would require some sort of haversack. Abel was one of the Sergeants named in the list.
General Order 140 of 18th October 1926 declared: Emergency Regulations 1926.
The following detachment of the Hertford County Constabulary is detailed for duty in the County of Derby as from 19th October 1926, inclusive: There then follows a list of one Inspector, three Sergeants and 47 Constables which included PS 138 Camp A. of B Division at Hoddesdon. The detachment will proceed by nearest railway route to St Pancras, London Midland & Scottish Railway, reporting on the main departure platform at 2 p.m., when Inspector Digby will parade the party and call the roll. The detachment will proceed by the 2.25 p.m. train to Derby. On arrival at Derby, Inspector Digby will report to the representative of the Chief Constable of the Derby County Constabulary who will meet the train and provide omnibus transport to Ripley about 10 miles distant.
Dress: Greatcoats, cape, cloth jacket, 2nd cloth trousers, 1925 issue helmet, leggings, truncheons and handcuffs, woollen gloves, lamps, whistles and chains.
Divisional Superintendents will advance Railway fares if required and an account for same will be rendered to Headquarters Office for repayment. Inspector Digby will render a daily report direct to the Chief Constable’s Office each day, showing state of health of all members of the detachment and any matters of interest which may occur.
General Order 157 of 14th November 1926 The Emergency Powers Act, 1926. The Emergency Regulations, 1926. Coal Strike. The Chief Constable is gratified to learn that the services of the detachment of the Hertford County Constabulary added temporarily to the Derby County Constabulary, were satisfactory, and he has much pleasure in publishing the following extract from a letter received from the Chief Constable of Derbyshire, under date 11th November 1926:
Begins: “The detachment has done very good work and I will be grateful if you will be kind enough to convey to them my warm thanks for their services. I may say that Inspector Digby did very good work indeed and was of great assistance to my Ilkeston Superintendent. Will you also give him my personal thanks”. Ends.
If this letter from the Derbyshire Chief Constable seems a bit luke warm it transpires 10 of the Hertfordshire Constables suffered food poisoning after eating food which was supplied to them on behalf of the Derbyshire Police Authority. The Hertfordshire Force Surgeon said that their illness should be classed as an injury on duty and the Chief Constable agreed and said no one should suffer any stoppages from their pay. Abel was not one of those who was poisoned.
Abel was made Detective Sergeant in 1929. Source: Cutting from an unknown newspaper c. June 1949 reporting the award of the King’s Police Medal and containing a short biography.
Promoted to Inspector And Another Transfer.
Able was promoted to Detective Inspector in 1930 and posted to R Division at Headquarters in charge of the County Criminal Investigation Department. Source: Cutting from an unknown newspaper c. June 1949 reporting the award of the King’s Police Medal and containing a short biography.
The 1930 Electoral Roll list Abel and Emily Camp as living at Constabulary Cottages, St. Albans Road, Hatfield.
General Order 5 of 1932 announced a Commendation as follows: At the Quarter Sessions held at Hertford on Monday 4th January 1932, the Chairman, Sir Joseph Priestly K.C. said, “There is one thing I should like to say, Mr. Chief Constable, and that is knowing as I do from reading the depositions so very closely as I had to in this case to discover the facts, this was one of the smartest pieces of detective work that I have known for a very long time. Shortly it was this, that because Johnson stated to the Police Officer when the motor accident occurred that he was with this man Brown, and that he, Brown, was looking for some goods that he had buried, the Police Officer immediately put two and two together and thought it must be the man Brown who was in the habit of burying treasure which he had stolen. Thereupon they took Johnson to Harringay and went round to where Johnson supposed the house was where he with Brown had lived and went inside and found the stolen goods there. After that they waited outside till Brown appeared that same evening when he was arrested. It was one of the smartest pieces of work that I have heard of for a very long time. I commend the officers for your proper consideration.”
The officers concerned in the case were Inspectors Bateman, C Division and Camp, R Division. (Previously on the 24th November 1931 at the Watford Petty Sessions, the Chairman, Henry Brown Esq. J.P. commended Constable Farrow for his action in arresting George Johnson on a charge of stealing a motor car from Piccadilly.) The Chief Constable had much pleasure in endorsing the commendation. The action of the Police in this case resulted in the recovery of the whole of the stolen property to the value of £166, and also in the prisoner Brown being sentenced to 4 years Penal Servitude and five years Preventative Detention. (Taken from 150 Years Policing in Watford District and Hertfordshire County.)
Dowager Viscountess Portman’s Stolen Jewellery.
Published in the Liverpool Echo on Friday 6th May 1932 under the headline £9,000 Jewells Theft Viscountess’s Chauffeur Involved In Charges: Nelson Richard Carter, chauffeur to the Dowager Viscountess Portman. and three other men were charged at an occasional court at Hemel Hempstead, today, with being concerned together in stealing jewellery worth £9,338 from the Viscountess on April 29. They were remanded in custody until next Wednesday. Only Carter’s name was mentioned in court. Police Constable Arthur Bishop said that at 3.30 a.m. today, he saw the four men detained at Harrow Road Police Station and, with the assistance of other officers he brought them to Hemel Hempstead, where they were charged by Inspector Camp with being concerned in the robbery. One man said, “I know nothing about it.” The others, including Carter, did not reply. Carter applied for bail because of his wife’s illness, but it was refused. There are now seven men in custody in connection with the theft.
Published in the Coventry Evening Telegraph on Wednesday 11th May 1932 under the headline Stolen Jewellery Valued At Over £9,338 Seven Men Charged At Hemel Hempstead: Seven men who are alleged to have been concerned together in the theft of jewellery, valued at £9,338 10s., belonging to the Dowager Viscountess Portman, at King’s Langley (Herts.), appeared before the Hemel Hempstead magistrates today, and, after formal evidence, were remanded until Thursday, May 19.
One of the men, Nelson Richard Carter (31), described as a chauffeur, employed by the Viscountess, had been remanded in custody last week. The other men, some of whose names had not been revealed previously, were described as Isaac Bear (25), of Sutherland Avenue, Maida Vale; Raphael Solomon (3l), of Nathaniel Buildings, London. E.; Hyman Gold (29), of Portsdown Road, Maida Vale; John Day (34) of Delamere Crescent, W.; George Henry Sharratt (21), of Netley Street, W.; and Frederick Joshua Digweed (30), of Porteous Road, W. With the exception of Carter, all the men were described as of no occupation. They were further charged with conspiring together to steal the jewellery.
Carter applied for bail saying that he had had an offer of work. He wanted the opportunity of interviewing the gentleman concerned, and if he could get work it would help him in his defence. He also said his wife was ill. Superintendent Sharp opposed bail, saying that the jewellery had not been recovered. The magistrates refused bail to Carter. No objection was offered to bail being granted to Bear, who, the Superintendent said, had a house. Bear was granted bail, himself in £2OO and a surety of £2OO. All the others were refused bail.
As they were being taken from court, Day said: “Gold openly admits I am not the Day he has referred to. I want to know why I am here.” The Chairman (Mr. Spencer-Holland): “You can discuss that next week.”
Later today another man, described as Gilbert Racine Jacques, of Chatsworth Road, Catford, was charged with receiving the jewellery. Detective Inspector Camp said that, with PC Bishop, he saw Jacques at the Clapton Dog Racing Track and told him that a number of men were in custody charged with the theft of jewellery from a motor car at King’s Langley, and added, “I have traced two £1OO notes to the possession of two of the prisoners.” Jacques replied, “What about it?” and the detective said, “It is a serious matter as the notes are said to have been paid for stolen jewels.” The Inspector went on to say that he told Jacques that, according to Barclay’s Bank, the notes were issued to Jacques from the Clapton Branch on September 11 and 18 last and asked him to whom he handed them.
Jacques replied, “I don’t know. I have got £1OO notes for several bookmakers. I do not know their names.” Jacques’ house was searched, but the jewellery was not found. When charged, Jacques said, “I know nothing whatever about it.” The Inspector added that today Jacques made a statement, but he (the Inspector) did not propose to put it in until a later date. Jacques applied for bail and said that he had never been in trouble before. Bail was not granted, and he was remanded until May 19.
Published in the Portsmouth Evening News on Thursday 23rd June 1932 under the headline Chauffeur In Dock. Alleged Conspiracy. Hertford, Thursday: The trial was continued at Hertford Assizes today of five men who are charged in connexion with the loss of jewellery of the value of £9,338, belonging to the Dowager Viscountess Portman at King’s Langley, Herts. The men are described Nelson Richard Carter, Lady Portman’s chauffeur, Raphael Solomon (31), of Nathaniel Buildings, E., Hyman Gold (29), of Portsdown Road, Maida Vale, W., George Henry Sharratt (21), of Netley Street, W., and Frederick Joshua Digweed (30), of Porteous Road, W.
Carter and Digweed pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal and Solomon to conspiracy to receive. Gold and Sharratt pleaded not guilty.
Mr. R.E. Seaton, prosecuting in the case of Sharratt and Gold, yesterday explained that the latter was charged with conspiring to receive and Sharratt with conspiring to steal and receive the jewellery. An alleged statement by Gold was read. Gold declared that he had nothing to do with the robbery but, he had heard Sharratt say he had been offered £700 for the jewels. Sharratt afterwards distributed various amounts, putting £100 in an envelope for the chauffeur’s wife and giving him (Gold) £5.
Detective Inspector Camp said that inquiries were being made regarding a number of other men and agreed that that was largely the result of information given by Gold. Mr. Justice Goddard said that while Gold’s conduct abundantly justified proceedings against him he did not think the evidence sufficient to put him in peril of conviction. On the Judge’s direction. Gold was found not guilty and discharged.
Sharratt gave evidence denying that he had anything to with the stealing or disposal of the jewels. He did not know any of the men with whom he was charged. He agreed in cross examination, that he had been to Dartmoor to hear the trial of the prisoners there. Sharratt was found guilty.
Promoted Superintendent And A Further Transfer.
Able was promoted To Superintendent in 1933 and posted to D Division at Hemel Hempstead. Source: Cutting from an unknown newspaper c. June 1949 reporting the award of the King’s Police Medal and containing a short biography.
Award Of The King George V Silver Jubilee Medal.
The King George V Silver Jubilee Medal is a commemorative medal, instituted on the 6th May 1935 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the accession of King George V. It was awarded as a personal souvenir by King George V to commemorate his silver jubilee. It was awarded to the Royal Family and selected officers of state, officials and servants of the Royal Household, ministers, government officials, mayors, public servants, local government officials, members of the navy, army, air force and police in Britain, her colonies and Dominions.
Abel was posted to C Division at Watford as a First Class Superintendent in 1935. Source: Cutting from an unknown newspaper c. June 1949 reporting the award of the King’s Police Medal and containing a short biography.
Published in the Buckinghamshire Examiner on Friday 4th October 1935: New Police Appointment. Superintendent Abel Camp, for many years Superintendent of Police in the Dacorum area, has been promoted to the more important appointment of Superintendent of the Watford Police. Appreciative references to his services in the area were made at the Berkhamsted Petty Sessions on Wednesday, and another tribute was paid by the Coroner at the inquest on Monday. Superintendent Camp is being succeeded by Inspector Bachelor, of Stevenage, Herts.
Published in the Uxbridge and W. Drayton Gazette on Friday 11th October 1935: On Friday Supt. Abel Camp, of Hemel Hempstead, succeeded Supt. G. Sharp as Chief of “C” (Watford) Division of the Hertfordshire Constabulary.
Published in the Dundee Evening Telegraph on Wednesday 3rd June 1936 under the headline Charged With Attack On Girl Police Evidence Of Identification Parade: “They Have Made a Mistake,” James Sharp (25), a labourer of no fixed abode, was charged at Watford Police Court today with attempting to murder Sheila Gilbert by attempting to strangle her and striking her on the head with brick on June 1.
The charge followed an attack on Sheila Gilbert, the six-year-old daughter of Mr and Mrs E. Gilbert, of Rose Gardens, Watford, in a spinney near Holywell Farm on Monday. Sharp was remanded in custody for eight days. He was later acquitted due to a lack of evidence.
Police Inspector Spicer, of Watford, stated that today Sharp was put up for identification with eight men of similar appearance from Watford casualty ward. A boy named George Simmonds was shown on the parade and asked if he could see the man saw with Sheila Gilbert in Harwood’s Ward Recreation Ground on Monday. Simmonds went up to Sharp and said, “That is the man.”
A boy named Percy Walker was then shown on to the parade and asked if he could pick out the man, he saw with Sheila Gilbert in the recreation ground. Walker went to Sharp and said, “That is about the size, the same beard and that.”
Another man failed to pick Sharp out as the man he saw at the recreation ground.
Police Constable Dixon was then shown on the parade and asked if he could see the man who was on the railway bridge near Holywell Farm on Monday morning, and Dixon went up to Sharp and said, “He is the man.” Witness asked Sharp if he was satisfied with the way the parade had been conducted, and Sharp said, “Yes, but they have made mistake.”
Police Sergeant Bishop of Watford stated that last evening at 11.15 p.m., with Superintendent Camp of Watford and other police officers, he went to Streatley casual ward near Luton and saw Sharp. Superintendent Camp said to Sharp, “I am a police officer from Watford. I believe you were in Watford yesterday?” Sharp said, “Yes, I slept out.” Superintendent Camp said to Sharp, “You answer the description of a man who assaulted a little girl at Watford yesterday. I am going to take you to Watford, where you will be put up for identification.” Sharp said. “Well, I have got to lose a bed for something someone else has done.”
Sharp was brought to Watford, and upon arrival said, “I suppose the charge is a serious one, isn’t?” Witness said “Yes,” and cautioned Sharp, who then said, “I slept in shed on a farm on the London side of Watford.”
A.t 10.45 a.m. today witness charged Sharp, who said, “I came from Hitchin and Biggleswade. I have not been in Watford. I stayed at Hitchin casual ward in the name of Robert Forrest, and absconded yesterday morning, and I absconded from the Biggleswade casual ward on Monday morning.” Sharp was then remanded in custody for eight days.
A Foul Mouthed Drunk.
Published in the Uxbridge and W. Drayton Gazette on Friday 29th January 1937: In a charge of drunkenness at Watford Police Court, Superintendent Camp mentioned that the defendant was very abusive at the Police Station and used obscene language to the Sergeant, whereupon the Magistrates’ Clerk inquired, “Shocked the sergeant?” Superintendent Camp, “Yes.”
Theft Of A Van And Assault On Police.
Published in the Bradford Observer on Friday 5th February 1937 under the headline Van Theft Alleged. Charges Against A Bradford Man. Remanded At Watford: From Our Own Correspondent. Watford, Thursday.
Allegations that they had broken into a garage and stolen a motor van were made at Watford Police Court today, when two young men were charged on remand with causing grievous bodily harm to a Police Sergeant while in the execution of his duty. They were Leonard James Bunclark (23), of no fixed address, and Ernest Croft (24). of Tennyson Place, Otley Road, Bradford.
At last Monday’s hearing it was stated that Police Sergeant Newnham stopped a van of which Bunclark was the driver. Croft was sitting beside him. The van, it was alleged, suddenly started off, with the Sergeant on the running board, and collided with the kerb, hit two iron standards and came to a standstill. Sergeant Newnham was knocked off and was later taken to hospital with a fractured knee cap and severe lacerations of the arm.
Superintendent Camp today called no further evidence on this charge, but asked for a remand till Tuesday, when, It was stated. Newnham would be well enough to give evidence. This was granted.
The men were then put back for a further charge to be made against them, and when brought back to the court they were charged with, between 11.45 p.m. on 30 January and 4.15 a.m. on 31 January breaking and entering a lockup garage and stealing an Austin motor van containing refrigerator equipment and parts valued at £15O.
Edward K. Hackson, employed by Kelvinalor Ltd., said he put the van in a garage at Nunhead at 6 p.m., on 30 January. On the next day, the van was missing, and when he later saw it later at Watford Police station it was damaged, and a football player’s outfit that had been left in the van was missing.
Harold Brooks, garage proprietor, of Peckham, said that on 31 January he found that the bottom bolt of the garage door had been forced and a window was open.
Detective Constable Franklin, of the Metropolitan Police, attached to Brockley Police Station, said the bottom bolt of the garage front doors had been wrenched out of its socket. The doors could easily be forced by bodily pressure. A ventilation window was open. Today he charged the prisoners and they made no reply.
Police Constable Toates, of Watford, said that on Sunday afternoon he was in High Street with other officers when he saw an Austin van with Bunclark driving and Croft beside him. Later he took them into custody. Bunclark and Croft were both remanded in custody till Tuesday. Bunclark asked for bail, but Superintendent Camp opposed this. “He gives no address,” he said. “Croft gives an address, but he has not resided there for some time. They have absconded twice already.”
Appointment As Deputy Chief Constable (DCC).
General Order 22 of 1937 announced: Superintendent Abel Camp C Division is appointed Deputy Chief Constable with effect from 19th February 1937, subject to the approval of the Standing Joint Committee which will be applied for on 2nd April 1937. (Taken from 150 Years Policing in Watford District and Hertfordshire County.)
Before his appointment as DCC he was in charge of the training school and after his appointment he was responsible for the reorganisation of the Criminal Investigation Department. Source: Copy of his nomination for his King’s Police Medal.
Award of The King George VI 1937 Coronation Medal.
The King George VI Coronation Medal was a commemorative medal, instituted to celebrate the coronation of King George VI. It was awarded as a personal souvenir of King George VI’s coronation. It was awarded to the Royal Family and selected officers of state, officials and servants of the Royal Household, ministers, government officials, mayors, public servants, local government officials, members of the navy, army, air force and police in Britain, her colonies and Dominions. Taken from the Medal Roll on the 12th May 1937 Superintendent Abel Camp o Hertfordshire was awarded the Commemorative Medal the King George VI 1937 Coronation Medal.
In the 1939 Register Abel Camp, Police Superintendent, Emily, who is shown as St. Johns Ambulance and their daughter Hilda are listed as living in Police Quarters in St. Albans Road, Hatfield.
A Letter Of Thanks And Appreciation.
Following the retirement of Chief Constable George Knight in 1939 and the subsequent appointment of Sydney Ewart Fairman as his replacement the Chairman of the Standing Joint Committee, Brigadier General Viscount Hampden G.C.V.O., K.C.B, C.M.G., wrote to Abel on the 4th September 1939 as follows:
Dear Mr. Camp, At the last meeting of the Standing Joint Committee, when Captain Fairman was appointed Chief Constable, The Revd. Roland Smith mentioned that you had expressed to him that you wished the Committee to understand clearly that you were in no way disappointed or felt aggrieved by not being considered for this appointment, and you wished him to express on your behalf that you would do your utmost to continue to serve the committee to the very best of your ability.
The Committee very much appreciated your sentiments in this matter, and have requested me to write to you and express their thanks and appreciation, and their complete confidence that you will continue to serve them in the very trying times that lie ahead, with that loyalty, courage and efficiency that you have always shown in the past. Yours sincerely (signed) Hampden.
On the 15th September Abel replied as follows: My Lord, I thank you for your letter of 4th September 1939 and very much appreciate the remarks of the Committee. I can assure my Lord, that I shall always give the County of my very best. I am, my Lord, your obedient servant. (signed) A. Camp, Deputy Chief Constable.
Acting Chief Constable.
During the absence of the Chief Constable, who was serving in the Army with the Allied Control Commission, Abel was made Acting Chief Constable between 1943 and 1945. Source: Cutting from an unknown newspaper c. June 1949 reporting the award of the King’s Police Medal and containing a short biography.
Flying Bomb Hits Police Headquarters.
On 10th October 1944, a V1 flying bomb landed on the playground of St. Audrey’s School, Hatfield behind the Police Headquarters. Eight people were killed and twenty-six inured including several Police Officers and members of their families.
Considerable damage was done to Headquarters. Also, four Police cottages in St. Albans Road were almost wrecked and the residential quarters in the Police Station Yard and the Police cottages in Beaconsfield Road were severely damaged.
General Order 253 of 1944 issued by Acting Chief Constable Abel Camp described the incident: It is very difficult for me to single out particular Officers for commendation, but the work of Superintendent R.C. Offord, Police Sergeants 79 Sandridge, 44 Oliver, 290 Gregory, 295 Winser and Police Constable 57 Pollard calls for particular mention and I am submitting a special report on their efforts to the Standing Joint Committee.
The excellent work performed by Inspectors Whittenham and Evans, Acting Police Sergeant 329 Paybody and War Reserve Constable 88 Paine all calls for special mention and I have directed that appropriate entries be made on their records of service.
Every Police Officer, undeterred by his own anxiety for his personal affairs and family, displayed discipline and efficiency of the highest order and I pay a special tribute to the conduct and courage of their wives and families in their terrifying experience.
I cannot speak too highly of the splendid assistance rendered by the Special Constabulary under Superintendent Escombe and Inspector Lilburn. The Commandant arrived shortly after the incident and it was due to the valuable assistance rendered by the Special Constabulary that I was able to relieve some of the Regulars to attend to their own personal affairs.
Special praise is also due to all members of the Women’s Auxiliary Police Corps of the Headquarters Staff who have carried out their work most efficiently under very trying and difficult conditions.
We are very much indebted to those Police Officers who were so soon on the scene and immediately rendered very valuable assistance in recovering and removing furniture and effects and I think those members of the Force and their wives who so kindly offered accommodation and assistance to those who were temporarily homeless and I am very pleased to say that I have now found new Quarters for all those whose homes were destroyed or made uninhabitable.
We are very grateful to those members of the Force, both Regular and War Reserve, who have been and are still working so very hard to make some of the houses habitable again and I ask them to accept our very sincere thanks.
On behalf of all the Police Officers and their families who have suffered injury and damage I tender our sincere thanks and at the same time express our appreciation to those members of the Force who have rendered many acts of kindness which have gone a long way to alleviate a good deal of anxiety and hardship and I tender my special thanks to all those members of the Force who have been so kind and sympathetic towards my own family.
We have received considerable assistance from the Standing Joint Committee, the County Surveyor, the County Controller, The Hatfield Rural District Controller, the Women’s Voluntary Service, Royall Air Force at Mill Green and others, and I have written and expressed our appreciation of the kind assistance given to us.
At an Emergency Meeting held on Friday 27th October 1944, Sir Will Spens, the Regional Commissioner for the Eastern Region, paid a special tribute to the work of the Hertford County Constabulary in this incident and particularly mentioned the efficient manner in which everything was carried out and said that what he admired most was the entire lack of fuss and show and I feel very proud to have had the honour to command the Force at this particular time.
Signed A. Camp Acting Chief Constable.
(Taken from the Story of Hertfordshire Police and 150 Years Policing in Watford District and Hertfordshire County.)
Award Of The MBE.
Published on page 2671 on the 10th June 1944 in the Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette issued on Friday, the 2nd June, 1944: The King has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of the Celebration of His Majesty’s Birthday to give orders for the following promotions in, and appointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire: Abel Camp Esq. Chief Superintendent, Hertfordshire County Constabulary. The citation is not available.
During the post war years, Abel was especially concerned in the rehousing of the Force, not only with building new ones but modernising existing ones as well. Source: Copy of his nomination for his King’s Police Medal.
Award the King’s Police and Fire Services Medal.
Published on the 9th June 1949 on Page 2825 of the Supplement To The London Gazette Of Friday the 3rd June 1949: “The King has been pleased to award the King’s Police and Fire Services Medal, for Distinguished Service, to Abel Camp, M.B.E., D.C.M., M.M., Chief Superintendent, Hertfordshire Constabulary.”
Abel Camp being presented with his King’s Police and Fire Services Medal by the Lord Lieutenant of the County Viscount Hampden in the Council Chamber at County Hall.
Award Of The Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal.
The Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal is a commemorative medal instituted to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 2 June 1953. It was awarded as a personal souvenir from the Queen to members of the Royal Family and selected officers of state, members of the Royal Household, government officials, mayors, public servants, local government officials, members of the navy, army, air force and police in Britain, her colonies and Dominions.
Part Of Body Found.
Published in the Lancashire Evening Post on Wednesday 18th September 1957 under the headline Grim Find In Woodland: Hertfordshire police today were investigating the discovery of a human hand in woodland at Goose Green, near Hoddesdon. The hand was attached to part of an arm. It is not yet known whether the hand is that of a man or woman. It was found by a dalmatian dog, Simon, owned by Mrs. John Curtis, a piano teacher, of Goose Green, near Hertford. She said she was taking Simon for a walk late last night when he found the severed hand in a thicket. Mr. Abel Camp, Assistant Chief Constable of Hertfordshire said, “We have found nothing further so far. The hand is being examined by a pathologist. At this stage Scotland Yard have not yet been called in.”
Abel retired as a Chief Superintendent on the 30th September 1961 after 42 years’ service.
Able Camp of 24, Becketts Avenue, St. Albans died on the 1st March 1968.