Law, Alfred Letchworth Annie. 1911 - 1928

The Chief Constable of Hertfordshire Constabulary

Paul Watts

Early Life.

Alfred Letchworth Annie Law was born on the 10th July 1871 at Bhuj, Kutch, India and baptised on the 10th October 1871 at St Paul’s, Poona, India.

His father, Samuel Crozier Law, was a Major General in Her Majesty’s Bombay Staff Corps. and married his mother, Annie Emily Cotgrave Hogg on the 15th March 1856 in Bombay, India. They had two children John Prescott born in 1868 at Ahmedabad, India and Alfred Letchworth Annie.

Sadly, Alfred’s mother Annie died two weeks after his birth on the 31st July 1871 of natural causes. She was buried on the 1st August 1871 at Bhuj, India.

During the 1881 census Alfred, his father and brother John are living at Oak Hill Road, Kingston, Surrey with his great uncle, Henry Letchworth, and his family.

Early Army Service.

From Alfred’s Army Service Record the following is known:

Alfred was educated at Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berkshire. Wellington College was first proposed during discussions between the Prime Minister, Lord Edward Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, following the death in September 1852 of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, Field Marshal and twice Prime Minister. They agreed that a charitable educational institution should be set up both as a monument to the Iron Duke and also as a living institution to educate the orphan sons of army officers.

In 1889 Alfred graduated from the Royal Military College speaking French and German and qualified in Pitman’s shorthand 3rd class. His height was recorded as 5 feet 10 ½ inches.

On the 3rd May 1890 he was Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in The Prince of Wales (North Staffordshire Regiment) and in the1891 census he is recorded as living at The Verne Citadel Barracks, Castletown, Weymouth, Dorset.

On the 11th November 1891 still a Lieutenant in The Prince of Wales (North Staffordshire Regiment), he distinguished in Fortification, then in 1892 he passed his Signalling Instructor’s Certificate at Aldershot.

During 1893 he passed his Riding Class qualifying with the 3rd Hussars in Dublin. Then on the 19th November 1894 he passed his Musketry at Hythe.


Alfred married Katherine Maria Rotheram on the 22nd July 1896 at Killeagh Church, Oldcastle, County Meath, Ireland. They had two children Dorothy Annie Eleanor born in 1897 at Newton, Ireland and Edward Desmond Cooper born in 1903 at Belfast, Ireland.

From the 2nd January 1899 until the 2nd January 1904 he served as Adjutant in the 3rd Royal Irish Rifles whilst remaining in The Prince of Wales (North Staffordshire Regiment). On the 22nd October 1899 he was promoted Captain and distinguished in Military Law.

In the 1901 census he, with his wife and daughter, was recorded as living with his father-in-law Edward Rotheram and his family at Crossdrum, Oldcastle, County Meath, Ireland. On the 22nd August 1902 he was promoted to Brevet Major and in 1904 to Major.

During the 1911 census living at Seabrook Vale, Cheriton, Shorncliffe, Kent are Alfred, a Major in H.M. Land Forces, Katherine, Dorothy and Edward.

Police Service.

Published in the Army and Navy Gazette on Saturday 25th November 1911.

North Staffordshire Regiment (64th and 98th).                                                                                                                            Major Law, who had been Assistant Director of Army Signals, 4th Division, at Woolwich, since April 1910, retired on Saturday last after 21 ½ years’ service. Major Law was not fortunate enough to be on active service in South Africa, as from January 1899 to January 1904, he was adjutant of the 3rd (Militia) Batn. Royal Irish Rifles. That unit was not selected to serve at the front.

Published in the Luton Times and Advertiser on Friday 13th October 1911:


In succession to Lieut. Col. Henry Daniell, who retires after serving for the long period of 31 years, Major Alfred Letchworth Law, of the North Staffordshire Regiment, has been appointed Chief Constable for the County.

He is Assistant Director of Army Signals on the staff of the Major General commanding the Fourth Division. From 1899 to 1904 he was an adjutant of Militia, in 1906 he was appointed to the staff of Brigadier General Alderson, C.B., from 1907 to 1908 he was on the staff of Major General J.B. Grierson, C.V.O., C.B., C.M.G., and in 1910 was appointed to the staff of Major General Belfield, C.B., D.S.O.

In 1898 Major Law was engaged  in quelling the Belfast Riots. During 1909 and 1910 he worked under the resident Magistrate in Ireland, while for 18 months he worked under the Chief Constable of Kent and for six months under the Chief Constable of Warwickshire.

He was called to the Bar in November 1909 and worked in Chambers. He has especially studied local taxation and is also acquainted with the details of fire brigade organisation, besides possessing a knowledge of the science of fingerprints.

Lieutenant Colonel Henry S. Daniell retired as the Chief Constable on the 1st  November 1911 and Major Alfred Letchworth Law is believed to have taken up his new post immediately.

General Order 48 of the 28th March 1915 announced the following:
The services of the Chief Constable having been specifically requisitioned to take up an appointment as Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General on the Staff of the 2/1st South Midlands Division, 1st Army, he has been granted leave of absence by the Standing Joint Committee to enable him to return to the Army for such period as his services may be required and will take up his duties at an early date.
The Chief Constable while appreciating the honour upon him regrets to have to relinquish temporarily the control of the Hertford County Constabulary but feels that in this national crisis it is his duty to go where his services are most needed.
During the absence of the Chief Constable, the Deputy Chief Constable, Superintendent William Wood, will assume control of the force.
Inspector Patrick O’Connor will assume control of the “C” or Watford Division on 24th March 1915, to reside in the Section House, at King Street Police Station, Watford.
The Chief Constables desires to take the opportunity of thanking all members of the Hertford County Constabulary for their loyalty to himself and the County, also for the support they have given him in the strenuous work the Police have been called upon to undertake since the outbreak of war, and he feels sure in that leaving the control of the Force to the Deputy Chief Constable he can rely with confidence upon every member to co-operate loyally with the Deputy Chief Constable in maintaining the high degree of efficiency which the Force has attained.
(Signed) Alfred Law Major Chief Constable of Herts.

Army Service During The War.

Published on the 13th April 1915 in the Gazette issue 29131 Page 3695: Major Alfred L. Law Appointed Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster-General, dated 1st April 1915, Reserve of Officers, and to be temporary Lieutenant-Colonel.

The above was reiterated by General Order 66 of the 19th April 1915:
The following extract from the “London Gazette” supplement dated 15th April 1915, is published for information of the Force:
The following appointments are made:
Adjutant Generals and Quartermaster Generals Staff
Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster General Major A.L. Law, Reserve of Officers and to be temporary Lieutenant Colonel (April 1).
(Signed) W. Wood Superintendent Deputy Chief Constable of Herts.

Published on the 8th May 1915 in the Hertfordshire Mercury:
Absence of Chief Constable
At the Annual Meeting of Hertfordshire County Council, held at the Shire hall, Hertford, on Monday, the Standing Joint Police Committee reported that leave of absence had been granted to the Chief Constable and detailed the arrangements that had been made for Supt Wood to carry out his duties.
The Chairman said that at the commencement of the war Major Law was very anxious, all honour to him, having recently left the service, to volunteer to return to the Army, and he had reason at that time to think that an appointment for which he was believed to be specially qualified might be offered to him. However, from information he (the Chairman) had he thought it doubtful, because a change in the regulations relating to the appointment had been made since Major Law left the Army. Further, the whole matter was considered by the Standing Joint Committee, and the view they took was that having regard to the importance of his duties as Chief Constable of a county like this, and situated as they were, it was not desirable to give him leave of absence, and that his first duty was to stay at home and take charge of the police; but they made this reservation, that if he was specially applied for to take any special appointment they would consider it. In due course his services were applied for by Lord Salisbury, who was at that time just appointed to the command of a Division, and he was in need of an Assistant Adjutant and Quartermaster-General, a most important appointment, but could not find any person to take it. All the officers who were really qualified by experience and service in the regular forces had already been snapped up, and Lord Salisbury wrote to him and represented that as far as he knew Major Law was the only person, he could lay his hand upon who was qualified. The Committee then considered that they ought not to stand in the way of the efficiency of the services of the country, and that however inconvenient it might be to them personally they ought to let the Chief Constable go. Accordingly, he had accepted the appointment. He was not very far away and hoped to be able to keep an eye on what was going on in the office of the Headquarters of the Constabulary at Hatfield. With regard to the complaint by the vice-chairman that the Inspector of the Home Office was going to be asked for advice, he (the chairman) thought that in these exceptional times the experience of the Inspector, who had charge of the police of the whole of the South of England, would be of considerable value to the Deputy Chief Constable. With regard to the appointment of Major St Ledger, that was no new appointment, Mr Brodie Henderson having held it and done valuable work. Major St Ledger was an experienced man, and could give advice on military matters

From his Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Roll it shows that he was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Headquarters Staff of the North Staffordshire Regiment. Following temporary duty in France he was awarded the British War medal.

Re-joining The Police.

General Order 87 of the 11th September 1918.
Reference Order No/. 48/1915.
The Chief Constable having terminated his service with HM Army on 10th September 1918 will resume control of the Force as from 11th September inclusive. In resuming control of the Force after an absence of over three years the Chief Constable desires to take this opportunity of placing on record his deep appreciation of the manner in which the Deputy Chief Constable has controlled the Force and also to thank all members of the Force for the loyal manner in which they have supported the Deputy Chief Constable in that period.
(Signed) Alfred Law Lt. Colonel Chief Constable of Herts.

The Electoral Rolls of 1920 to 1928 list Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Letchworth Law, Katherine Maria Law and Edward as living at The Dell, Hertingfordbury.


General Order 142 of the 10th November 1928 stated:
The Deputy Chief Constable regrets to announce that Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Letchworth Law, Chief Constable of Hertfordshire, died on 8th November 1928, after a prolonged illness, and bravely borne.

The funeral of the late Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Letchworth Law will take place on Tuesday 13th November 1928 at Hertingfordbury Church, near Hertford. The funeral cortege will leave The Dell, Hertingfordbury, at 2.45 p.m. and the funeral service will be held in Hertingfordbury Church at 3 p.m.
Order of Funeral Procession:
1. Military Escort, 1 Officer, 50 other ranks
2. Firing Party, 2 NCO’s, 12 Privates, 1 Bugler
3. Gun Carriage conveying coffin
4. Chief Mourners
5. Personal servants
6. Members of the Hertford County Constabulary in uniform
7. Special Constables in uniform
8. Other mourners not in uniform
Pall bearers:
The Superintendents of the Force will act as Pall Bearers and will march on each side of the gun carriage from The Dell to Hertingfordbury Church.
Superintendent ‘B’ Division will detail 3 Sergeants and 18 Constables for Traffic duty in Hertingfordbury and vicinity.

This page was added on 23/02/2020.

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  • Patrick I am very grateful for the update on Alfred Law’s whereabouts during the census of 1901. I have amended the text accordingly.

    By Paul Watts (28/07/2022)
  • Captain Alfred Law is in the Ireland census of 1901 with his wife Katherine M Law and daughter Dorothy, at Crossdrum, Oldcastle, County Meath. Crossdrum was the residence of Katherine’s father Edward Rotheram

    By Patrick Rotheram (28/07/2022)