Fairman, Sydney Maurice Ewart, Chief Constable.

Lieutenant Colonel 9152, General List (formerly Royal Welch Fusiliers)

Paul Watts with thanks to Mick Hall

Chief Constable Sydney Maurice Ewart Fairman
Herts Police Historical Society

Early Life.

Sydney Maurice Ewart Fairman was born on the 28th May 1898 at Chatham and was baptised on the 10th June 1898 at Gillingham.

His father, Sydney George Fairman, was born on the 16th October 1873 at Tunbridge Wells. On the 3rd January 1893 he enlisted at Chatham in the Royal Engineers as Sapper 27188. He served for 21 years and was discharged as an Engineer (Clerk) Quarter Master Sergeant on the 2nd January 1914. All of his service was at ‘Home’ and he was awarded a Good Conduct medal.

His mother, Jessie Webb, was born on the 26th March 1874 at Canterbury. In the 1891 census she was employed as a shop keeper and living with her family at Butchery Lane, Canterbury.

Sydney and Jessie married on the 9th August 1897 at the Baptist Chapel, Canterbury. They had two children:

  1. Sydney Maurice Ewart Fairman.
  2. Jessie Winifred Alice Fairman born on the 20th August 1909 at Monmouth.

During the 1901 census the family were living apart. Sydney senior was at Osbaston, Monmouth, Monmouthshire and was shown as a Sergeant in the Royal Engineers. Jessie and son Sydney (who was recorded as Maurice) were living with her parents at 13, Butchery Lane, Canterbury. She was shown as being the wife of a Sergeant in the Royal Engineers.

By the time of the 1911 census the family were all living together at Staunton Road, Monmouth. Sydney senior was shown as being in the Corps of the Royal Engineers as a Quarter Master Sergeant.

In the 1919 Kelly’s Directory and the Electoral Rolls of 1920 to 1922 the family were recorded as living at Brentway, Exeter Road, Ivybridge. In the Electoral Rolls of 1923 to 1927 they were at Oakleigh Villas, Ivybridge, whilst the 1928 to 1930 Electoral Rolls show them at 14, Brockman Road, Folkestone. In 1931 the Electoral Roll shows they had moved to 225, Cheriton Road, Folkestone.

Sydney Maurice Ewart Fairman Army Service.

Sydney’s Army Service Record should be at the Public Record Office but from his Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Roll we know he was Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Welch Fusiliers and then as a Lieutenant he was attached to the Camel Corps and the Motor Machine Gun Service. He landed in Egypt in October 1916. His Index Card records two undated addresses for him: 1. Camel Corps Depot, F.D.A. Cairo and 2. The Divisional General, Frontier Districts Administration, Cairo, Egypt.

He appears in the British Army Lists of 1916 and 1917 as a 2nd Lieutenant, Royal Welch Fusiliers, and from 1918 to 1922 as a Lieutenant in the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

After the war Sydney undoubtedly was in India as he was initiated into the St. John the Evangelist Masonic Lodge (1483), Lahore, India on the 15th June 1921. He was shown as a Lieutenant aged 23. The date of his Passing was the 12th November 1923 and his Raising was the 19th December 1923. He was given certificate number 142 on the 19th March 1924.

Sydney arrived at London aboard the S.S. Manela of the British India Steamship Navigation Company Ltd. on the 29th April 1924 having sailed from Bombay. He gave his address as Oakleigh, Ivybridge and his occupation as Army. It will be seen from below that he travelled with his future wife.


In 1926 Sydney married Phyllis Doreen Richardson at Paddington. Phyllis was born on the 13th June 1899 at Karachi, India and was baptised there on the 8th July 1899. On the 18th November 1918 in Bombay she married John Stevenson, born 1894, a Lieutenant in the 97th Regiment in the Indian Army. They had a son John Norman Floyd Stevenson born on the 4th July 1920 in Karachi.

Phyllis with her son, parents and sister sailed from Liverpool on the 15th November 1921 aboard the SS City of Marseilles of the Hall Line Ltd, bound for Karachi. They gave their address as The Sandringham Hotel, 78, Cromwell Road, London, E.C.

Phylis and her son, shown as Norman, arrived at London aboard the SS Manela of the British India Steamship Navigation Company Ltd. on the 29th April 1924 having sailed from Bombay. She gave her address as 25, Queens Street, Kings Lynn.

(Abridged) Published in the Leeds Mercury on Friday 27th May 1938 under the headline Street Games And Road Deaths. Need  For More Children’s Playgrounds. Courtesy Police: Capt. S.M.E. Fairman, London Divisional Accident Officer, Ministry of Transport, told the delegates that he had been privileged to have an Inside knowledge of the training and road work of the new Courtesy Police and he wished them success in their all-important experiment in the reduction of road accidents. “One act of consideration leads to another,” he said, “Cumulatively they produce a glow of good feeling, and I conclude with these two words as my offering towards the solution of our road accident problem – education, consideration.”

Sydney Maurice Ewart Fairman Police Service.

Sydney’s Police Service Record has not survived but it ii known that he officially started as Chief Constable on the 1st October 1939.

The 1939 register records that Captain Sydney M.E. Fairman, the Police Chief Constable of Hertfordshire, his wife Phyllis and (stepson) Norman S. Fairman, described as a Student for Police, were guests at a hotel at 3, Cumberland Road, St. Albans. Cumberland Road no longer exists it is thought to now be a private road called St. Bernard’s Road.

Published in the Hertford Mercury and Reformer on Friday 1st September 1939 under the headline New Chief Constable of Hert Ministry Of Transport Official Appointed: At a meeting of the Hertfordshire Standing Joint Committee yesterday, Thursday, Captain S. M. E. Fairman, Divisional Accident Officer of the London Engineering Division the Ministry of Transport, was appointed Chief Constable of Hertfordshire in succession to Mr. George Knight, who was retiring. The appointment of Captain Fairman, who is aged 42, is subject to the approval of the Home Office.

Published in the Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Gazette on Tuesday 12th September 1939: Captain S.M.E. Fairman who has been appointed Chief Constable of Hertfordshire, 42 years of age and was commissioned as Lieutenant in the Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1916. In 1922 he was seconded to the Foreign Office of the Egyptian Government, for police duties.

Published in the Uxbridge and W. Drayton Gazette on the 13th October 1939: Mr. George Knight, Chief Constable of Hertfordshire, retires on pension on Saturday and is making his new home in the Isle of Wight. His successor is Capt. S.M.E. Fairman, formerly Divisional Accident Officer of the London Engineering Division of the Ministry of Transport. He has had a course at the Home Office Public School.

Published in the Uxbridge and W. Drayton Gazette on Friday 17th November 1939 under the headline Social and Personal: Capt. Sydney Maurice Ewart Fairman is the new Chief Constable of Hertfordshire, selected out of 93 applications. He is 42 and has had previous police experience.

Published in the Gloucester Citizen on Tuesday 7th September 1943: Watch Your Children Then Captain S.M.E. Fairman, Chief Constable of Hertfordshire, speaking at a safety, exhibition today, said that the danger periods for child accidents were between one and 1.30 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. and were the same in holidays term time.

Sydney Maurice Ewart Fairman Army Service in WW2.

From Neil Osborn’s The Story of Hertfordshire Police: “Chief Constable Captain S.M.E. Fairman, who contracted pneumonia on the beaches of Anzio. Captain Fairman had replaced George Knight in late 1939, leaving his post with the Ministry of Transport. In 1943 he resigned his Police post and joined the Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories. His short time in the Hertfordshire Police had not been happy, as he constantly struggled to make good his lack of Police knowledge and experience. But, for all his shortcomings and lack of dedication he did at least provide a welcome release from the discipline of fear that had existed under Knight.”

War Office Casualty List No. 1446 dated 15th May 1944 reported that on the 7th May Temporary Lieutenant Colonel 9152  S.M.E. Fairman was dangerously ill in Italy.

War Office Casualty List No. 1458 dated 29th May 1944 reported, as previously reported on Casualty List No. 1446 as dangerously ill, Temporary Lieutenant Colonel 9152  S.M.E. Fairman died on the 20th May 1944 in Italy

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission record shows: “In Memory of Lieutenant Colonel Sydney Maurice Ewart Fairman 9152, General List (formerly Royal Welch Fusiliers) who died on 20th May 1944 Age 45. Husband of Phyllis Doreen Fairman, of West Hyde, Hertfordshire. Formerly Chief Constable of Hertfordshire. Remembered with Honour Bari War Cemetery.” He is buried in Plot 14, Row C, Grave 15. The family requested the following inscription to be placed on his headstone: “Dearly Beloved Husband Of Phyllis No Life, No Music, No Love Without You.” The cemetery is located on the outskirts of Bari in the locality of Carbonara.

Published in the Lancashire Evening Post on Saturday 3rd June 1944: Ex-Chief Constable Colonel S.M.E. Fairman who in February this year resigned his post as Chief Constable of Hertfordshire to take up an appointment In the War Office, Civil Affairs Section, has died on active service in Italy, where he was attached to the Allied Military Control Commission.

This page was added on 19/08/2020.

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