Section B Reservists At The Rear OF King Street Police Station c. 1916
The Derby Scheme, or more correctly the Group Scheme, was a concept created by Edward Stanley the 17th Lord Derby to boost recruitment to the Army in 1915. He had been appointed as the Director-General of Recruiting on the 11th October 1915 and initiated the scheme five days later. It was considered to effectively be the last step before the introduction of compulsory military service.
The public were informed by the War Office that voluntary enlistment was going to stop and that the last chance to do so would be 15 December 1915. All men aged between 18 and 40 were notified that with this scheme they could still voluntarily enlist providing they agreed to mobilise later on if required with single men being selected before married men.
Those who enlisted under the Derby Scheme but chose to defer their mobilisation were categorised as Class A and the men who wanted to join up immediately were Class B.
The Class A men received a day’s army pay for the day they enlisted. They were also given a khaki armlet with a red cloth crown sewn to it. Each armlet was individually numbered which was recorded on their Army Record. It was to be worn on the left upper arm to show that they had volunteered which would hopefully prevent accusations of cowardice which had become rife from some sections of the public.
The Class A men were transferred to Section B of the Army Reserve and were given an Army Form W.3914 completed with their own details and Group number and they returned to their normal lives until they were mobilised. The men were categorised into single and married status and into 23 groups according to their age. Single men born in 1897 were Group 1 and progressed through to those born in 1875 who were Group 23. Similarly, married men born in 1897 were Group 24 and progressed through to those born in 1875 who were Group 46. Each specific Group was then allocated a mobilisation date.
In respect of the vast majority of Hertford County Constabulary Police Officers that fell within the above criteria they all enlisted between the 9th and the 11th December 1915. It is unknown exactly how many of them actually enlisted as not all of their records, both Police and Army have survived. The life stories of those who were known to have been mobilised can be found in The Volunteer category. Additionally, the following have been identified, from their Police Service Records, as having volunteered as Section B Reservists but were never mobilised.
Rank Number Name Born Police Dates of Service
PC 45 Herbert Batchelor 18/01/1891 01/12/1913 to 31/12/1938. PC 238 William Thomas Bedford 11/07/1882 28/01/1904 to 02/04/1920. PC 269 Harry John Bignell 30/03/1888 16/03/1911 to 15/03/1936. PC 28 James John Burch 16/09/1882 01/05/1907 to 30/04/1932. PC 205 Thomas Capell 13/05/1879 04/10/1900 to 03/12/1925. PC 221 Boston Compton 29/12/1878 26/10/1899 to 26/12/1924. PC 291 Robert George Crisford 14/12/1892 05/08/1913 to 13/12/1938. PC 227 John Cross 19/07/1878 28/12/1899 to 23/11/1921. PC 259 Frederick W. Cumberland 03/02/1882 14/02/1907 to 13/02/1932. PC 76 Herbert John Dell 19/06/1887 17/05/1910 to 08/08/1928. PC 144 John William T. Downing 17/06/1881 03/06/1901 to 16/06/1927.
PC 4 Henry Eames 05/09/1885 03/06/1909 to 29/10/1924. PC 204 Joseph Corr Hagger 15/05/1873 22/01/1903 to 21/01/1928. PC 247 Alfred Owen Hopwood 06/11/1879 15/07/1902 to 14/07/1927. INSP 15 Herbert Lawrence 02/07/1880 21/03/1901 to 31/10/1926.
PC 85 Walter Lewin 24/09/1876 08/11/1898 to 02/06/1920. PC 201 Thomas William Lovell 26/02/1877 25/01/1900 to 24/01/1925. SGT 267 Robert George H. Milton 25/01/1891 08/08/1914 to 07/08/1939. PC 203 William George Reed 25/07/1880 06/06/1901 to 24/07/1926. PC 152 John David Robinson 21/02/1880 11/07/1901 to 24/01/1923. PC 25 Ernest George Rolph 06/08/1880 11/06/1904 to 10/06/1929.
SGT 51 George Edmund Sermons 25/05/1891 12/10/1914 to 11/10/1939. PC 166 Arthur William Smith 13/04/1889 30/06/1910 to 29/06/1935. PC 60 Sydney George Smith 04/08/1884 10/07/1906 to 16/07/1930. PC 159 Charles Viner 01/02/1877 11/04/1901 to 10/04/1926. SUPT 51 William Richard West 11/05/1878 03/03/1900 to 03/01/1928. PC 17 Arthur Reginald E. Wilkins 24/10/1883 11/03/1909 to 07/05/1924.
The following two General Orders show that initially there was some confusion about the wearing of the armlets.
Orders by Superintendent William Wood Deputy Chief Constable of Hertfordshire Order 4/1916 Constabulary Headquarters Hatfield 10th January 191 Army Reserve – Section ‘B’. Police Officers who have been attested and passed into Army Reserve, Section ‘B’ will not wear their armlets either on or off duty. (Signed) W. Wood Superintendent Deputy Chief Constable of Herts.
Orders by Superintendent William Wood Deputy Chief Constable of Hertfordshire Order 7/1916 Constabulary Headquarters Hatfield 25th January 1916 Reference C.C. 9770/1915 and Order No. 4/1916 Order No. 4/1916 Is Hereby Cancelled. It has now been ascertained from the Home Office that the wearing of Khaki Armlets by Police Officers in uniform is left to the discretion of the Police Authority, and as His Majesty the King has publicly expressed wish that everybody entitled to wear the Armlet should do so, it is now ordered that all Police Officers who have been attested and passed into Section ‘B’ are to wear the Khaki Armlet when on duty. The Armlet shall be worn on the left arm above the elbow. The Armlet should also be worn by officers in plain clothes. (Signed) W. Wood Superintendent Deputy Chief Constable of Herts.