Cousins, Alfred Ernest, 57, Police Constable, Sergeant, Inspector.

Awarded Meritorious Service Medal.

Paul Watts with thanks to Suzanne Gentle, Benjamin and Matthew Cousins.

PC 57 Alfred Ernest Cousins

Early Life.

Alfred Ernest Cousins was born on the 27th March 1873 at Kilsby, Northamptonshire and was baptised there on the 4th May 1873.

His father, William Cousins an agricultural labourer, married his mother, Hannah Leatherland, in 1863 at Rugby. They had eleven children all born at Kilsby:
1. Ann Elizabeth born in 1863.
2. Joseph born in 1865.
3. George born in 1866.
4. Rose Anna born in 1868.
5. Emily born in 1871.
6. Alfred Ernest.
7. Louisa born in 1874.
8. Walter born in 1876.
9. William born in 1877.
10. Florence born in 1879.
11. Gertrude born in 1880.

During the 1881 census the family were living at Kilsby. Sadly, Alfred’s mother died in 1882 aged 36 years. At the time of the 1891 census they were still living at Kilsby. His father died in 1899 aged 58.

Early Army Service.

Alfred’s Army Service Record has not survived but from a later newspaper article, Medal Rolls, his World War 1 Service Record and information from his family we know the following. He enlisted, probably about 1890, for short service of twelve years in the 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment joining as Private 3747 and leaving, having also served in the 4th Battalion, with the rank of Colour Sergeant.

He served abroad for six years and was with Lord Kitchener in the Egyptian campaign of 1898. As Sergeant 3747 he was awarded the Queen’s silver Sudan medal for taking part in the Atbara Campaign of 1898 and the Expedition to Khartoum in 1898 and the Khedive of Egypt Sudan Medal with clasps for The Atbara and Khartum.

Colour Sergeant Alfred Ernest Cousins

His family recalls that whilst in the Army he was a champion sprinter and won many prizes. In January 1900 Alfred wrote to his future wife from where he was living in Bellary, a major city in the state of Karnataka, India.


Alfred married Ellen Ann Roff on the 24th December 1900 at St. Thomas’ Parish Church, Birmingham. Alfred gave his address as Meeanee Barracks, Colchester. They had four children:
1. Violet Helen born in 1901 at Colchester.
2. Sylvia Eileen born in 1903 at Watford.
3. Cyril Mervyn born in 1908 at Hertford.
4. Leslie Raymond born in 1909 at Hertford.

During the 1901 census Alfred was recorded as being a Sergeant Instructor Musketry Infantry and living at the Military Garrison, Colchester.

Police Service.

The exact date Alfred left the Army is unknown, but it would seem likely that there was only a short period of time between him doing so and him applying to join the Hertford County Constabulary. His Police Service Record has also not survived but from other sources we know he was Appointed as Constable 57 on the 27th November 1902 and that he was posted to C Division at Watford. He would have undergone his Probationer training there as the policy was that all training was carried out on Divisions at that time.

General Order 55 of the 17th December 1902 confirmed his appointment announcing that PC Cousins 57 was appointed on 23/11 per week from the 27th November 1902. Then published on the 6th December 1902 in The West Herts and Watford Observer was a brief article reporting that at the Watford Petty Sessions on Tuesday December 2 before Mr. J.F. Watkins (Chairman) Mr. F.S. Kayrett, Mr. F. Fisher and Mr. W.T. Coles, Alfred E. Cousins was sworn in as a constable for the county.

Drunks And Beggars.

Published on the 14th February 1903 in The West Herts and Watford Observer under the headline Watford. Petty Sessions. Tuesday February 10th. A Fighting Tramp:
Thomas G. Harvey, of no home, was charged with being disorderly and refusing to quit licensed premises on February 6. He was further charged with an assault on the police and with being drunk and disorderly. Edward Aubon, of the One Crown public house, High Street, said that defendant came in and ordered a pint of beer. He was refused and became very abusive. He would not go out when told to do so, and witness ejected him. Police Constable Morley, who went to the scene, said the defendant kicked him on the leg. He was very violent and had to be handcuffed.
Police Constable Cousins corroborated and said that the defendant kicked and struck him. Defendant was sentenced to 21 days hard labour.

Published on the 25th April 1903 in The West Herts and Watford Observer under the headline Watford. Occasional Court:
At an Occasional Court on Thursday morning held at the Police Station, before Mr E. Kingham, Benjamin Postons, of no fixed abode, was charged with being found drunk in the Market Place on 22nd inst. Police Constable Cousins proved the case. Prisoner was fined 1s. At the same Court Albert Siddall, who gave an address of East Harwich, Lancs., was charged with begging in the High Street, Watford on 22nd inst. Police Constable Cousins gave evidence. Prisoner was sentenced to seven days hard labour.

General Order 29 of the 30th June 1903 informed Alfred that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 23/11 to 25/8 per week from the 11th June 1903.

At Court Again.

Published on the 18th July 1903 in The West Herts and Watford Observer under the headline Watford. Petty Sessions. Tuesday July 14. Sleepy Drivers:
William Chalk, Flaunden, James Bignell, Flaunden and George Bridges, Willesden did not appear on a charge of riding asleep. Police Constable Merry stated that he awakened the defendants when the carts were proceeding down Clay Hill, Bushey.
Chalk was fined 5s. and 5s. costs; Bignell 4s. and 6s. costs and Bridges 5s. and 5s. costs. Walter Foskett, Studham, was summonsed for riding asleep on June 27th. Defendant did not appear, and Police Constable Cousins proved the case. In the first instance defendant gave a wrong name, the son of the owner of the cart, Henry Horn. The falsity of the statement was found out when the summons was served, but the defendant was ultimately caught in Watford High Street by the same policeman, who this time was in plain clothes. When spoken to about giving a false name the defendant denied the charge. Fined £1, including costs, or seven days imprisonment.

In February 1904 Alfred qualified to render first aid to the injured after attending a course at Hertford run by the St. John Ambulance Association. Passing this course was a compulsory qualification for every constable and it entitled them to wear a badge on the left lower sleeve of their tunic.

General Order 30 of the 21st December 1904 informed Alfred that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 25/8 to 26/10 per week from the 24th November 1904.


General Order 2 of the 6th February 1905 announced Commendations which had been granted for December 1904. Alfred was commended by the Chief Constable for gallant conduct at a fire during the night of 31st December 1904.

More Court Cases.

Published on the 13th May 1905 in The West Herts and Watford Observer under the headline Watford. Petty Sessions. Tuesday. Stealing Meat From A Van.
Mark Williams, William George Vinson and Ezekiel Franklin, all of Watford, were charged with stealing meat, valued £2 2s., the property of Francis Fisher, at Watford, on May 2nd. Police Constable Cousins said that on May 3rd he saw Ezekiel Franklin and charged him with having been concerned in stealing the meat. He said, “I am not guilty of stealing, but guilty of receiving it. My father knows nothing about it. I had the meat. My father did not know it was in the house at all.” Inspector Reed deposed that at midnight on May 2nd he went to 8 Butchers Yard, where he saw Mark Wilson. Wilson was charged and said, “Yes I stood on the ground. The other chap got on the van and took up the meat and gave it to me. I dropped it on the wheel. I do not know the man’s name. I never saw him before last Sunday. When we were getting the meat out the driver came up and said, “What are you doing there?” The other man said, “We are looking for a doss. We did not take the meat away.” Witness then went to 140 Queens Road, where he saw Vinson. He said, “I know nothing about any meat.” Witness took him to the Police Station and had the two men Wilson and Vinson put together. He asked Wilson if Vinson was in his company the previous evening, and he replied, “Yes.” Vinson said, “I am not going to say I was there.” About 10.30 the next morning witness visited the prisoners in the cells separately and they both admitted taking the meat. Wilson said, “We all three took one piece first. We took it to Franklin’s house and came back and got another piece. We took it to Franklin’s house and came back again. When the driver came up, I dropped a piece of meat on the wheel. Franklin’s father was in the room when we took the meat and put it on the table. He did not ask us where we got it from. William K. Fisher, son of Francis Fisher, butcher, High Street, identified the meat, which was missed from a van. James Seabrook, 76 High Street, in the employ of Mr Fisher as a carman, said that his van was standing outside Mr. Fisher’s premises. It was loaded with meat. Witnesses saw a man standing in front of the van. Wilson was in the van and handed another young man a piece of meat. When he saw witness, he put the meat between the side of the van and the wheel. When asked what he wanted, he said, “A nights doss.” Witness said, “You can see it’s full of meat.” There were two pieces of meat short and one damaged. All the defendants pleaded guilty. Wilson and Franklin had been previously convicted, the latter eight times. Superintendent Wood said that on various occasions the meat in the van had been found short and probably some innocent persons had had to make the shortage good. The Bench sentenced Franklin to six weeks hard labour and Wilson to three weeks hard labour. Vinson, who was given a good character, was dealt with under the First Offenders Act and bound over to come up for judgment if called upon. John Franklin was charged with receiving the meat well knowing it to have been stolen. Police Constable Cousins said that when he went to prisoner’s house, he found one piece of meat in a corner under some linen and another piece in a bath which was hanging up in the back place downstairs. When charged prisoner said, “I received no stolen meat or concealed it.” Inspector Draper stated that he told prisoner of Wilson’s statement, and he replied, “I was not in the house at the time.” Wilson, who was present, said, “I will not be certain about whether he was there.” Ezekiel Franklin, who was convicted in the last case, said his father knew nothing of the meat being taken into the house. The Chairman said that there not sufficient evidence to convict. (To defendant): You are discharged; don’t do it again. (Laughter).

Published on the 17th June 1905 in The West Herts and Watford Observer under the headline Watford. Petty Sessions. Tuesday. Arm Through A Window.
John Edward Gibson, Loates Lane, was summoned for drunkenness on June 12th. Police Constable Cousins said that defendant while drunk, put his arm through a window belonging to the Gas Company. Fined 5s. and costs.

Published on the 30th September 1905 in The West Herts and Watford Observer under the headline Absent Without Leave.
At an occasional Police Court on Thursday, before Mr W.T. Coles, Henry Harding, alias Smith, of 70 Liverpool Road, Watford, was charged with being an absentee from the 3rd Battalion Beds. Regiment stationed at Bedford on 13th March. Prisoner was remanded to await an escort. Evidence of arrest was given by Police Constable Cousins.

Published on the 25th November 1905 The West Herts and Watford Observer under the headline Watford. Petty Sessions. Tuesday. Asleep.
Robert Wilkins, New Mill, Tring was summonsed for riding asleep on November 10th. Harry Walters, Piggotts End, Hemel Hempstead was summonsed for a similar offence on the same day. Neither appeared and Police Constable Cousins having given evidence both were fined 5s. and 5s. costs.

Parliamentary Elections 1906.

In General Order 1 of 1st January 1906 instructions are given to dozens of Police officers in connection with the General Election of January 1906. Voting was carried out over several days and schedules were drawn up detailing where and when officers would perform duty.
Schedule C
Return of Officers and Men detailed for duty in the Western or Watford Division on Tuesday 23rd January 1906.
Div.    Rank No. Name           Station           Place for Duty
C        PC 57 Cousins A E       Watford         Watford


General Order 28 of the 15th December 1906 instructed Alfred that he was being transferred from to C Division at to F Division at Hertford as Constable Clerk.

General Order 22 of the 20th August 1907 informed Alfred that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 26/10 to 28/0 per week “special” from the 1st August 1907.

The Electoral Roll of 1909 lists Alfred Ernest Cousins as living at 98, Tamworth Road, Hertford.

General Order 29 of the 16th September 1909 informed Alfred that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 28/- to 29/2 per week from the 26th August 1909. At this time, he was still stationed in F Division but, although the record has not been found, it is apparent from the following records that he returned to Watford.

Charitable Fund Rising.

Published on the 25th December 1909 in The West Herts and Watford Observer under the headline Police Entertainment:
The Police of the Watford Division gave their annual concert in aid of the Watford Police Court Peer Box on Wednesday evening in the Clarendon Hall. A lengthy programme was submitted to the large audience and not one dull moment marred the complete success of the evening’s enjoyment. Superintendent Wood said that it was a pleasure to see them once more. He was pleased to tell them that, in addition to selling all the tickets they had, one gentleman had kindly renewed a donation of £5 5s, and another one of £1 1s. These donations showed the appreciation that was felt for their work. Out of the proceeds of the last concert they gave a donation of £5 to the Poor Society, £5 to the Preventative and Rescue Society, £2 10s to the N.S.P.C.C. and £20 to the Poor Box Fund. Ninety one pairs of boots were given away and assistance was given to 14 wives and 30 children. Three boys were assisted during the year in various ways; one for whom a situation was found in Essex was living with a farmer and doing well. (Applause). Two other boys they went to sea. The fares of five persons were paid to their homes or they would have gone into the Workhouse. Four convicts were assisted and in connection with this he said that a man who had been assisted before had sent him a photograph and letter. This man was now living a respectable life as a working man. (Applause). Assistance had been given in various ways to temporary unemployed and there had been some very distressing cases. Miss A.R. Wood opened the entertainment with her solo, “ La Polka de la Reine” and a series of songs by members of the force followed. The humorous side was strongly represented and there was not one singer who did not fail to draw appreciative applause. Police Constable Francis, who possesses a pleasing tenor voice, was heard in three songs, “Goodbye Jenny,” “Somewhere” and “To the End of the World.” Police Constable Cousins, who was dressed in plantation costume, gave the song “On the Banks of the Old Canal” successfully and Police Constable Debnam also gave a pleasing rendering of the song “When the Roses Bloom. ”There were two instrumental items, a mandolin duet, “Over the Waves” by Police Constables Boud and Digby, and Police Constables Lewin and Grange’s turn was a banjo duet “Cromartie.” Mandolins and banjos were played very well, and the performers were rewarded with hearty applause. Each of the humourists on the programme was attired in some costume appropriate to the song and the performances were excellent. Sergeant West sang “It’s a lie” and “Now we can both laugh together;” Police Constable Wright, “Beautiful Dreamy Eyes;” Police Constable Wicks, “I played my concertina” and “He’s got no work to do;” Police Constable Brewster, “What will become of England?” and “I cheered when the boat went out;” Police Constable Huggins, “I must go home tonight” and “The Agitator;” Police Constable Smith, “For Months and Months and Months” and “Little Willie’s Wild Woodbines.” One rendition was included in the first part of programme, and this, “The Last Shot,” was effectively given by Police Constable Wright. A capital minstrel entertainment followed this part of the programme, being in the hands of Police Constables Cousins (Johnson) Digby, Lewin, Brewster, Francis, Boud, Debnam, Grange and Wright. Sergeant West was Bones and Police Constable Huggins, Tambo. Miss A.R. Wood accompanied skilfully throughout the concert.

General Election.

General Order 2 of 13th January 1910 gave instructions to dozens of Police officers in connection with the General Election of January 1910. Voting was carried out over several days and schedules were drawn up detailing where and when officers would perform duty. The following excerpt refers to Alfred.
Schedule D
Return of Officers and Men detailed for duty in the Western or Watford Division 27th January 1910.
Div. Rank No. Name Station Place for Duty
C PC 57 Cousins Watford Clerk

During the 1911 census Police Constable Alfred Ernest Cousins, his wife Ellen and children Violet, Sylvia, Cyril and Leslie were listed as living at 43, St. Marys Road, Watford.

Coal Strike.

General Order 16 of the 1st July 1911 instructed that a detachment of the Hertford County Constabulary would proceed to Cardiff on Wednesday 5th July 1911 for duty. It included one Inspector four Sergeants and 25 Constables one of whom was Alfred. They were given the following orders:
The Deputy Chief Constable will superintend the departure from Paddington Station. The detachment will parade in Paddington Station at 11 a.m. on 5th July. The train will leave at 11.30 a.m. arriving at Cardiff at 2.22 p.m. Every man will take a change of clothing, second suit of uniform, great coat, helmet, cape, leggings, night belt and lamp, truncheon & warrant card, whistle and chain and handcuffs. PC Reynolds will act as Clerk to the Detachment. The men detailed for duty have been carefully selected and any neglect of duty or misconduct tending to bring the Hertfordshire Constabulary into disrepute on the part of any Officer or Constable of the detachment while on duty in another County will meet with the severest notice of the Constable. Special arrangements will be made for the payment of fares to and from Cardiff. Inspector Sullivan will be given a special advance from which he is authorised to pay back officers a sum not exceeding 5/- per week and this advance will also be available for any necessary expenditure of an extraordinary nature. Receipts to be submitted to the office. The wives of officers proceeding with the Detachment will be paid £1 per week from the officers pay during their absence. Food and lodgings will be provided.

Gilfach Goch Colliery 1911

The officers were detailed to perform duty at the Gilfach Goch Colliery. Alfred can be seen in this photograph: Front row left to right: PC 91A James Hyiatt, Sergeant 55B Frederick William Warren, PC 174E Lewis Saunders. Back row left to right: PC 241D Ferdinand Whittaker Lilley, PC 156D Alfred John Blake, PC 37C Alfred Ernest Cousins, PC 107E Edward Albert Payne, PC 26E Philip James Bradford.


General Order 17 of the 24th May 1911 announced that Commendations had been awarded to Sergeant Woodwards 181 C, PC Ephithate 220 C, PC Cousins 57 C by the Chairman of Watford Petty Sessions in a case of fowl robbery at Oxhey Grange, Watford on the 26th April 1911.

The 1912 Electoral Roll showed the family were still living at 43, St. Marys Road, Watford.

Promotion And Transfer.

General Order 3 of the 1st April 1912 informed Alfred that he was being promoted to the rank of Acting Sergeant on augmentation of the Force. The appointment was backdated to 7th March 1912 and Alfred was transferred to R Division at Headquarters and told to occupy the quarters recently occupied by a PC Kitchiner.

In 1910 the Police (Weekly Rest Day) Act was passed requiring every Constable to be allowed 52 rest days in the year. The Act gave four years grace in which to phase the rest days in as it required an increase, or augmentation, of the size of the Force to ensure cover for the officers on rest days was in place. Alfred’s promotion was one of the new posts in Hertfordshire created under the Act.

Alfred’s family recall that in 1912 he was living at 2, Police Cottages, Puttocks Oak, Hatfield and that he was an instructor of new recruits into the Police Force. He undertook a course of instruction in London in the martial art of Ju-Jitsu from Japanese instructors.

Alfred joined what effectively was the formation of a central Training Department created to train the large increase of Constables. Previously recruits were allocated to Divisional Stations and placed under the guidance of experienced Constables with oversight by the officer in charge. Alfred’s name appears as a Class Instructor in several surviving Police Service Records of Constables recruited from this period.

General Order 7 of the 6th March 1913 announced that Alfred was being promoted from Acting Sergeant to the substantive rank of Sergeant on 33/3 per week from 7th March 1913.

The Electoral Rolls of 1914 and 1915 list Alfred as still living at Puttocks Oak, Hatfield.

General Order 45 of the 26th March 1915 informed Alfred that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 33/10 to 33/5 per week from the 7th March 1915.

Another Coal Strike.

General Order 116 of the 17th July 1915 was entitled Glamorganshire Coal Strike and listed Alfred as the Sergeant and ten Constables who were instructed to hold themselves in readiness to proceed at short notice for duty in the Admiralty Coal Fields in Glamorganshire. There is no record which shows that they were deployed.

General Order 118 of the 21st July 1915 is a list of 96 officers which included the Chief Constable, 43 Constables who were Army reservists who were recalled and 50 Constables and 2 Sergeants who volunteered for military service. Alfred is shown as PS 57 Cousins A.E. R Division who enlisted in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on the 21st July 1915.

General Order 119 of the same day was entitled The Police (Naval and Military Service) Acts and announced: Police Sergeant Alfred Ernest Cousins having been offered an appointment as Quarter Master Sergeant in his Majesty’s Army, the necessary consent for his enlistment is hereby given, as required by the above Acts. Police Sergeant Cousins will be paid up to and including the 21st July 1915 and will be struck off the strength of the establishment of the force as from that date.

Published on the 24th July 1915 in the Hertfordshire Mercury under the headline Police Sergeant A.E. Cousins allowed to re-join the Army: PS A.E. Cousins, who has been sergeant-instructor at headquarters at Hatfield for the past three and a half years, and formerly clerk at Hertford, has this week been granted permission to join the Army, and has enlisted in his old Regiment, the Royal Warwick’s, who are training at Boreham Camp, Chelmsford. He has received the appointment of Quartermaster Sergeant and Chief Clerk on the staff of the 2nd/1st South Midland Division. He was a very smart police officer and stood first on the list for promotion to inspector, having passed all of the necessary examinations. Before joining the Herts. Constabulary 13 years ago, Sergt. Cousins served 12 years in the Royal Warwick’s, which he left with the rank of Colour Sergeant. He served six years abroad, and was with Lord Kitchener in the Egyptian campaign of 1898, being present at the battle of Khartoum. Whilst in the Army he was a champion sprinter and won many prizes.

Information from Alfred’s family discloses that according to his Will he was presented with a silver Rose Bowl, by Lord Salisbury, with the inscription: From No 4 (Hatfield) Co. 3rd Batt. Herts Volunteer Regiment To Reg. Quarter Master Sergeant A. E. Cousins 1915.

Army Service During The War.

His Army Service Record has survived and the following is shown:

Alfred enlisted on the 21st July 1915 for the duration of the war in the United Kingdom as Private 4454 in the Territorial Force of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.
He gave his address as 2, Police Cottages, Hatfield and stated he was willing to be Attested into Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He stated he had previously served 12 years in the 1st and 4th Battalions of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

He was medically examined at Hertford on the same day and the following recorded: Apparent age: 43 years. Height: 5 feet 10 inches. Maximum chest expansion: 39 inches range 3 inches. Vision: normal. Physical development: Good. He said his next of kin was his wife, Mrs Cousins of No. 2 Police Cottages, Hatfield.

He was immediately promoted to Acting Colour Sergeant and posted to the 7th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. On the 1st August 1915 he was promoted to Acting Quartermaster Sergeant.

On the 29th March 1916 he was posted to the 81st Provisional Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment and reverted to Colour Sergeant. On the 10th April 1916 he was promoted to Acting Battalion Quartermaster Sergeant and, on the 26th October 1916, he was promoted to Company Quartermaster Sergeant.

On the 1st January 1917 he was posted to the 18th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment as Acting Company Quartermaster Sergeant.

A week later he reverted to Private and transferred to the Royal Army Service Corps and was posted to the Army Service Corps Horse Transport Reserve Park, 239th Company and appointed paid Acting Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant and given a new Army Service Number of S/293262.

On the 22nd June 1918 he was appointed Acting Warrant Officer Class II. On the 13th August 1918 he was mentioned in the Secretary of State for Wars’ list for valuable services rendered in connection with the war. On the 31st August 1918 he was appointed Warrant Officer Class I paid Acting Staff Sergeant Major.

On the 23rd January 1919 he was Disembodied on demobilisation at Woolwich Dockyard and discharged surplus to Military Requirements (having suffered impairment since entry into the service) Paragraph 392 (XVIa) Kings Regulations. He gave his home address as Police Cottages, Hatfield.

Meritorious Service Medal Awarded.

Published on the 22nd February 1919 in the Supplement to the London Gazette issue 31198 was the announcement that His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of valuable services rendered in connection with the war to S/293262 Company Quartermaster Sergeant (Acting Staff Sergeant Major) Cousins, A. E., 239th Company.

A letter dated the 28th August 1919 from the Ministry of Pensions, Burton Court, Kings Road, London to the Officer Commanding Royal Army Service Corps stated:
Sir, I am directed by the Ministry of Pensions to inform you of the undermentioned decision in the case of a man whose discharge documents have been recently received with the view to having the claim to pension.
I am, Sir, Your obedient Servant William Sanger Controller Soldiers Awards ranch.

The following was then recorded: Rank for Pension: S.S.M. Regimental No: S/293262. Name: Cousins Alfred Ernest. Regiment or Corps: R.A.S.C. Date of Discharge; 23/01/1919. Age on Discharge: 45. Marital Status: Married. Address on Discharge: Constabulary Office Hatfield. Disabilities: Lumbago. State whether attributable, aggravated or non-attributable: Aggravated. Degree of Disablement: Less than 20%. Weekly Pension or Allowance: 7/2 from 24/01/1919 to be reviewed in 52 weeks. Nature of award: Act 1(3) RW 1918? Allowances for 2 children 2/4 do. In lieu of former award.

Alfred was also awarded a Silver War Badge and the following is a transcript from the Roll:
Name: Alfred Ernest Cousins. Service number: S/293262. Rank: Acting/Staff Sergeant Major. Badge number: 455091. Enlistment date: 21/07/1915. Discharge date: 23/01/1919. Regiment/unit: Royal Army Service Corps. Cause of discharge: Sickness 392. xvia. Whether served overseas: No. Badge date of issue: 23/02/1920

Like every other soldier Alfred would have been granted 28 days leave on his demobilisation and he would have used this time to apply to re-join the Police. He would have had to have undergone a Medical Examination by the Force Surgeon to ensure that he was still fit enough for Police duties. Having passed this, he would have been re-Appointed on the day following the date of the end of his leave period.

Re-joining The Police.

General Order 5 of 6th January 1919 listed 13 Police Soldiers who having been released from H.M. Army were re-appointed to the Force with effect from the dates shown. Alfred was shown as PS 57 Cousins of R Division at Hatfield on 30th December 1918 on £2/8/0 per week. Each officer had to be formerly re-attested. Superintendents concerned had to report to the Chief Constable when this has been done, showing the date and place of Attestation and before whom taken.

Promotion And Then A Transfer.

General Order 2 of the 1st January 1919 announced that from the 19th January 1919 Alfred was being promoted to be Acting Inspector:

General Order 77 of the 24th March 1919 instructed Alfred that from the 27th March 1919 he was being transferred from R Division at Headquarters to E Division at Stevenage.

Published in the Hertfordshire Express and General Advertiser on Saturday the 29th March 1919 under the headline New Police Inspector’s career – Inspector Cousins, who succeeds Inspector Bowyer, was present at the Sessions on Thursday. He was introduced to the various officials by Superintendent Reed. The new inspector comes to Stevenage with a useful record. After twelve years service with the Royal Warwick s, during which he passed through the Egyptian Campaign of 1898 under Lord Kitchener, he retired with the rank of Colour Sergeant. He holds the Omdurman medals and wears the Egyptian ribbons. He then joined the civil forces of the Crown and served on the Headquarters Staff as superintendent’s clerk at Hertford and at Watford. On the new call for Servicemen, Inspector Cousins offered his services as Sergeant Instructor, in which post, he occupied a useful position. At the close of the war he retired from the Army with the rank of Staff Sergeant Major, and on re-joining the Constabulary was promoted to inspector.

His family understand that Alfred was offered the choice of being a Police Inspector in either the new teetotal town of Letchworth Garden City or Stevenage with its surrounding area with 200 pubs and several rural police officers. Alfred chose Stevenage. Alfred was proud of the fact that he was able to tell the ‘Fox Twins’ apart. Albert Ebenezer and Ebenezer Albert Fox were notorious poachers who gave each other an alibi as one or the other was always in the pub whilst the other was out poaching.

Inspector Alfred Ernest Cousins

Acting Superintendent.

General Order 183 of 25th August 1919 announced that during the absence on leave of Superintendent W. Ebling, from 1st to 22nd September 1919, inclusive, Inspector A.E. Cousins E Division would take charge and act as Superintendent of the F or Hertford Division. Alfred was told to go to Hertford on Saturday, 30th August 1919, and personally go through books, documents and correspondence with Superintendent Ebling.

Retirement On Medical Pension.

General Order 23 of the 11th February 1920 announced that Alfred, who had been certified medically unfit by the Constabulary Staff Surgeon, would retire on a Medical Pension and that he would be paid up to 21st February 1920.

Alfred’s son Cyril says that his father took early retirement due to nervous exhaustion as he had been a stickler for discipline, being ex-army, and so would often get up in the dead of night to keep point duty with the rural police officers who, no doubt, were less than happy to see him.

General Order 56 of the 1st April 1920 informed Alfred that having completed 17 Years of approved service he would receive an annual Pension of £99/14/6 from the 22nd February 1920.

The Electoral Rolls of 1920 to 1930 list Alfred and his family as living at Hillside 34, Pixmore Avenue, Letchworth.

Alfred’s family recall that following his retirement Alfred lived on his Police pension and ran the Boys’ Club in Letchworth Garden City, behind the Police Station. Alfred also worked at the Norton Road School in Letchworth Garden City.

The 1939 Register shows that Alfred, who is recorded as being a retired Police Inspector and incapacitated, as still living at 34, Pixmore Avenue, Letchworth with his family.

Alfred Ernest Cousins died on the 5th February 1947 at 34, Pixmore Avenue, Letchworth. He was buried at the Wilbury Hills Cemetery, Letchworth.

This page was added on 20/04/2020.

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