Alfred Henry King

Police Constable 217, Sergeant, Inspector and Superintendent

Paul Watts

Alfred Henry King General Order 21/1916
Herts Police Historical Society

Early Life.

Alfred Henry King was born on the 12th May 1881 at Essendon.

His father, who was also called Alfred Henry King, married his mother Eliza Hogben in 1880 in Dover. They had eight children, six boys and two girls all born in Essendon and Alfred was the eldest. The others were Cyril born in 1883, Gertrude Amelia born and died in 1885, William Ernest born in 1886, Cecil Court who was born in 1889 and was Trooper 1636 in the Royal Horse Guards and was killed in action in 1914 in France, May Kathleen born in 1892, Donald born in 1895 and lastly Harold who was born in 1898.

During the 1891 census the family were living at Essendon and Alfred senior was an Evangelist Preacher. In the 1901 census the family were living at 4, Hanbury Cottages, Essendon and Alfred senior is now described as being a Baptist Evangelist Preacher. Young Alfred had left home and joined the Royal Navy.

Royal Navy Service.

On 20 September 1896 Alfred Henry King enlisted into the Royal Navy as a Boy Seaman 2nd Class, his service number was 190592. Once he had reached his eighteenth birthday on the 12th May 1899, he had agreed to serve for a period of Continuous Service Engagement of 12 years.

His description was recorded: Born: 12th May 1881 at Essendon, Height: 5 feet 5 ½ inches, Hair: Brown, Eyes: Brown, Complexion: Fresh, Marks/Scars: Two tattoos firstly a crown on left forearm, secondly letters A.K. above an anchor above a bridge on right forearm.

However, on 8th March 1897 whilst serving on the training ship HMS Impregnable his period of Continuous Service Engagement was ‘cancelled by purchase’ which was the end of his career in the Navy. His character was recorded as being very good.

Early Army Service.

His Army Service Record has not survived but from other sources we know he enlisted into the 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards in 1899 probably for short service of 3 years in the colours and 9 in the Reserves.

In the 1901 census Private Alfred Henry King, Grenadier Guards, is recorded as living at the Victoria Barracks, Victoria Street, Windsor.

He actually served for 3 years 253 days before being transferred to the Army Reserve on 9th October 1902.

The 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards served in South Africa during the Boer War and from the Medal Rolls there is a Private 7888 A. King which could be Alfred. If it is then he was awarded the Queen’s South Africa Medal with clasps for 1901, 1902 and Cape Colony.

Little is known about his life after leaving the Army other than he is believed to have worked as a gardener for about seven months and then he joined the Police.

Police Service.

Alfred started his Probationer Training on 7th May 1903 at C Division at Watford. A training was undertaken on Divisions rather than at Headquarters at this time.

General Order 29 of 30th June 1903 announced that PC King 217 had been appointed on 23/11 per week from 4th June 1903

Alfred was transferred to G Division on the 28th April 1904 but there is no record as to where he was stationed. However, the Electoral Rolls from 1906 to 1911 list an Alfred King living at Nottlers Lodge, Smug Oak, Bricket Wood.

Alfred married Ellen Hannah Brooks on the 14th May 1904 at St. Andrews Church Watford. Alfred gave his address the Police Station, St. Albans Road, Watford. In actuality he was probably not still living there, having been transferred, but it was probably convenient for the wedding to give it as his address. They had two children Norman Alfred who was born and died in 1906 at St. Albans
And Douglas William born in 1907 at Hatfield.

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. The following excerpts refer to Alfred.
Schedule D
Return of Officers and Men detailed for duty in the Northern or Hitchin Division on Thursday 25th January 1906.
Div. Rank No. Name Station Place for Duty
G PC 217 King A.H. Bricket Wood Baldock

General Order 19 of 24th June 1908 informed Alfred that he would receive an increased rate from 26/10/ to 28/- per week from 4th June 1908.

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 B
Return of Officers and Men detailed for duty in the Northern or Hitchin Division on Friday 21st January 1910.
Div. Rank No. Name Station Place for Duty
G PC 217 King A H Bricket Wood Hitchin
Schedule C
Return of Officers and Men detailed for duty in the Mid or St Albans Division Tuesday 25th January 1910.
Div. Rank No. Name Station Place for Duty
G PC 217 King A H Bricket Wood Park Street
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
G PC 217 King A H Bricket Wood Hemel Hempstead

A Royal Visit.

General Order 43 of 5th December 1910 was a list of instructions regarding the visit of their Majesties the King and Queen to Brocket Park on 12th December 1910 and the following days. Amongst other officers, 2 Sergeants and 7 Constables were detailed at the disposal of Inspector Draper, for duty in the public ways, footpaths and roads surrounding the Park and with the Shooting Parties. PC 217G King was instructed to be at Brocket Park early on the afternoon of 12th December and to remain there for duty at the House until their Majesties left.

In the 1911 census Alfred and his wife and son are listed as living at 60, Warwick Road, St. Albans whether that meant he had been moved from Bricket Wood is not known but it is possible that he had been transferred to Fleetville.

General Order 21 of 22nd June 1911 informed Alfred that he would receive an increase rate of pay from 28/- to 29/2 per week from 1st June 1911.

The Electoral Roll for 1912 and the School record for his son Douglas William lists the family as living at 42, Warwick Road, St. Albans.

Alfred was transferred to D Division on the 7th November 1913 but again there is no record as to where he was stationed.

Army Service During The War.

General Order 118 of 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 PC 217 King A.H. D Division recalled to the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards on 4th August 1914.

There is no record of him receiving any medals so his service must have been entirely at “Home”, possibly as a Drill Instructor. This is made more likely when you consider that his period in the Army Reserve expired in 1911. He was discharged from the Army on the 24th February 1916 and re-appointed as a Constable the following day.

Re-joining The Police.

General Order 21 of 26th February 1916 announced:
“Reservist Police Constable King A.H. 217 D Division on return from active service in the Army is re-appointed as a Constable, as from 25th February 1916 inclusive at £1/10/11 per week”.

The theory that he was no longer an Army Reservist is supported by the fact that the Police Standing Joint Committee approved, on the 24th March 1916, that his Army War Service would count towards his Police Service in respect of his pension. Of course, had he been a Reservist this would have been automatic.

General Order 49 of 17th June 1918 announced that Alfred had been awarded his First Good Conduct Badge on 6th June1918 which carried with it a 1d per day Good Conduct Pay.

The Electoral Rolls of 1919 and 1920 list Alfred and Ellen Hannah King as living at High Street, Kings Langley.

General Order 107 of 22nd June 1920 informed Alfred that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/1/0 to £4/12/6 per week from 4th June 1920.

Promotion To Sergeant.

General Order 112 of 11th July 1920 informed Alfred that from the 8th July 1920 he would be an Acting Sergeant. The very next Order instructed Alfred that on the 15th July 1920 he would be transferred from D Division at Kings Langley to A Division at Ware, to reside in the cottage vacated by PS 143 Herring, and that he will take charge of his station as soon as arrangements can be made, and the removal of his household furniture will be carried out immediately the quarters are vacated by the present occupier.

The Electoral Rolls of 1921 to 1923 list Alfred and Ellen Hannah King as living at 3, Raynsford Road, Ware.

General Order 136 of 7th August 1921 informed Alfred that he would be promoted to the substantive rank of Sergeant from the 8th July 1921 and then General Order 138 of 12th August 1921 advised him that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £5/0/0 to £5/2/0 per week also from the 8th July.

General Order 30 of 1st March 1922 announced that in relation to the Police Federation Joint Branch Board Meeting held at Constabulary Headquarters Hatfield on the 25th January 1922, PS King A (Division) Divisional Representative, resigned from the Sergeants Branch Board as a consequence of the reorganisation of the Force.

General Order 89 of 18th July 1922 informed Alfred that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £5/2/6 to £5/5/0 per week from the 8th July 1922.

Promotion To Inspector.

General Order 24 of the 8th February 1923 Alfred was informed that from the 1st March 1923 he was to be promoted to be an Acting Inspector. Then General Order 35 of the 20th February 1923 informed Alfred that from the 5th March 1923 he would be transferred from A Division at Ware to E Division at Letchworth.

General Order 107 of the 8th June 1923 the following Temporary Posting was announced:
“During the absence on leave of Superintendent E. Maskell A Division from 11th to 24th June 1923, inclusive, Acting Inspector A.H. King E Division will take charge of and act as Superintendent of the A or Bishops Stortford Division and reside at Bishops Stortford. Inspector King will personally go through books, documents etc. with Superintendent Maskell on 10th June 1923”.

The Electoral Roll of 1924 lists Alfred and Ellen Hannah King as living at the Police Station, Broadway, Letchworth.

General Order 35 of the 27th February 1924 informed Alfred that he would be promoted to the substantive rank of Inspector.

General Order 96 of 13th June 1924 the following Temporary Posting was announced:
“During the absence on leave of Superintendent J.H. Prior from 16th to 30th June 1924 inclusive, Inspector A.H. King E Division will take charge and act as Superintendent of the E or Hitchin Division. Inspector King will personally go through books, documents etc. with Superintendent Prior on 15th June 1924.

General Order 131 of the 13th August 1924 instructed Alfred that from the 29th August 1924 he would be transferred from E Division at Letchworth to C Division at Watford at St. Albans Road.

Police Federation.

Hertford County Constabulary Police Federation, Election of Members to Serve on Branch Boards, were held on 17th October 1924 and for C Division Inspector Alfred Henry King was duly elected.

General Order 178 of the 6th November 1924 announced that the Police Federation
Joint Branch Board Meeting held at Constabulary Headquarters Hatfield on 31st October 1924 had appointed Inspector A. King as Chairman and Police Sergeant 280 Sharp as Secretary.

The Electoral Rolls of 1925 and 1926 list Alfred and Ellen Hannah King as living at the Police Station, St. Albans Road, Watford.

General Order 36 of 7th March 1925 informed Alfred that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £320 to £330 per annum from the 1st March 1925.

General Order 154 of 6th November 1925 announced that the Police Federation
Joint Branch Board Meeting held at Constabulary Headquarters Hatfield on 23rd October 1925 had appointed Inspector A. King C Division as Chairman and Sergeant 44 Abrathat R Division as Secretary.

General Order 37 of the 8th March 1926 informed Alfred that he would an increased rate of pay from £330 to £340 per annum from 1st March 1926.

General Strike.

General Order 62 of 4th May 1926 informed Alfred that should the need arise he was of 72 officers listed that could be called upon to respond.
“The Emergency Regulations 1926.
The Following members of your respective Divisions will be warned individually by you that should the County Force be called upon by the Secretary of State under Regulations No. 26 and 27 to draft men elsewhere, they must be ready to proceed at short notice. Orders for equipment and clothing will be issued if and when necessary, but it will be well if the men recognize that they will require some sort of haversack”.
Whilst Hertfordshire did receive a request for Mutual Aid Alfred was not called upon.

Promotion To Superintendent And Retirement.

It is not known when, but Alfred was promoted to Superintendent. It is clear from the Electoral Rolls of 1928 and 1930 that Alfred, his wife and son were living at the Police Station, Bury Road, Hemel Hempstead it is possible this was his last move on promotion.

Alfred retired on 31st January 1931 as a Superintendent.

Alfred Henry King of Brooklands, Bucknells Lane, Garston died on the 3rd September 1938.

This page was added on 31/01/2020.

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