Archibald Roger Burns

Police Constable 249

Paul Watts with thanks to Derek Benton

Archibald Roger Burns Enlistment
Hertsd Police Historical Society

Early Years.

Archibald Roger Burns was born on the 29th August 1877 at Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland.

His father, Charles Burns enlisted as Private 301 in the 3rd Dragoon Guards on the 13th February 1855 and was discharged on the 26th November 1877 as Troop Sergeant Major. He served ten years in the East Indies and four months in Abyssinia and was awarded the Abyssinia medal. He married his mother Sarah Kemp in 1870 at Colchester.

Sarah had previously married Patrick Boyle, a soldier, on the 25th September 1858 at St. Albright’s, Stanway, Essex but was widowed in 1867. They had four children:

  1. Catherine Mary Ann Boyle born in 1859 at Colchester.
  2. Patrick John Boyle born in 1862 at Farnham.
  3. William Albert Boyle born in 1865 at Greenwich.
  4. Deborah Boyle born in 1866 at Naas, Kildare, Ireland.

Charles and Sarah had seven children:

  1. Henry Burns Boyle born in 1864 at Colchester.
  2. Laura Lucinda Agnes Burns born in 1871 at Aldershot.
  3. Emily Burns born in 1873 at Shorncliffe.
  4. Archibald Roger Burns.
  5. Charles James Burns born in 1875 at Naas, Kildare, Ireland.
  6. Otho Percy Cecil Burns born in 1880 at Hatfield.
  7. Cicely Christina Burns born in 1882 at Hatfield.

During the1871 census Archibald is listed as living with his family at the 3rd Prince of Wales Dragoon Guards, West Cavalry Barracks, Aldershot and his father is shown as a soldier. By the time of the 1881 census the family had moved and were now living at Back Street, Hatfield and Archibald’s father had left the Dragoon Guards and was now a Drill Sergeant in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry. In the 1891 census they were still living at Back Street, Hatfield. Archibald’s father was now employed as an Attendance Officer and Postal Clerk. 

Archibald’s mother died in 1897 at Hatfield and the same year he joined the Army.

Early Army Service.

Archibald’s Army Service Record has not survived but from his Police Service Record we know he was discharged from the 11th Hussars on the 5th January 1904 from Curragh Camp, County Kildare after seven years’ service. He could not be found in the 1901 census suggesting he was abroad. In the Medal Rolls there is a Private 4186 A. Burns of the 11th (Prince Albert’s Own) Hussars attached to 5th (Royal Irish) Lancers who served in South Africa during the Boer War. He was awarded the Queens South Africa medal 1901 with clasps for Belfast, Cape Colony, Orange Free State and the Defence of Ladysmith also the King’s South Africa medal with clasps for 1901 and 1902. On the 4th January 1913 he was discharged from the Army Reserve.

The 1901 census does record that Archibald’s family were still living at Back Street, Hatfield. His father Charles was shown as a widower and an Army Pensioner and School Attendance Officer. With his father were his sisters Cicely and Emily with her husband Alfred Cowles.

It would appear that on his discharge from the Army, Archibald almost immediately applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary.

Police Service.

Archibald’s Hertford County Constabulary Form 3 Police Service Record has survived and from that and other sources we know the following:

He said he was born on the 29th August 1877. His height was 5 feet 8 ¾ inches, chest 40 inches, complexion fresh, eyes brown, hair brown and he had a tattoo on his right shoulder. He said that he had previously worked as a butcher and that he could both ride a pedal cycle and swim.

As part of his application he was medically examined on the 20th February 1904 to determine whether he was fit for Police duties by the Force Surgeon at Police Headquarters, Hatfield. He would also have been interviewed and then told to wait for a date to start his training.

He was posted to C Division at Watford on the 31st March 1904 and started his Probationer training under the guidance of a senior experienced Constable and supervised by the Divisional Superintendent. He was Attested on the 17th May 1904 at Watford and on the 26th May 1904 finally Appointed as Constable 249.

General Order 14 of the 8th June 1904 announced that PC Burns 249 was appointed on 23/11 per week from 26th May 1904.

Transfer.

His Police Service Record shows that on the 24th August 1904 he was posted from C Division at Watford to B Division at Bishops Stortford and became a Mounted Police Officer.

In March 1905 Archibald passed his Ambulance certificate, an important qualification which entitled him to wear a badge on his lower left tunic sleeve to show he was trained in basic First Aid.

General Order 30 of the 21st December 1904 informed Archibald that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 23/11 to 25/8 per week from 24th November 1904.

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. The following excerpts refer to Archibald who rode the horse normally used by the Hertford Weights and Measures Officer for the whole period of the elections.

On Wednesday, the 17th January Archibald was one of 14 Mounted Officers on duty in St. Albans. The following day he was one of 19 Mounted Officers on duty in St. Albans. On Friday 19th January he was one of 19 Mounted Officers on duty in Hertford.

On Monday, the 22nd the whole mounted Police Force in Hertford marched from Hertford to Watford or Hemel Hempstead as ordered. On Tuesday 23rd January he was one of 19 Mounted Officers on duty in Watford.

On the morning of the 25th, all of the Mounted Police were told to proceed from Watford to Hitchin by rail with horse boxes being arranged. He was one of the Mounted Officers on duty in Hitchin or elsewhere in the Division on the 26th January.

General Order 6 of the 21st March 1906 instructed that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and seven Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Herts Hunt Steeplechases at Annables Farm between the St Albans and Redbourn and St Albans and Luton roads on Wednesday 4th April 1906. All ranks were told to provide themselves with food for the day. Beer and aerated waters would be supplied. On arrival at Annables Farm the horses were to be fed and watered, corn will be provided, prior to going on the course. Black sword belts to be worn and white leather gloves, cloaks rolled. The Detachment were told to proceed to Tring as soon as they were relieved from duty at Annables Farm in accordance with General Order 4 of the 14th March 1906 for duty in Bucks.

Mutual Aid Buckinghamshire.

General Order 4 of the 14th March 1906 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and seven Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Aylesbury Races on the 5th April 1906 reporting to the Chief Constable of Bucks at 11 a.m. Stabling would be provided at the Kings Head Hotel. The Detachment would proceed to Tring on the 4th April, where stabling will be provided, then leave Tring at 8.30 the following morning for Aylesbury and return to Tring when relieved from duty in Bucks. They would remain the night and return to their stations on the 6th April. Special Duty Report Form 115 was to be filled in from the time of leaving on the 4th April to the time of arrival at their respective stations and is to be submitted as soon as possible after returning from Bucks.

General Order 15 of the 27th June 1906 informed Archibald he would receive an increased rate of pay from 25/8 to 26/10 per week from the 7th June 1906.

His father died in 1907 at Hatfield.

Mutual Aid Buckinghamshire.

General Order 77 of the 4th April 1906 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Aylesbury Races on the 11th April 1907 reporting to Supt. Pitson Deputy Chief Constable of Bucks on the course at 12 noon. They were ordered to travel with their horses by rail from Hatfield Railway Station and from Watford L. and N.W. Railway Station on the morning of the Races to arrive at Aylesbury at 10.55 a.m. The return journey by rail would leave Aylesbury at 6.03 p.m. the same day.
Dress was ordered to be Mounted Tunic, overalls, white gloves, best cloth helmet, cloaks rolled and black sword belts.

Mutual Aid St. Albans City Police.

General Order 12 of the 3rd July 1907 ordered one Superintendent, three Inspectors, four sergeants and 40 Constables to perform duty at the St. Albans Pageant on the 15th to 20th July 1907. Additionally, a Mounted detachment of one Sergeant and six Constables would patrol the roads leading into the City of St. Albans commencing duty each day at 12 noon. Archibald was tasked with riding the Bishops Stortford horse and to patrol Redbourn to St. Albans. Each beat would extend to the City boundary post on each of the roads. Archibald was instructed to remain at St. Albans with his horses, stabling it at Mr. Reynolds Stables, Queens Hotel Yard, Chequers Street, St. Albans. On the 18th July 1907 Archibald was instructed to form part of a Mounted Escort for the Lord Mayor.

The Assizes.

General Order 29 of the 29th October 1907 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford on 4th November 1907 parading at 9.45 a.m. at Balls Park, Hertford for Judges Escort. The escort was required every morning until the conclusion of the Assizes. Swords with white belts would be worn but not drawn and Serge Jackets.

General Order 4 of the 23rd January 1908 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford parading at 9.45 a.m. at Balls Park, Hertford for Judges Escort with instructions as before.

General Order 5 of the 24th April 1908 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and eight Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Harpenden Races on Thursday 14th May 1908 with instructions as before.

The Assizes.

General Order 18 of the 13th June 1908 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the
Assizes at Hertford on Saturday 20th June 1908 parading at the Dimsdale Hotel Hertford at 11 a.m. as Judges Escort with instructions as before.

General Order 31 of the 22nd October 1908 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford on Thursday 3rd November 1908 parading at the Dimsdale Hotel Hertford at 11 a.m. as Judges Escort with instructions as before.

General Order 3 of the 30th January 1909 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford on Monday 8th February 1909 parading at the Dimsdale Hotel Hertford at 3 p.m. as Judges Escort with instructions as before.

General Order 17 of the 23rd May 1909 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford on Wednesday 2nd June 1909 parading at the Dimsdale Hotel Hertford as Judges Escort with instructions as before.

General Order 21 of the 24th June 1909 informed Archibald that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 26/10 to 28/- per week from the 3rd June 1909.

The Assizes.

General Order 32 of the 29th October 1909 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford on the 5th November 1909 to form an escort for the hon. Sir John Compton Lawrence Knight Justice of the High Court of Justice, Justice of our Lord the King, with instructions as before.

Proclamation of His Majesty King George V.

General Order 20 of 8th May 1910 issued instructions to Officers regarding the performing of duties “On the occasion of the reading of the Proclamation of His Majesty King George V” at Hertford on Tuesday 10th May 1910 at 11 a.m. by the High Sherriff of the County. Archibald formed part of the Mounted detachment of a Sergeant and four Constables. He was told to use the Bishops Stortford horse and to arrive in Hertford on Monday 9th. Supt. Foster was to arrange for stabling.
Dress for Mounted men was Tunics, swords with black belts and sword knots and white gloves.

His Police Service Record shows that on the 1st July 1910 he was posted from B Division at Bishops Stortford to G Division at Fleetville.

Marriage.

Archibald married Kate Fifield on the 20th August 1910 at St. Albans. They had three sons:
1. Robert Charles born in 1911 at St. Albans.
2. Archibald Robert born in 1913 at St. Albans.
3. Kenneth James born in 1915 at St. Albans. He served in the RAF as Sgt 526244 and died on 1st November 1944 in the same POW camp in Malaya where Kenneth Stroud son of PC Thomas Stroud was also held.

The Assizes.

General Order 38 of 27th October 1910 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford on the 7th November 1910 to form an escort for the Right Honourable Sir William Grantham Knight Justice of the High Court, with instructions as before.

Royal Visit.

General Order 43 of the 5th December 1910 were instructions regarding a Royal visit of their Majesties the King and Queen who would visit Brocket Park on the 12th December 1910 and following days. The following Mounted Officers were to escort their Majesties from the railway station, Hatfield to Brocket Hall on 12th December and on their return journey to Hatfield Station: Supt. Reed on A Division horse, PC Burns on G Division horse, PC Maxsom on Headquarters horse and PC Lambert on Headquarters horse. PC’s Maxsom and Lambert would go to Brocket Park daily for duty at and around the park.

The Assizes.

General Order 3 of 7th January 1911 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford on the 10th February 1911 to form an escort for the Honourable Sir Thomas Townsend Buckmill, Knight, Justice of the High Court of Justice and one of the Justices of our Lord the King, with instructions as before.

During the 1911 census Police Constable Archibald Burns and his wife Kate are listed as living at 48, Tess Road, St. Albans.

Transfer.

General Order 13 of the 15th April 1911 instructed Archibald that he would be transferred from G Division at Fleetville to G Division at Redbourn as soon as the Superintendent can arrange it.

The Coronation of George V And Mary Of Teck.

General Order 19 of 14th June 1911 ordered that Archibald would be one of twenty Mounted Officers detailed for duty around the County on the 22nd June 1911. He was to ride a hired horse in G Division in connection with maintaining public order during the celebrations. Superintendents were told they were at liberty to detail the Mounted men ordered within their own Divisions to do ordinary other than Mounted Duty if they thought fit. The Chief Constable was however, of the opinion that on a day like Coronation Day, and with the crowd, one Mounted Constable was worth three on foot, and the Mounted Constable moreover would be in a position to go speedily to any part of the Division or County where any sort of disturbance might occur. As far as possible Territorial or Yeomanry Horses would be hired.

General Order 15 of the 29th February 1912 informed Archibald that he would receive an special increase in his rate of pay from 28/- to 29/2 per week from 8th February 1912.

Commendation.

General Order 2 of 1913 announced that Archibald had been commended by the Head Constable of City of St. Albans for his courage, tact and discretion in the case of Police V. Cleaver.

The following letter is contained in the Army Service Record of PC 162 Daniel Gallen. Dated the 29th October 1914 it was from the War Office, London S.W.
To: The Chief Constable of Herts, Constabulary Headquarters, Hatfield.
Sir, With reference to your letter No.5508/1914, dated October 1914, forwarding a list of Police Constables who have previous military service, I am directed to inform you that, PC. D. Gallen may be considered as possessing qualifications to enable him to gain the benefit of the Constables (Naval and Military Service) Act 1914 and may be accepted for enlistment in the Royal Engineers. In the case of the four police constables named in the margin, (PC D.E. Cattermole, PC H. Cody, PC A. Burns, PC W.J. Bethell) a further communication regarding these men will be sent to you in due course. The remaining constables mentioned in your list cannot be considered as possessing qualifications not possessed by ordinary recruits.
I am, Sir, Your obedient Servant, (signed) B.J. Curling, Captain, for Director of Recruiting.

Commendation.

General Order 166 of the 4th November 1914 announced that Archibald had been commended by the Chief Constable for prompt action in arresting an escaped prisoner.

The Assizes.

General Order 24 of 6th February 1915 announced that a Mounted Detachment of an Inspector and three Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford on the 12th February 1915 to form an escort for the Honourable Sir Edward Ridley, Knight Justice of the High Court of Justice, with instructions as before.

General Order 97 of 7th June 1915 announced that a Mounted Detachment of an Inspector and four Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford from Thursday 21st June 1915 to form an escort for the Honourable Sir Charles John Darling, Knight, Justice of the High Court of Justice, and one of the Justices of our Lord the King, with instructions as before.

General Order 170 of 1st November 1915 announced that a Mounted Detachment of an Inspector and five Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford from Monday 22nd November 1915 to form an escort for the Honourable Sir Alfred Tristram Lawrence, Knight, Justice of the High Court Justice, and one of the Justices of our Lord the King, with instructions as before.

General Order 9 of 31st January 1916 announced that a Mounted Detachment of an Inspector and five Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford from Saturday the 12th February 1916 to form an escort for the Honourable Sir Reginald More Bray, Knight, Justice of the High Court of Justices, and one of the justices of our Lord the King, with instructions as before.

General Order 63 of 6th June 1916 announced that a Mounted Detachment of an Inspector and five Constables, including Archibald, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford from Friday the 16th June 1916 to form an escort for the Right Honourable Rufus Daniel Bacon Reading, Knight Grand Cross of the Honourable Order of the Bath, Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, Lord Chief Justices of England, Justice of the High Court of Justice, and one of the Justices of our Lord the King, with instructions as before.

Transfer.

General Order 90 of the 25th July 1916 instructed Archibald that he would be transferred from G Division at Redbourn to E Division at Hitchin on the 31st July 1916.

General Order 5 of the 22nd January 1917 was entitled Police Constables (Naval and Military Service) Act 1914 Police (Emergency Provisions) Act 1915 Enlistment in H.M. Forces:
Consequent upon the demand for men of military age for service in H M Army the Standing Joint Committee have reconsidered the strength at which it is necessary to maintain the force and have authorised that a further 20 members shall be released for Army Service.
Of this number 5 have been accepted provisionally by the Army Council for service in the Military Mounted Police viz:
1. PC 11 Pearman C.H. A Div. Wormley
2. PC 34 Bolter F.L. B Div. Albury
3. PC 49 Smith A. C Div. Watford
4. PC 249 Burns A. E Div. Hitchin
5. PC 255 Stroud T. E. E Div. Graveley
Further instructions with regard to these men will be issued as soon as received.

The order then went on to list a further fifteen Constables who received similar instructions.

General Order 19 of 21st February 1917 was entitled Police Constables (Naval and Military Service) Act 1914 Police (Emergency Provisions) Act 1915 Enlistment in H M Forces. Reference Order 5/1917.
The following Constables having now been called up for service in the Military Mounted Police, the Deputy Chief Constables hereby gives to them the necessary consent, as required by the above Acts, for the purpose of enlisting in HM Army.
1. PC 11 Pearman C.H. A Div. Wormley
2. PC 34 Bolter F.L. B Div. Albury
3. PC 49 Smith A. C Div. Watford
4. PC 249 Burns A. E Div. Hitchin
5. PC 255 Stroud T. E. E Div. Graveley
The Constables will be released from the Police Service on 28th February 1917 and will be paid up to that date inclusive. Each Constable is granted leave of absence on 27th and 28th February 1917 and will be required to report to the Recruiting Officer on the morning of 1st March 1917.

Army Service During The War.

Archibald’s Army Service Record has not survived but from other research it is without much doubt that he would have initially enlisted under what was known as the Derby Scheme. Thousands of men around the country including dozens of Hertfordshire Police Officers enlisted under the scheme. The Hertfordshire Officers mainly enlisted between the 9th and the 11th December 1915. They were all then immediately transferred into Section B of the Army Reserve and returned to normal Police duties pending mobilisation. Every Section B Reservist was issued with an individually numbered Khaki Armlet with a red Crown displayed on it which was to be worn on the upper left arm to demonstrate they were a Reservist.

The only Hertfordshire Police Officers who enlisted after December 1915 without joining the Section B Reserve, would have done so without the consent of the Chief Constable. They would have had to resign and therefore lose all their pension rights and any possible support for their family’s such as allowances and accommodation. As the Orders above specifically state Charles had the consent of the Chief Constable then this supports the belief that he was a Section B Reservist.

From his Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Roll we know that Archibald Roger Burns enlisted in the Military Mounted Police on the 3rd March 1917 as Lance Corporal P/8282. He landed in France on the 3rd April 1917 and remained there until the 11th November 1918, although this appears to be an administrative date as many Military Police soldiers have it on their records yet they have clearly remained in the Army and abroad for much longer. He was awarded the British War and Victory medals.

Archibald’s Army Service number was P/8281, Constable Arthur Smith was P/8197 and Constable’s Charles Pearman, Thomas Stroud and Francis Bolter had consecutive Army Service numbers of P/8282 to P/8284, so they all clearly enlisted at the same time though other than their initial training, there is nothing to say they served together.

Like every other soldier Archibald 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. Archibald was examined on the 20th September 1919. Having passed this, he would have re-joined on the day following the date of the end of his leave period

Re-joining The Police.

General Order 191 of the 22nd September 1919 announced the re-appointment to the Force of two Police soldiers who had been released from H.M. Army. Archibald was one of them and was shown as PC 249 Burns A.R. E Division Hitchin from 25th September 1919 on £4/10/0 per week. Both officers had to be formerly re-attested. The Superintendents concerned had to report to the Chief Constable when this had been done. Archibald was re-Attested two days before he re-joined on the 23rd September 1919.

The Electoral Rolls of 1919 to 1921 list Archibald and Kate Burns as living at 34, Balmoral Road, Hitchin.

Retirement On medical Grounds.

General Order 27 of the 21st February 1921 announced Archibald’s retirement as he was physically unfit having been certified as such by the Constabulary Force Surgeon. Following 16 years 302 days service he was paid up to the 23rd March 1921 and then his name was struck off the strength of the Force.

General Order 59 of the 12th April 1921 announced that the following pension had been awarded and would become effective on the date shown:
PC 249 Burns A.R. E Division having completed 16 years 302 days approved service granted annual pension of £75/1/8 from 24th March 1921.

Archibald Roger Burns of 57, Durham Road, Luton died on the 15th December 1937.

This page was added on 11/05/2020.

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