Arthur George Capon

Police Constable 7, Sergeant. Special Constable 992. Commended Several Times.

Paul Watts

Arthur George Capon 1915
Herts Police Historical Society

Life Story.

Arthur George Capon was born on the 6th January 1894 at Marylebone. He was baptised on the 28th March 1894 at St. Stephen The Martyr Marylebone. The family were living at 31, Avenue Road, Marylebone at the time.

His father, Christopher Capon married his mother, Harriet Frampton in 1891 at Marylebone. They had four sons and a daughter:
1. Frederick William born in 1892 at Marylebone.
2. Arthur George.
3. Alice Katherine born in 1896 at Marylebone.
4. Frank Edward born in 1899 at Hampstead.
5. Robert Victor born in 1906 at Willesden.

During the 1901 census the family were living at 12, Northcote Road, Willesden and Christopher was employed as a Stove Fitter. By the time of the 1911 census they had moved and were living at 48, Redfern Road, Willesden. Christopher was still employed as a Stove and Range Fitter and Arthur was working as an assistant butcher.

On the 28th April 1913 Arthur changed employment and he became a cleaner at Old Oak Common Station, Willesden with the Great Western Railway. Unfortunately, it was a short lived career as he was dismissed on 16th May 1913. A year later he had applied to and joined the Police.

Police Service.

Arthur’s Police Service Record has not survived but from his Pension Record we know that on the 22nd July 1914 he was Appointed as Police Constable 7 in the Hertford County Constabulary. However, as he was under the age of twenty-one his Pensionable Service did not begin until the 5th January 1915. From the following newspaper articles, it is clear that he was stationed at Hertford.

A Life Saved.

Published on the 29th August 1914 in the Hertfordshire Mercury:
At Hertford, a 6 year old boy, the son of Alfred Ansell, of 8 Dolphin Yard, had a narrow escape from being drowned in the River Lee on the Monday. When he had fallen into the river at the bottom of Dolphin Yard, where there is 12 feet of water, a man named George Barker, who was on Adam’s Wharf opposite, heard a cry and a splash and, on looking over, could see a child’s head in the water. He punted across, but the child had disappeared. William Costin, who was on Stokes Wharf opposite, undressed, swam across the river, and dived to the bottom but could not see the child. Eventually, drags were obtained, and the boy was found entangled in the weeds. With the assistance of a bargeman named Akers, the lad was got to the bank where artificial respiration commenced. By this time, the police had arrived. For two hours, Police Constables Winchester, Crisford, Pitcher, Williamson and Capon, together with Police Sergeant Hadder, took it in turn to apply restorative measures, under the guidance of Doctor Hall and, at last, signs of life were observed. The boy was then taken home and has since recovered.

Drunks!

Published on the 28th November 1914 in the Hertfordshire Mercury:
At Hertford Borough Sessions, Stuart Simpkins, of Pegs Lane, was charged with being drunk and disorderly, in Maidenhead Street, on 20th November. Police Constable Capon stated that he was in the Market Place at midday when the landlady of the Old Coffee House came and asked him to eject a man from her house who was swearing because the price of beer had gone up a penny a pint. On going to the house, he found Simpkins there and asked him to leave. After drinking his beer, he went, but when they got outside the defendant struck him in the chest. He closed with him and Simpkins went to the ground but, whilst there, kicked the witness on the ankle. Simpkins, who had only come out of prison on the day of the offence, pleaded guilty to being drunk, and was fined 10 shillings or, in default, 7 days’ hard labour. He said that he would do the 7 days. He was taken away in custody.

Published on the 20th March 1915 in the Hertfordshire Mercury:
On 3rd March. PS Palmer stated that on the day in question he saw a man named Sharp in the house drunk, and he was convicted on the following day. The landlady admitted serving him and said she had been trying to get rid of him. PC Capon corroborated. He added that Sharp told him that he had paid for the beer and treated the navvies present into the bargain. Mrs. Pope was there and admitted that Sharp was drunk. Ernest Sharp stated that he had two or three whiskies in the house and paid for some beer for three navvies. There was also a woman in another room, and he treated her, in fact, he was muddle-headed, and asked everyone in the house to drink. The landlady served him. He was sorry for getting her into this trouble, because she had bought a straw hat from him about a fortnight before. That was the reason he called thinking he would do her a good turn. Mrs. Rose Pope said she had been at the Crown and Thistle for about six months and it was rather a rough house. She knew the man Sharp because he had been there before. When he entered the house on this occasion, he walked quite straight, and there was nothing in his speech or manner to indicate that he was anything but perfectly sober. She served him with one whisky and some beer for the navvies. Sharp was in the house on the previous day and as he had had a tidy drop, she asked him to go out. She knew that he was drunk the previous day, but she had no suspicion of him on this day, because he was quite rational. Asked why she told the Police Sergeant that she had been trying to get rid of Sharp for an hour she denied that she said so. It was a fact that she wanted to get rid of the man, not because he was drunk, but because she knew that he was neglecting his business. ‘Do you usually want to get rid of your customers if they are sober?’ ‘No, but I know his business, and I asked him to go and get about it’. Mrs. Grumble, of Hayden’s Court, who was in the house at the time, said that the man was quite sober, and he asked her to have a drink of lemonade. She did not have any beer with him. The magistrates decided to convict and fined the defendant 30s.

Resignation.

General Order 85 of 24th May 1915 announced two resignations:
The undermentioned Police Constables having submitted applications to resign their appointments as Constables in the Hertford County Constabulary for the purpose in enlisting in H.M. Army, the resignations are accepted to take effect on 26th May 1915:
PC 121 Perry F.W.E. A Division
PC 7 Capon A.G. F Division
Both Constables will be paid up to and including 26th May 1915 and shall be struck off the strength of the establishment of the Force as from that date.

Army Service During The War.

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. Arthur is shown as PC 7 Capon A.G. F Division who enlisted in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry on 27th May 1915.

Arthur was one of 23 Hertfordshire Police Officers who joined the Hertfordshire Yeomanry who posed for a photograph in 1915 believed at Colchester. The officers were:
1. PC 308 F. Clarke
2. PC 93. F. Potton
3. PC 189 J.W. Clark
4. PC 312 D.E. Cattermole
5. PC 285 G.H. Sirett
6. PC 105 H.M. Armitage
7. PC 313 H.H. Quarrie
8. PC 120 A.T. Day
9. PC 315 W.J. Thurley
10. PC 10 E.A.V. Elkins
11. PC 35 A.W. Reid
12. PS 20 H. Wright
13. PC 233 W.J. Bethell
14. PC 121 F.W.E. Perry
15. PC 274 H. Rowlingson
16. PC 19 H.W. Carder
17. PC 217 O.V. Lake
18. PC 316 A.S. Brown
19. PC 305 G. Archer
20. PC 301 G.A. Allen
21. PC 7 A.G. Capon
22. PC 321 N.J. Reid
23. PC 314 A.W. Corne
The photo included a regular Army Sergeant Jeffrey Arthur Riches who was an instructor.

His Army Service Record did not survive but from his Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Rolls we know the following: He joined the Hertfordshire Yeomanry as Private 2396 (later under re-organisation he became 105698). He landed in Egypt with them on the 9th September 1915. He was later awarded the 1914-15 Star and the British War and Victory medals.

Re-joining The Police.

Like every returning soldier Arthur would have been granted leave on his demobilisation and he would have used this time to arrange to re-join the Police. As part of this process he would have needed to have a Medical Examination to determine whether he was still fit enough for Police duties.

General Order 66 of 9th March 1919 listed 4 Police Officers who, having been released from H.M. Army, had been re-appointed to the Force. Arthur was shown as: PC 7 Capon A.C. F Division at Hertford from 6th March 1919 on £2/7/0 per week.
Each officer had to be formerly re-attested. The Superintendents concerned had to report to Headquarters the date and place of Attestation and before whom taken.

General Order 182 of the 20th August 1919 informed Arthur that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £3/18/0 to £4/0/0 per week from the 22nd July 1919.

Transferred.

General Order 215 of the 18th October 1919 instructed Arthur that he was being transferred from F Division at Hertford to F Division at Harmer Green on the 27th October 1919.

Marriage.

Arthur, shown as a Police Constable of Welwyn, married Edith Nellie Hawkins of 14, Oak Road, Willesden on the 26th December 1919 at the Parish Church, Willesden. They had two children:
1. Eric Stanley born in 1921 at Willesden. Appointed as PC 56 on 15th May 1941 in the Hertfordshire Constabulary.
2. Eileen Esther born in 1922 at Hatfield.

The Electoral Rolls of 1921 to 1924 list Arthur and Edith Capon as living at Harmer Green.

General Order 125 of the 23rd July 1921 informed Arthur that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/2/0 to £4/4/0 per week from the 22nd July 1921.

Commendation.

General Order 204 of the 31st December 1921 announced that Arthur had been commended: The action of Police Constable Arthur George Capon 7 F Division in effecting the arrest of Noah Phipps at 4.55 a.m. on 22nd December 1921, at Digswell, Welwyn, on a charge of fowl stealing, has been brought to the notice of the Chief Constable. The reports in the case show that the Constable acted with courage and initiative and exercised his powers of search on reasonable suspicion. The Chief Constable hereby commends Police Constable Capon and directs that the papers in the case shall be placed with the Constable’s records.

General Order 95 of the 31st July 1922 informed Arthur that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/4/0 to £4/6/0 per week from the 22nd July 1922.

Commended Again.

General Order 30 of the 14th February 1923 announced that Arthur had been commended: The action of Constable Arthur G Capon 7 B Division in affecting the arrest of two lads on charges of stealing bicycles in the Borough of Cambridge has been brought to the notice of the Chief Constable. The reports in the case show that the Constable was alert and observant and acted with initiative. The Chief Constable hereby commends Constable Capon and directs that an appropriate entry shall be made in his record of service.

In Trouble? Maybe Not.

On the 14th July 1923 Arthur, together with PC 108 Killeen, PC 15 Geary and PC 254 English were brought up before the Chief Constable for the disciplinary offence of Neglect of Duty. It was stated that they did, without good and sufficient cause, omit promptly to carry out their duty as Constables by failing to apprehend a man found loitering with intent to commit a felony at Welwyn on the 6th July 1923. After consideration the Chief Constable decided, on the 23rd July 1923, having fully gone into the circumstances that the case was one where the officers should go through a course of instruction in their duties and no further action was taken against them.

General Order 135 of the 31st July 1923 informed Arthur that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/6/0 to £4/8/0 per week from the 22nd July 1923.

Commended Again – Armed Burglars – Shots Fired.

General Order 99 of the 25th June 1924 announced that Arthur had been commended again:
Herts Summer Assizes 1924
Rex v Herbert Felstead and Ernest Felstead
At the Herts Summer Assizes on 19th June 1924, the Hon. Sir Horace Edmund Avory K.C. Judge of Assize, commended Constable 7 Arthur George Capon B Division for his bravery and conduct in attempting to apprehend two armed burglars at the Railway Station Welwyn at 2.30 a.m. on 1st November 1923. The Chief Constable has much pleasure in endorsing the commendation and directs that an appropriate entry shall be made on the Constable’s record of service.

Published on the 9th January 1924 in the Dundee Evening Telegraph under the headline – Intruders’ Implements Produced in Court. Man Charged with Railway Station Burglary.
Herbert Felstead (40), who was arrested at his home in Edmonton, was charged at Hertford in connection with the burglary at Welwyn Railway Station on the night of November 1, when a policeman who disturbed the burglars was shot at but was uninjured. Accused was remanded. The bullet, which is stated to have grazed the constable’s hip, a jemmy and masks, which the men left behind in their flight, together with a pot of treacle used to smear the glass of the booking office window, were produced in Court.

Published on the 24th January 1924 in the Illustrated Police News under the headline – Policeman’s Desperate Struggle with Man While Being Shot At.
The two men arrested on a charge of attempting to murder Police Constable Arthur Capon, who disturbed them, it was alleged, as they were breaking into Welwyn railway station, were before the magistrates last Friday. They are Herbert Felstead, aged forty, bricklayer, Gilpin Crescent, Edmonton and Ernest William Felstead, aged forty-three, shoemaker, Gun Station Cottages, Ridgway Enfield and are said to be brothers. Capon told a dramatic story. He saw a dark object crouching in the corner of the booking office in the early hours of the morning of November 1, and when he flashed his light two men ran away. Witness said he followed and tripped up one of the men. “He fell, striking his head against the gates. I got on his back. I endeavoured to blow my whistle, but my cape was in the way. The man called out, ‘Come on Herbert there is only one’. The other man then came and stopped about seven yards away. He was holding his arm out and said, ‘Shall I shoot?’ The man I was holding said ‘Yes’. This question was repeated several times and then the second man said, ‘Shall I shoot him in the leg?’ and the other said, ‘Shoot him anywhere. Shoot him dead.’ Then the standing man fired at me. I felt something strike my cape. I got off the man and he too got up and began to struggle calling on the other to fire again. I then hit the man I was holding with my truncheon. He cried out and again shouted to the other to fire. The man who had fired then rushed at me. I struck at him but did not hit him. I was using the first man as a cover against the revolver. The second man then drew out a hammer and ran towards me aiming a blow at my head. I dodged but released the man I held. Both then ran in the direction of Digswell.” Witness added that later he identified one man at Enfield and the other at Edmonton as Ernest and Herbert Felstead. A bullet fell from his clothes after the fight, and he found that a hole had been burnt in his cape. Prisoners were committed for trial.

Published on the 14th February 1924 in The Scotsman under the headline – Shooting Case. Jury Fail to Agree.
At Herts Assizes yesterday, before the Lord Chief Justice, the jury failed to agree in a case in which two brothers, Ernest and Herbert Felstead, were charged with attempting to murder Constable Capon by shooting him at Welwyn railway station on November 1st last year. The defence was an alibi in each case. The trial was put over to next Assizes, prisoners to remain in custody. It will be remembered that Capon was uninjured, but the bullet passed through and fell from his clothing.

General Order 125 of the 12th August 1924 informed Arthur that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/8/0 to £4/10/0 per week from the 22nd July 1924.

Promotion And Transfer.

General Order 132 of the 14th August 1924 announced the results of the Promotion to Sergeant Examination taken on the 2nd February 1924. Arthur was one of eleven successful candidates who qualified.

General Order 142 of the 25th August 1924 announced that from the 28th August 1924 Arthur would be one of three Constables to be promoted to the rank of Acting Sergeant. With the promotion would have been an increase of pay to £5/0/0 per week.

The very next General Order 143 of the 26th August instructed Arthur that from the 4th September he was being transferred from B Division at Harmer Green to C Division at Watford and to occupy the cottage to be vacated by Constable 51 Sermons. The Electoral Rolls from 1925 to 1930 record Arthur and Edith Capon as living at 34, Garfield Street, Watford.

General Order 140 of the 14th October 1925 informed Arthur that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £5/0/0 to £5/2/6 per week from the 28th August 1925.

On Monday 8th February 1926 Arthur attended a one week Refresher Course of instruction for Sergeants held at Headquarters, Hatfield.

The General Strike.

General Order 62 of the 4th May 1926 concerned the Emergency Regulations of 1926 and instructions for 50 Hertfordshire Police Officers, made up of three Inspectors, seven Sergeants and 40 Constables, to be on standby should the Secretary of State call upon the County Force to draft men elsewhere at short notice. These included officers from A,B,C, D and E Divisions. Orders for equipment and clothing would be issued if and when necessary, but the men were advised that they would require some sort of haversack. Arthur was one of the Sergeants named in the list.

There is no record that Arthur was ever called upon.

General Order 128 of the 23rd September 1926 informed Arthur that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £5/2/6 to £5/5/0 per week from the 28th August 1926.

There is no surviving record, but Arthur was clearly transferred from C Division at Watford to E Division at Royston sometime after 1930.

Suicide At Royston.

Published on the 12th May 1939 in the Hertfordshire Mercury under the headline – Drowned in Greenhouse Tank. Late Mr E.W. Pritchard of Royston.
A well-known Hertfordshire bowls player, Mr. Edwin Whitard Pritchard, of 33, Barkway Road, Royston, drowned in a water tank in one of his nursery greenhouses on Friday. He was 63 years of age. Evidence was given at the inquest, held by the Coroner, Mr. H.F.T. Banham, on Saturday, that Pritchard was found completely immersed in a tank by his brother Sam Pritchard, of Bridlington. Pritchard told the Coroner that his brother had been depressed and had been obsessed with an idea that people were following him about. Dr. A.D. Skyrme said that Pritchard suffered from gallstones, which would have a depressing effect on him, and PS Capon said that Pritchard had on several occasions stopped Policeman and told them not to follow him. A verdict of suicide while of unbalanced mind was recorded.

Recorded in the 1939 Register as living at 8, Priory Lane, Royston were Arthur Capon, Sergeant 7 Herts Constabulary, his wife Edith, daughter Eileen and his sister-in-law Rosemary Capon.

Contained in the Service Record of PC 125 George Cooling are three reports regardinng a request for an increase in Rent Allowance.
The first one, dated 11th July 1941 was from Supt. H.A. Goodson E Division to the Chief Constable entitled Rent Allowance.
PS 7 Capon – Royston. PC 325 Reed – Hitchin. PC 296 Barker – Hitchin. PC 125 Cooling – Hitchin.
I respectfully submit herewith applications from the above named members of this Division, for an increase in allowance for Rent to a rate of £1 per week, on the grounds of increase in Rates and payment for War Damage Insurance. I respectfully recommend the matter receives favourable consideration.

On the 13th July 1941 Chief Constable Sydney Fairman added a note to the Deputy Chief Constable making four points.
1. None of these applications show the exact increase in rates. War Damage Insurance appears to be less than 1/- per week, whereas the increase asked for are upwards of 5/- per week.
2. Sergeant Capon was permitted to live in his own house as a special privilege, therefore I do not feel in the least that any expenses connected with it are my concern.
3. Constable Reed should know that the Secretary of State has doubtless considered in general such cases as his. If he feels unfit to continue duty he should ask to see the Staff Surgeon.
4. I feel that it would be probably be better to let these men go on pension.

On the same day the Chief Constable replied to the Supt. E Division.
These men were granted a special privilege to reside in their own houses, in some cases to the detriment of other officers. None of these applications show the exact increase in rates. War Damage Insurance appears to be less than 1/- per week, whereas the increases asked for are upwards of 5/- per week. Sergeant Capon was permitted to live in his own house as a special privelege therefore I do not feel in the least that any expenses connected with it are my concern. If he is dissatisfied he can move back into the Police Quarters. Constable Reed should know that the Secretary of State has doubtless considered in general such cases as his. If he feels unfit to continue duty, he should ask to see the Staff Surgeon. Please inform these men accordingly, and report when done. S.M.E. Faiman Captain Chief Constable.

Finally on the 5th August 1941 Insp. F. Futter, on behalf of the Supt. E Division, replied to the Chief Constable.
Rent Allowance.
I respectfully report in accordance with the above that the Officers concerned have been informed as to the contents of Memo CC 15900/41.

Retirement But Not Completely.

On the 5th January 1943 Arthur retired on pension as Sergeant but that was not the end of his Police Service as on the 10th February 1943 he was Appointed and Attested as Special Constable 992 at Royston.

His Special Constabulary Service Record contains a few brief details. He gave his address as The Bungalow, Priory Lane, Royston and his occupation as a Ledger Clerk.

On the 29th July 1948 he was awarded a Long Service Medal. Normally awarded after ten years’ service the years of service during World War II, from 3 September 1939 to 31 December 1945, were counted as triple.

There is no record of when he left the Special Constabulary.

On the 9th December 1966 Arthur collapsed and died at home at 17, Priory Lane, Royston.

This page was added on 23/03/2020.

Comments about this page

  • Thanks for sharing Arthur’s life story. He is my 1st cousin 2x removed and I didn’t know a lot of this information.

    By Mandy Beard (06/07/2020)

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