Hallett, Charles Luke, 3, Police Constable, Sergeant, Acting Inspector, St. Albans City Police.

Awarded Croce di Guerra.

Paul Watts

Charles Luke Hallett 1926
Herts Poice Historical Society

Early Years.

Charles Luke Hallett was born on 3rd February 1893 at Ash, Somerset and baptised on 5th Marsh 1893 at Ash.

His father, Henry John Hallett, married his mother, Louisa Cox in 1890 at Yeovil. They had eight children:

1.    Marjorie Elizabeth born in 1891 at Ash.                                                                                                                                2.    Charles Luke.                                                                                                                                                                                3.    Henry John born in 1895 at Ash.                                                                                                                                            4.    Fred Arthur born in 1897 at Butleigh, Somerset. Served as Gunner 125816 in the Royal Garrison Artillery and in the 1939 Register he is shown as a Police Sergeant in Bristol.                                                                                                  5.    Nora Louise born in 1900 at Butleigh.                                                                                                                                  6.    Edith Susan born in 1902 at Butleigh.                                                                                                                                    7.    Eileen Mary born in 1904 at Butleigh.                                                                                                                                      8.    Kathleen Alice born in 1909 at Butleigh.

During the 1901 census the family are listed as living at Broad Moor, Butleigh, Somerset. Henry senior was shown as a working as a carter on a farm. By the time of the 1911 census, they are recorded as living at Butleigh Hill, Butleigh. Henry senior was now shown as a farm labourer. Charles had left home and was recorded as working as a domestic groom and was a boarder at Back Street, Clophill, Bedfordshire. In fact he had almost certainly been employed since May 1909 by the Hon. G.D. Coleridge of Clophill, Ampthill, Beds. as will be seen when in 1914 he applied to join the St. Albans City Police.

Police Service.

Charles’ St. Albans City Police application to join and his Service Record have both survived and they show the following: Charles L. Hallett of Hill Side Clophill. Ampthill, Beds. submitted his application to join on the 18th March 1914. He described himself as being 21, 6 feet ½ inch tall, with a 27 ½ inch chest, weighing 11 stone 12 ½ lbs (in clothes), grey eyes, fair hair, fair complexion, his trade was as a Groom/Gardener, he was born in Ash, Somerset and was unmarried.

He answered “No” to each of the following three questions: Have you ever been before the Magistrates on any charge whatever? Have you ever served in a Police Force? Have you ever served in the Army, Navy or Militia and where is your discharge?

Charles supplied details for three people who were prepared to recommend him:

Cecil Ayles of Wrest Park Lodge Ampthill a J.P. in the County of Bedford who had known him since Xmas 1910 to March 1914.

Hon. G.D. Coleridge of Clophill, Ampthill, Beds. who had known him since May 1909 to March 1914.

C.L. Matthews of Clophill Rectory, Ampthill from August 1911 to March 1914.

PC 27 John Wm. Gibson of Clophill, Ampthill signed a certificate stating that the above had either signed their signatures in his presence or were well known to him and that their recommendations were  worthy of confidence. This was countersigned by Ebenezer Matthews Superintendent Ampthill and dated 20th March 1914.

No record survives but Charles would probably have been told that there were no vacancies, but his application would be kept on file as the next thing to happen followed the outbreak of War.

Outbreak Of World War One.

The minutes of the Watch Committee for the St. Albans City Police record that of the 35 strong Force four men were immediately recalled as Army Reservists and two others, PC’s Benn and North, were seconded to the Army as Drill Instructors, six new recruits were taken on as replacements. Charles, in all probability, was one of those six, as on the 17th November 1914 he was seen by the Police Surgeon, Leslie Bates, who certified the following on his Application Form: I hereby certify that I have examined the above Candidate as to his health and bodily strength, and that I consider him fit for Police Duty.

Charles was Appointed as Police Constable 3 on the 27th November 1914. His Police Service Record shows that he was 21 on joining and that he was born on the 3rd February 1893 in Ash, Somerset. He was 6 ft 1 inch tall, had a fresh complexion, grey eyes, brown hair and had a scar on his right knee. He had previously worked as a Groom and a Gardener, and his religion was Baptist.

He obtained the following Ambulance [First Aid Ed.] qualifications: St. John Ambulance Association Certificate, Voucher and Medallion.

On 7th May 1915 he was paid 25/- per week, this was increased to 26/- on the 27th May 1915 and 27/- on the 27th November 1915.

The minutes of the Watch Committee record that eventually by 1915, twelve men had enlisted for military service with another 16 married men enlisting as Section B Reservists. Charles was one of the twelve as his Police Service Record shows he served in the Military between 11th December 1915 and 14th April 1919, firstly with the Northants Yeomanry and then the Military Mounted  Police.

Army Service During The War.

Charles’ Army Service Record has also survived so we know he enlisted and was Embodied on the 11th December 1915 at Luton for four years’ service in the United Kingdom as Private 2115 in the Territorial Force of the 2/1st Northants Yeomanry. He enlisted with PC Edmond John Bennett who was Private 2116.

The following was recorded: He stated he lived at Butleigh Hill near Glastonbury, Somerset and he was willing to be attested into Northamptonshire Yeomanry. He gave details of his next of kin as his father Henry John Hallett of Butleigh Hill.

He was Medically Examined the same day at Northampton and the following recorded: Declared age: 22 years. Occupation: Policeman. Height: 6 feet ½ inch. Chest: 38 inches 2 ½ inch expansion. Physical development: Good. Eyesight: Left 6/6 Right 6/6.

Charles was keen to transfer though as shown in the details recorded below on Army Form B. 241.

Descriptive return of Soldier at present stationed at Retford who is desirous of being transferred from the 2/1st Northants Yeomanry Regiment at Scarborough to the Military (Mounted) Police Corps ‘E’ Area Northern Command for the purpose of employment as a Military Policeman.

Regiment and Battalion: 2/1st Northants Regiment. No. 146139. Rank and name: Lance Corporal Hallett C.L. Date of Attestation: 11th December 1915. Period for which attested: Duration of War. Age: 24 years 62 days. Height: 6 feet. Chest: 41 ½ inches 1 ½ inch expansion. Where born: Ash, Somersetshire. Marital status: Single. Character: Good.

On the 1st June 1917 Charles was transferred to the Military Police Corps and appointed Lance Corporal P/10826 in the Military Mounted Police.

On the 4th February 1918 he embarked at Southampton and the next day disembarked at Le Havre as part of the British Expeditionary Force. Then on the 17th February 1918 he was Posted to General Headquarters in Italy.

He remained there until the 16th March 1919 when he was transferred to Wimbledon for demobilisation. On the 14th April 1919 he was Disembodied on demobilisation at Aldershot. He gave his home address as Budleigh Hill near Glastonbury, Somerset.

On demobilisation Charles was supplied with a Protection Certification and Certificate of Identity, Army Form Z11. This showed:

Name: Charles Luke Hallett. Regimental No: P/10826. Rank: Lance Corporal. Record Office: Woking. Unit: 48th Division. Regiment: Military Mounted Police.

Pay Office: Woking. Address for pay: Budleigh Hill near Glastonbury Somerset. Theatre of War: Italy. Born: 1893. Medical category: A1. Place for re-joining in emergency: Hounslow. Granted 28 days furlough. Date and place of issue unreadable.

As shown above like every returning Soldier Charles was granted 28 days leave and he undoubtedly would have used that time to arrange his re-joining of the Police. He would have had to have passed a Medical Examination to determine whether he was still fit to carry out Police duties.

Re-joining The Police.

There are no records which show exactly when Charles resumed his Police career, but it normally would have coincided with the expiration of his 28 days leave which from his Police Service Record we know was on the 14th April 1919. At odds with this is the fact that his Police Service Record also shows he was being paid 47/- per week from the 11th April 1919 so it is possible there was an overlap.

The fact that he was definitely back in St. Albans is supported by the following letter, dated the 16th April 1919, which Charles sent to the Military Police Corps at  Aldershot which stated: I hereby acknowledge the receipt of Certificate of Disembodiment and also to notify my change of address, which is as follows Charles Luke Hallett, 47, Lattimore Road, St. Albans.

Award of the Italian Croce di Guerra.

Published in the London Gazette in issue 31345 Page 6206 dated the 15th May 1919 was the announcement that Acting Lance Corporal P10826 Charles Luke Hallet Military Mounted Police attached to 48th (South Midland) Division has been awarded the Croce di Guerra by the Allied Powers for distinguished services rendered during the course of the campaign.

In another letter dated the 21st November 1919 Charles replied to the Military Mounted Police: I hereby acknowledge to have received the Diploma Croce Da Guerra granted for service in Italy.

It appears that initially Charles only received a certificate or Diploma. The issue of a medal was established in 1922 and in the photograph, dated 1926, he can clearly be seen to be wearing it. As well as the Croce Da Guerra he was awarded the British War and Victory medals.

Pay Awards.

On the 15th August 1919 his pay was increased to 78/- per week as part of a national pay rise. Then on the anniversary of his Appointment on the 27th November 1919 it was increased again to 80/- per week. Annually on the 27th November he received a 2/- per week increase until 1924 when he reached 100/- per week.

The Electoral Rolls of 1919 and 1920 list Charles as living at 47, Lattimore Road, St. Albans. The 1921 census records him as boarding with a family called Burgess at 1 New Dalton Street, St. Albans and the Electoral Rolls of 1921 to 1929 show him at the same address. In the 1930 Electoral Roll he is shown as living at 63 Dalton Street St. Albans.

On 28th January 1922 Charles fractured a rib at a fire and was off sick for 19 days.


On the 5th September 1922 Charles was highly commended by the Watch Committee and awarded £1 for the arrest of Ernest R. Dott for burglary. The Habitual Criminals Register 1925 contains the following entry: Parkhurst Prison, Ernest Reginald Dott (alias Ernest Reginald Piscard Dott or Pithard de Dott), born 1892 Canada, 5 feet 11 ½ inches tall, ruddy complexion, dark brown hair, hazel eyes, scar right side of forehead under right eye and right cheek, first left finger deformed. Sentenced to 3 years penal servitude on 17th October 1922 at St. Albans Sessions for an offence of Burglary.  Date of penal servitude due to expire 16th October 1925. Released on 16th January 1925 to reside at Cardiff employed as a farmer.

Promotion to Sergeant.

On the 20th March 1925 Charles was promoted to the rank of Police Sergeant and his pay was increased to 100/- per week. Slightly oddly the date of his examination for promotion to the rank of Sergeant was recorded as the 27th May 1925,it’s possible he was in an Acting role from March.

At some point, not recorded, Charles also qualified as a motor driver and also an Inspector of Diseases of Animals.

Pay Awards.

On the first anniversary of the date of his promotion, the 20th March 1926, Charles received a pay increase of 2/6 per week. He went on to receive a further 2/6 per week on the anniversary every year until 1930 when he reached his maximum salary of 112/6 per week.


On the 10th December 1930 Charles was Commended by Northampton Borough Justices and approved by Watch Committee for arrest of Finlay motor car thief.

Published in the Northampton Chronicle and Echo on Wednesday 3rd December 1930 under the headlines:

Doctor’s Car And Drugs. Missed from Market Square. Recovered at St. Albans. Draughtsman Charged With Theft.

Less than an hour and a half after an Austin car belonging to Dr. James Orr, of Northampton, had disappeared from the Market Square on Tuesday evening, it had been stopped at St. Albans and a man was detained. This morning the man, described as Ralph Finlay, a draughtsman, of Chelsea, was brought up at Northampton Police Court, and charged with the theft of the car, which contained drugs, among other things.

On Tuesday afternoon Dr. Orr, whose home is at “Kashalkin,” Kingsley Park Terrace, left his car, an Austin Twelve saloon, on the Market Square motor park whilst he and his wife, their daughter, Miss Hilda Orr, and two friends, Mrs. and Miss Westley of Coventry, went shopping, and had tea at a cafe in the centre of the town.

The car was left at about a quarter to five, standing close to Messrs. Cole and Hughes’ premises, the last one in the rank. It was still there an hour later, when it was seen by Mr. Cyril Harrison, of Messrs. Shoosmiths and Harrison, but a few minutes afterwards, when Dr. Orr and his family returned, it had gone.

Strychnine And Morphia.

Inside were some rugs and the doctor’s bag, which contained two glass tubes, one containing strychnine in the form of tablets and the other morphia, also in tablets. It is difficult to estimate precisely the amount of poison that was in the tubes, but it is probable that there was enough to kill half a dozen people. Bandages, dressings, and needles were also among the equipment. Immediately he discovered his loss Dr. Orr reported it to the Borough Police, by whom a description of the car was circulated promptly, whilst a search was carried out in Northampton itself.

Driver Detained.

Strategic points were watched, and so effectively was the Police net spread that not long after seven o’clock the car was stopped on the outskirts of St. Albans, and the driver was detained. A telephone message was sent to Dr. and Mrs. Orr, who had gone home, and Mr. John Reid, jun., of Park Avenue North, drove them to St. Albans, stopping on the way to pick up Det. Constable Allison, of the Borough Police.

They found the car undamaged, with the contents intact, and the doctor was able to drive it back to Northampton, whilst Mr. Reid acted as chauffeur to Constable Allison, who had taken charge of the detained and handcuffed man from the St. Albans City Police.

Eventually Dr. and Mrs. Orr reached their home about three o’clock, after visiting the Police Station for the necessary formalities. Fortunately, the doctor had finished his regular work for the day when he left his car on the Square and no calls for him occurred during the night.

Dr. Orr is the third local doctor to suffer the loss of a car comparatively recently, the others being Dr. Denby Cogan, of Northampton, and Dr. Winterbotham of Brixworth. In each case, however, the vehicles have been recovered – another testimony to the alertness of the police.

Police Court Proceedings.

At the Police Court this morning, before the Mayor (Councillor E. Ingman) and other magistrates, Ralph Finlay (23), draughtsman, 49, Westbourne Road, Chelsea, London, was charged with stealing, sometime between 4.45 p.m. and 5.55 p.m. on Tuesday, from the Market Square motor park, an Austin saloon car, containing two rugs and a bag of surgical instruments and drugs, together value £300, the property of Dr. James Orr, of 88, Kingsley Park Terrace.

The Chief Constable (Mr. John Williamson) said the ease was reported to the police at 5.55 p.m. and at 7.50 p.m. he received a telephone message from the St. Albans City Police to say that as a result of the circulation of particulars, the prisoner bad been arrested with the car.

He would like to say that this was a very creditable performance so far as St. Albans Police were concerned.

“Prisoner was only brought back to Northampton early this morning,” continued the Chief Constable, “As a matter of fact he has not assisted my officer, so far as his history is concerned, and in order that I may have the case properly presented I shall ask for a remand for a week.”

“Prisoner has given one name but had papers and a birth certificate bearing another.”

“I am not one of those people who believe that crime should be regarded as an easy thing to get out of. He has not assisted the police, and I will ask for a remand for at least a week.”

Prisoner’s Reply.

Detective  Constable Allison said that in consequence of a telephone message he went to St. Albans and received prisoner into custody at 12.10 this morning. When charged he said, “I did not actually steal the ear.”

Prisoner, a young, fresh faced, blue eyed man, said he was anxious for the case to be gone into straight away. “I am very sorry it has happened,” he added.

His request was refused, and he was remanded for a week.

The Chief Constable asked that in the meantime Dr. Orr should he allowed the use of his car, and the Bench agreed to this.


Charles Luke Hallett aged 39 a bachelor Police Sergeant of 63 Dalton Street, St. Albans, married on the 14th January 1933 at Wembdon, Somerset Hilda Joan Carter, age 37 a spinster School Mistress, of Alexander Road Wembdon. She was born on the 24th June 1895 at Butleigh, Somerset. They had a daughter, Ruth born in 1934 at St. Albans.

From the 8th August 1938 Charles was off sick for 6 days with Influenzal Gastritis.

Charles is recorded in the 1939 Register as living at 65, Brampton Road, St. Albans with his wife and daughter.

Promotion to Acting Inspector.

On the 22nd July 1940 Charles was promoted to the rank of Acting Inspector with a pay increase to £310 per annum.

From the 4th July 1942 Charles was off sick with Mumps for 21 days.

From the 23rd September 1944 Charles suffered a fractured ankle which was considered to be an injury on duty and was off sick for 53 days.

On the 1st April 1945 his pay was increased to £410 per annum and then on the 16th September 1946 he had a further increase to £450 per annum. However, on 9th December 1946 he reverted to the rank of Sergeant on 165/- per week.

Retirement And Life After The Police.

Charles witnessed the amalgamation of the St. Albans City Police into the Hertfordshire Constabulary on the 1st April 1947 and his Hertfordshire County Police Service Record also has survived but it contains only brief details apparently taken from his St. Albans City Police Service Record.

Charles chose to retire on the 31st July 1947 as a Sergeant following 32 years 8 months service. He received £286/15/9 per annum pension. It is quite clear that all of his Military service was allowed to count towards his Police Pensionable service.

On the 6th August 1947 Charles returned a written receipt to the Chief Constable of the Hertfordshire County Police in which he acknowledged that he had been sent his Certificate of Service. He gave his address as 65, Brampton Road, St. Albans. It showed that during his service his conduct had been exemplary.

Charles Luke Hallett of Malt House Cottage, High Street, Tisbury, Wiltshire died on the 12th February 1966 at The Infirmary, Salisbury from a Pulmonary Embolus cause unknown.

This page was added on 16/03/2020.

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