Edmond John Bennett was born on the 4th January 1892 at London Colney and baptised on the 7th February 1892 at St Peter’s Church at London Colney.
His father, Walter Bennett, married his mother, Annie Elizabeth Stratton in 1883 at St. Albans. They had six sons all born in St. Albans:
1. William George Bennett born in 1883. Served as Private 43823 Hertfordshire Regiment. Killed In Action in France on the 25th October 1918 (Formerly 665 Hussars).
2. Frederick Alfred Bennett born in 1885 and died in 1886.
3. Albert Walter Bennett born in 1887. Served as Corporal M/304825 in the 52nd Mechanical Transport Company, Royal Army Service Corps.
4. John Bennett born and died in 1888.
5. Male child Bennett born and died in 1890.
6. Edmond John Bennett.
During the 1891 census the family are recorded as living at London Colney, St. Albans. Walter was working as a Machinist on a Threshing Engine.
Walter died in 1893 at St. Albans and Annie then married William Draper in 1894 at St. Albans. They had five children, all born in St. Albans, who were half siblings to Edmond:
7. Percy Thomas Draper born and died in 1895.
8. Alice Mary Draper born in 1896.
9. Ellen Lily Draper born in 1897.
10. Edward John Draper born in 1899.
11. Florence Maude Draper born in 1905 and died in 1906.
At the time of the 1901 census Edmond Bennett was recorded as living at 87, White Lion Lane, London Colney with his step father William Draper, mother Annie Draper, brother Albert and half siblings, Alice, Ellen and Edward Draper. William was working as an agricultural labourer.
In the 1911 census Edmond Bennett, who was working as a general carman, was living at Fernleigh, London Colney with his step father William Draper, mother Annie Draper and half siblings, Alice and Edward Draper. William was employed as a land excavator.
By 1913 Edmond was employed as an Asylum Attendant, possibly at the nearby Hertfordshire County Asylum, Hill End, St Albans, but he then applied to join the St. Albans City Police.
Edmond’s Police Service Record has survived, and the following was recorded:
He stated he had been born on the 4th January 1892 at London Colney. His height: was 5 feet 10 ½ inches, chest 37 inches, his complexion was fresh, eyes grey and hair dark brown. He had a scar on the left side of his neck. He said his religion was Church of England.
He started his training on the 14th September 1913 and was Appointed as Police Constable 22 on the 3rd October 1913.
His rates of pay throughout his service are shown below. His increments within his pay scale followed his date of appointment unless it was a general pay rise to all ranks or an award for long service.
03/10/1913 £2/4/6 per week
During his service it was recorded that that he passed his Ambulance Qualifications and received a St. John Ambulance Association certificate. He was also a Motor Driver and performed Mounted Duty.
Army Service During The War.
Edmond’s Army Service Record has survived albeit that it is from the burnt collection and consequently, in parts, difficult to read.
He enlisted and was Embodied on the 11th December 1915 at Luton for four years’ service in the United Kingdom as Private 2216 in the Territorial Force of the 2/1st Northants Yeomanry. He enlisted with PC Charles Luke Hallett who was Private 2215.
The following was recorded: He stated he lived at Fernleigh, London Colney, St. Albans and he was willing to be attested into Northamptonshire Yeomanry. He gave details of his next of kin as his mother, Annie Draper of Fernleigh, London Colney, St. Albans and later his wife Mrs. Bennett, The Parade, London Colney, St. Albans.
He was Medically examined the same day and the following details were recorded: Apparent Age: 23 years 11 months. Height: 5 feet 9 ½ inches. Chest: 35 inches 2 ¾ inch expansion. Vision: Right 6/6 Left 6/6. Physical Development: Good.
Edmond married Mary Barnes on the 1st April 1916 at Bedford. They had four children all born in St. Albans:
1. Arthur W. born in 1920.
2. Mary A. born in 1922.
3. Joan E. born in 1926.
4. Olive born in 1928.
Edmond was keen to transfer though as shown in the details recorded below on Army Form B.241 dated 5th April 1916.
Descriptive return of Soldier at present stationed at (burnt unreadable) who is desirous of being transferred from the 2/1st Northants Yeomanry Regiment at Wheathampstead to the Northumberland Hussars for the purpose of doing duty with the 59th (North Midland) Division as Military Mounted Police.
Regiment and Battalion: 2/1st Northants Regiment. No. 2116. Rank and name: Pte Bennet E.J. Service towards engagement: 141 days. Date of Attestation: 15th November 1915 (this is incorrect it was 11th December 1915). Period for which attested: Duration of War. Trade: Policeman. Age: 24 years 91 days. Height: 5 feet 10 inches. Chest: 39 inches 2 inch expansion. Where born: London Colney Hertfordshire. Marital status: Married. Certificate of Education: County Council School. Character: Good. Musketry Qualification: Not fired.
On the 24th September 1916 Edmond transferred to the Regiment of the Northumberland Hussars.
Edmond persisted with his desire to transfer to the Military Mounted Police as a further Army Form B.241 dated 27th January 1917 shows.
Descriptive return of Soldier at present stationed at (burnt unreadable) who is desirous of being transferred from the Northumberland Hussars Regiment at (burnt unreadable) to the Corps of Military Police at Fovant for the purpose of doing duty with the 59th Division.
Regiment and Battalion: Northumberland Hussars. No. 2116. Rank and name: Pte Bennet E.J. Service towards engagement: 1 year 1 month. Date of Attestation: 11th December 1915. Period for which attested: Duration of War. Trade: Policeman. Age: 24 years.
On the 25th January 1917 he was temporarily transferred to the Military Mounted Police and appointed as Acting Lance Corporal P/6372 in the 59th (North Midland) Division.
On the 23rd February 1917 he embarked at Southampton and the next day disembarked at Le Havre as part of the British Expeditionary Force in France where he served with the 59th Division.
Between the 18th November and the 2nd December 1917, he was granted leave in the UK. Then on the 6th to the 20th October 1918 and the 8th to the 22nd May 1919 he was again granted leave to the UK each time returning to the 59th Division.
On the 27th August 1919 he was transferred to the UK via Boulogne for demobilisation and on the 24th September 1919 Disembodied on demobilisation at Aldershot. He gave his home address as 3, Pageant Road, St. Albans.
His Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Roll record him as J. Bennett but has his correct Service Number of P6372. In the photograph it clearly shows him wearing the British War and Victory medals and this is supported by his Police Service Record.
Re-joining The Police.
His Police Service Record shows that his Military Service ended on the 28th September 1919. Like every returning Soldier Edmond would have been 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.
The Electoral Rolls of 1920 to 1930 list Edmond John and Mary Bennett as living at 3, Pageant Road, St. Albans.
Very Minor Misconduct.
On the 23rd February 1931 Edmond was fined 2/6 by the Chief Constable for failing to parade for duty at the proper time. Then again on the 16th September 1931 he was fined 5/- for failing to parade for duty at proper time and he also had his first Long Service Increment withdrawn.
In the 1939 Register Police Constable Edmond J Bennett and his family are listed as living at 7, Orchard Estate, Hordle Gardens, St. Albans.
Retirement And Life After The Police.
Edmond witnessed the amalgamation of the St. Albans City Police into the Hertfordshire Constabulary on the 1st April 1947 but chose to retire at the end of that month.
The following certificate was given to him:
Hertfordshire County Police No. 22
This is to certify that Police Constable Edmond John Bennett served as a member of the Hertfordshire County Police from the 3rd of October 1913 to the 30th of April 1947 when he was pensioned on completion of service. During his service his conduct was exemplary.
Dated 25th June 1947 and signed A.F. Wilcox Chief Constable of Herts.
Description: Height: 5 feet 9 inches. Age: 55 years. Eyes: Grey. Hair: Brown (bald). Complexion: Ruddy.
Edmond died at 9.10 p.m. on the 30th September 1968 at the St. Albans City Hospital. He was cremated at 11.00 a.m. on the 7th October 1968 at the Garston Crematorium.