Ernest Albert Victor Elkins was born on the 15th December 1887 in York into what can only be described as a Military family. Also, like the Dolley brothers, this is a story of two brothers who were Hertford County Constabulary Police officers, only fortunately with a much happier ending.
Ernest’s father was Daniel Charles Elkins who married his mother Emily Kate George on the 22nd November 1876 at St Marks Church, New Swindon, Wiltshire. Daniel Elkins had enlisted in the 9th Lancers on 5th April 1871 at Aldershot.
Daniel Elkins was posted to India, taking his new wife with him, on 28th December 1876 and he served there and in Afghanistan until 22nd November 1885. Daniel and Emily had seven children with the first being Henry Francis Charles who was born on 10th March 1883 in Umballa, India and was to become the second Hertfordshire Police Officer. He was an Army Reservist and his story can be found under that category.
Then came Bertram George Canon who was born on the 28th May 1884 also in Umballa. Like their father he became a career soldier finishing as a Colour Quarter Master Sergeant in the Royal Fusiliers having served right through WW1. Next came Ernest. Fourth eldest was Douglas Stewart who was born on the 29th April 1890 in Chorlton, Manchester he served in the 1/8 Battalion, Middlesex Regiment again throughout WW1.
Then came the first of two sisters, Edith Madeline, who was born in 1893 in Dundalk, Ireland followed by Theresa Patricia Kate born on the 16th August 1894 in Aldershot. Finally, there was Eugene who was born in 1899 at Fort George, Guernsey. He served as Private G/28924 in the 7th Battalion, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment and died of wounds on the 31st March 1918 in France.
During the 1891 census the family were living in Ireland where their father was serving as a Troop Sergeant Major in the 9th Lancers.
At the time of the 1901 census the family were living at Inkerman Barracks, Knaphill, where their father, who had left the Army after completing 21 years’ service, was the Canteen Steward in a Beer Bar and probably employing Henry who is a Canteen Waiter.
In the 1911 census the family, except Henry and Ernest were living at 98, High Street, Berkhamstead where their father is running his own Wine and Spirit Merchants. Henry was about to leave the Army whilst Ernest had joined the Police.
Ernest’s Form 3 Police Service Record still survives and shows that he was medically examined on 1st February 1911, the Police Surgeons Certificate stated:
“I hereby certify that I have examined the above candidate as to his health and bodily strength and consider him fit for the Constabulary of this County”.
(signed) Lovell Drage Surgeon.
Ernest started his Probationary training at C Division Watford on the 14th February 1911. He was Attested on the 28th March 1911 at Watford but was not finally appointed until the 20th April 1911 as Police Constable 10.
The 1911 census records that there were two Hertfordshire Constabulary Police Constables, Ernest Albert Victor Elkins and Jon James, boarding with a family by the name of Day at 25, Sutton Road, Watford.
His description was included on the form:
Born: 15th December 1887 York. Height: 5 feet 11 ½ inches. Chest: 36 inches. Complexion: Fresh. Eyes: Blue. Hair: Brown. It also gave his previous occupation as assisting at the Wine and Spirit store for his father D.C. Elkins, High Street, Berkhamsted and that he could both ride a bicycle and swim.
As well as his Service Record a number of General Orders also refer to Ernest. General Order 13 of the 15th April 1911 announced that “Probationer Elkins 10 C is appointed to the strength of the Force from 20th April inclusive, and is posted to E Division”, he was in fact posted to Stevenage.
General Order 39 of 8th November 1911 reported that Ernest had been awarded his first increased rate of pay, with effect from 19th October 1911, from 23/11 to 25/8 per week.
On the 19th March 1912 he 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. It was also necessary for him to have this as it was a condition of further progress up his pay scale.
General Order 8 of 1914 announced that the Chief Constable had commended Ernest for his actions in case of Leah Farr who attempted suicide at Stevenage on 8th January 1914.
His Service Record shows that on the 18th September 1914 he was transferred from Stevenage to D Division at Berkhamsted almost certainly as part of the major reorganisation caused by the sudden loss of the Army Reservists being recalled. Then less than 5 months later General Order 15 of 21st January 1915 reported that Ernest was again on the move to A Division at Chipping from the 4th February 1915.
General Order 69 of 25th April 1915 notified Ernest that he was to receive a further increase in his pay from 27/5 to 28/- per week from the 20th April 1915.
Then General Order 98 of 9th June 1915 announced:
“The Police Constable (Naval and Military Service) Act 1914 Police (Emergency Provisions) Act 1915.
The undermentioned Police Constable’s being desirous in enlisting in H.M. Army for the period of the War, the Deputy Chief Constable hereby gives the necessary consent, as required by the above Acts:
1. PC 10 Elkins E. A Division
2. PC 120 Day A.T. B Division
3. PC 285 Sirett B Division
4. PC 319 Potter C. C Division
5. PC 133 Mansfield A. C Division
6. PC 145 Abbiss F.W. C Division
7. PC 84 Manton W.E. C Division
8. PC 313 Quarrie H.H. C Division
9. PC 301 Allen G.A. C Division
10. PC 217 Lake O. C Division
11. PC 308 Clarke F. C Division
12. PC 101 Appleby S.R. E Division
13. PC 310 Tatham G. F Division
14. PC 315 Thurley W.J. F Division
15. PC 305 Archer G. F Division
16. PC 93 Potton F. G Division
17. PC 274 Rowlingson H. G Division
18. PC 321 Reid N. G Division
The Constables will be permitted to join the Army at once and will paid up to and including the date prior to that on which they commence to draw Army pay.
The Superintendents concerned will report to Headquarters the date on which the Constables are enlisted in the Army, and the Constables will be struck off the strength of the establishment of the Force as from that date”.
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. Ernest is shown as PC 10 Elkins E. A Division who enlisted in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry on 13th June 1915.
Ernest 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.
On the 25th July 1915 Ernest married Muriel Anna Saunders in the Parish Church Holy Trinity, Hounslow. He is recorded as being a Private in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry and his father Daniel, who was a witness is shown as being a Yeoman of the Guard.
Ernest and Muriel later had a daughter, Muriel Joyce born 31st January 1920 at Hitchin.
Having learnt that he enlisted on the 13th June 1915 we know very little else as his Army Service Record no longer exists. From his Medal Rolls and Medal Roll Index Card we do know that he joined the Hertfordshire Yeomanry as Private 2529 which under later re-organisation was changed to 105791. He landed in Egypt on 9th September 1915 and was later promoted to Corporal and he was later awarded the 1915 Star and the British War and Victory medals.
His Police Service record simply states that he served in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry for 3 years 9 months and was discharged on the 6th March 1919.
Back home the families had not been forgotten as can be seen by General Order 20 of 19th January 1919 entitled, “Allowances to wives of Police Soldiers”.
It announced that the Chief Constable had considered the position of each individual Police Soldier under the new scale of pay and found after taking into consideration the total income of the family from allowances, including the value of the soldier’s food and clothing, that in 16 cases the families were in a worse financial position then they would have been had the man remained in the force. These cases were put before the Standing Joint Committee and they authorised extra payments, with effect from 1st July 1918. PC 10 Elkins A Division was awarded £0/1/5 extra per week with £2/0/3 to be paid retrospectively with the allowances for the week ending 22nd January 1919.
Re-joining The Police.
Ernest’s Police Service Record shows that he had a medical examination on the 28th February 1919 and was found to be fit for continued Police service.
General Order 57 of 1st March 1919 proclaimed that ten men, having been released from H.M. Army, would be re-appointed to the Force with effect from the dates shown. Ernest was shown as PC 10 Elkins E.A.V. posted to A Division at Hoddesdon on the 6th March 1919. Each officer had to be formally re-attested and the Superintendents concerned had to report to the Chief Constable when, where and before whom this had been done.
Very quickly Ernest found himself on the move again with General Order 92 of 11th April 1919 announcing that from the 17th April 1919 he would be transferring from A Division at Hoddesdon to E Division at Letchworth.
General Order 71 of 23/04/1920 PC 10 Elkins E.A.V. E Division. Pay increase from Ernest received two pay rises whilst at Letchworth firstly from £4/6/0 to £4/8/0 per week from 20th April 1920 and then from £4/8/0 to £4/10/0 per week from 20th April 1921.
Promotion And Another Move.
Ernest was promoted to Acting Sergeant from 26th April 1922 and on the same day he was transferred from E Division at Letchworth to D Division at Hemel Hempstead to occupy vacant house. The Electoral Rolls of 1923 to 1925 Voters list him and his family as living at 23, Astley Road, Hemel Hempstead.
A year later in General Order 89 of 3rd May 1923 Ernest received confirmation of
the fact that he was promoted to the substantive rank of Sergeant from the 26th April 1923. He was also awarded another pay increment from £5/0/0 to £5/2/6 per week from the same date.
The 26th April 1924 saw him awarded another pay increase from £5/2/6 to £5/5/0 per week.
In the Police Federation Election of Members to Serve on Branch Boards, held on the 17th October 1924, for D Division Sergeant 10 Ernest Elkins was duly elected.
General Order 200 of 8th December 1924 saw to it that Ernest was on the move once again. From the 17th December 1924 he was transferred from D Division at Hemel Hempstead to C Division at Rickmansworth to reside in the Police Station. II=n fact the 1925 Electoral Roll shows them living next door at 179, High Street, Rickmansworth.
General Order 27 of 25th February 1925 reveals that Ernest had been successful in the Examination for Promotion from Sergeant to Inspector although he was never promoted.
General Order 75 of 7th May 1925 notified Ernest of another increase in his pay from £5/5/0 to £5/7/6 per week from 26th April 1925.
Ernest attended a week long course of instruction for Police Sergeants at Headquarters at Hatfield starting on 1st February 1926.
The Last Move.
General Order 56 of 19th April 1926 informed Ernest that on the 26th April 1926 he was being transferred from C Division at Rickmansworth to A Division at Bishops Stortford and to occupy quarters vacated by Police Sergeant 68 Spicer. The Electoral Rolls of 1926 to 1930 list him as living at 90, Nursery Road, Bishops Stortford. On the day of his transfer Ernest was also given a pay rise from £5/7/6 to £5/10/0 per week.
The General Strike.
General Order 117 of 29th August 1926 concerned the Emergency Regulations 1926 and instructions for 50 Hertfordshire Police Officers to be on standby should the Secretary of State call upon the County Force to draft men elsewhere. The first 20 named would be required to proceed at 8 hours’ notice or less. These included officers from A,B,C and D Divisions and it would appear to qualify to be amongst the 20 you needed to have a motor bicycle available. Ernest was one of the two Sergeants named amongst the 20.
General Order 140 of 18th October 1926 declared:
EMERGENCY REGULATIONS 1926.
The following detachment of the Hertford County Constabulary is detailed for duty in the County of Derby as from 19th October 1926, inclusive:
No. Rank No. Name. Div. Station.
1. Inspector Digby, G. E Hitchin.
2. PS 10 Elkins, E. A Bishops Stortford.
3. PS 138 Camp, A. B Hoddesdon.
4. PS 2 Haines, E.F. D Hemel Hempstead.
5. PC 237 Gristwood, F. A Hunsdon.
6. PC 75 Cobb, A A Albury.
7. PC 163 Cannon, R. A Ware.
8. PC 146 Hill, D. A Chipping.
9. PC 296 Barker, J. A Braughing.
10. PC 76 Dell, H.J. A Eastwick.
11. PC 63 Lowin, W. A Wadesmill.
12. PC 117 Wagstaff, G.A. A Bishops Stortford.
13. PC 261 Ward, E. A Ware.
14. PC 179 Smith, E. B Hoddesdon.
15. PC 294 Arnold, J, B Hertford.
16. PC 104 Snoxell, J. B Staplef’ord.
17. PC 9 Emery, A. B Welwyn.
18. PC 187 Farrow, R.G. C Watford.
19. PC 312 Cattermole, D. C Bedmond.
20. PC 335 Farr, J. C Sarratt.
21. PC 303 Berry, G. C Croxley Green.
22. PC 329 Smith, F. C West Hyde.
23. PC 32 Cook, W. C Watford.
24. PC 77 Watson, V. D Hemel Hempstead.
25. PC 178 Lilley, D. D Markyate.
26. PC 59 Fordham, R. D Park Street.
27. PC 307 Markwell, J. D Wilstone.
28. PC 323 Aylott, E. D Great Gaddesden.
29. PC 88 Hunt, W.C. D Wheathampstead.
30. PC 29 Peace, C. D Wigginton.
31. PC 8 Allen, J. D Gt. Berkhamsted.
32. PC 15 Geary, F.A. E Ashwell.
33. PC 265 Pond, E. E Bennington.
34. PC 38 Hull, W. E Hitchin.
35. PC 61 Burgess, R. E Letchworth.
36. PC 137 Dowty, F. E Letchworth.
37. PC 276 Deer, H. E Preston.
38. PC 282 Eames, A. E Kimpton.
39. PC 106 Radford, P. E Barkway.
40. PC 320 Collett, W. E Weston.
The detachment will proceed by nearest railway route to St Pancras, London Midland & Scottish Railway, reporting on the main departure platform at 2 p.m., when Inspector Digby will parade the party and call the roll. The detachment will proceed by the 2.25 p.m. train to Derby. On arrival at Derby, Inspector Digby will report to the representative of the Chief Constable of the Derby County Constabulary who will meet the train and provide omnibus transport to Ripley about 10 miles distant.
Dress: Greatcoats, cape, cloth jacket, 2nd cloth trousers, 1925 issue helmet, leggings, truncheons and handcuffs, woollen gloves, lamps, whistles and chains.
Divisional Superintendents will advance Railway fares if required and an account for same will be rendered to Headquarters Office for repayment. Inspector Digby will render a daily report direct to the Chief Constable’s Office each day, showing state of health of all members of the detachment and any matters of interest which may occur.
General Order 157 of 14th November 1926
THE EMERGENCY POWERS ACT, 1926. THE EMERGENCY REGULATIONS, 1926.
The Chief Constable is gratified to learn that the services of the detachment of the Hertford County Constabulary added temporarily to the Derby County Constabulary, were satisfactory, and he has much pleasure in publishing the following extract from a letter received from the Chief Constable of Derbyshire, under date 11th November 1926:
Begins: “The detachment has done very good work and I will be grateful if you will be kind enough to convey to them my warm thanks for their services. I may say that Inspector Digby did very good work indeed and was of great assistance to my Ilkeston Superintendent. Will you also give him my personal thanks”. Ends.
If this letter from the Derbyshire Chief Constable seems a bit luke warm it transpires 10 of the Hertfordshire Constables suffered food poisoning after eating food which was supplied to them on behalf of the Derbyshire Police Authority. The Hertfordshire Force Surgeon said that their illness should be classed as an injury on duty and the Chief Constable agreed and said no one should suffer any stoppages from their pay.
On the 24th July 1930 Ernest was cautioned by the Chief Constable after he failed to carry out some written instructions regarding damage to a wall.
Retirement And After The Police.
Ernest retired on a pension of £181/17/0 per annum, having served his 25 years, on the 19th April 1936 still as a Sergeant.
In the 1939 Register Ernest and his family are listed as living at 1, Thorley Park Road, Bishop’s Stortford and his occupation is given as retired Police and Clerk at Match Factory.
Ernest died on the 1st December 1966 at Bournemouth.