Ethelbert Maskell MM

Police Constable 115 and 161, Sergeant, Inspector and Superintendent

Paul Watts

Ethelbert Maskell Re-joining The Police
Herts Police Historical Society

Early Life.

Ethelbert Maskell was born on the 9th April 1883 at Chelsea.

His father, William Maskell, married his mother, Sarah Alma Clacy on 17th November 1874 at St Mary’s, Reading. They had ten children, four boys and six girls. The children were:
1. Frederick Charles in 1875 at Elham. He was a Regular Army Officer in the Royal Field Artillery and a Boer War Veteran.
2. Lilian born in 1877 at Dorking.
3. Grace Eva born in 1879 and died in 1881 at Chelsea.
4. William born in 1880 at Chelsea.
5. Ethelbert.
6. Evelyn born in 1885 at Chelsea.
7. Isabel born in 1887 at Chelsea.
8. Gertrude born in 1889 at Chelsea.
9. Alma May born in 1891 at Leighton Buzzard.
10. Leonard born in 1894 at Aldbury, Berkhamstead.

During the 1891 census the family were living at Station Road, Linslade and William was employed as a Railway Signalman. By the time of the 1901 census the family had moved and were now living at Railway Cottages, Aldbury. William is still employed as a Railway Signalman, but Ethelbert had left home and had joined the Army.

Early Army Service.

His Army Service Record has not survived but from his Police Service Record we know he enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery probably in the December of 1899. After 7 years’ service in the 99th Battery he transferred to the Reserves on the 17th December 1906. There is no record of him in the 1901 census or the Boer War Medal Rolls which suggests he may have been serving abroad elsewhere, possibly India.

Police Service.

He would have had a period of leave prior to his transfer to the Army Reserve and he must have planned well ahead to apply to join the Police as on the 21st November 1906 he was medically examined to determine whether he was fit enough for the duties of a Constable.

His Form 3 Police Service Record has survived and records the following:
He stated he was born on the 9th April 1893 at Chelsea. His height was 5 feet 8 ½ inches, chest 41 inches, his complexion fair, eyes grey, hair light brown and he had tattoos on both arms, his chest and his back. He stated he had previously worked as a clerk and stated he could ride a bicycle and swim. He gave his next of kin as his father, William Maskell, of Ellesmere Road, Berkhamsted.

He was Attested on the 24th December 1906 at Watford and Appointed Police Constable 115 three days later and started his Probationary Training at Watford. At this time all training was carried out on Divisions as opposed to Headquarters.

General Order 2 of 14th January 1907 announced that PC Maskell 115C would be appointed on 23/11 per week from 27th December 1906. The Electoral Rolls list him as living in rooms above the Police Station, Kings Street, Watford.

General Order 16 of 2nd July 1907 informed Ethelbert that he would receive an increased rate of pay with effect from 23/11 to 25/8 per week from 6th June 1907.

On 9th November 1908 Ethelbert was transferred from ‘C’ Division at Watford to ‘G’ Division at St Albans.

General Order 1 of the 8th January 1909 informed Ethelbert that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 25/8 to 26/10 per week from the 7th December 1908.

On the 29th September 1909 Ethelbert married Charlotte Ellen Bartlett at Berkhamstead. They had no children.

General Order 1 of 6th January 1910 informed Ethelbert that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 26/10 to 28/- per week from the 16th December 1909.

General Order 12 of 23rd March 1910 informed Ethelbert that he was being transferred from ‘G’ Division at St Albans to ‘A’ Division at Ware but the following shows that this did not happen then.

General Order 35 of the 4th October 1910 Ethelbert was again informed that he was being transferred to ‘A’ Division, but this time as the Superintendents Clerk from the 22nd September. His Service Record shows that he did not actually move until the 25th November 1910.

In the 1911 census Ethelbert and Charlotte are shown as living at 3, Park Road, Ware. The Electoral Rolls of 1913 and 1914 show them still living at the same address.

On the 12th June 1913 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.

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. Ethelbert is shown as PC 115 Maskell E. A Division recalled to the 4th Battery, Royal Field Artillery on 4th August 1914.

Army Service During The War.

From his Medal Roll Index Card, his Medal Rolls and a Military Medal transcript we know the following. Having been recalled to the 4th Battery, Royal Field Artillery Ethelbert was transferred to the 6th Divisional Ammunition Column as Sergeant 2587. He landed in France on 11th September 1914. He was awarded the 1914 Star and later as Battery Quartermaster Sergeant and an Acting Warrant Officer First Class (Regimental Sergeant Major) he was awarded the British War and the Victory medals.

Awarded The Military Medal.

Gazette issue 31512 of 19th August 1919 (Page 10560) announced that Battery Quartermaster Sergeant (Acting RSM) 2587 E. Maskell of 149th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery has been awarded the Military Medal. His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Military Medal for bravery in the field.

His Police Service Record shows that he was recalled to the Royal Field Artillery 0on the 4th August 1914 and that he served on the Western Front from the 9th September 1914 to 31st December 1918, serving a total of 4 years 5 months before being discharged on the 12th January 1919 as Regimental Sergeant Major.

Re-joining The Police.

Like every other soldier Ethelbert was given 28 days leave when he was demobilised, and he used this time to arrange his re-joining of the Police. This would have involved a Medical Examination to ensure he was still fit enough for the duties of a Constable. He was re-examined on the 13th January 1919 and found to be fit and subsequently General Order 15 of 14th January 1919 announced that nine Police Soldiers, having been released from H.M. Army, would be re-appointed to the Force. Ethelbert was shown as PC 161 Maskell E. ‘A’ Division at Ware on £2/11/0 per week from the 13th January 1919.

Each officer had to be formally re-attested. The Superintendents concerned had to report to Headquarters when this had been done, Ethelbert was re-attested on the 15th January 1919.

Something of note in this Order is the change in his Warrant or Collar Number from 115 to 161. Prior to the outbreak of war, it was fairly common to issue the same Warrant Number to more than one individual providing they were posted to different Divisions so that the Divisional letter would differentiate between them. No record of an Order instructing that this should end and that Warrant Numbers should become unique has been found, but it was obviously issued simply by the fact of the number of returning Constables who were not given their old number, as someone else was already using it, and were issued with a new one.

Promotion To Sergeant.

General Order 27 of the 5th February 1919 announced that Ethelbert would be promoted on 6th February 1919 to be an Acting Sergeants and then General Order 28 of the same day informed him that he was being transferred from ” Division at Ware to ‘R’ Division at Headquarters on 13th February 1919. The Electoral Rolls of 1919 and 1920 list Ethelbert and Charlotte as living at the Police Cottages, Hatfield.

A year later General Order 28 of the 11th February 1920 confirmed Ethelbert would be promoted to the substantive rank of Sergeant from the 6th February 1920 and then General Order 31 of the 12th February informed that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £5/0/0 to £5/2/6 from the 6th February 1920.

On the 2nd March 1920 Ethelbert was transferred from Headquarters to ‘D’ Division at Markyate.

General Order 78 of the 30th April 1920 Ethelbert was instructed that from 1st May 1920, pending the Command of the D or Hemel Hempstead Division being taken over by Supt W.F. Hagger, he would temporarily be posted and reside at Hemel Hempstead. General Order 88 of the 12th May 1920 informed him that from the 17th May 1920 he would return to Markyate.

On the 29th October 1920 Ethelbert was transferred again from Markyate to Hemel Hempstead.

General Order 23 of the 14th February 1921 informed Ethelbert that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £5/2/6 to £5/5/0 per week from the 6th February 1921.

General Order 67 of the 27th April 1921 announced that following a meeting of the Police Federation Joint Board held at the Constabulary Headquarters, Hatfield on 20th January 1921 it was proposed that a meeting of a Committee consisting of Insp Rolph, Insp West, Sgt 197 Haggar, Sgt 161 Maskell, PC 203 Reed and PC 3 Frogley, with the Deputy Chief Constable would, if convenient, be held on Wednesday 4th May 1921 at 11.30 a.m. to carry on the work of the proposed Assurance Association.

Ethelbert attended a week long course of instruction for Police Sergeants at Headquarters at Hatfield starting on 13th June 1921.

Promotion To Inspector.

General Order 163 of the 27th September 1921 announced that Ethelbert was to be promoted to be an Acting Inspector from the 1st October 1921 and then General Order 164 of the 28th September informed him that from the 5th October 1921
He would be transferred from ‘D’ Division at Hemel Hempstead to G Division at Harpenden to occupy the Police Station. The Electoral Rolls of 1922 and 1923 list Ethelbert and Charlotte as living at the Police Station, Vaughan Road, Harpenden.

Assurance Association.

General Order 183 of the 5th November 1921 reported on a meeting of the Police Federation Joint Board held at Constabulary Headquarters, Hatfield on the 2nd November 1921 regarding the No. 5 Hertford County Constabulary Assurance Association:
The report of the Committee, dated 9th May 1921, respecting an Assurance Association for the members of the Hertford County Constabulary, was discussed. It was agreed, with one exception, that the Members of the Joint Board should urge the members of the various Branch Boards to support the scheme, and that lists signed by all members of the Force, signifying whether they are in favour of the scheme, or not, should be forwarded to the Secretary as early as possible.
It was resolved: “That the Chief Constable be respectfully asked to call Divisional meetings at an early date, in order that the matter may be placed before all members of the Force.”
A Committee consisting of the undermentioned officers was formed:
Supt George Knight DCC, Insp Ernest Rolph E Division, Insp Ethelbert Maskell ‘G’ Division, PS 119 George Digby ‘C’ Division, PS 21 Harry Herbert ‘B’ Division, PC 203 William Reed ‘A’ Division, PC 3 Walter Frogley ‘F’ Division and PC 75 Arthur Cobb ‘D’ Division

From the 13th January 1922 under Force re-organisation Ethelbert was posted to ‘D’ Division at Harpenden as opposed to ‘G’ Division.

Ethelbert was promoted from the 1st October 1922 to the substantive rank of Inspector and General Order 134 of the 25th October 1922 informed him that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £310 to £320 per annum from the 1st October 1922.

Promotion To Superintendent.

General Order 24 of the 8th February 1923 announced that Ethelbert was to be promoted from the 1st March 1923 to be Acting Superintendent and General Order 25 of the same date informed him as of the 18th February 1923 he was being transferred from ‘D’ Division at Harpenden to ‘A’ Division at Bishops Stortford, to take charge of and act as Superintendent of the A” or Bishops Stortford Division.

General Order 64 of the 3rd April announced that the Puckeridge Hunt Races would be held near Cole Green Farm, Brent Pelham on Wednesday 11th April 1923, the detachment of the Hertford County Constabulary would be under the command of Superintendent E. Maskell ‘A’ Division.

General Order 72 of the 19th April 1923 announced that the Essex Staghounds bona fide Race Meetings would be held at Tharbies Farm near Sawbridgeworth on Wednesday 25th April 1923 and the detachment of the Hertford County Constabulary would be under the command of Superintendent E. Maskell ‘A’ Division.

Annual Leave.

General Order 107 of the 8th June 1923 ordered that during the absence on leave of Superintendent E. Maskell ‘A’ Division from 11th to 24th June 1923, inclusive, Acting Inspector A.H. King ‘E’ Division would take charge of and act as Superintendent of the ‘A’ or Bishops Stortford Division and reside at Bishops Stortford. Inspector King would personally go through books, documents etc. with Superintendent Maskell on 10th June 1923.

General Order 128 of the 21st July 1923 announced that the Buntingford Agricultural Show would be held at Corney Bury Park, Buntingford on Thursday 2nd August 1923 the detachment of the Hertford County Constabulary will be under the command of Superintendent E. Maskell ‘A’ Division.

General Order 141 of the 8th August 1923 ordered that during the absence on leave of Superintendent J.H. Prior ‘E’ Division, from 13th to 27th August inclusive, Supt. E. Maskell ‘A’ Division, would take charge of the ‘E’ or Hitchin Division and reside at Hitchin. Supt Maskell would personally go through books, documents etc. with Supt Prior on 12th August. During the absence of Supt Maskell at Hitchin from 12th to 27th August inclusive, Inspector H. Lawrence ‘C’ Division would take charge and act as Superintendent of the ‘A’ or Bishops Stortford Division and reside at Bishops Stortford. Inspector Lawrence would personally go through books, documents etc. with Superintendent Maskell on 12th August.

General Order 157 of the 1st September 1923 ordered that during the absence on leave of Superintendent E. Maskell ‘A’ Division from 7th to 17th September 1923 inclusive, Inspector W.R. West would take charge and act as Superintendent of the ‘A’ or Bishops Stortford Division and would reside at Bishops Stortford. Inspector West would proceed to Bishops Stortford on 6th September and personally go through books, documents etc. with Superintendent Maskell.

General Order 32 of the 19th February 1924 informed Ethelbert that from the 3rd March 1924 he was being transferred from ‘A’ Division at Bishops Stortford to ‘C’ Division at Watford and General Order 33 of the same day confirmed his promotion from the 1st March 1924 to the substantive rank of Superintendent.

Confirmation Of Promotion And Another Move.

General Order 36 of the 27th February 1924 added further instructions:
Superintendent Maskell will take charge of the ‘C’ or Watford Division on Friday 22nd February 1924 on which date Superintendent Moles will hand over the County Monies and property held in charge. Superintendent Maskell will reside at Watford pending the removal of his furniture on 3rd March. Inspector C.H. Farrow ‘A’ Division will take charge and act as Superintendent of the ‘A’ or Bishops Stortford Division on 29th February and will reside at Bishops Stortford until relieved by Superintendent Wright on 3rd March 1924.

The Electoral Rolls of 1925 to 1930 list Ethelbert and Charlotte as living at the Police Station, Kings Street, Watford.

General Order 43 of the 12th March 1924 advised Ethelbert that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £400 to £415 per annum from the 1st March 1924.

More Holidays.

General Order 94 of the 7th June 1924 and General Order 144 of the 27th August 1924 ordered that during the absence on leave of Superintendent E. Maskell ‘C’ Division from 16th to 29th June and from 9th to 23rd September inclusive, Inspector Lawrence would take charge and act as Superintendent of the ‘C’ or Watford Division. Inspector Lawrence would personally go through books, documents etc. with Superintendent Maskell on 15th June and on 8th September 1924 respectively.

General Order 40 of the 14th March 1925 informed Ethelbert that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £415 to £430 per annum from the 1st March 1925.

General Order 84 of the 23rd May 1925 instructed that during the absence of Superintendent Maskell C Division, from 27th May to 8th June 1925 inclusive, Inspector H. Lawrence would take charge and act as Superintendent of the ‘C’ or Watford Division. Inspector Lawrence would personally go through books, documents etc. with Superintendent Maskell on the 26th May 1925.

A Royal Visit.

General Order 93 of the 21st June 1925 gave orders regarding the opening of Watford Peace Memorial Hospital by H.R.H Princess Mary Viscountess Lascelles:
This ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. on Wednesday 24th June 1926 and will be preceded by the Presentation of an Address of Welcome by the Mayor and Corporation of the Borough of Watford at the Market Place at 2.45 p.m.
Command: The detachment of the Hertford County Constabulary on duty will be under the command of: Superintendent E. Maskell.
Movements Mounted: Constables 212 Lambert and 339 Oliver will ride Headquarters Horses and will report at King Street Police Station at 12 noon. Police Sergeant 35 Reid and Constables 93 Potton and 315 Thurley will ride horses to be hired by Superintendent ‘A’ Division. The hired horses will be taken over by the Police Sergeant and Constables at Stanstead Abbotts at 2 p.m. on Tuesday 23rd instant and will be stabled at Watford on that night. The horses will be returned to Stanstead Abbotts immediately after the Ceremony on the 24th instant.
Escort: The Mounted Detachment under the command of Police Sergeant 35 Reid will meet the motor car conveying Her Royal Highness at Bushey Arches and escort the car during the period it is in Watford until it passes Bushey Arches on the return journey.

General Order 116 of the 17th August 1925 ordered that during the absence on leave of Superintendent E. Maskell from 14th to 28th September 1925 inclusive, Inspector H. Lawrence would act as Superintendent and take charge of the ‘C’ or Watford Division. Inspector Lawrence would personally go through books, documents etc. with Superintendent Maskell on 13th September 1925.

General Order 42 of the 17th March 1926 advised Ethelbert that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £430 to £445 per annum from the 1st March 1926.

General Order 69 of the 22nd May 1926 announced that the Bath and West and Southern Counties Society Show would be held at Russells Park, Watford. The detachment of Police will parade at King Street Police Station and will be under the command of Superintendent E. Maskell ‘C’ Division.

General Order GO 75 of the 27th May 1926 instructed that during the absence on leave of Superintendent E. Maskell ‘C’ Division from 31st May to 8th June 1926 inclusive, Inspector H. Lawrence would take charge and act as Superintendent of the ‘C’ or Watford Division. Inspector Lawrence would personally go through books, documents etc. with Superintendent Maskell on 30th May 1926.

Another Royal Visit.

General Order 99 of the 18th July 1926 gave instructions regarding the visit of His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales.
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will visit Hemel Hempstead and Watford on Tuesday July 20th, 1926 commencing at Hemel Hempstead at 2.30 p.m. and Watford at 4.10 p.m. and will leave the County Police District about 5.10 p.m.
The detachment of Police will be under the command of Hemel Hempstead Superintendent W. Stacey and Watford Superintendent E, Maskell.

General Order 113 of the 22nd August 1926 ordered that during the absence on leave of Superintendent E. Maskell ‘C’ Division from 31st August to 17th September 1926 inclusive, Inspector H. Lawrence would take charge and act as Superintendent of the C or Watford Division. Inspector Lawrence would personally go through books, documents etc. with Superintendent Maskell on the 30th August 1926.

Cruising And The Cinema.

There are no further General Orders that have survived but Ethelbert made good use of his holidays which can be seen by the following records from ship’s passenger lists.

On the 17th August 1928 Ethelbert and Charlotte sailed as 2nd class passengers on SS Ranpura from London to Marseilles his occupation was given as Secretary and their address as King Street, Watford. The return trip was on the 7th September 1928, when they sailed as 2nd class passengers on SS Malojar from Marseilles to Plymouth, his occupation and their address were as before.

On the 12th September 1929 Ethelbert and Charlotte sailed as 2nd class passengers on SS Kaisar-I-Hind from London to Marseilles his occupation was given as Police Superintendent and their address as King Street, Watford. The return trip was on the 4th October 1929, when they sailed as 2nd class passengers on SS Narkunda from Marseilles to London his occupation was given as Company Secretary and their address was as before.

The following is taken from “150 Years Policing in Watford District and Hertfordshire County”, by Nik Pringle and Jim Treversh – Page 90:
During the week commencing Monday 21st October 1929, The Watford Super Cinema were showing ‘A Special Paramount Talkie’ “The Canary Murder Case” and there was an advertising poster displayed for it. Miss H.L. Edwards of ‘The Corner’, Cassio Road wrote to the then Superintendent of Police Superintendent Maskell, complaining that “It is very unpleasant in character and I do not think it tends towards the moral tone either of this town or any other. It is very bad for boys and girls and myself to see. Can it be removed?” Superintendent Maskell had to refer the matter to the Chief Constable George Knight, in his letter he stated that, “The poster had been seen by the Board of Film Censors and passed.” Needless to say, no Police action was taken, regarding the poster, and one of Watford’s first talking picture shows was allowed to be advertised as the makers had intended.

On the 1st May 1931 Ethelbert and Charlotte sailed as 2nd class passengers on MS Baloeran from Southampton to Marseilles, his occupation was given as Superintendent of Police and their address as 9, King Street, Watford. The return trip was on the 15th May 1931 when they sailed as 2nd class passengers on SS Prinz der Nederlanden from Genoa to Southampton his occupation and their address were as before.

Retirement And Life After The Police.

Ethelbert retired on the completion of his 25 years’ service on the 31st December 1932 as a Superintendent with a pension of £333/06/08 per annum.

On the 27th September 1935 Ethelbert and Charlotte sailed on as 2nd class passengers on MS Baloeran from Southampton to Marseilles his occupation was given as Licensed Victualler and their address as the Cranley Hotel, Boscombe East Bournemouth. The return journey was on the 14th October 1935, when they sailed as 2nd class passengers on SS Marnix Van Sint Aldegonde from V. Franche to Southampton, his occupation was given as Proprietor and their address as before.

On the 23rd September 1938 Ethelbert and Charlotte sailed as 1st class passengers on MS Sibajak from Southampton to Marseilles, his occupation was given as Hotel Proprietor and their address as the Cranliegh Hotel, Boscombe East Bournemouth. The return trip was on the 14th October 1938 when they again sailed as 1st class passengers on MS Strathaird from Marseilles to London, his occupation and their address were as before.

In the 1939 Register Ethelbert and Charlotte are listed as living at the Cranliegh Hotel, Clingan Road, Bournemouth his occupation is shown as a Licensed Victualler.

Ethelbert Maskell of The Cranleigh Hotel, Clingan Road, Boscombe East Bournemouth died on the 12th August 1947.

This page was added on 08/02/2020.

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