Frank Potton was born on the 16th March 1893 at Steeple Morden.
His father, James Potton an agricultural labourer, married his mother, Julia Hannah Matthews, in 1876 at Royston. They had five children all born in Steeple Morden:
1. Mary Ann born in 1877.
2. William born in 1880.
3. Walter born in 1883.
4. Florence Annie born in 1886.
During the 1881 census the family were living at Cheyney Street, Steeple Morden but by the 1891 census they living at Hay Street, Steeple Morden. At the time of the 1901 census they had moved again and were living at Club Row, Steeple Morden and finally by the time of the 1911 census they were living at The Green, Steeple Morden.
Little is known about Frank’s life over the next two years other than he worked as a farm labourer for A. Saunderson of The Mill, Steeple Morden. Then he applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary.
Frank’s Police Service Form 3 Record Sheet has survived and records the following: He said he was born on the 16th March 1893 at Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire. His height was 5 feet 11 ½ inches, chest 36 ½ inches, complexion fresh, eyes hazel and hair dark brown. He said he could ride a pedal cycle but could not swim. He provided details of his next of kin as his mother, Julia Potton of The Green, Steeple Morden.
He was medically examined on the 11th July 1913 at Police Headquarters at Hatfield by the Police Surgeon who declared: 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.
Frank was Appointed as Police Constable 93 on the 5th August 1913 and started his Probationary Training at Police Headquarters at Hatfield earning £1/4/6 per week.
In November 1913 Frank 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.
He was Attested at Hatfield on the 1st December 1913. On the same day he was taken onto the Roster and posted to D Division at Hemel Hempstead.
On the 16th March 1914 having reached the age of 21 his period of Pensionable Service commenced.
On the 12th August 1914 Frank was transferred from D Division at Hemel Hempstead to D Division at Kings Langley.
Eight months later General Order 59 of the 10th April 1915 instructed Frank that he was being transferred again from D Division at Kings Langley to G Division at Harpenden from the 19th April 1915.
General Order 98 of the 9th June 1915 was entitled 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.
Published on the 19th June 1915 in the Herts Advertiser under the headline Police Constables With The Colours:
Three Harpenden police officers, viz: Pc’s Neville J. Reid, Hermon Rowlingson and Frank Potton have joined the Hertfordshire Yeomanry. Another police officer from Harpenden who is with the colours is PC Wright, Grenadier Guards, who has been wounded. In addition, the following Hertfordshire constables who were formerly stationed at Harpenden are with the forces: PC Pond, R.G.A. joined from Royston, PC Ward, R.G.A. joined from Tring, PC Whippe, drill instructor at Bedford, joined from Hitchin district, PC Ernest F. Hawthorne, of Wheathampstead has also enlisted.
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. Frank is shown as PC 93 Potton F. G Division who enlisted in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry on the 15th June 1915.
Army Service During The War.
His Army Service Record has not survived but his Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Roll reveal that he joined the Hertfordshire Yeomanry as Private 2544 (later 105804 under re-organisation). There is no record in which theatre of war he served. He obviously remained at Home for some time as he was not awarded the 1914-1915 Star, but he was awarded the British War and Victory medals.
Frank 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.
Like every other soldier Frank was granted 28 days leave on demobilisation. He would have used this time to arrange his re-joining of the Police. As part of that process he would have had to undergo a medical examination with the Force Surgeon at Police Headquarters at Hatfield. He was examined on the 12th February 1919. The end of his leave period would have coincided with the date of when he re-joined the Police.
Re-joining The Police.
General Order 39 of the 12th February 1919 announced the re-appointments to the Force of eight Police Soldiers who had been released from H.M. Army. Frank was shown as PC 93 Potton F. posted to G Division at Harpenden from the 27th February 1919 at £2/8/0 per week. Each officer had to be formally re-attested. The Superintendents concerned had to report when this had been done showing the date and place of attestation and before whom taken.
His period of Army Service from the 15th June 1915 to the 26th February 1919 was deemed to count as Police Service for pension purposes Vide Standing Joint Committee Resolution 35 dated the 9th October 1914.
Frank married Ellen Jane Rogers on the 23rd April 1919 at Hemel Hempstead. They had two children
1. Kathleen Gladys born in 1920 at Hertford.
2. Reginald Frank born in 1921 at Hertford.
The Electoral Roll of 1919 list Frank and Ellen Potton as living at Luton Road, Harpenden.
Another Transfer But Where?
General Order 122 of the 28th May 1919 instructed Frank that he was being transferred from G Division at Harpenden to E Division at Stevenage on the 5th June 1919. However, for an unknown reason this Order was cancelled, and General Order 135 of the 12th June 1919 instructed Frank that he was being transferred from G Division at Harpenden to F Division at Hertford on the 25th June 1919 instead. The Electoral Rolls of 1920 to 1924 list Frank and Ellen Potton as living at 36, Thornton Street, Hertford.
General Order 180 of the 11th August 1919, General Order 138 of the 12th August 1921 and General Order 109 of the 18th August 1922 informed Frank that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/0/0 to £4/2/0 per week from the 5th August 1919, from £4/4/0 to £4/6/0 per week from the 5th August 1921 and from £4/6/0 to £4/8/0 per week from the 5th August 1922 respectively.
General Order 156 of 14th November 1922 gave Orders for Mounted Officers to perform duty at various locations in relation to the Declaration of the Poll in the Parliamentary Elections of 1922. Frank was to be on duty at St. Albans.
The Mounted Establishment Is Formed.
General Order 17 of 31st January 1923 announced the formation of a dedicated Mounted Establishment :
“From the 1st February 1923 the Mounted Establishment of the Hertford County Constabulary will consist of the undermentioned Sergeant and Constables:
Rank & No. Name Division Station
1. PS 35 Reid A. C Watford
2. PC 199 Briden J. A Braughing
3. PC 111 Sweetland G. A Bishops Stortford
4. PC 93 Potton F. B Hertford
5. PC 315 Thurley W.J. B Hertford
6. PC 331 Kimpton G. C Watford
7. PC 282 Eames A. E Kimpton
8. PC 200 Bangs A. E Hitchin
9. PC 212 Lambert S.J. R Headquarters
10. PC 78 Phypers E.W. R Headquarters
11. PC 233 Howe A. R Headquarters
Officers who have Mounted Equipment but are not included in the Mounted Establishment shown above will hand such equipment into stores forthwith”.
General Order 143 of the 11th August 1923 informed Frank that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/8/0 to £4/10/0 per week from the 5th August 1923.
On The Move Again.
General Order 123 of the 9th August 1924 instructed Frank that he would be transferred from the 18th August 1924 from B Division at Hertford to C Division at Mill End, to occupy the house vacated by ex-Constable 202 Day. The Electoral Rolls of 1925 to 1930 list Frank and Ellen Potton as living at 129, Uxbridge Road, Rickmansworth.
General Order 169 of 26th October 1924 gave Orders for Mounted Officers to perform duty at various locations in relation to the Declaration of the Poll in the Parliamentary Elections of 1924. Frank was to be on duty at Hemel Hempstead.
A Royal Visit.
General Order 93 of 21st June 1925 with many other Officers Samuel was ordered to perform Mounted duties at 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 46 of 29th March 1926 instructed Frank to be one of four Mounted Officers to be on duty for the Puckeridge Hunt Races being held near Cole Green Farm Brent Pelham on Wednesday 7th April 1926.
General Order 51 of 7th April 1924 instructed Frank to be one of four Mounted Officers to be on duty for The Hertfordshire Hunt Point to Point Steeplechases to be held at Annables Farm near Redbourn on Saturday 10th April 1926.
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. Frank was one of the Constables named in the list although there is no record of him ever being called upon.
General Order 100 of the 28th July 1926 issued orders for the Tring Show:
Tring Agricultural Show will be held at Tring Park on Thursday 5th August 1926.
Movements Mounted Detachment: PC 315 Thurley C Division and PC 93 Potton C Division will ride hired horses. PC’s 315 Thurley and 93 Potton will proceed to Tring on the morning of the 5th August and report to Sergeant 19 Carder at Tring Police Station at 9 a.m. They will return to their Stations after the Show is over.
Retirement And Life After The Police.
Frank retired on the 26th November 1930 on ill health grounds and received a Pension of £77/3/5 per annum.
In the 1939 Register Frank and Ellen are recorded as living at 92, Ebury Road, Rickmansworth. He is shown as a Park Keeper for Rickmansworth Urban District Council and a Dresser for A.R.P. (a neighbour works in the A.R.P. Stores so he may have been involved in issuing uniform).
Frank Potton of 92, Ebury Road, Rickmansworth died on the 5th December 1946 at the Watford and District Peace Memorial Hospital, Rickmansworth Road, Watford.