Frederick Edwards was born on the 10th October 1894 at Walkern and he was baptised there on the 25th November 1894.
His father, George Edwards a farm labourer, married his mother, Emma Hart nee Carter in 1874 at Royston. She had been married before to John Hart in 1872 at Walkern but widowed in 1873. She had a son John W. Hart born in 1873 at Walkern. George and Emma went on, according to the 1911 census, to have nine children of which one sadly died before the 1911 census. All the children were born in Walkern. Only seven further children have been identified it is thought the eighth was possibly a still birth and the ninth was John W. Hart.
1. Rose Emma born in 1875.
2. Henrietta born in 1877.
3. Alice Mary born in 1879.
4. James William born in 1881.
5. Minnie Martha born in 1889.
6. George Henry born in 1890. Enlisted in Herts Regiment as Private 5678 (later Beds and Herts Regt. 266902) killed in action on the 31st July 1917 in France.
During the 1881 census the family were recorded as living at Totts Lane, Walkern. By the time of the 1891 census they had moved to Froghall Lane, Walkern and they were still at the same address in 1901 and 1911. In 1911 Frederick was shown as working as a domestic house boy.
Nothing else is known about Frederick’s life until 1914 when he applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary.
Frederick’s Police Service Record has not survived but from other sources we know he was Appointed on the 12th October 1914 as Constable 184. However, his pensionable service would not have started until he reached the age of 21 on the 25th November 1915. He underwent his Probationer training at Police Headquarters at Hatfield.
General Order 14 of the 21st January 1915 announced that 22 recruit Constables having been brought onto the Roster for duty were all being transferred on the 22nd October 1915 from Headquarters for duty at various stations. Frederick was posted to A Division at Ware. Nearly all of these 22 men were later to enlist themselves.
Frederick married Maud Esther Asplen on the 12th August 1916 at Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire. They had two children:
1. Mary Dorothea born in 1919 at Ware.
2. Ronald F. born in 1928 at St. Albans.
General Order 124 of 18th November 1916 was a list of 16 Constables, including Frederick, who had signified their desire to sit for examination for promotion from Second Class to First Class Constable. The necessary examination papers were prepared and forwarded to the Superintendents concerned. The examination was held in accordance with the rules laid down in Order 192/1915.
General Order 126 of the 26th November 1916 informed Frederick that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 25/8 to 26/10 per week from the 12th October 1916.
General Order 137 of 21st December 1916 announced the result of the Examination for Promotion from Second Class to First Class Constable. Eleven officers, including Frederick who sat the exam on the 6th December 1916, qualified.
General Order 15 of the 16th February 1917 was entitled Police Constables (Naval and Military Services) Act 1914 Police (Emergency Provisions) Act 1915: The undermentioned Police Constables attested under the Group System having been called upon to report for Military Service in accordance with the Order of the War Cabinet dated 5th February 1917 de-badging all men aged 18 to 22 years on 20th January 1917 The Deputy Chief Constable hereby extends to them the provisions of the above Acts. They will be released from the Police Service granted leave of absence and paid up as set forth in the schedule appended.
Name Date to be released Date Police Pay Ceases Leave of Absence Recruiting Office
Police Service PC 184 Edwards F. 19/02/1917 19/02/1917 18 & 19/02/1917 Hertford 10 a.m. 20/02/1917
PC 256 Barber W.J. 21/02/1917 21/02/1917 20 & 21/02/1917 Watford 10 a.m. 22/02/1917
Army Service During The War.
Frederick’s Army Service Record has survived and from this and his Medal Index Card and Medal Roll we know the following:
He enlisted on the 10th December 1915 at Watford and on the 11th December 1915, he was transferred to Section B Army Reserve and returned to his Police duties. This was part of what was known as the Derby Scheme. Thousands of men around the country including dozens of Hertfordshire Police Officers enlisted under the scheme. The Hertfordshire Officers mainly enlisted between the 9th and the 11th December 1915. Every Section B Reservist was issued with an individually numbered Khaki Armlet with a red Crown displayed on it which was to be worn on the upper left arm to demonstrate they were a Reservist and were waiting to be mobilised.
The following details were recorded: He said his address was 11, Gladstone Road, Ware, that he was 21 years 2 months old, his occupation was a Police Constable, he was not married and that he had never been in the Military before.
His description on enlistment was: Apparent age 21 years 2 months. Height 5 feet 8 ½ inches. Chest 34 ½ inches – 2 ½ inches expansion. Distinctive marks 3 vaccination marks left arm.
Later the particulars of his marriage were recorded and his next of kin was shown as being his wife of 4, Park Road, Ware.
His Medical Examination Army Form B178, which was completed on the 10th December 1915 at Ware, shows in addition to his description on enlistment that he said he was born in Walkern, his weight was 149 lbs and his physical development was very good.
Frederick was mobilised at Hertford on the 20th February 1917. On the 22nd February he was posted as Gunner 206125 to the Royal Horse Artillery Depot.
PC 256 Walter Barber was mobilised two days after Frederick and became Gunner 206135 Royal Horse Artillery. Other than possibly during their basic training they did not serve together.
On the 19th July 1917 Frederick was admitted to the Brook War Hospital, Shooters Hill, Woolwich with Tubercular Disease of the breast. After 41 days treatment he was discharged on the 29th August 1917.
On the 23rd August 1917 he was sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force with the 3rd Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery. On the 6th October 1917 he joined the Ammunition Column for the 3rd Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery.
On the 27th May 1918 he was attached to the 3rd Brigade, Headquarters but on the 1st June 1918, he was posted back to the 3rd Brigade Ammunition Column.
On the 5th June 1918, his wife notified a change of address to the Sun Inn, Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire.
On the 29th June 1918 he was admitted to Hospital, but the reason why is not known. He returned to duty on the 6th July 1918. Then on the 12th October 1918 he was granted 14 days leave to UK via Boulogne.
On the 28th January 1919 he was transferred to Class Z of the Army Reserve at Woolwich.
Statement as to Disability Army Form Z22 recorded:
Unit: Ammunition Column. Regiment: 3rd Brigade Royal Horse Artillery. Regt. No: 206125. Rank: Gunner. Name: Frederick Edwards. Address: 4, Park Road, Hertford. Age last birthday: 24. First joined for duty: 24th February 1918 at Woolwich. Medical category: A1. 23rd December 1918 Examined in the field – I do not claim to be suffering from a disability due to my Military Service – signed F. Edwards.
Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity Army Form Z11 recorded:
Name: Frederick Edwards. Regt. No: 206125. Rank: Gunner. Record Office: Woolwich. Unit: Ammunition Column 3rd Brigade. Regiment: Royal Horse Artillery. Pay Office: Blackheath. Address for pay: 4, Park Road, Ware. Theatre of War: France. Born in Year: 1894. Medical category: A1. Place of re-joining in case of emergency: Woolwich. Granted 28 day furlough. Issued 31st December 1918 at Shorncliffe.
He was awarded the British War and Victory medals.
Like every other soldier Frederick 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. The date of his re-joining the Police would have coincided with the end of his period of leave.
Re-joining The Police.
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. Frederick was shown as PC 194 Edwards F. posted to A Division at Ware on £2/7/0 per week from the 13th January 1919. Each officer had to be formally re-attested and the Superintendents concerned had to report to this Chief Constable when this had been done with the date and place of attestation and before whom taken. The Electoral Rolls of 1919 to 1924 list Frederick and Maud Edwards as living at 4, Park Road, Ware.
The following General Orders informed Walter that he would receive a pay increase from the 12th of October of the year of the Order:
General Order 235 of the 4th December 1919 from £3/18/0 to £4/0/0 per week.
General Order181 of the 5th November 1921 from £4/2/0 to £4/4/0 per week.
General Order135 of the 25th October 1922 from £4/4/0 to £4/6/0 per week.
General Order 183 of the 5th November 1923 from £4/6/0 to £4/8/0 per week.
General Order 1 of the 2nd January 1924 instructed William that from the 14th January 1924 from A Division at Ware to D Division at Harpenden, to occupy the quarters at Harpenden Police Station being vacated by Constable 159 Viner. Owing to inclement weather the move was postponed until the 11th February 1924. The Electoral Rolls of 1924 to 1930 record Frederick and Maud Edwards as living at the Police Station, Vaughan Road, Harpenden.
General Order 168 of the 25th October 1924 informed Frederick that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/8/0 to £4/10/0 per week from the 12th October 1924.
The record has not survived but it is clear from that the 1939 Register which lists Police Constable Frederick Edwards and his family as living at 14, Cappell Lane, Ware that he had been transferred back to Ware at some point.
Frederick retired on pension as a Constable on the 31st December 1945.
Frederick Edwards died on the 15th April 1970 at Hertford.