Potter, Frederick, 266, Police Constable.

Paul Watts

Ernest Pond Re-joining The Police
Herts Police Historical Society

Early Life.

Frederick Potter was born on the 10th September 1884 at Marylebone, Middlesex.

His father, James Samuel Potter, married his mother, Adelaide Hicks in 1881 at Edmonton. They had eight children:
1. Edwin Henry born in 1882 at Marylebone.
2. Frederick.
3. Annie Elizabeth born in 1888 at Marylebone.
4. Alexander born in 1890 at Marylebone.
5. James born in 1893 at Bushey died on the 26th August 1917 in France L/Cpl 10643 2nd Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment.
6. Adelaide born in 1898 at Harrow Weald.
7. Charles born in 1901 at Harrow Weald.
8. Edith Kate born in 1903 at Harrow Weald.

At the time of the 1891 census the family were living at Graham Place, Merry Hill Lane, Bushey and James was a Metropolitan Police Constable. By the time of the 1901 census they had moved to 13, Alma Road, Harrow Weald and James is now employed as a domestic gardener.

During the 1911 census the family are living at 32, Elfrida Road, Watford and James is shown as a Police Pensioner and a domestic gardener. Frederick had left home and had joined the Royal Marines.

Early Royal Navy Service.

Frederick’s Royal Naval Service Record has survived, and the following was recorded on it:
He Enlisted on the 29th September 1902 at London as Royal Marine Service Number 12638 in the Portsmouth Division. He stated he was born on the 9th (should have been the 10th) September 1884 at Marylebone, London. He had previously been employed as a gardener’s assistant. His religion was Church of England.

He gave his next of kin as his father James of 13, Alma Road, Wealdstone Harrow, London later amended to Adelaide, Elfrida Road, Watford.
His description on enlistment was: Height: 5 feet 9 6/10 inches, Complexion: Fresh, Hair: Brown, Eyes: Hazel.
His description on final discharge from the Service: Height 5 feet 11 inches, Complexion: Fresh, Hair: Brown, Eyes: Hazel.

His record shows he was posted as a Private to the following Shore Bases and Ships:
From the 29th September 1902 he was at Deal. On the 7th May 1903 he passed a swimming test and Musketry Drill at Deal. On the 21st August 1903 he passed Infantry Drill.

From the 27th August 1903 he was at Portsmouth. In 1903 he passed Musketry Drill as a marksman. On the 15th December 1903 he passed Sea Service Gunnery Drill and his general proficiency was very good. On the 15th February 1904 he passed Field Training Drill.

There is then a gap of 18 days during which he is presumed to have been on leave.

From the 17th March 1904 he served aboard HMS Andromeda a Diadem Class Cruiser launched in 1897. On the 29th September 1904 he was awarded his first Good Conduct Badge. In 1905 and again in 1906 he passed his Musketry Drill as a marksman whilst in Hong Kong.

From the 17th July 1906 he was at Portsmouth. On the 1st October 1906 he passed Sea Service Gunnery Drill with his general proficiency being very good. On the 19th October 1906 he passed Infantry Drill.

From the 6th November 1906 he served aboard HMS Cressy a Cressy Class Armoured Cruiser launched in 1899, then between the 19th November and the 10th December 1906 he was at Portsmouth.

From the 11th December 1906 he served aboard HMS Dreadnought a Battleship launched in 1906 and commissioned on the 2nd December 1906. On the 28th September 1908 was awarded his second Good Conduct Badge.

From the 24th March until the 7th August 1909 he was at Portsmouth. Throughout his service his character and ability were rated as ‘Very Good.’ The normal period of engagement would have been for 12 years, but he appears to have paid £8.00 and ‘bought’ himself out of the service.

On the 8th August 1909 he enlisted in the Royal Fleet Reserve and immediately completed a weeks’ Drill training.

Police Service.

Frederick’s Police Service Record has not survived but from other sources we know that having served seven years in Royal Marines Infantry he was discharged on the 14th August 1909. However, being in the Reserve he was required to perform one week’s drill at his Home Port each year.

In the two months following his discharge he applied to join the Police and he started his Probationary Training at ‘C’ Division at Watford on the 14th October 1909. All training was conducted on Divisions as opposed to Headquarters at that time.

On the 27th November 1909 he was Appointed as Constable 266 and transferred to F Division at Harmer Green. General Order 37 of 14th December 1909 confirmed that he had been appointed on the strength of the Force on 23/11 per week from 27th November 1909.

General Order 2 of 13th January 1910 gave instructions to dozens of Police Officers in connection with the General Election of January 1910. Voting was carried out over several days and schedules were drawn up detailing where and when officers would perform duty. The following excerpt refers to Frederick.
Schedule A
Return of Officers and Men detailed for duty in the Eastern or Hertford Division on Wednesday 19th January 1910.
Div.      Rank No.    Name        Station                   Place for Duty
‘F’         PC 266         Potter F    Harmer Green      Stanstead Abbotts
Schedule B
Return of Officers and Men detailed for duty in the Northern or Hitchin Division on Friday 21st January 1910.
Div.      Rank No.    Name         Station                   Place for Duty
‘F’         PC 266        Potter F     Welwyn                  Welwyn
Schedule D
Return of Officers and Men detailed for duty in the Western or Watford Division 27th January 1910.
Div.      Rank No.    Name        Station                    Place for Duty
‘F’          PC 266        Potter F     Welwyn                  Great Berkhamsted

General Order 14 of 25th April 1910 informed Frederick that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 23/11 to 25/8 per week from 7th April 1910.

Frederick married Rose Fountaine in 1910 at Watford. They had five children, four boys all born in Stevenage, Frederick Herbert born in 1911, George James born in 1913, William Thomas D. born in 1914 and Edwin Horace born in 1922 and a daughter Ruby born in 1928 at Watford. She died on the 6th August 1946 at Mearnskirk Hospital, Glasgow a serving Wren (105582) on H.M.S. Dundonald.

Between the 7th to 13th August 1910 Frederick completed his annual Naval Reserve Drill.

On the 17th August 1910 Frederick was transferred from ‘F’ Division at Harmer Green to ‘E’ Division at Stevenage. At the time of the 1911 census he and his wife and son Frederick were living at 32, Grove Road, Stevenage.

Between the 1st and the 7th October 1911 Frederick completed his annual Naval Reserve Drill.

General Order 1 of the 5th January 1912 informed Frederick that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 25/8 to 26/10 per week from 14th December 1911.

Within the Naval Reserve Frederick transferred to the Immediate Class commencing on the 20th May 1912. Men belonging to the Immediate Class were required to do 28 days’ service in the Fleet each year during the manoeuvres. Between the 20th June and the 1st July 1912, he was at Plymouth. Then between the 2nd and the 17th July 1912 he served aboard HMS Victorious a Majestic Class Battleship launched in 1895.

Between the 14th July and the 10th August 1913 Frederick served aboard HMS Good Hope a Drake Class Armoured Cruiser launched in 1901.


General Order 21 of 25th November 1913 Commendations.
Police Constable 84 Albert William Bolton, ‘E’ Division, is commended by the Chief Constable for his action in tracing stolen turkeys in the case of Police v. Albert E. Fox, on Tuesday 28th October 1913.
Police Constable 266 Frederick Potter, ‘E’ Division, is commended by the Chief Constable for his observation and action in the case of Police v. Albert E. Fox (Larceny Turkeys).

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. Frederick is shown as PC 266 Potter F. ‘E’ Division recalled to Royal Marine Light Infantry on the 4th August 1914.

Royal Navy Service During The War.

Between the 13th July and the 9th August 1914 Frederick was undergoing his annual Reserve training aboard HMS Drake, a Drake Class Armoured Cruiser launched in 1901, and he was Mobilised on the 9th whilst aboard and remained aboard until the 6th April 1915.

Between the 7th April and the 3rd November 1915, he was at Portsmouth, then from the 4th November 1915 until the 9th January 1919 he served at HMS Cyclops II a shore establishment and Minesweeper Craft in Scapa Flow.

Between the 10th January 1919 and the 12th February 1919, he was based at Portsmouth and then demobilised. On the 13th February 1919 he re-enrolled in the Royal Fleet Reserve Class B for 5 years. On the 19th March 1919 he was awarded a War Gratuity of £26/10/0.

Throughout this second period of his service his character was assessed as ‘Very Good’ and ability ‘Satisfactory’. He was later awarded the 1914-15 Star, the Victory and British War medals.

Re-joining The Police.

General Order 23 of 25th January 1919 listed 25 Police Officers who having been released from H.M. Army had been re-appointed to the Force. Albert was shown as:
PC 266 Potter F. ‘E’ Division at Stevenage from 30th January 1919 on £2/11/0 per week.
Each officer had to be formerly re-attested. The Superintendents concerned had to report to Headquarters the date and place of Attestation and before whom taken.

General Order 235 of 4th December 1919 informed Frederick that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/8/0 to £4/10/0 per week from 27th November 1919.

The Electoral Rolls of 1921 to 1925 list Frederick and Rose as still living at 32, Grove Road, Stevenage.

Between the 3rd and the 9th July 1921 Frederick completed his annual Naval Reserve Drill at Portsmouth. This was the last time Frederick had to complete his training as he was made exempt from the 3rd March 1922 to the 7th April 1923 there was no explanation for this. The last entry on his Naval Record was for the 29th July 1923 when he was transferred to the Chatham Division.

General Order 208 of 31st December 1924 instructed Frederick that from the 9th January 1925 he was being transferred from ‘E’ Division at Stevenage to ‘B’ Division at Tewin and to occupy the house vacated by ex-Constable Compton. The 1926 Electoral Roll records that Frederick and Rose were living at Lower Green, Tewin.

General Strike.

General Order 62 of the 4th May 1926 announced that due to the General Strike The Emergency Regulations 1926 had been created and issued instructions for Superintendents:
The Following members of your respective Divisions will be warned individually by you that should the County Force be called upon by the Secretary of State under Regulations No. 26 and 27 to draft men elsewhere, they must be ready to proceed at short notice. Orders for equipment and clothing will be issued if and when necessary, but it will be well if the men recognize that they will require some sort of haversack. In all 72 Officers were named including PC 266 F. Potter of ‘B’ Division, Tewin.

Unnecessary Discipline.

Frederick faced a disciplinary matter of alleged discreditable conduct. That is to say he did act in a manner likely to bring dishonour on the reputation of the Force in that he being on the sick list was absent from his quarters until 10.15 p.m. on the 14th August 1926 and frequented the Tewin Village Club. The matter was not proceeded with by the Chief Constable.

Medically Retired And Life After The Police.

General Order 121 of 4th September 1926 announced:
Constable Frederick Potter 266 ‘B’ Division has been certified by the Constabulary Staff Surgeon as unfit for further Police Service. Constable Potter will be paid up to 29th September 1926 inclusive and will be struck off the strength of the establishment of the Force from that date.

The 1927 Electoral Roll lists Frederick and Rose as living at 27, Thrums, Watford and those of 1928 to 1930 at 53, Chilcott Road, Watford. They are still shown there in the 1939 Register and Frederick is recorded as working as a road labourer.

Frederick Potter died in 1977 at Watford.

This page was added on 10/02/2020.

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