Frederick Robert Smith was born on the 20th November 1890 at Berkhamsted.
His father, Joseph Thomas Smith a general labourer, married his mother, Kate Florence Rogers on the 18th August 1877 at Christ Church. Somers Town. They had nine children two of whom sadly died before the 1911 census:
- Lizzie Florence born in 1878 at Berkhamsted.
- Emily born in 1881 at Berkhamsted.
- Kate Emeline born in 1883 and died in 1885 at Berkhamsted.
- William James born in 1886 at Northchurch.
- Harriet born in 1889 at Northchurch.
- Frederick Robert.
- Arthur born in 1894 at Berkhamsted.
- Henry Reginald born in 1901 at Watford.
- Joseph Thomas born in 1903 and died in 1905 at Watford.
During the 1881 and 1891 census returns the family were living at Middle Row, Great Berkhamsted. In the 1901 census they had moved and were living at 32, Cannon Road, Watford and by the 1911 census they had moved again and were living at 23, St. Marys Road, Watford. Frederick was employed as a plumber.
Little else is known about his life over the next three years until he applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary. As part of the process Frederick would have undergone a medical examination by the Force Surgeon at Police Headquarters, Hatfield to determine whether he was fit enough for Police duties. He would also have had an interview and would have been told when to report for training.
Frederick’s Police Service Record has not survived but from other sources we know that he was Appointed as Constable 329 on the 12th October 1914 earning £1/4/6 per week.
He would have undergone his Probationer training at Police Headquarters. During his training Frederick would have been Attested. At the end of his training he was taken onto the Roster and posted on the 22nd January 1915 to E Division at Hitchin.
General Order 14 of 21st January 1915 confirmed Frederick’s posting by announcing that he was one of 22 Recruit Constables who had been brought on the Roster for duty and were being transferred from Headquarters. He was shown as PC 329 Smith F.R. posted to E Division at Hitchin from the 22nd January 1915.
General Order 100 of the 9th June 1915 instructed Frederick that he would be transferred from E Division at Hitchin to D Division at Great Berkhamstead on the 12th June 1915 and then fourteen months later General Order 101 of the 26th August 1916 ordered him to move from D Division at Great Berkhamsted to D Division at Tring on the 30th August 1916.
Frederick married Beatrice Clark on the 11th September 1916 at the Baptist Chapel Watford. They had two children both born in Tring:
- Irene Beatrice born in 1917.
- Edith F. born in 1920.
General Order 139 of the 22nd December 1916 announced that Frederick had qualified in “First Aid to the Injured” and, not having had an opportunity to sit the examination earlier, he was granted increased rates of pay from £1/4/6 to £1/5/8 per week from the 12th October 1915 inclusive and from £1/5/8 to £1/6/10 per week from the 12th October 1916 inclusive.
General Order 94 of the 4th November 1917 informed Frederick that he would receive a further increase of pay from £1/6/10 to £1/7/5 per week from the 12th October 1917.
Army Service During The War.
Frederick’s Army Service Record has survived and from this we know the following: Frederick enlisted on the 2nd February 1916 at Watford and on the 3rd February 1916, 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. Stamped and hand written on top of his Army Service Record, in relation to Section B Reserve, was Armlet No.: J68125.
The following was recorded: He gave his address as 23, St. Marys Road, Watford, his age as 25 years 3 months and his trade as Police Constable. He said he was not married (at this time) and had never served in the Military before.
His description on enlistment was recorded as: Age: 25 years 3 months. Height: 6 feet 0 inches. Chest: 38 ½ inches 3 inch expansion. Distinctive marks; 3 Vaccination marks left arm. He said his religion was Non-Conformist and gave his next of kin as his father Mr. Joseph Thomas Smith, 23, St. Marys Road, Watford and later his wife, Beatrice, of 1, Longfield Road, Tring.
His Medical History Army Form B178 recorded that he was examined at Watford on the 19th April 1918 and it noted the same information as his description on enlisting with the addition that he said he was born at Berkhamsted, Herts., his weight as 142 lbs., his hair brown, complexion dark, eyes brown, his physical development as good and the following identifying marks: scars on both knees, Appendix operation scar and tattoo marks on his left forearm.
On the 23rd April 1918 Frederick was one of fifteen Hertford County Constabulary Police Constables who were Mobilised at the same time. Ten joined the Grenadier Guards and five, including Frederick, as Coldstream Guards. Frederick joined as 26168 in the 1st (Provisional) Battalion, Coldstream Guards at Caterham. The others were 25004 Herbert Deer, 25900 Walter Skeggs, 26009 Samuel Harrowell and 24772 Arthur Eames. Other than perhaps their initial training there is no evidence to show that they served together.
On the 15th August 1918 he was posted to the Provisional Battalion, Coldstream Guards at Windsor and on the 21st August, he was appointed unpaid acting Lance Corporal. The end of the war arrived before George could be posted overseas and consequently, he did not receive any medals. On the 10th January 1919 he was transferred to Class Z Army Reserve.
His protection Certificate and certificate of identity Army Form B11 recorded: Name: Frederick Robert Smith. Regt. No.: 26168. Rank: Guards Lance Corporal. Record office: Buckingham Gate. Unit: Provisional Battalion. Regiment: Coldstream Guards. Pay office: 168, Regent Street. Address: Herts Constabulary Longfield Road, Tring, Herts. Granted 28 days furlough. Theatre of War: Aldershot. Born: 1890. Medical Category: A1. Place of re-joining in case of emergency: Windsor. Issued 13th December 1919 Wimbledon Dispersal Unit.
Like every other soldier Frederick would have been granted 28 days leave on his demobilisation and he would have used this time to apply to re-join the Police. He would have had to have undergone a Medical Examination by the Force Surgeon to ensure that he was still fit enough for Police duties. Having passed this, he would have been re-Appointed on the day following the date of the end of his leave period.
Re-joining The Police.
General Order 5 of 6th January 1919 listed 13 Police Soldiers who having been released from H.M. Army were re-appointed to the Force with effect from the dates shown. Frederick was shown as PC 329 Smith F.R. of D Division at Tring on 2nd January 1919 on £2/7/0 per week. Each officer had to be formerly re-attested. Superintendents concerned had to report to the Chief Constable when this has been done, showing the date and place of Attestation and before whom taken. The 1920 to 1925 Electoral Rolls list Frederick and Beatrice Smith as living at Longfield Road, Tring.
The following General Orders all informed Frederick he would receive an increase of pay on the 12th October of the year shown: General Order 235 of the 4th December 1919 from £3/18/0 to £4/0/0 per week. General Order 174 of the 20th October 1921 from £4/2/0 to £4/4/0 per week. General Order 131 of the 18th October 1922 from £4/4/0 to £4/6/0 per week. General Order 177 of the 22nd October 1923 from £4/6/0 to £4/8/0 per week. General Order 168 of the 25th October 1924 from £4/8/0 to £4/10/0 per week.
General Order 65 of the 25th April 1925 instructed Frederick that he would be transferred from D Division at Tring to C Division at West Hyde and to occupy the cottage being vacated by Constable 286 Bowyer. The 1925 to 1930 Electoral Rolls record Frederick and Beatrice Smith as living at 26, Colne Avenue, Rickmansworth.
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, D and E Divisions and it would appear to qualify to be amongst the 20 you needed to have a motor bicycle available. Frederick was not one of first the twenty named as he did not have a motor bicycle.
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: There then follows a list of one Inspector, three Sergeants and 47 Constables which included PC 329 Smith F. of C Division at West Hyde. 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. COAL STRIKE: 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. Frederick was one of those who suffered from the food poisoning.
Retirement And Life After The Police.
Frederick apparently retired on pension on the 6th November 1935 which probably means the Force Surgeon must have decided that he was no longer fit for Police duties as he was some way short of completing his normal 25 years pensionable service.
The 1939 Register records that Frederick, a builder’s decorator, Beatrice and family were living at 26 Colne Avenue, Rickmansworth.
Frederick Robert Smith died on the 8th June 1969 at Hillingdon.