Frederick William Abbiss was born on the 11th May 1890 in Hitchin.
His father, Frederick Abbiss a Carpenter and Undertaker, married his mother, Ellen Jane Ingram in 1881 at Biggleswade. They had nine children, all born in Hitchin, two of whom died prior to the 1911 census:
1. Ethel Fanny Maude born in 1883.
2. Eleanor Lucy Marie born in 1886 and died in 1888.
3. John Ingram born in 1888.
4. Frederick William .
5. Arthur James born in 1892. Served as Corporal 13594, 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment who died on the 1st July 1916.
6. Dora Elizabeth born in 1895.
7. Ivy Lois born in 1897.
8. Annie Rose born in 1901 and died in 1904.
9. Constance Eleanor born in 1903.
During the 1891 census the family were recorded as living at 3, Gaping Lane, Hitchin. By the time of the 1901 census they had moved and were listed as living at 8, Union Road, Hitchin and by the 1911 census they had moved again to 75, Tilehouse Street, Hitchin. Frederick was recorded as being employed as a Groom.
Nothing is known about Frederick’s life for the next four years but, following the outbreak of the war, he clearly responded to the call to recruit more Police Officers to replace those Army Reservists that had been recalled to their Colours as he applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary.
Frederick’s Police Service Record has not survived, and his exact date of Appointment as Constable 145 is not known, but it was likely to have been during March 1915. His Probationer training would have been carried out at Police Headquarters at Hatfield at the end of which he would have been posted to a Division.
General Order 73 of the 30th April 1915 announced that Frederick was being transferred from R Division at Headquarters to C Division at Watford on the 3rd May 1915. However, a little over a month later he enlisted in the Army.
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.
General Order 118 of the 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 145 Abbiss F.W. C Division who enlisted into 2nd Life Guards on the 12th June 1915 with PC’s 319 Potter and 84 Manton.
Army Service During The War.
Frederick’s Army Service Record has survived and records the following: On the 12th June 1915 he enlisted at Watford Recruitment Office and was Attested as Trooper 3695 in the 2nd Life Guards, Household Cavalry for the duration of the war. He enlisted with PC 319 Charles Potter who was Trooper 3696.
He said his address was 75, Tilehouse Street, Hitchin, he was 24 years I month old, he was employed by the Hertfordshire Constabulary, was not married and had never served in the Military before.
His description on enlistment was recorded: Age: 24 years 1 month. Height: 5 feet 9 ¾ inches. Chest: 42 inches with 2 inch expansion. Distinctive marks: Scar on right cheek. He said his religion was Church of England and gave his next of kin as his father Frederick William Abbiss, 75, Tilehouse Street, Hitchin.
After training for a year and 247 days he was sent to France with the 2nd Life Guards as part of the British Expeditionary Force on the 14th February 1917.
The War Office Daily Casualty List No.5330 published on the 6th August 1917 listed Trooper 3695 F. Abbiss of the 2nd Life Guards, Household Cavalry as being wounded with shell shock. He was entitled to wear a Wound Stripe as authorised under Army Order 204 of the 6th July 1916. The terms of this award having been met by his named on this list. There is no record of where he was treated for this, but he seems to have remained in France.
After a year and 89 days in France Frederick returned Home on the 16th May 1918. He was granted a week’s leave from the 23rd to the 29th November 1918 and posted on his return to the Reserve Battalion as Medical Category A3.
A letter dated the 5th February 1919 from the Ministry of Pensions to the Officer Commanding 2nd Life Guards contained the following:
I am directed by The Minister of Pensions to inform you of the undermentioned decision in the case of a man whose discharge documents have been recently received with the view to having the claim to pension considered.
I am your obedient servant William Sawyer Controller Soldiers’ Awards Branch.
Rank: Trooper. Regimental No: 3695. Name: Abbiss Frederick William. Regiment or Corps: Household Cavalry 2nd Life Guards. Date of discharge: 16th December 1918. Age on discharge: 29. Marital status: Single. Address on discharge: 75, Tilehouse Street, Hitchin. Disabilities: Neurasthenia. State whether attributable, aggravated or non-attributable: Attributable. Degree of disablement: 20%. Weekly pension: 5/6 for 52 weeks from 17th December 1918 to be reviewed in final weeks.
Frederick was awarded the Victory and British War Medal and finally discharged from the Army on the 31st March 1920.
Like every other soldier Frederick would have been granted 28 days leave on his demobilisation. He would have used this time to arrange his re-joining of the Police. Part of that process would have seen him undergo a medical examination to determine whether he was fit enough to carry out Police duties. The end of his leave period would have coincided with the date of his re-joining the Police,
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. Frederick was shown as: PC 145 Abbiss F.W. R Division at Hatfield from 20th January 1919 on £2/7/0 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 87 of the 9th April 1919 announced that Frederick had Resigned:
Police Constable 145 Frederick William Abbiss D Division having submitted on the 23rd March 1919 an application to be permitted to resign his appointment, the resignation is accepted and will take effect on 23rd April 1919. Police Constable Abbiss will be paid up to that date inclusive, his name being struck off the strength of the establishment of the force on the same day.
There is no explanation for his resignation and no record of him having been transferred from R Division Headquarters to the D or Hemel Hempstead Division.