George Ernest White was born in 1889 at Pancras, London and he was baptised on the 15th September 1895 at Hitchin.
His father, James White, married his mother, Mary Ann Pinnuck on the 29th March 1885 at St Botolph’s Bishopsgate. At the time of the marriage he was recorded as being employed as a City Police Constable and her father, who was deceased, had also been a Police Constable. The 1911 census records that they had eleven children five of whom died before the 1911 census. Only records for nine of the children have been located and it is thought that the other two may have been stillbirths:
1. Lily Amelia born in 1880 at Islington.
2. Arthur James born in 1881 at Islington.
3. Minnie Louise born in 1883 in Islington and died in 1883 at Huntingdon.
4. Alice Maud Mary born in 1884 at Huntingdon.
5. Frances Mary born in 1886 Pancras.
6. George Ernest.
7. Frederick Charles born in 1890 at Edmonton.
8. Herbert Henry born in 1893 at Edmonton.
9. Alfred John born in 1894 at Edmonton.
During the 1891 census the family are recorded as living at 92, Spencer Road, Hornsey, Edmonton. His father James is recorded as working as a Milk Carrier. By the 1901 census the family had moved and were listed as living at Walsworth, Hitchin. The move had undoubtedly been due to his father’s change of employment as he was now working as a Plate Layer on the railway.
George married Agnes May Marlow in 1907 at Hitchin. They had two sons both born in Hitchin:
1. Hubert George born in 1907.
2. William born in 1908.
At the time of the 1911 census his parents and brother Henry were listed as living at 1, Walsworth Villa, Walsworth, Hitchin and his father was now employed as a Flagman on the Great Northern Railway. George and his family were recorded as living at 5, Wratten Road, Hitchin and he was employed as a Moulder.
Nothing else is known about George until he applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary.
Ernest’s Police Service Record has not survived but from other sources we know that he was Appointed as Constable 90 probably in 1914 based on the rate of pay he was put on when he re-joined the Police after the war. His Probationer training would have been carried out at Police Headquarters at Hatfield at the end of which he was posted to C Division at Watford.
General Order 57 of the 6th April 1915 announced three resignations: The undermentioned Police Constables having submitted applications to resign their appointments as Constables in the Hertfordshire County Constabulary for the purposes of enlisting in H.M. Army, the resignations are accepted to take effect on 5th April 1915,
PC 90 White G.E.
PC 323 Aylott E.G.
PC 308 Medcalf W.J.
The three Constables will be paid up to and including 5th April 1915 and will be struck off the strength of the establishment 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. Ernest is shown as PC 90 White G.E. C Division who enlisted into the Royal Horse Artillery on the 6th April 1915 with PC’s 308 William Medcalf and 323 Ernest Aylott.
Army Service During The War.
George’s Army Service Record has not survived but from his Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Rolls we know that he enlisted as Gunner 99377 in the Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery. Ernest Aylott and William Medcalf were Gunners 99376 and 99378 respectively.
William Medcalf’s Army Service Record has survived and shows he enlisted on the 3rd April 1915 at Watford and while it is safe to assume the other two enlisted at the same time, it is very unlikely that following their training they remained together.
George landed in France with the Royal Horse Artillery on the 11th July 1915. He was made Acting Bombardier. He was finally discharged from the Army on the 31st March 1920.
Published on the 28th October 1916 in the Hertfordshire Mercury under the headline The Military Medal:
Gunner G.E. White R.H.A. a Hitchin man who belongs to the Herts Constabulary, has been awarded the Military Medal. When he joined the Army two years ago, he was stationed at Watford. Gunner White’s letters home omit to mention the act of gallantry that has secured the distinction, but the official notice of the honour is dated October 6 and signed by Lieutenant-General Sir Aylmer Hunter-Weston, Commanding 18th Corps, who say: “I heartily congratulate you on this honour done you by H.M. the King, in awarding the Military Medal for your excellent conduct on September 3, 1916”.
The London Gazette No. 29854 Page 12054 published on the 8th December 1916 announced that Gunner 99377 G.E. White of the Royal Horse Artillery had been awarded the Military Medal. His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to award the Military Medal for bravery in the Field to this Officer.
George was also awarded the 1914-15 Star and the British War and Victory medals.
Like every other soldier George 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. 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. George was shown as PC 88 White G.E. posted to C Division at Watford from the 20th February 1919 at £2/7/0 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.
Something of note in this Order is the change in his Warrant or Collar Number from 90 to 88. Prior to the outbreak of war, it was fairly common to issue the same Warrant Number to more than one individual providing they were posted to different Divisions so that the Divisional letter would differentiate between them. No record of an Order instructing that this should end and that Warrant Numbers should become unique has been found, but it was obviously issued simply by the fact of the number of returning Constables who were not given their old number, as someone else was already using it, and were issued with a new one.
General Order 148 of the 5th July 1919 was entitled Dismissed:
Police Constable 88 George Ernest White, C Division or Watford Division, having absented himself from duty at the expiration of his annual leave on 25th May 1919 is dismissed the Force, as of that date.
No records have survived which explain this but clearly George had resumed his Police career on the 20th February and then had later been granted leave and was due to return to work on the 25th May. Having failed to return he was dismissed.