George Henry Sirett was born on the 1st September 1891 at Stoke Hammond, Buckinghamshire.
His father, Harry George Sirett, married his mother, Sarah Scott born in 1887 at Leighton Buzzard. They had three children:
1. Frederick George born in 1889 and died in 1889 at Leighton Buzzard.
2. George Henry.
3. Ruth Scott born in 1894 at Bovingdon.
His mother died in 1896 and his father married Ellen Gale in 1897 at Verwood Parish Church, Wimborne, Dorset.
During the 1901 census George was living with his father, a cattleman, and his step-mother and sister Ruth at Box Lane, Bovingdon, Hemel Hempstead.
In the 1911 census George, a Railway Parcel Porter, was still living at The Lodge, Box Lane, Bovingdon, Hemel Hempstead with his father, a cowman on a farm, and his step-mother and sister Ruth.
George’s Police Service Record has not survived, so it is not known for certain when he joined the Hertford County Constabulary. However, from the following Police General Orders it is believed to have been on the 2nd June 1913.
Pay increases are awarded on the anniversary date of a Constable’s Appointment, or if they are promoted the anniversary of the date of promotion. In George’s case the date of his pay increases are the 2nd June. Furthermore, the General Order announcing his pay increase for the 2nd June 1919 puts him on a rate which equates to six years’ service according to the pay scales which were in place from the 1st July 1918.
On Appointment George became Police Constable 285 in the A or Ware Division but there is no record of which station he was posted to.
General Order 21 of the 25th November 1913 announced that three Constables were Commended for their good work:
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).
Police Constable 285 George H. Sirett, A Division, is commended by the Chief Constable for his observation and self-reliance in the case of Police v. William Read alias Mason. (Larceny Fowls).
General Order 98 of the 9th June 1915 was entitled The Police Constable (Naval and Military Service) Act 1914 Police (Emergency Provisions) Act 1915 and stated:
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.
It can be seen from this Order that George is now in the B or Bishops Stortford Division but again it is not known where he was stationed or when he was transferred.
General Order 104 of the 22nd June 1915 informed George that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 25/8 to 26/10 per week from the 2nd June 1915.
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. George is shown as PC 285 Sirett G.H. B Division who enlisted into the Hertfordshire Yeomanry on the 10th June 1915.
Army Service During The War.
George’s Army Service Record has not survived but his Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Rolls contain the following information:
George H. Sirett joined the Hertfordshire Yeomanry as Private 2513 (later 10577 under re-organisation) and landed in Egypt with them on the 9th September 1915.
George was one of 23 Hertfordshire Police Officers who joined the Hertfordshire Yeomanry who posed for a photograph in 1915 believed at Colchester. The officers were:
1. PC 308 F. Clarke
2. PC 93. F. Potton
3. PC 189 J.W. Clark
4. PC 312 D.E. Cattermole
5. PC 285 G.H. Sirett
6. PC 105 H.M. Armitage
7. PC 313 H.H. Quarrie
8. PC 120 A.T. Day
9. PC 315 W.J. Thurley
10. PC 10 E.A.V. Elkins
11. PC 35 A.W. Reid
12. PS 20 H. Wright
13. PC 233 W.J. Bethell
14. PC 121 F.W.E. Perry
15. PC 274 H. Rowlingson
16. PC 19 H.W. Carder
17. PC 217 O.V. Lake
18. PC 316 A.S. Brown
19. PC 305 G. Archer
20. PC 301 G.A. Allen
21. PC 7 A.G. Capon
22. PC 321 N.J. Reid
23. PC 314 A.W. Corne
The photo included a regular Army Sergeant Jeffrey Arthur Riches who was an instructor.
He was later awarded the 1914-15 Star and the British War and Victory medals.
Like every soldier George would have been granted 28 days leave when he was demobilised. He would have used this time to rearrange his re-joining of the Police. Part of that process would have involved him undergoing a medical examination with the Force Surgeon to determine whether he was still fit enough for Police duties. The end of his leave period would have coincided with the date of his re-Appointment.
Whilst waiting to re-join George was listed in the 1919 Electoral Roll as living at 69, Horsecroft Road, Hemel Hempstead George with a Herbert Franklin.
Re-joining The Police.
General Order 57 of 1st March 1919 proclaimed that ten men, having been released from H.M. Army, would be re-appointed to the Force with effect from the dates shown. George was shown as PC 285 Sirett G.H. posted to B Division at Bishops Stortford on the 6th March 1919 on £2/8/0 per week. Each officer had to be formally re-attested and the Superintendents concerned had to report to the Chief Constable when, where and before whom this had been done.
General Order 138 of the 24th June 1919 informed George that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £2/8/0 to £2/9/0 per week from the 2nd June 1919.
General Order 215 of the 18th October instructed George that from the 27th October 1919 he was being transferred from B Division at Bishops Stortford to B Division at High Wych. The Electoral Roll of 1920 lists George as living at 3, Sweetbriars, High Wych Road, Sawbridgeworth.
General Order 107 of the 22nd June 1920 informed George that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/2/0 to £4/4/0 per week from the 2nd June 1920.
George married Bertha Hilda Benstead nee Livings in 1920 at High Wych. She married Metropolitan Police Constable Frank Benstead in 1915 at Paddington. He died as Private 54814 of the Essex Regiment on the 13th October 1918. She had a son, Frank Douglas Benstead born in 1916 at Bishops Stortford.
George and Bertha had three more children:
1. James Norman born in 1921 at High Wych.
2. Mabel June born in 1925 at High Wych.
3. Gerald born and died in 1932 at Hertford.
The Electoral Rolls of 1921 to 1925 list George and Bertha Sirett as living at High Wych.
General Order 91 of the 9th June 1921, General Order 82 of the 28th June 1922 and General Order 126 of the 21st July 1923 all informed George that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/4/0 to £4/6/0 per week from the 2nd June 1921, from £4/6/0 to £4/8/0 per week from the 2nd June 1922 and from £4/8/0 to £4/10/0 per week from the 2nd June 1923.
General Order 137 of the 8th October 1925 instructed George that from the 21st October 1925 he would be transferred from A Division at High Wych to E Division at Stevenage to occupy quarters which were being vacated by Constable 274 Hall. The Electoral Rolls from 1926 to 1930 list George and Bertha Sirett as living at Police Cottages, Stanmore Road, Stevenage.
Retirement And Life After The Police.
No record of George’s retirement has survived but if it is accepted that he joined on the 2nd June 1913 then he could have retired on pension on the 2nd June 1938 after completing 25 years’ service.
In the 1939 Register George is listed as living with his father at 69, Horsecroft Road, Hemel Hempstead. George was recorded as being divorced and employed as a Coach Conductor.
George Henry Sirett died aged 76 in 1967 in Hemel Hempstead.