Henry Mortimer Armitage

Police Constable 105

Paul Watts

Henry Mortimer Armitage 1915

Early Life.

Henry Mortimer Armitage was born on the 28th July 1879 at Coventry. He was baptised on the 12th September 1879 at St. Michael’s, Coventry. At the time the family were living in Vicar Lane, Coventry and his father was listed as a soldier.

His father, George Frederick Armitage, married his mother, Mary Jane Jennings in 1877 at Aston, Warwickshire. They had seven children:
1. Ernest George born in 1877 Tewkesbury.
2. Florence May born in 1878 at Coventry.
3. Henry Mortimer.
4. Isabella Mary born in 1881 at York.
5. Gertrude Alice born in 1883 in Ireland.
6. Frederick born in 1886 in Ireland.
7. Robert Moseley born in 1887 at Chorlton.

During the 1881 census the family were listed as living at 31, Winterscale Street, St. Lawrence, York. George is shown as a Staff Sergeant, Royal Artillery.

His father, Quartermaster Sergeant Royal Artillery George Armitage, died on the 8th August 1887 at the Military Barracks, Dungannon, County Tyrone, Ireland. His mother had another son, Edmund Arthur, who was born in 1890 at Cheltenham.

At the time of the 1891 census his mother and Frederick, Robert and Edmund were recorded as living at 2, Gardeners Cottages, Sherborne Street, Cheltenham. Henry could not be found in the census.

His mother is believed to have married a Charles Tusting in 1897 at Cheltenham but died in 1898 also at Cheltenham.

Early Army Service.

Henry’s early Army Service Record has survived, and the following was recorded: He enlisted on the 18th December 1897 in Bristol as Private 7150 in the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards signing up for seven years in the Colours and five in the Reserve. He stated he was born at St. Michaels, Coventry, Warwickshire, he was 19 years 6 months old and his trade was a groom. He was not an apprentice, was not married, had never been sentenced to imprisonment and had never been in the Military before.

He was medically examined on the 20th December 1897 at Bristol and the following recorded: Apparent age: 19 years 6 months. Height: 5 feet 7 ¾ inches. Weight 147 lbs. Chest: 36 inches maximum 39 inches. Complexion: Fresh. Eyes: Blue. Hair: Brown. Distinctive marks: Tattoo of a cross on his right forearm.

He said his religion was Church of England and gave details of his next of kin as his mother Mrs. Armitage of 16, Princes Street, Kings Road, Cheltenham. Later, details of his marriage and the birth of his first 2 children were added.

He joined the Regiment at London on the 22nd December 1897 spending the first 207 days of his service at Home. Then on the 13th July 1898 he was posted to Gibraltar. He remained there for a year and 87 days before returning Home on the 4th October 1899.

On the 18th March 1900 he was posted to South Africa serving throughout the Boer War. He was later awarded the King’s South Africa Medal with Clasp 1901 and 1902 and the Queen’s South Africa Medal with Clasps Wittebergen, Cape Colony and Transvaal.

On the 10th May 1900 he was awarded Good Conduct Pay at 1d per day. Then after 2 years and 205 days he returned Home on the 9th October 1902.

On the 23rd November 1902 whilst in London Henry signed the following: I hereby elect to come under the conditions of the new Regulations, as to the grant of Messing Allowance Issued by Army Order dated W.O. 2nd April 1898. Signed H. Armitage Private 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

On the 18th December 1903 he was awarded Good Conduct Pay at 6d a day.

Marriage.

Henry married his wife, Lottie Mary Ellen Gandy on the 15th August 1904 at the Parish Church, Watford. They had three children:
1. Lionel Charles Mortimer born in 1905 at Watford.
2. Margaret Kathleen born in 1906 at Watford.
3. Mary born in 1910 at Rickmansworth.

On the 18th December 1904 he was transferred, on the expiration of his period of Army Service, to the Section B Army Reserve and was issued with £14/15/0 Deferred Pay.

On the 11th September 1909 Henry was re-engaged to Section D Army Reserve for four years from the 18th December 1909. Finally, on the 17th December 1913 he was discharged as a Private on the Termination of his Engagement.

Henry must have immediately applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary.

Police Service.

His Police Service Record has not survived but he would have had to undergo a Medical Examination to determine whether he was fit enough for Police duties followed by an interview at Police Headquarters at Hatfield.

He would have started his training at a Divisional station, as was the practice then, before being Attested and taken on to the roster. From other sources we know that he was Appointed as Police Constable 105 in C Division at Watford.

This is supported by General Order 11 of the 9th March 1905 which confirmed that PC Armitage 105 is appointed on 23/11 per week from the 16th February 1905.

Henry would have had to pass his Ambulance certificate, an important qualification which entitled him to wear a badge on his lower left tunic sleeve to show he was trained in basic First Aid.

General Order 31 of the 24th August 1905 informed Henry that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 23/11 to 25/8 per week from the 3rd August 1905.

In General Order 1 of 1st January 1906 instructions are given to dozens of Police officers in connection with the General Election of January 1906. Voting was carried out over several days and schedules were drawn up detailing where and when officers would perform duty. The following excerpts refer to Henry.
Schedule C
Return of Officers and Men detailed for duty in the Western or Watford Division on Tuesday 23rd January 1906.
Div.     Rank No.        Name                       Station                            Place for Duty
C         PC 105            Armitage H M         Watford Callow Land    Watford

A minor Blemish.

General Order 18 of the 26th July 1906 was disciplined by the Chief Constable with the loss of all pay whilst under suspension for being under the influence of drink while on duty on the 7th July. He returned to duty on the 16th July 1906.

General Order 16 of the 2nd July 1907 and General Order 14 of the 7th May 1908 informed Henry that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 23/11 to 25/8 per week from the 6th June 1907 and from 25/8 to 26/10 per week from the 9th April 1908 respectively.

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 Henry.
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
C PC 105 Armitage H M Rickmansworth Rickmansworth

No record has survived but Henry had clearly been transferred from Watford to Rickmansworth.

General Order 13 of the 1st April 1910 informed Henry that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 26/10 to 28/- per week from the 10th March 1910.

Royal Visit.

General Order 43 of the 5th December 1910 were instructions regarding a Royal Visit.
“Their Majesties the King and Queen will visit Brocket Park on 12th December 1910 and following days. Inspector Draper C Division will be in charge of the Police detailed for the above duty. His duties so far as the Parliamentary Elections are concerned will be performed by Inspector Domoney. Sergeant Hagger 171G will assist Inspector Draper. Sergeant Hagger’s election duties on 15th December will be performed by Sergeant Steel 12G.
The following Constables will be at Brocket Park early on the afternoon of 12th December and will remain there for duty at the House until their Majesties departure
PC Wilcox 138 C
PC Maltby 149 C
PC Armitage 105 C
PC Gristwood 237 C
PC Cross 227 G
PC King 217 G

Mounted Officers were detailed to escort their Majesties from the railway station, Hatfield to Brocket Hall on 12th December and on their return journey to Hatfield Station. Other Officers were detailed for duty and were at the disposal of Inspector Draper for duty in the public ways, footpaths and roads surrounding the Park and with the Shooting Parties. One or two of the Constables on duty at the House were to assist the Constables on the public footpaths when the duck shooting took place. Sergeant Berry 98C was to perform duty in plain clothes during the Royal visit and was to be in communication with Supt. Spencer of the Household Police.

During the 1911 census Police Constable Henry Armitage and his family are listed as living at Haselmere Terrace, High Street, Rickmansworth.

A Transfer.

General Order 59 of the 10th April 1915 informed Henry that he was being transferred from C Division at Rickmansworth to D Division at Crouchfield on the 28th April 1915.

General Order 95 of the 4th June 1915 entitled the Police Constable (Naval and Military Service) Act 1914, Police (Emergency Provisions) Act 1915 announced:
The undermentioned Police Constables being desirous of enlisting in HM Army for the period of the War, the Deputy Chief Constable hereby gives the necessary consent for enlistment, as required by the above Acts:
1. PC 105 Armitage H.M. D Division
2. PC 330 Crouch E.L. D Division
3. PC 183 Godfrey P.C. D Division
4. PC 35 Reid A.W. D Division
5. PC 288 Rolls G.J.W D Division
The Constables will be permitted to join the Army at once and will be paid up to and including the date prior to that on which they commence to draw Army pay. The Superintendent D Division 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 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. Henry is shown as PC 105 Armitage H.M. D Division who enlisted in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry on the 7th June 1915.

Army Service During The War.

Henry 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.

Henry’s WW1 Army Service Record has not survived but his Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Roll reveal the following: He enlisted as Private 2488 in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry, but he later transferred to the Military Mounted Police as Lance Corporal P14882. He served in France with them between 12th February 1917 and 30th June 1917 and then in Egypt between the 1st July 1917 and 11th November 1918 although in reality, as can be seen by his date of re-appointment, he continued to serve in the Army for much longer. He was awarded the British War and Victory medals.

After Henry was demobilised, like every other soldier, he would have been granted 28 days leave. He would have used this time to arrange his re-joining of the Police Part of that process would have involved him undergoing a medical examination by the Force Surgeon to ensure he was still fit enough for Police duties.

Re-joining The Police.

General Order 100 of the 23rd April 1919 announced Henry’s re-appointment to the Force.
The undermentioned having been released from HM Army are re-appointed to the Force with effect from date shown, inclusive:
PC 105 Armitage H.M. D Division at Boxmoor from the 8th May 1919 at £2/11/0 per week.
Each officer must be formally re-attested. Superintendents concerned will report when this has been done showing date, place of attestation and by whom sworn.

The Electoral Rolls of 1920 to 1927 list Henry and Lottie Armitage as living at 38, Horsecroft Road, Hemel Hempstead.

General Order 33 of the 11th March 1922 informed Henry that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/10/0 to £4/12/6 per week from the 16th February 1922.

The record has not survived but as the Electoral Rolls of 1928 and 1929 list Henry and Lottie Armitage as living at Police Cottages, Beaconsfield Road, Tring it is safe to assume that sometime around 1927 or 1928 he was transferred to Tring.

A Burglary Foiled.

Published in the Bucks Herald on the 1st November 1929 under the headline Smart Street Capture – PC Bradbury was responsible for a smart piece of detective work in High Street, Tring on Saturday shortly after 10 p.m. He regarded as suspicious the movements of a stranger standing near the National Provincial Bank and, not being satisfied with the answers given to his interrogations, took him to custody. The man was Arthur Reynolds, a farm labourer of no fixed abode who, after being formally remanded at Hemel Hempstead on Monday, was sentenced to one calendar month’s hard labour at the same court on Wednesday. He pleaded not guilty but PC Armitage gave evidence that after being duly cautioned when in custody at Tring Police Station Reynolds said it was not the bank that he intended to enter, but “the place opposite where the ready cash was,” by which he meant the Bell Inn. A number of previous convictions were proved.

Retirement And Life After The Police.

Henry retired on pension as Constable 105 having completed his 25 years’ service on the 15th February 1930.

The 1930 Electoral Roll records Henry and Lottie Armitage as living at Grove Cottages, Tring.

The 1939 Register lists Henry, Lottie and their daughter Margaret as living at 14, Westfield Road, Hoddesdon. Henry is shown as a retired Police Constable and a Herts Police Reservist.

Henry Mortimer Armitage died on the 11th December 1975 at Broxbourne.

This page was added on 26/03/2020.

Comments about this page

  • A fascinating read of my great uncle’s life.

    By Sue Foster (20/10/2020)

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