Deer, Herbert Frank, 276, Police Constable.

Paul Watts

Herbert Frank Deer Re-joining The Police
Herts Police Historical Society

Early Life.

Herbert (although registered as Albert) Frank Deer (or Dear) was born on the 2nd July 1889 at Little Hallingbury.

His father, Frederick Fever Deer an Agricultural Labourer, married his mother, Eliza Ann Morton (or Moreton) in 1878 at Dunmow. They had six children all born at Little Hallingbury:

  1. William Frederick born in 1879.
  2. Mary Ellen born in 1881.
  3. Alice Lilian born in 1883.
  4. Edmund John born in 1885.
  5. Alfred Ernest born in 1887.
  6. Herbert Frank.

During the 1891 census the family were living at Houblons Cottage, Woodside Green, Little Hallingbury, Bishop Stortford and Herbert was recorded as Albert. Sadly, Herbert’s mother died aged 34 in 1893 at Bishops Stortford.

In the 1901 census Herbert’s father, shown as a widower, was living at Cage End, Village, Hatfield Broad Oak, Dunmow, Essex with Harriet Gunn, a widow, and six children with the surname Harrington. Herbert cannot be found in this census.

Early Military Service.

His Army Service Record has not survived but another source shows that on the 31st December 1908, he enlisted in the 4th (Militia) Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment as Albert Frank Deer.

At the time of the 1911 census Herbert’s father was recorded as living at Broad Street, Hatfield Broad Oak, Essex with Harriet Gunn and two children. Herbert was living at Woodside Green, Great Hallingbury with his brother William Deer and his family. Herbert who was shown as Albert was employed as a Farm Labourer. Herbert then applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary.

Police Service.

His Police Service Record has not survived but from other sources we know he was Appointed on the 21st March 1912 as Constable 276 Herbert Frank Deer and posted to E Division. He would have commenced his Probationer training at one of the main stations by an experienced senior Constable under the supervision of the Divisional Superintendent.

General Order 22 of the 29th March 1912 announced that Probationer Deer 276 is appointed on the strength of the Force on £1/3/11 per week from 21st March 1912 inclusive.

General Order 45 of the 26/03/1915 informed Herbert that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £1/6/10 to £1/7/5 per week from the 21st March 1915.

Armed Guard.

The outbreak of the war saw a wave of xenophobia sweep the nation and many Germans nationals who were considered a threat to the nation were sent to internment camps for the duration of the war. Libury Hall, Great Munden, Ware became the county’s largest internment camp. Prior to the war the manor house had been converted into a German Industrial and Farm Colony to provide work and housing for unemployed and destitute German men. It was therefore a logical move that it should be expanded and during the course of the war 566 men of ages 60-90 were interned in the camp. The pre-war director W. Müller remained in charge of Libury Hall under the supervision of a British commandant and an armed police guard. The police were housed in a farm cottage on the site. (Source Herts At War website)

Herbert was delegated to act as one of the armed guard. However, General Order 63 of 15th April 1915 announced that as the Military Authorities had undertaken to provide a Military Guard at the German Farm Colony, the Police Officers would resume normal duty and return to their respective stations on 15th April 1915. Herbert was shown as: PC 276 Deer H.F. E Division Little Munden.

Coal Strike.

General Order 116 of the 17th July 1915 was entitled Glamorganshire Coal Strike and listed one Sergeant and ten Constables, of whom Herbert was one, who were instructed to hold themselves in readiness to proceed at short notice for duty in the Admiralty Coal Fields in Glamorganshire. There is no record which shows that they were deployed.

General Order 22 of the 25th March 1917 informed Herbert that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £1/8/0 to £1/9/2 per week from the 21st March 1917.


The record has not survived but from the newspaper article below it would appear that Herbert had been transferred to E Division at Stevenage.


Published on the 5th May 1917 in the Hertford Mercury and Reformer under the headline Stevenage, Discharged Soldier’s Theft: David William Gray, a wounded and discharged soldier, of Stevenage, was at the Sessions on Thursday charged with stealing two fowls, value 15s, the property of Walter R.H. Drayson, of Daneshill, on April 16. PC Dear and Mr. Drayson gave evidence. Defendant said he lost his memory at times and did not know what he was doing. The Chairman (Mr. Francis Villiers) said the bench took into consideration the fact that defendant had already served in the Army and had been wounded. There had been a good deal of fowl stealing, and it was necessary for an example to be made when offenders were caught. Fined £1

Army Service During The War.

Herbert’s Army Service Record has survived and from this we know the following: Herbert enlisted on the 10th December 1915 at Hitchin and on the 11th December 1915, 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.

The following was recorded: He gave his name as Herbert Frank Deer and his address as Haultwick, Little Munden, Ware which was crossed through and replaced with 7, Homesdale Terrace, New Town, Stevenage. He gave his age as 27 years 7 months and his trade as Policeman. He said he was not married and had previously served in the 4th Bedfordshire Regiment.

His description on enlistment was recorded as: Apparent age: 27 years 7 months. Height: 5 feet 9 ¼ inches. Chest: 42 ½ inches 2 ½ inch expansion. Distinctive marks: Scar left knee cap. Back of right shoulder much pigmented. He said his religion was Church of England and his next of kin was his brother Mr. William Deer Beaumont, Wormley, Herts.

His Medical History Army Form B178 recorded that he was examined at Hertford on the 16th April 1918 and it noted the same information as his description on enlisting with the addition that he said he was born at Little Hallingbury, Essex, his weight as 186 lbs., hair light brown, complexion fresh, eyes light grey and an additional identifying mark of a scar on his left knee cap.

On the 23rd April 1918 Herbert was one of fifteen Hertford County Constabulary Police Constables who were Mobilised at the same time. Ten joined the Grenadier Guards and five, including Herbert, as Coldstream Guards. Herbert joined as 25004 in the 1st (Provisional) Battalion, Coldstream Guards at Caterham. The others were 25900 Walter Skeggs, 26009 Samuel Harrowell, 26168 Frederick Robert Smith and 24772 Arthur Eames. Other than perhaps their initial training there is no evidence to show that they served together.

His Name Is Resolved.

On the 4th July 1918 Herbert signed the following Declaration: I Herbert Frank Deer do solemnly and sincerely declare that I was enlisted on 31st December 1908 under the name of Albert Frank Deer which name I now do declare to be incorrect. The name of Herbert Frank Deer contained in the accompanying certificate of birth I now declare to be my true name and I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true and by virtue of the provisions of an Act made and passed in the sixth year of the Reign of King William the Fourth Chap. 62 entitled ‘The Statutory Declarations Act 1835.’ Signature of soldier: Herbert Frank Deer. Declared before me at Caterham this 4 day of July 1918. Signed: Arthur H. Rolls J.P.

On the 15th August 1918 Herbert was posted to the Provisional Battalion, Coldstream Guards at Windsor. On the 16th September 1918 he was appointed as an unpaid Acting Lance Corporal. On the 1st November 1918 he was appointed, for the day, as a paid Acting Corporal to conduct a draft of men posted to the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards who embarked at Folkestone and disembarked at Boulogne. On the 5th November 1918 he joined the Base Battalion and four days later joined the 2nd Battalion. On the 9th January 1919 he returned to England for demobilisation at Purfleet and on the 8th February 1919, he transferred to Class Z Army Reserve.

His Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity. Army Form Z11 recorded: Name: Herbert Frank Deer. Regtl. No. 25004. Rank: Guardsman. Record Office: Buckingham Gate. Unit: 4th Battalion. Regt.: Coldstream Guards. Pay Office: London Command. Address for pay: Beaumont, Wormley, Herts. Granted 28 day furlough. Theatre of War: France. Year born: 1889. Medical category: A1. Place for re-enlisting in emergency: Windsor. Specialist Military Qualification: Nil. Issued: 4th January 1919 at Purfleet.

He was awarded the British War and Victory medals.

Like every other soldier Herbert 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 23 of 25th January 1919 listed 25 Police Officers who, having been released from H.M. Army, had been re-appointed to the Force. Herbert was shown as: PC 276 Deer H.F. E Division at Stevenage from the 30th January 1919 on £2/9/0 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 215 of the 18th October 1919 instructed Herbert that he was being transferred from E Division at Stevenage to E Division at Aston from the 27th October 1919. The 1920 and 1921 Electoral Rolls list Herbert Frank Deer as living at North Place, Aston.


Herbert married Elsie Marion Ayers in 1920 at Hitchin. It is unknown whether they had any children.

General Order 58 of the 2nd April 1920 and General Order 43 of the 25th March 1921 informed Herbert that he would receive an increased from £4/4/0 to £4/6/0 per week from the 21st March 1920 and from £4/6/0 to £4/8/0 per week from the 21st March 1921, respectively.


The record has not survived but as the 1922 to 1927 Electoral Rolls list Herbert and Elsie Deer as living at Chequers Lane, Preston it can be assumed that he had been transferred to E Division at Preston.

General Order 43 of the 31st March 1922 informed Herbert that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/8/0 to £4/10/0 per week from the 21st March 1922.

The General Strike.

General Order 62 of the 4th May 1926 concerned the Emergency Regulations of 1926 and instructions for 50 Hertfordshire Police Officers, made up of three Inspectors, seven Sergeants and 40 Constables, to be on standby should the Secretary of State call upon the County Force to draft men elsewhere at short notice. These included officers from A,B,C, D and E Divisions. Orders for equipment and clothing would be issued if and when necessary, but the men were advised that they would require some sort of haversack. Herbert was one of the Constables named in the list.

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. Herbert was not one of the first twenty named as he did not have a motor bicycle.

Called Out.

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 276 Deer H. of E Division at Preston. 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. Herbert was not one of those who suffered from the food poisoning.


Again, the record has not survived but as the 1928 to 1930 Electoral Rolls list Herbert and Elsie Deer as living at Bridens Camp, Great Gaddesden it is safe to assume that he had been transferred to D Division at Bridens Camp.

Retirement And Life After The Police.

Herbert retired on pension as a Constable on the 20th March 1937 having completed his 25 years’ service.

In the 1939 Register records Herbert F. Dear, a retired Police Constable Herts County Constabulary and Elsie M. Dear as living at 10, Dockeen Lane, Hemel Hempstead.

Herbert’s wife Elsie died aged 63 in 1946 at Hemel Hempstead.


Herbert married Frances May Ayers, his late wife’s niece in 1948 at Hemel Hempstead.

Herbert Frank Deer of Gunville, 10, Lockers Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead died on the 16th November 1959.

This page was added on 10/06/2020.

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