Herbert Trussell was born on the 11th November 1890 at Pirton and baptised on the 8th May 1891 at Hitchin.
His father, Levi Trussell an agricultural and bricklayer’s labourer, married his mother, Lavinia Reynolds in 1873 at Pirton. They had ten children, all born in Pirton, one of whom sadly died before the 1911 census:
- George born in 1873.
- Joseph born in 1874.
- Frederick born in 1876 died in 1884.
- Annie born in 1878.
- Clara born in 1880.
- Bertha born in 1882.
- Katie born in 1885.
- Albert Dan born in 1887.
- Harry Oswald born in 1893.
During the 1881 census the family were living at Pirton Road, Hitchin but by the 1891 census they were living at Orton Head Cottages, Manley Highway, Hitchin. In the 1901 and 1911 census returns they had moved again and were living at 7, Russell Slip, Hitchin.
There is no trace of Herbert in the 1911 census and little is known about this period of his life other than he was working as a general labourer for an Edward Jones a Dairyman of 88, Roman Road, Islington. Then he applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary.
Herbert was examined by the Police Surgeon Lovell Drage on the 11th July 1913 who signed the following Certificate: I hereby certify that I have examined the above candidate as to his health and bodily strength and consider him fit for the Constabulary of this County. He would also have been interviewed at Police Headquarters and then told to wait for a date of Appointment.
His Hertford County Constabulary Form 3 Record Sheet has also survived and records the following: Name: Herbert Trussell. Age on joining 22 9/12 years. Place and Date of birth: Hitchin 17th November 1890. Height: 5 feet 10 ¾ inches. Chest 37 inches. Complexion: Sallow. Eyes: Brown. Hair: Dark Brown. Marks: Cut scar between eyes. He said he could ride a pedal cycle but could not swim, his religion was Church of England and he gave his next of kin as his mother Lavinia Trussell.
Herbert was Appointed as Constable 299 on the 5th August 1913 on £1/4/6 per week and started his Probationer training at R Division at Headquarters at Hatfield. In November 1913 he passed 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. On the 29th December 1913 he was Attested when he was Approved of and Sworn in before C.W. Gaussen J.P. J. Lloyd J.P. at Hatfield.
On the 30th December 1913 on the completion of his training he was taken onto the Roster and transferred from R Division at Headquarters to B Division at Bishops Stortford.
A Minor Blemish.
On the 15th April 1914, the Chief Constable severely reprimanded Herbert for omitting to attend conference points at 5 a.m. and 5.30 a.m. at Bishops Stortford on the 10th April 1914.
On the 5th August 1914 Herbert received an increased rate of pay from £1/4/6 to £1/5/8 per week.
General Order 34 of the 4th March 1915 instructed Herbert that he would be transferred from B Division at Bishops Stortford to B Division at Albury from the 5th March 1915.
General Order 133 of the 18th August 1915 informed Herbert that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £1/5/8 to £1/6/10 per week from the 5th August 1915.
Herbert’s Police Service Record shows that from the 8th October 1915 he was transferred back to B Division at Bishops Stortford.
General Order 105 of the 9th September 1916 informed Herbert that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £1/6/10 to £1/7/5 per week from the 5th August 1916.
General Order 124 of 18th November 1916 was a list of 16 Constables, including Herbert, who had signified their desire to sit the examination for promotion from Second Class to First Class Constable. The necessary examination papers were prepared and forwarded to the Superintendents concerned. The examination was held in accordance with the rules laid down in Order 192/1915.
General Order 137 of 21st December 1916 announced the result of the Examination for Promotion from Second Class to First Class Constable. Herbert was one of five Constables that failed to qualify. He must have retaken the exam at some point, but the record has not survived.
General Order 5 of the 22nd January 1917 was entitled Police Constables (Naval and Military Service) Act 1914 Police (Emergency Provisions) Act 1915 Enlistment in H.M. Forces: Consequent upon the demand for men of military age for service in H.M. Army the Standing Joint Committee have reconsidered the strength at which it is necessary to maintain the force and have authorised that a further 20 members shall be released for Army Service. Five of these have been accepted provisionally by the Army Council for service in the Military Mounted Police. Further instructions with regard to these men will be issued as soon as received.
In accordance with the resolution of the Standing Committee dated 5th January 1917 the Deputy Chief Constable hereby gives the necessary consent as required by the above Acts to a further fifteen Constables for the purpose of enlisting in H.M. Army. Herbert was included in this group. The Constables enumerated will be released from the Police Service as from Thursday 1st February 1917 inclusive and will be paid up to and including the 31st January 1917.
General Order 8 of the 25th January 1917 referred to Order 5/1917 and announced that the same fifteen Constables who were being released for military service were being granted leave of absence on 30th and 31st January 1917.
Army Service During The War.
Herbert’s Army Service Record has survived and from this and his Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Roll we know the following:
Herbert enlisted on the 10th December 1915 at Bishops Stortford 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 address as 6, Elm Green Road, Bishops Stortford, his age as 25 years 1 month and his trade as Police Constable. He said he was not married and had never served in the Military before.
His Description on enlistment was recorded as: Apparent age: 25 years 1 month. Height: 5 feet 11 ½ inches. Chest: 36 inches 2 ½ inch expansion. He gave his next of kin as his father Levi Trussell 7, Russell Slip, Hitchin.
His Medical History Army Form B178 recorded that he was examined at Bishops Stortford on the 10th December 1915 and it noted the same information as his description on enlisting with the addition that he said he was born at Hitchin and his weight was 154 lbs.
Herbert was mobilised on the 1st February 1917 and on the 3rd February, he was posted as Gunner 205986 to the Royal Horse Artillery Depot at Woolwich. Of the fifteen men who were mobilised at the same time as Herbert one joined the Grenadier Guards and two others joined the Military Foot Police. The remaining twelve became artillery men. They were 205951 Harry Wallman, 205952 William Hussey, 205953 Joseph Wallen, 205954 Arthur Mansfield, 205956 Wilfred Darton, 205981 Stephen Burch, 205982 Thomas Kempthorne, 205983 William Cripps, 205985 Alban Freeman, 205987 Albert Emery and 205988 Henry Camp. Other than during their initial training there is nothing to say that they went on to serve together.
On the 16th February 1917 he was posted to R Battery, Royal Horse Artillery.
In March 1917 during their training there was an outbreak of Rubella at the Woolwich Depot. Of the twelve men who were mobilised the Army Service Records of ten of them have survived. Of these records two, belonging to Darton and Kempthorne, show they were hospitalised for two weeks with the disease. Additionally, Alban Freeman died of fever on the 7th March which was almost certainly due to the same cause.
General Order 54 of the 23rd June 1917 was entitled The Police Reservists (allowances) Act 1914. Reference order no/. 183 1915. At a meeting of the Standing Joint Committee held at Hatfield on 15th June 1917 six allowances were granted to the dependents of unmarried Constables who have enlisted in H.M. Army for the period of the war. Herbert’s mother, Levina Trussell, was granted a weekly allowance of 8 shillings from the 1st February 1917.
On the 3rd July 1917 Herbert was posted as part of the British Expeditionary Force to France. On the 7th September 1917 he was posted from to the 7th Brigade Armoured Column, Royal Horse Artillery. On the 10th September 1917 he was posted to I Battery, Royal Horse Artillery.
On the 4th September 1918 he was granted 14 days leave to the UK. On the 11th December 1918 he was Granted Proficiency Pay 6d per day and embarked to the UK proceeding to Purfleet for demobilisation. On the 22nd February 1919 he was transferred to Class Z Army Reserve Woolwich. There is a note dated the 1st May 1919 that the Hertford Constabulary had requested a character report.
His Statement as to Disability Army Form Z 22 recorded: Unit: I Battery. Regt.: Royal Horse Artillery. Regt. No.: 205986. Rank: Gunner. Name: Herbert Trussell. Address: 7, Russell Slip, Hitchin, Herts. Age last birthday: 28. First joined for duty: 1st February 1917 at Bedford. Medical category: A. I do not claim to be suffering from a disability from my Military service, signed Herbert Trussell. Examined: Place unreadable on 13th January 1919.
His Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity Army Form Z11 recorded: Name: Herbert Trussell. Regt. No.: 205986. Rank: Gunner. Royal Horse & Royal Field Artillery. Woolwich. Unit: H Battery. Regt.: Royal Horse Artillery. Pay Office: Blackheath. Address for pay: 7, Russell Slip, Hitchin, Herts. Theatre of war: (10). Born: 1890. Medical category: A. Place of re-joining in case of emergency: Woolwich. 28 day furlough granted. Issued: 25th January 1919 at Purfleet.
Awarded British War and Victory medals.
Like every other soldier Herbert 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. Herbert was examined on the 12th February 1919. 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. Herbert was shown as PC 299 Trussell H. posted to B Division at Bishops Stortford from the 20th February 1919 at £2/8/0 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. Herbert was re-Attested the same day.
The 1919 Electoral Roll lists Herbert Trussell as living at 52, Barrells Down Road, Bishops Stortford.
His Police Service Record was endorsed: Period of Army Service from the 1st February 1917 to 19th February 1919 to count as Police Service for pension purposes vide Standing Joint Committee Resolution 35 dated 9th October 1914.
Herbert’s Police Service Record shows that on the 1st April 1919 he received an increase in his pay to £4/0/0 as part of a national pay rise. Then General Order 182 of the 20th August 1919 informed him that he would receive a further increased rate of pay from £4/0/0 to £4/2/0 per week from 5th August 1919.
Herbert married Hilda Olive Kettley Mumford on the 20th September 1919 at Hockerill. They had three children:
- Vera Olive born in 1922 at Ware.
- Dennis Hebert born in 1927 at Ware.
- Raymond John born in 1934 at Ware.
General Order 247 of the 17th December 1919 instructed Herbert that he would be transferred from B Division at Bishops Stortford to F Division at Hertford Heath from 19th December 1919. The 1920 to 1925 Electoral Rolls record Herbert and Hilda Trussell as living at Hertford Heath.
Herbert’s Police Service Record shows that on the 5th August 1920 he received an increase in his pay to £4/4/0. Then General Order 138 of the 12th August 1921 informed him that he would receive a further increased rate of pay from £4/4/0 to £4/6/0 per week from the 5th August 1921.
Another Minor Blemish.
General Order 84 of the 30th June 1922 announced that Herbert had been reprimanded by the Chief Constable on the 27th June for omitting to make the necessary entry in his daily journal from 11th June to 15th June 1922.
General Order 109 of the 18th August 1922 and General Order 143 of the 11th August 1923 informed him that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/6/0 to £4/8/0 per week from the 5th August 1922 and from £4/8/0 to £4/10/0 per week from the 5th August 1923, respectively.
General Order 65 of the 25th April 1925 instructed Herbert that he would be transferred from B Division at Hertford Heath to C Division at Watford. Then General Order 74 of the 5th May 1925 amended this so that on the 7th May he moved from B Division at Hertford Heath to A Division at Ware and to occupy the house being vacated by Constable 292 Langdon. The 1926 to 1930 Electoral Rolls list Herbert and Hilda Trussell as living at 102, Watton Road, Ware.
Herbert’s Police Service Record shows that on the 5th August 1930 he received an increase in his pay to £4/12/6.
Theft Of Boots.
Published on the 27th March 1931 in the Hertfordshire Mercury: John Scott, a labourer, of no fixed abode was charged with stealing a pair of boots at Ware on March 18. Bertram Wilbourne employed by the Blue Boot Stores, High Street, Ware, said that on finding the boots missing, he went into Church Street and saw prisoner wearing the boots, which he identified as the pair taken from the shop. He valued them at 12s. 6d. PC Trussell said that at 5.10 p.m. he saw prisoner standing against the fences outside St. Mary’s School, changing his old boots for a new pair. Prisoner said to him, “I stole them because no one would give me a new pair.” Prisoner told the Bench that he was wearing a very bad pair of boots. He had been tramping the country looking for work. Supt. H. Wright read out a list of several convictions against prisoner, dating from 1921, for larceny, etc. The convictions were admitted by prisoner, who was sentenced to two months’ hard labour.
Herbert’s Police Service Record shows that he was transferred for the last time from A Division at Ware to D Division at Wiggington on the 9th April 1935.
Retirement And Life After The Police.
Herbert retired on the 4th August 1938 on completion of his service on a pension of £149/10/5 per annum.
In the 1939 Register Herbert Trussell an Assistant Hospital Porter, his wife Hilda and their children are shown as living at 4, Hillbrow, Letchworth.
Herbert Trussell a retired County Police Constable of 4, Hillbrow, Letchworth died on the 25th July 1953 died at the Lister Hospital, Hitchin.