Hermon Rowlingson was born on the 15th June 1891 at West Wickham, Cambridgeshire.
His father, George William Rowlingson an agricultural labourer, married his mother, Eliza Ann Ward, in 1876 at Cambridge. According to the 1911 census they had eleven children although only details for ten have been identified:
1. Frederick born in 1876 at Cambridge.
2. Oliver born in 1877 at Chesterton.
3. Charles a twin born in 1880 at Chesterton died in 1894 at West Wickham.
4. Amelia a twin born in 1880 at Chesterton.
5. Ernest born in 1882 at Chesterton.
6. Leonard born in 1885 at West Wickham.
7. Grace Sabina born in 1887 at West Wickham.
8. Harold born in 1889 at West Wickham.
10. Soloman born in 1893 at West Wickham, a Metropolitan Police Constable who enlisted on the 9th June 1918 as Private 2952 in the Guards Machine Gun Regiment.
During the 1881 census the family were recorded as living at Bermuda Row, Histon Road, Chesterton, Cambridgeshire.
During the 1891, 1901 and 1911 census returns the family were listed as living near the Vicarage in West Wickham, Linton, Cambridgeshire. However, in 1911 Hermon, who was employed as a domestic gardener, was recorded as living with his brother Ernest and his wife at Church Cottages, Gilston Harlow, Eastwick, Hertfordshire.
Nothing more is known about Hermon’s life during the following three years until he applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary, following the recruitment drive to replace all the Police Army reservists who had been recalled on the 4th August 1914.
Hermon’s Police Service Record has not survived but from other sources we know he was Appointed as Police Constable 274 on the 18th November 1914. He would have under gone his Probationary Training at Police Headquarters at Hatfield.
General Order 14 of the 21st January 1915 announced that 22 recruit Constables having been brought onto the Roster for duty were all being transferred on the 22nd October 1915 from Headquarters for duty at various stations. Hermon was posted to G Division at Harpenden. His entry was accompanied by the comment “W.R.D. augmentation” which refers to the increase in the number of Constables that were needed to implement the Weekly Rest Day. An explanation of the Weekly Rest Day can be found in the post entitled Authorised Establishment in The Great War category. Nearly all of these 22 men were later to enlist themselves.
General Order 98 of the 9th June 1915 was entitled The Police Constable (Naval and Military Service) Act 1914 Police (Emergency Provisions) Act 1915:
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.
Published on the 19th June 1915 in the Herts Advertiser under the headline Police Constables With The Colours:
Three Harpenden police officers, viz: Pc’s Neville J. Reid, Hermon Rowlingson and Frank Potton have joined the Hertfordshire Yeomanry. Another police officer from Harpenden who is with the colours is PC Wright, Grenadier Guards, who has been wounded. In addition, the following Hertfordshire constables who were formerly stationed at Harpenden are with the forces: PC Pond, R.G.A. joined from Royston, PC Ward, R.G.A. joined from Tring, PC Whippe, drill instructor at Bedford, joined from Hitchin district, PC Ernest F. Hawthorn, of Wheathampstead has also enlisted.
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. Hermon is shown as PC 274 Rowlingson H. G Division who enlisted in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry on the 15th June 1915.
Army Service During The War.
Hermon’s Army Service Record has not survived but from his Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Rolls we know the following: Hermon Rowlingson joined the Hertfordshire Yeomanry as Private 2537 (later 105799 under re-organisation) and landed with them on the 16th November 1915 in the theatre of war 2B the Balkan Theatre, Gallipoli and Aegean Islands. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star and the British War and Victory medals.
He 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.
Like every other soldier when he was demobilised Hermon would have been granted 28 days leave. He would have used this time to arrange his re-joining of the Police. Part of this process would have involved him undergoing a medical examination to determine whether he was still fit enough for Police duties. The end of his period of leave would have coincided with the date of his re-appointment to the Police.
Re-joining The Police.
General Order 74 of the 21st March 1919 announced the re-appointments to the Force of five Police Soldiers who had been released from H.M. Army. Horace was shown as PC 98 Rowlingson H. posted to G Division at Harpenden from the 27th March 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. Horace was re-Attested the same day.
Something of note in this Order is the change in his Warrant or Collar Number from 274 to 98. 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.
His period of Army Service from the 15th June 1915 to the 26th March 1919 was deemed to count as Police Service for pension purposes Vide Standing Joint Committee Resolution 35 dated the 9th October 1914.
Unfit For Further Service.
There is no record of Hermon having been re-Attested or even that he actually resumed duty albeit his medical exam was a month after his re-appointment. The following explains why:
General Order 140 of the 29th June 1919 – The Chief Constable regrets to announce that on demobilisation from H.M. Army, the undermentioned Police Officers have been certified by the Constabulary Staff Surgeon to be unfit for further Police Services:
1. PC 233 Bethell W.J. G Division Medical Examination 11/05/1919
2. PC 321 Reid N.J. G Division Medical Examination 10/04/1919
3. PC 98 Rowlingson H. G Division Medical Examination 28/04/1919
No explanation has survived as to what made any of these Officers unfit for duty but, co-incidentally, all three men had originally enlisted in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry.
General Order 141 of the 29th June 1919 announced the award of Disablement Pensions: Subject to any Pensions granted from Army Funds, Disablement Pensions have been awarded to the undermentioned Police Constables:
1. PC 233 Bethell W.J. 18 Years’ Service. £75/18/4 yearly from 12/05/1919
2. PC 321 Reid N.J. 4 Years’ Service. £49/0/3 yearly from 11/04/1919
3. PC 98 Rowlingson H. 4 Years’ Service. £49/0/3 yearly from 26/06/1919
The Electoral Rolls of 1919 to 1921 lists Hermon Rowlingson as living at Burton End, West Wickham with his mother Eliza and brothers Frederick, Harold and Soloman.
Whatever the medical reason was for Hermon to be declared unfit for further Police duty in 1919 his condition had apparently improved enough by 1922 that he was re-appointed. However, as can be seen in the following Order his resumed career was very short lived.
General Order 8 of the 13th January 1922 Resignation
Probationer Hermon Rowlingson R Division having submitted on 10th January 1922 an application to be permitted to resign his appointment the resignation is accepted and will take effect on 18th January 1922 his name being struck off the strength of the Force as from that date.
Hermon married Kate Gibson on the 22nd September 1923 at Little Massingham, Norfolk, there is no record of them having any children.
In the 1939 Register Hermon, recorded as a Head Gardener, his wife Kate and his sister Grace were listed as living at 107, Fallowfield Estate, Cambridge.
Hermon Rowlingson died in 1972 at Cambridge.