James Arthur Woolnough

Police Constable 47 Mounted Officer

Paul Watts

James Arthur Woolnough 1911
Herts Police Historical Society

Early Life.

James Arthur Woolnough was born on the 16th March 1878 at Baldock and baptised there on the 5th May 1878.

His father, James Woolnough a Groom and a Coachman, married his mother, Martha Webster in 1869 at Hitchin. They had seven children all born in Baldock:
1. Emily Agnes born in 1871.
2. Alice Beatrice born in 1874.
3. Blanche born in 1876.
4. James Arthur.
5. Mercy Jane born in 1880.
6. Leonard Butler born in 1883.
7. Isabel Gertrude born in 1887.

During the 1881 and 1891 census returns the family were recorded as living at Steeds Grove, Baldock. By the time of the 1901 census the family had moved and were living at Park Street, Baldock although Arthur had left home and joined the Army.

Early Army Service.

James’ early Army Service Records have survived and reveal that on the 20th February 1895 he enlisted in the Militia at Baldock as Private 3049 in the 4th Bedfordshire Regiment. The following was recorded: He said he was born in Baldock and was 17 years old. He said his address was Park Street, Baldock, that he was not an apprentice and worked as a labourer for H. Gilby of Baldock. He was not married, had never been sentenced to imprisonment and had never previously served in the Military.

He was medically examined on the 11th March 1895 at Hertford and the following recorded: Apparent age: 17 years 10 months. Height: 5 feet 8 inches. Weight: 124 lbs. Chest: Min 34 inches Max 35 inches. Complexion: Fresh. Eyes: Grey. Hair: Brown. Marks: None. He said his religion was Church of England.

There is a single brief entry on his statement of service which reads that following 63 days training he joined 1st Dragoons on 20th August 1896.

James did indeed enlist in London on the 20th August 1890 for short service of seven years in the Colours and five in the Reserves in the Corps of the Royal Dragoons of the Line as Private 4020. The following was recorded: He said he was born at Baldock and he was 18 years 5 months. He said his trade was a Butcher, he was not an apprentice, was not married and had never been sentenced to imprisonment. He said he was currently serving in the Militia of the 4th Bedfordshire Regiment.

He was medically examined the same day and the following recorded: Apparent age: 19 years. Height: 5 feet 9 inches. Weight: 132 lbs. Chest: 34 inches max 36 ½ inches. Complexion: Fair. Eyes: Blue. Hair: Brown. Marks: Crossed flags and crown tattoos on left forearm. Scar right fore finger. He said his religion was Church of England and his next of kin was his father James Woolnough, Park Street, Baldock.

His statement of service is very brief but on enlistment he was posted to the 1st (Royal) Dragoons. On the 1st October 1899 he elected to come under the new messing rates set out in Special Army Order of the 2nd April 1898.

On the 31st October 1899 he started service in South Africa and on the 12th July 1900, he was granted his 1st Good Conduct Pay.

The census taken on the 31st March 1901 records a soldier called James Arthur Woolnough born in 1878 at Hitchin as living at the Shorncliffe Military Camp at Cheriton, Kent. This contradicts his Army Service Record which shows him as being continuously in South Africa.

On the 20th August 1902 he was granted his 2nd Good Conduct Pay and on the 26th September 1902 he returned Home. On the 20th August 1903 he transferred to the Army Reserve on expiration of his period of Army Service and on the 19th August 1908, he reached the end of his engagement.

He was awarded the following medals; The Queen’s South Africa Medal and Clasps: South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, Tugela Heights, Relief of Ladysmith and Laing’s Nek and The Kings South Africa medal and Clasps: South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902.

In all probability as soon as James left the Army, he applied to join The Hertford County Constabulary.

Police Service.

James’ Police Service Record has not survived but other sources show the following:

General Order 11 of the 13th April 1904 annonunced that Constable 47 Woolnough had been appointed on 23/11 per week from 21st March 1904.

There is no record of where he was stationed but normally he would have been posted to a Divisional Station and started his Probationer training under the guidance of a senior experienced Constable whilst being supervised by the Divisional Superintendent. However, it is believed because of his Military experience with horses, he was employed specifically to be a Mounted Police Officer and based at R Division at Headquarters, Hatfield.

Allegations Of Assault.

No record of another PC Woolnough has been found for this period so the following is assumed to refer to James.

Published on the 3rd June 1904 in the Herts and Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow uunder the headline Petty Sessions. Tuesday Last. Before W. Ransom, Esq. (chairman), Col. Godwin, T. Fenwick and T.G. Sowerby, Esqs. Poker and Tongs: James Monk, labourer, Queen Street, Hitchin, was charged with an assault on his wife, on May 23rd. The husband brought a counter charge against his wife for a similar offence on the same date. Mrs. Monk, who stated that she was living apart from her husband, alleged that on the night in question the latter knocked her down with a stick in Thorpe’s Yard, and repeated the same offence later in the evening while she was in her mother’s house. Arthur Harrison said that on the night mentioned, while he and the defendant were walking up St Andrew’s Street, Mrs. Monk, standing at her mother’s door, threw a poker and tongs at her husband, causing a wound in the latter’s face, which bled profusely. They did not stop, but on going a little farther, mentioned the occurrence to a policeman. PC Woolnough corroborated the last witness as far as seeing the blood and hearing his complaint. On the counter charge, the wife denied the statement of the last witness (which was also stated by the husband) and said that their evidence was false. Jane Monk, sister to last witness, said that she witnessed the assault by the husband. James Monk was then charged with assaulting Jane Monk on the same evening. The complainant said that the defendant struck her in the face in the Bushel and Strike public house and was put out by the landlord. The cases were adjourned till next Petty Sessions for the attendance of other witnesses.

General Order 27 of the 17th October 1904 informed James would receive an increased rate of pay from 23/11 to 25/8 per week from the 29th September 1904.

Transfer.

General Order 24 of the 2nd July 1905 instructed James that he was being transferred on the 4th July 1905 from R Division at Headquarters to A Division at Hoddesdon with Police Horse Dancing Master as Mounted Patrol.

A Spot Of Trouble.

General Order 46 of the 29th December 1905 reported that James had been fined one day’s pay by the Chief Constable for not returning to his station at the proper time after having 24 hours leave.

Parliamentary Elections 1906.

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 James who rode a St. Albans horse for the whole period of the elections.

On Wednesday, the 17th January James was one of 14 Mounted Officers on duty in St. Albans. The following day he was one of 19 Mounted Officers on duty in St. Albans. On Friday 19th January he was one of 19 Mounted Officers on duty in Hertford.

On Monday, the 22nd the whole mounted Police Force in Hertford marched from Hertford to Watford or Hemel Hempstead as ordered. On Tuesday 23rd January he was one of 19 Mounted Officers on duty in Watford.

On the morning of the 25th, all of the Mounted Police were told to proceed from Watford to Hitchin by rail with horse boxes being arranged. He was one of the Mounted Officers on duty in Hitchin or elsewhere in the Division on the 26th January.

General Order 6 of the 21st March 1906 instructed that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and seven Constables, including James, would perform duty at the Herts Hunt Steeplechases at Annables Farm between the St Albans and Redbourn and St Albans and Luton roads on Wednesday 4th April 1906. All ranks were told to provide themselves with food for the day. Beer and aerated waters would be supplied. On arrival at Annables Farm the horses were to be fed and watered, corn will be provided, prior to going on the course. Black sword belts to be worn and white leather gloves, cloaks rolled. The Detachment were told to proceed to Tring as soon as they were relieved from duty at Annables Farm in accordance with General Order 4 of the 14th March 1906 for duty in Bucks.

Mutual Aid Buckinghamshire.

General Order 4 of the 14th March 1906 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and seven Constables, including James, would perform duty at the Aylesbury Races on the 5th April 1906 reporting to the Chief Constable of Bucks at 11 a.m. Stabling would be provided at the Kings Head Hotel. The Detachment would proceed to Tring on the 4th April, where stabling will be provided, then leave Tring at 8.30 the following morning for Aylesbury and return to Tring when relieved from duty in Bucks. They would remain the night and return to their stations on the 6th April. Special Duty Report Form 115 was to be filled in from the time of leaving on the 4th April to the time of arrival at their respective stations and is to be submitted as soon as possible after returning from Bucks.

General Order 14 of the 19th May 1906 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and eight Constables, including James, would perform duty at the Harpenden Races on the Saturday 26th May 1906. A PC Boldon in plain clothes at the stables of the Cock Inn to look after the Constabulary horses and stables generally during the day of the Races.

The Assizes.

General Order 14 of the 18th June 1906 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including James, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford on 27th June 1906 as Judges Escort at an hour to be stated by Supt Foster in due course. The escort was required every morning until the conclusion of the Assizes. Swords with white belts would be worn but not drawn and Serge Jackets.

Royal Visit.

General Order 21 of the 20th July 1906 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including James, would perform duty at the
visit of their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales to Hertford on Monday 23rd July 1906 on the occasion of the opening of Christs Hospital.
They were ordered to parade at Hertford Police Station at 11 a.m. Dress was to be tunic with white sword belt with sword and white gloves. Four Mounted Constables were to escort HRH the Prince of Wales. Two of the same party were to ride in advance of the Lord Mayor of London.

The Assizes.

General Order 27 of the 3rd November 1906 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including James, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford on Friday 16th November 1906 as Judges Escort at an hour to be stated by Supt Foster in due course with instructions as before.

General Order 32 of the 21st December 1906 informed James that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 25/8 to 26/10 per week from 22nd December 1906.

The Assizes.

General Order 3 of the 1st February 1907 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including James, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford on Thursday 7th February 1907 as Judges Escort, to parade at Bengeo Hall at an hour to be stated by Supt Foster in due course with instructions as before.

General Order 8 of the 15th May 1907 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and eight Constables, including James, would perform duty at the Harpenden Races on Monday 27th May 1907 with instructions as before.

The Assizes.

General Order 15 of the 20th June 1907 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including James, would perform duty at the Assizes at Hertford on the 24th June 1907 parading at 9.45 a.m. at Balls Park, Hertford for Judges Escort with instructions as before.

Transfer.

General Order 25 of the 8th October 1907 ordered James to change stations with a PC Hopwood as soon as it could be arranged by the Superintendents concerned. It is believed that PC Hopwood was stationed at G Division at St. Albans. The following Orders certainly show James as being in G Division and his first daughter was born in St. Albans.

Marriage.

James married Elizabeth Mayes on the 16th October 1907 at Ashwell. He was shown as a Police Constable living at Hoddesdon. They had three daughters:
1. Mabel Audrey Mayes born in 1908 at St. Albans.
2. Alice Beatrice born in 1909 at Redbourn.
3. Elizabeth born in 1912 at Hemel Hempstead.

The Assizes.

General Order 29 of the 29th October 1907 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including James, would perform duty at the
Assizes at Hertford on 4th November 1907 parading at 9.45 a.m. at Balls Park, Hertford for Judges Escort with instructions as before.

The Assizes.

General Order 4 of the 23rd January 1908 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including James, would perform duty at the
Assizes at Hertford parading at 9.45 a.m. at Balls Park, Hertford for Judges Escort with instructions as before.

Mutual Aid To Aylesbury Races Again.

General Order 12 of 24th March 1908 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including James, would perform duty at the Aylesbury Races on Thursday 2nd April 1908 reporting to Supt Pitson DCC of Bucks on the course at 12 noon. On this occasion though the horses were transported by Rail from Hatfield and Watford and returned the same day.

General Order 5 of the 24th April 1908 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and eight Constables, including James, would perform duty at the Harpenden Races on Thursday 14th May 1908 with instructions as before.

The Assizes.

General Order 18 of the 13th June 1908 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including James, would perform duty at the
Assizes at Hertford on Saturday 20th June 1908 parading at the Dimsdale Hotel Hertford at 11 a.m. as Judges Escort with instructions as before.

General Order 25 of the 3rd August 1908 announced that a Mounted Detachment of three Constables, including James, would perform duty at the Tring Agricultural Show at Tring Park on the 6th August 1908. Dress was Serge Jackets and the three mounted men had to proceed to Tring on the evening of the 5th and lodge where ordered.

The Assizes.

General Order 31 of the 22nd October 1908 announced that a Mounted Detachment of one Sergeant and five Constables, including James, would perform duty at the
Assizes at Hertford on Thursday 3rd November 1908 parading at the Dimsdale Hotel Hertford at 11 a.m. as Judges Escort with instructions as before.

General Order 37 of the 14th December 1909 informed James that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 26/10 to 28/- per week from 18th November 1909.

Transfer.

Tas the Electoral Rolls of 1910 and 1911 list James Arthur Woolnough as living at Bankside, Redbourn so it is safe to assume that at some point he had been transferred from St. Albans to Redbourn.

General Election.

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 James.
Schedule C
Return of Officers and Men detailed for duty in the Mid or St Albans Division Tuesday 25th January 1910.
Div. Rank No.          Name                     Station                  Place for Duty
G PC 47                    Woolnough J.A.    Redbourn             Redbourn
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
G PC 47                    Woolnough J.A.    Redbourn              Hemel Hempstead

Another Royal Visit.

General Order 43 of 5th December 1910 was a list of instructions regarding the visit of their Majesties the King and Queen to Brocket Park on 12th December 1910 and the following days. Amongst other officers, 2 Sergeants and 7 Constables, including James, were detailed at the disposal of Inspector Draper, for duty in the public ways, footpaths and roads surrounding the Park and with the Shooting Parties. Those that were detailed to perform duty on the River Bridge and the public footpaths within the Park were instructed to keep people moving and were reminded that a right of way means a right of passage only and that no one had a right to stop on a right of way.

During the 1911 census Police Constable James Woolnough his wife Elizabeth with daughters Mabel and Alice were listed as living at Bankside, Redbourn.

General Order 13 of the 15th April 1911 instructed James that he would be transferred from G Division at Redbourn to D Division at Hemel Hempstead on a date to be arranged by the Superintendents concerned.

More Mutual Aid.

General Order 16 of the 1st July 1911 ordered one Inspector, four sergeants and twenty five Constables to proceed to Cardiff, South Wales on Wednesday 5th July 1911 for duty at Gilfach Goch Colliery due to a coal strike. The photograph of James, although he was not mentioned in this order, is said to show him on duty at Gilfach Goch.

A Birth, A Death And A Marriage.

James’ wife Elizabeth gave birth to their third daughter, Elizabeth, on the 5th January 1912 in Hemel Hempstead but sadly his wife died not long afterwards. Later the same year James married Louisa Dymock nee Brett. She had been married to Frank Harry Dymock who had died in 1906 leaving her a widow with four daughters.

The Electoral Rolls of 1913 to 1915 list James Arthur Woolnough as living at 35, Glenview Road, Hammerfield, Boxmoor.

General Order 90 of the 31st May 1915 was entitled Police Constables (Naval and Military Services) Act 1914. Special enlistment for the period of the war and stated:
The undermentioned Police Constables having been specially enlisted in the Military Mounted Police on the 29th April 1915, for the period of the war, are considered by the Army Council as possessing qualifications not possessed by ordinary recruits, and the privileges authorised by Section 2 (2) of the above Act will be extended to them from the date of enlistment:
1. PC 62 Allen W.J. F Division
2. PC 47 Woolnough A.J. D Division

Like James William Allen was an ex-cavalryman from the 1st Dragoons and a Mounted Police Officer.

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. James is shown as PC 47 Woolnough J.A. D Division who enlisted in the Military Mounted Police on the 29th April 1915.

Army Service During The War.

James’ Army Service Record for WW1 did not survive but from his Medal Roll Index Card, Medal Rolls and the National Roll of the Great War we know the following:
He enlisted on 29th April 1915 in the Military Mounted Police as Lance Corporal 1141 (PC 62 William John Allen was enlisted on the same date in the M.M.P as Lance Corporal 1142).

He landed in France on 27th May 1915 serving until 28th December 1915 when he presumably returned home. He returned to France on the 8th December 1916 until the 11th November 1918 although this date appears to have been for administrative purpose as many Military Policeman have it on their record yet they all clearly remained in the Army for much longer. He was engaged in important Police duties in the forward areas. In the course of his duties he was constantly exposed to heavy shell fire during the Battles of Loos, Arras, Ypres, Cambrai and Bapaume.

He was transferred as a Corporal to the Army Reserve Class Z on the 20th April 1919. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War and Victory medals.

Like every soldier James would have been granted 28 days leave on his demobilisation. He would have used this time to arrange his re-joining of the Police. Part of that process would have seen him undergo a medical examination by the Force Surgeon to make sure he was still fit enough for Police duties. The end of his leave period would have coincided with his date of re-joining the Police.

Re-joining The Police And Resignation.

General Order 120 of the 20th May 1919 was entitled re-appointment and resignation and stated: The undermentioned having been released from H.M. Army is appointed to the Force, with effect from the date shown inclusive:
PC 47 Woolnough J.A. D Division Hemel Hempstead from 10th April 1919 on £2/12/0 per week.
PC 47 James Arthur Woolnough having submitted on 18th April 1919, an application to be permitted to resign his appointment, the resignation is accepted and will take effect on 21st May 1919. Police Constable Woolnough will be paid up to that date inclusive, his name being struck off the strength of the establishment of the Force on the same day.

There is no record of the reason why he resigned and in doing so he would have given up his pension rights.

This page was added on 05/05/2020.

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