Joseph Lee Sherwood

Police Constable 189

Paul Watts

Joseph Lee Sherwood Re-appointment To Police
Herts Police Historiccal Society

Early Life.

Joseph Lee Sherwood was born on the 6th February 1886 in Kentish Town.

His father, Henry George Sherwood married his mother, Mary Jane Bidewell, in 1879 at St Pancras. They had seven children who were:
1. Henry Robert born in 1880 at St Pancras
2. William Thomas born and died in 1882 at Marylebone
3. Willie Charles born in 1883 at Marylebone
4. Joseph Lee
5. Albert Edward born in 1888 and died in 1892 at West Ham
6. Ethel Amy May born and died in 1892 at West Ham
7. Edward Albert born in 1895 at West Ham served as Gunner 76282 in the 51st Reserve Battery, Royal Field Artillery in WW1 discharged as unfit due to illness.

In the 1891 census the family were lodging at 46, Major Road, Forest Gate. Henry was employed as a carriage washer. By the time of the 1901 census they were living at 55, Portway, West Ham. Henry was employed as a labourer in a skin factory and Joseph as a labourer in a cotton factory.

During the 1911 census the family had moved again and were living at 27, Portway, West Ham. Henry was employed as a general labourer, but Joseph had left home and joined the Army.

Early Army Service.

His Army service record has survived and shows the following:
He enlisted on the 3rd November 1903 at Stratford as Private 11112 in the 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards for Short Service of 3 years in the Colours and 9 in the Reserve. He stated he was born in St Pancras, Middlesex and was 18 years 8 months old. His occupation was a Porter, he was not an apprentice, not married and had never been sentenced to a term of imprisonment. He said he was a member of the 3rd Volunteer Battalion, Essex Regiment.

He was Medically examined the same day and the following recorded:
Apparent age: 18 years, Height: 5 feet 11 inches, Weight: 139 lbs, Chest: 36 inches 2 inch expansion, Complexion: Sallow, Eyes: Brown, Hair: Brown, Identifying marks: Tattoos ‘Dot’ right forearm, ‘J S’ and ‘3 Dots’ left forearm, scar left buttock and right forehead.

He said his religion was Church of England and his next of kin were his father Henry George Sherwood, mother, Mary Jane, brothers Henry Robert and Edward Albert all living at 55, Portway West Ham, and brother William Charles of an unknown address.
On the 7th November 1903 he was posted to the Caterham Barracks in Surrey. On the 26th February 1904 he was posted to Sandon then two months later he was appointed as an unpaid Lance Corporal.

On the 28th July 1904 he was made a paid Lance Corporal and granted Service Pay of 6d per day. He was posted to Aldershot on the 28th September 1904 and on the 30th November 1904, he was awarded a 3rd class Certificate of Education.

On the 10th October 1905 he was posted to London and whilst there on the 3rd November he was awarded his 1st Good Conduct Badge. On the 28th May 1906 he reverted to Private and forfeited the 6d per day Service Pay.

On the 1st October 1906 he extended his service to complete 7 years with the Colours and was granted Proficiency Pay of 6d per day. Eight days later he was posted to Windsor.


Joseph married Mary Speller on the 7th April 1907 at the Parish Church at West Ham. They had four children Joseph George born in 1907 at West Ham, Kathleen May born in 1912 at Ware, Florence Emily born in 1914 at Ware and William James born in 1920 at Bishops Stortford.

On the 11th October 1907 he was posted to Aldershot and then on the 2nd October 1908 he was posted back to London. On the 3rd November 1910 he was transferred to Section A Army Reserve on the expiration of his period of Army Service.

Little is known about what he was doing for the next twelve months but the 1911 census finds the family living at 10, Sheering Mill Road, Sawbridgeworth and Joseph was employed as a general labourer for Harry Burton and Sons of Sawbridgeworth. It was another year though before he joined the Police.

Police Service.

Joseph’s Police Form 3 Service Record has survived, and the following was recorded:
He stated he was born on the 6th February 1886 at St Pancras, his height was 5 feet 11 ¾ inches, chest 37 inches, complexion sallow, eyes brown and his hair brown. He said his next of kin was his wife Mary Sherwood.

He was Medically Examined by the Force Surgeon on the 29th August 1911 to ensure he was fit for the duties of a Constable.

He started his Probationary Training at ‘C’ Division Watford on the 14th December 1911. Training was carried out on Divisions at that time as opposed to Headquarters at Hatfield.

Joseph was Attested at Watford on the 23rd January 1912 and the same day he was posted to ‘A’ Division at Ware. The 1914 Electoral Roll list Joseph as living at 35, Vicarage Road, Ware

General Order 17 of 7th March 1912 announced that Probationer Sherwood 189 will remain for duty in ‘A’ Division station Ware to complete strength of Division. Probationers Sherwood, Roddis and Dunk are appointed on the strength of the Force on 23/11 per week from 7th March 1912 inclusive.

Joseph was admonished by the Chief Constable on the 31st March 1913 for being 40 minutes late for duty.

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. Joseph is shown as PC 189 Sherwood J.L. ‘A’ Division recalled to the 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards on the 4th August 1914.

Army Service During The War.

Joseph was mobilised on the 5th August 1914 at London and a week later he landed in France with the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards. Between the 14th and the 16th September1914 was wounded in action. By the 22nd September he was in the French Temporary Hospital at La Persagotiere at Nantes being treated for a wound to his right thigh believed to have been caused either by a bullet or a bayonet.

Private 11112 J. Sherwood Grenadier Guards was listed as wounded on the Casualty List issued by the War Office from the 27th September 1914. He was entitled to wear a Wound Stripe as authorised under Army Order 204 of 6th July 1916. The terms of this award having been met by his being named in this list.

On the 19th October 1914 he left France and the next day he was transferred from the 2nd to 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards.

There is an entry in his Police Service Record that states he returned to the Western Front on the 18th March 1915 and that he had been awarded two wound stripes but there is nothing to corroborate this on his Army Record. However, there appears to be a substantial gap in the entries on his Army Record and it is possible this is when he suffered his second wound.

His time expired on the 3rd November 1916, but he continued in the service under the Military Service Act 1916 Session II.

On the 19th January 1917 Joseph embarked at Southampton and landed in France the same day transferring to the 3rd Battalion Grenadier Guards the next day joining them at the front on the 10th February 1917.

Between the 23rd December 1917 to the 6th January 1918 he was granted leave to England.

On the 22nd January 1918 he suffered a tooth abscess in the Field and was taken by No. 3 Field Ambulance to No. 2 Stationary Hospital at Abbeville on the 25th January.

On the 31st January 1918 he was at the No. 5 Clearing Depot at Cayeux. On the 17th March 1918 he arrived at the Garrison Depot Base Detail at Harfleur and on the 28th March he was assessed by a Medical Board at Harfleur and Classified B1 due to his old gunshot wound in his leg.

On the 9th April 1918 he was attached to the Guards Divisional Employment Company and the following day he was attached to the 2nd Guards Division in the Field.

On the 26th October 1918 he was again transferred to Guards Divisional Employment Company joining them in the Field.

On the 11th January 1919 Joseph was ordered to proceed to the Disposal Station in the UK for release.

On the 17th January 1919 at the No. 1 Dispersal Unit at Purfleet Joseph completed Army Form Z22 Statement as to Disability which shows:
Unit: 3rd Grenadier Guards, Rank and No.: Guardsman 11112, Name: Joseph Lee Sherwood, Address: 35 Vicarage Road Ware Herts, Age: 32, First Joined for Duty: 4th August 1914 at Wellington Barracks, London,
“I do not claim to be suffering from a disability due to my Military Service” signed J. Sherwood.

He was awarded the 1914 Star British War and Victory medals, Clasp and Roses

Re-joining The Police.

Like every other soldier Joseph would have been granted 28 days leave when he was demobilised, and he would have used this time to arrange his re-joining of the Police. This would have included being medically examined by the Force Surgeon to determine whether he was still fit enough for the duties of a Constable. Joseph was re-examined on the 22nd January 1919. His re-appointment to the Police was timed to coincide with the ending of his 28 days leave.

General Order 23 of 25th January 1919 listed 25 Police Soldiers who having been released from H.M. Army had been re-appointed to the Force. Joseph was shown as:
PC 189 Sherwood J.L. ‘A’ Division at Ware from 23rd 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.

Joseph was re-attested on the 24th January 1919.

General Order 75 of the 21st March 1919 informed Joseph that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £2/9/0 to £2/10/0 per week from the 7th March 1919.

General Order 161 of the 16th July 1919 ordered Joseph to transfer from ‘A’ Division at Ware to ‘B’ Division at Albury on 25th July 1919. This was later amended by General Order 167 by changing the date to the 1st August. The Electoral Rolls of 1920 to 1926 list Joseph and Mary living at Gravesend, Albury.

On the 30th December 1919 Joseph was admonished by the Chief Constable for being 25 minutes late for duty and insubordination.

General Order 54 of the 28th March 1920 and General Order 42 of the 21st March 1921 informed Joseph that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/4/0 to £4/6/0 per week from the 7th March 1920 and from £4/6/0 to £4/8/0 per week from the 7th March 1921 respectively.

On the 25th May 1921 Joseph was severely reprimanded by the Chief Constable for neglect of duty and falsehood in that without good and sufficient cause he omitted promptly and diligently to attend to a complaint received by him at Albury.

General Order 38 of the 16th March 1922 informed Joseph that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/8/0 to £4/10/0 per week from the 7th March 1922.

General Order 6 of the 14th January 1926 notified Joseph that from the 25th January 1926 he was being transferred from ‘A’ Division at Albury to ‘C’ Division at Abbotts Langley, to occupy the cottage to be vacated by ex-Constable 148 Huggins.
The Electoral Rolls of 1926 to 1930 list Joseph and Mary as living at 4, Temple Villas, Abbots Langley.


General Order 90 of the 5th July 1926 announced:
At the Hertford Quarter Sessions on 28th June 1926 the Chairman, J.C. Priestley Esq. K.C., commended Police Constable Joseph Sherwood 189C Division for his vigilance in effecting the arrest of James Hunter @ Skeggs for hut breaking and larceny in the parish of Hatfield. The evidence showed the Constable exercised his power of arrest on reasonable suspicion and the Chief Constable has pleasure in endorsing the commendation and directs that an appropriate entry be made on the Constable’s record of service.

A Royal Visit – Mutual Aid To Luton Borough Police.

General Order 156 of 14th November 1926 announced orders for an Inspector, two Sergeants and 18 Constables with regard to the visit of HRH The Prince of Wales to Luton on the 17th November 1926. Joseph was listed as one of those detailed to attend. In command of the Hertfordshire contingent was Inspector G.T. Sharp of ‘R’ Division who would act under orders as laid down by the Chief Constable of the Borough of Luton. The detachment was instructed to report at the Borough Police Station Luton at 9 a.m. The men were ordered to take the following dress and equipment: Great Coats 1925 issue, Cloth jackets 1926 issue, Dress trousers 1926 issue, Cloth helmets 1926 issue, Whistle and chain, Handcuffs, Pocket Book, Truncheon, Black woolen gloves and Capes.

On the 2nd January 1934 Joseph was transferred from ‘C’ Division at Abbotts Langley to ‘D’ Division at Tring.

Retirement And Life After The Police.

On the 6th March 1937 Joseph retired as a Constable on completion of his 25 years’ service on a pension of £145/9/7 per annum.

In the 1939 Register Joseph and Mary are listed as living at 27, Longfield Road, Tring. Joseph is shown as being a Station Sergeant Warden at the Air Ministry.

Joseph Lee Sherwood died on the 19th June 1959 at Hemel Hempstead.

This page was added on 13/02/2020.

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