Lake, Oliver Victor, 217 and 321, Police Constable.

Paul Watts

Oliver Victor Lake 1915
Herts Police Historical Society

Early Life.

Oliver Victor Lake was born on the 4th May 1895 at Antingham, Norfolk.

His father, David Lake, married his mother, Alice Sophia Gibson, in 1878 at Aylsham, Norfolk. They had five children:
1. Charles Herbert born in 1879 at St. Faiths, Norfolk.
2. David William born in 1882 at Great Yarmouth.
3. Ethel May born in 1886 at Great Yarmouth.
4. Bertie Christmas born in 1892 at Great Yarmouth.
5. Oliver Victor.

During the 1901 census the family were living at Bear Yard, Market Street, North Walsham, Smallburgh, Norfolk and David senior was employed as a Grocers Storeman. At the time of 1911 census they were living at the same address. Oliver was working as an errand boy for a dryers and cleaners and his father was now a Brewers Labourer.

Nothing more is known about Oliver’s life during the next three years until he applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary.

Police Service.

Oliver’s Police Service Record has not survived, and his exact date of Appointment is not known however, based on the rate of pay he was placed on after he re-joined the Constabulary in 1919, it is believed he was probably Appointed in late 1914 or early 1915 as Constable 217 in C Division.

The first surviving record for Oliver is General Order 98 of the 9th June 1915 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.

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. Oliver is shown as PC 217 Lake O. C Division who enlisted into the Hertfordshire Yeomanry on 11th June 1915 with PC’s 313 Quarrie, 301 Allen and 308 Clark.

Army Service During The War.

Oliver’s Army Service Record did not survive but from his Medal Roll Index card and Medal Rolls show the following: Oliver Victor Lake joined the Herts Yeomanry as Private 2551 and was promoted to Corporal. He later transferred to the Military Mounted Police as Corporal 15106.

Oliver 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.

His Medal Index Roll Card shows that he landed on the 22nd October 1915 in the Balkan Theatre 2a) Greek Macedonia, Serbia and Bulgaria and his 1914-15 Star Medal Roll supports this. However, his British War Medal and Victory Medal Roll states that between the 22nd October 1915 and the 8th April 1918 he was in Theatre 3) Egypt. It also states that between the 16th April 1918 and the 11th November 1918 he was in Theatre 1) France and Belgium. Clearly he stayed in the Army far longer than the 11th November as his 1914-15 Star Medal Roll states he was dis-embodied on 14th August 1919.

The Electoral Rolls of 1918 and 1919 list Oliver Victor Lake as living at 11, Connaught Road, Cromer however, the 1919 entry also shows he was absent due to serving in H.M. Army as Oliver Victor Lake P15106 Lance Corporal 3rd Traffic Control Squad, Military Mounted Police.

Like every other soldier Oliver 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 involved him undergoing a medical examination by the Force Surgeon at Police Headquarters at Hatfield to ensure he was still fit enough for Police duties. The end of his leave period would have coincided with the date he re-joined.

Re-joining The Police.

General Order 178 of the 9th August 1919 was entitled Re-appointment to the Force. Reference Orders 116/1915 and 36/1918:
The undermentioned having been released from H.M. Army are re-appointed to the Force with effect from date shown, inclusive:
PC 321 Lake O.V. C Division at Watford from 8th August 1919 on £4/0/0.
PC 255 Stroud T.E. E Division at Graveley from 14th August 1919 on £4/10/0.
These officers must be formally re-attested. The Superintendents will report to this office when this has been done, showing viz: Date and place of Attestation and before whom taken.

Something of note in this Order is the change in his Warrant or Collar Number from 217 to 321. 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.

General Order 181 of the 16th August 1919 amended the previous Order in that Oliver was posted to C Division at Rickmansworth and not Watford.


General Order 252 of the 26th December 1919 was entitled Discipline Police Constable Oliver Victor Lake, 321 C Division.
1. Contravention of Standing Order No. 6 in that he entered a Public House known as the Maple Cross P.H. West Hyde, whilst on duty for the purpose of obtaining intoxicating liquor.
2. Conduct unbecoming of a Police Officer in that he accepted intoxicating liquor without payment from the Licensee of the Maple Cross P.H. West Hyde.
3. Contravention of Standing Order No. 12/1898 in that he was drunk whilst on duty.
The accused pleaded guilty to the first two charges and was found guilty of the third charge. Sentenced was deferred and in the interim the accused submitted his resignation. Owing to certain extenuating circumstances is accepted and will take effect as from 24th December 1919. The Constable will be paid up to that date, inclusive, and his name struck off the strength of the establishment of the Force on the same day.

The extenuating circumstances were not explained but at this period in time of the Hertford County Constabulary these types of “charges” were normally harshly dealt with by the way of dismissal. So, allowing him to resign was highly unusual, but it offered him an opportunity to leave without the stain of dismissal on his character and therefore have a better chance of finding new employment, so whatever the extenuating circumstances were, they must have had considerable significance.

The 1939 Register records Oliver V. Lake as an Inspector for the RSPCA and living at 24, Grosvenor Road, Middlesbrough.

Oliver Victor Lake died in 1972 at Teesside.

This page was added on 31/03/2020.

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