Percy George Pestell was born on the 20th July 1892 at Bow, Middlesex.
His father, Walter Pestell a Metropolitan Police Sergeant, married his mother, Beatrice Rowe on the 27th April 1884 at St. Jude, Kensal Green. They had seven children of whom two sadly died prior to the 1911 census:
1. George Walter Carlile born in 1885 and died in 1886 at Paddington.
2. Marion born in 1887 at Paddington.
3. Walter Carlile born in 1889 at Paddington.
4. Horace Walter born in 1890 at Hendon. Shown as a retired Police Inspector in the 1939 Register.
5. Percy George.
6. Lilian Maud born and died in 1894 at Poplar.
7. Herbert born in 1898 at Watford.
During the 1901 Census the family were recorded as living at Clay Hill, Bushey, Watford. Percy’s mother died in 1908 at Watford. At the time of the 1911 census the family had moved to 40, King Edward Road, Bushey, Watford. Percy was shown as being employed as a fishmonger’s assistant and his father was recorded as a Police pensioner now employed as a Local Taxation Officer.
Nothing further is known about Percy’s life over the next two years. He then applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary.
Percy’s Police Service Record has not survived but from other sources we know he was Attested on the 4th August 1913. There was a recruitment drive at the time to augment the strength of the Constabulary so that the Police Weekly Rest Day Act of 1910 could be implemented. He would probably have undergone his Probationer training as part of the new scheme of training new recruits at Police Headquarters, Hatfield, as opposed to the old system of being trained on Divisions.
On the completion of his training he would have been taken on to the Roster and posted to a Division and then normally to a large station until he had some experience. However, the first record that has survived shows he was at G Division at Stanborough.
General Order 15 of the 21st January 1915 instructed Percy that he would be transferred from G Division at Stanborough to G Division at Harpenden on the 22nd January 1915.
General Order 69 of the 25th April informed Percy that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 24/6 to 25/8 per week from the 16th March 1915.
General Order 72 of the 29th April 1915 was entitled Police Constables (Naval and Military Services) Act 1914, Special enlistment for the period of the war and stated: In continuation of orders 148/1914, 163/1914, 169/1914, 56/1915 and 68/1915, the Army Council has decided that Police Constable 290 “G” Percy George Pestell may be considered as possessing qualifications not possessed by ordinary recruits, enabling him to obtain the benefits of the above Act, upon enlisting in the regular Army. Police Constable Pestell will be permitted to join the Army at once.
This effectively meant that Percy, who had no previous Military experience, must have possessed a Trade, exactly what that was is unknown, but it was something that the Army Council considered to be essential and they were in need of and, so it is not unsurprising to learn from the next Order, that he joined the Army Service Corps.
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. Percy is shown as PC 290 Pestell P.G. G Division who enlisted in the Army Service Corps on the 6th May 1915.
Army Service During The War.
Percy’s Army Service Record has not survived but from his Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Roll we can see that although the Police Order 118 of 1915 stated that he joined the Royal Army Service Corps, and this Order has been found to be very accurate, he clearly transferred to the 1/5th Hampshire Regiment as Private 41976. He was awarded the British War and Victory medals.
Percy married Emma Alice Runyeard in 1916 at Salisbury. They had three children:
1. Cyril Herbert W. born in 1916 at Salisbury.
2. Leslie Cecil V. born in 1921 at Bishops Stortford.
3. Neville C. G. born in 1928 at Ware.
When Percy was demobilised from the Army like every other soldier, he would have been given 28 days leave. It would have been during this time that he started the arrangements to re-join the Police. He would have undergone a medical examination in order to determine whether he was still fit enough for Police duties and the end of his leave period would have coincided with the date of his re-joining of the Police.
Re-joining The Police.
General Order 94 of 13th April 1919 announced the re-appointment to the Force of seven men who had been released from H.M. Army. Percy was shown as PC 290 Pestell P.G. posted to A Division at Hoddesdon from the 17th April 1919 on £2/8/0 per week. Each officer had to be formally re-attested and the Superintendents concerned had to report when this has been done providing the date and place of attestation and before whom taken. Arthur was re-Attested on the 21st May 1919.
Percy had barely been at Hoddesdon for six weeks when General Order 122 of the 28th May 1919 instructed him that he was being transferred from A Division at Hoddesdon to B Division at Bishops Stortford on the 5th June 1919. The Electoral Rolls of 1920 to 1922 record Percy and Emma Pestell as living at 36, Jervis Road, Bishops Stortford.
General Order 182 of the 20th August 1919 and General Order 138 of the 12the August 1921 informed Percy that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/0/0 to £4/2/0 from the 5th August 1919 and from £4/4/0 to £4/6/0 per week from the 5th August 1921, respectively.
General Order 51 of the 16th April 1922 instructed Percy that from the 27th April 1922 he was being transferred from A Division at Bishops Stortford to A Division at Ware and to occupy the house being vacated by PS 45 Batchelor. The Electoral Rolls of 1922 to 1929 list Percy and Emma Pestell as living at 30, Bowling Road, Ware.
General Order 109 of the 18th August 1922 and General Order 143 of the 11th August 1923 informed Percy 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.
Retirement And Life After The Police.
Percy retired with a pension on the 24th July 1929 after only 16 years’ service, which means the Force Surgeon must have decided that he was no longer fit for Police duties.
The Electoral Rolls of 1930 and 1931 list Percy and Emma Pestell as living at 38, Junction Road, Totton, Southampton and the 1939 Register records them as living at The Elms, Church Lane, Fawley, Southampton. Percy is shown as being a Gate Watchman at an oil refinery and involved with St. John’s Ambulance. Sadly, Emma died towards the end of 1939.
Percy married Daisy Pomeroy in 1952 in the New Forest.
Percy George Pestell of The Elms, Church Lane, Fawley, Hampshire died on the 29th July 1963 at The General Hospital, Southampton.