Harrowell, Samuel, 55 and 42, Police Constable, Sergeant.

Paul Watts

amuel Harrowell Re-joining The Police
Herts Police Historical Society

Early Life.

Samuel Harrowell was born on the 6th January 1889 at Pitstone, Buckinghamshire.

His father, William Henry Harrowell a Farmer, married his mother, Sarah Williamson in 1879 at Pitstone. They had eight children one of whom sadly died before the 1911 census:

  1. Arthur born in 1880 at Ivinghoe.
  2. Wilfred born in 1882 at Pitstone.
  3. Daniel Charles born in 1885 at Pitstone.
  4. Samuel.
  5. Francis born in 1890 at Pitstone.
  6. Florence born and died in 1892 at Pitstone.
  7. Beatrice Lily born in 1893 at Ley Green, Chesham.
  8. Albert William born in 1896 at Ley Green, Chesham.

During the 1881 census the family were living at Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire. By the 1891 census they had moved and were living at Brook End, Ivinghoe Road, Pitstone.

At the time of the 1901 census they had moved again and were now living at Lye Green Farm, Lye Green, Latimer, Amersham. Samuel’s father died on the 14th July 1909 in Amersham. In the 1911 Census they were still living at Lye Green Chesham and Samuel was employed as a steam roller driver.


Samuel married Kate White on the 14th December 1912 at the Congregational Chapel, Chesham. They had three children:

  1. Lilian Ivy born on the 3rd July 1913 at Amersham.
  2. Douglas William James born 3rd July 1913 at Amersham.
  3. Leslie Frederick born in 1920 at Hitchin. Served as Sergeant Wireless Operator/Air Gunner 1325270, 114 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve who died on 9th June 1942 (East Dereham Norfolk).

Samuel then applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary. As part of the process Samuel would have undergone a medical examination by the Force Surgeon at Police Headquarters, Hatfield to determine whether he was fit enough for Police duties. He would also have had an interview and would have been told when to report for training.

Police Service.

Samuel’s Police Service Record has not survived but from other sources  we know that he was Appointed as Constable 55 on the 10th August 1914 earning £1/4/6 per week.

He would have undergone his Probationer training at Police Headquarters and was in Class 10 with Sergeant 57 Cousins and PC 20 Wright as his instructors. During his training Samuel would have been Attested. At the end of his training he was taken onto the Roster and posted on the 18th September 1914 to E Division at Stevenage.

General Order 144 of the 20th September 1915 informed Samuel that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £1/4/6 to £1/5/8 per week from the 10th August 1915.

Put That Light Out!

Published on the 27th November 1915 in the Hertfordshire Mercury: The first cases in the Stevenage district for breaches of the Lighting Order came before the Stevenage Bench on Thursday last week. The report, being delayed in the post, reached us too late for insertion in our last issue. The first case was that of Arthur Warren, Grocer, of High Street, Stevenage, who was summoned for failing to reduce or shade inside lights on his premises on November 6. The defendant admitted the offence. PC Harrowell deposed that while on duty about 8.05 p.m. on the evening in question he noticed lights shining through a window and door of the defendant’s premises at the back. The light could be seen for some considerable distance. He called the defendant’s notice to the matter and he at once attended to them. The witness had warned the defendant previously about his shop lights, but not those at the back. In fining the defendant 10s. 6d. the Chairman said as it was the first case under the Order they would be lenient, but it was a very serious offence, and the defendant ought to remember the risk to his neighbours and the whole town.

A Fox Twin.

Published in April 1916 in the Hertford Mercury under the headline Stevenage, Ebenezer Albert and the fowls: At the Hitchin Petty Sessions on Tuesday Ebenezer Albert Fox (58) one of the famous Stevenage twins was charged with stealing five fowls which were valued at 20s, from Mr Fredrick Reynolds on January 1. He pleaded not guilty saying he found the fowls. The evidence of Mr Reynolds, Langley Hill Farm, was to the effect that he kept a number of fowls in a fowl house in a meadow about 100 yards from the house. They were safely locked up on December 31st. On Sunday, January 2nd, the Police showed him a couple of fowls which he identified as his property. He did not know they had been stolen, as the fowl house showed no sign of having been tampered with and in his opinion a key had been used. He had since ascertained that five fowls were missing, and he identified the two produced.

PC Harrowell, Stevenage, spoke to seeing Fox at 2.45 p.m. on New Year’s Day coming across Symonds Green. When he saw witness, he turned and went back, but witness overtook him, and noticing that his pockets were bulky he asked him what he had got. Fox replied, “Nothing which belongs to you,” Witness searched him and in his left hand pocket found two fowls produced. Chairman, “What in the one pocket?” “Yes Sir,” (Laughter). Continuing, witness said in the other pocket he found a quantity of feathers and as Fox could not account for either the fowls or the feathers, he conveyed him to the Police Station. On the way there, Fox said he had stolen the fowls and that he had taken four. After they had been identified by Mr. Reynolds, Fox was charged and he then said that he had found the fowls in a sack at the back of the Public House at Langley.

A Magistrate, “What made you suspect Fox?” Witness, “Well, Sir, you know his character as well as I do, and seeing his pockets so bulky I suspected him.” (Laughter) Fox, “None o’ that! I have got as good a character as you have in Stevenage,” (Laughter) “Did I tell you I stole the fowls?” Witness, “Yes.” Fox with vehemence, “You’re a liar and I tell it to your face in court.” (Laughter) “I don’t want to speak to you again, for I’ve been sent  to prison by better men than you.”  (Laughter).

Addressing the Bench Fox said he had now got a good character for 12 months. He had been working at St. Albans, but he had to leave on account of his health, and he was working his way round  when he came to Langley. Only a few days previous he had been out shooting along with the Earl of Strathmore. While he was in the public house at Langley, he saw the landlady pick up a sack in the yard and then throw it down again, and when he was leaving he picked it up, thinking there was a rabbit in it. Not being satisfied with his explanation, the Bench convicted defendant and sent him to Bedford Prison for six weeks.

Another Illegal Light!

Published on the 27th May 1916 in the Hertfordshire Mercury: Fanny Moss of Pratt’s Yard, Stevenage, a young widow who had lost her husband in the war, was fined 5 shillings under the Lighting Order, at Stevenage Sessions. It was stated that PC Harrowell had woken the defendant at 11.40 p.m. by tapping the window with a clothes prop but, in his tapping, the panes of glass in the window had fallen out. The defendant was said to have used impolite language to the Constable.

Theft Of Money.

Published on the 2nd September 1916 in the Hertfordshire Mercury under the headline Stevenage, Money Hidden In A Wood: At the children’s court at Stevenage Sessions on Thursday last week Mary Ann Bygrave, aged 11, of Stevenage, was charged with stealing on August 17 a purse containing £5 in Treasury notes, the property of Elsie Elizabeth Game. The parents of the child were present in court and a plea of guilty was tendered. Elsie Elizabeth Game, the Thatched Cottage, Todds Green said that on August 17, about 10 o’clock in the morning, she had a purse containing five £1 Treasury notes in a drawer in the sideboard of her front sitting room. She went out, the door being latched but not locked. About 10.30 or 10.45 she returned and went to get her purse but found it was not there. She informed the Police who brought the purse to her house in the evening. The £5 was there and a dog licence was also still there but torn. She saw the child, now charged, at the corner of the house before she went out. PS Gravestock Stevenage said that on Thursday August 17 he proceeded to the Thatched Cottage with PC Harrowell and examined the drawer. He then, from information received, proceeded to Lower Titmore Green and saw the defendant in the presence of her father and mother. He cautioned her and she said, “I don’t know anything about the purse and I have not been near Mrs. Game’s.” Afterwards in witness’s presence and in that of PC Harrowell the defendant admitted to her mother that she had taken the purse and hidden it in a wood. She refused to go with the witness or PC Harrowell and show where the purse was, but she said she would go with her mother. Defendant and her mother then went to the wood and collected it and after a minute or two Mrs. Bygrave came out and handed witness the purse. He examined it and found five £1 notes not three as first mentioned by Mrs. Game. He made further enquiries at Todds Green as to whether anyone had lost any other money, but Mrs. Game afterwards admitted to him that she had forgotten the two £1 Treasury notes in the back of the purse. The dog licence was afterwards picked up in a field of oats, it was torn in three pieces. The Bench decided to put the girl under the probation officer for 12 months and the parents were bound over in the usual sum to see that the child kept of good behaviour.

General Order 105 of the 9th September 1916 informed Samuel that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £1/5/8 to £1/6/10 per week from the 10th August 1916.

Agricultural Labour.

General Order 27 of the 4th April 1917 was entitled Agricultural Labour and announced: At a meeting of the Standing Joint Committee on 23rd March 1917, it was resolved that a leave of absence for a period not exceeding six weeks should be granted to certain members of the Hertford County Constabulary used to agricultural work and whose services are urgently required by farmers. The conditions on which the leave of absence is granted, are:

  1. That the men are employed within the limits of, or within easy distance of their stations.
  2. That the men should be available for return to police duty at any time if required.
  3. That each employer shall pay direct to the Chief Constable the sum of 25/- per week, for the services of each police constable.

In accordance with this resolution, the following police constables will be granted leave of absence if their services are required under the conditions set forth. Superintendents are authorised to arrange with farmers to release the men on and from Monday next 9th April 1917. There then follows a list of 15 names including: PC 55 Harrowell S. E Division Stevenage.

Each Constable will receive whilst engaged on agricultural work full wages and allowances from police funds, plus one-half the weekly amount paid as wages by the farmer by whom he is employed. Immediately arrangements have been completed for a man to undertake agricultural work, a report will be submitted to this office, showing: Name and address of employer. Date when the Constable will commence the work. Also, that the employer understands clearly the conditions upon which the man has been loaned.

General Order 47 of the 14th June 1917 was a list of 16 Constables, including Samuel, who had signified their desire to sit the examination for promotion from Second Class to First Class Constable. The necessary examination papers were prepared and forwarded to the Superintendents concerned. The examination was held in accordance with the rules laid down in Order 192/1915.

General Order 68 of the 6th August 1917 announced the result of the Examination for Promotion from Second Class to First Class Constable. Samuel was one of those that qualified having sat the exam in his Superintendent’s office on the 28th June 1917.

General Order 77 of the 10th September 1917 informed Samuel that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £1/6/10 to £1/7/5 per week from the 10th August 1917.

Army Service During The War.

Samuel’s Army Service Record has survived and from this we know the following: Samuel enlisted on the 20th December 1915 at Hitchin and on the 21st December 1915, he was transferred to Section B Army Reserve and returned to his Police duties. This was part of what was known as the Derby Scheme. Thousands of men around the country including dozens of Hertfordshire Police Officers enlisted under the scheme. The Hertfordshire Officers mainly enlisted between the 9th and the 11th December 1915. Every Section B Reservist was issued with an individually numbered Khaki Armlet with a red Crown displayed on it which was to be worn on the upper left arm to demonstrate they were a Reservist and were waiting to be mobilised.

The following was recorded: He gave his name address as 95, High Street, Stevenage which was later crossed out and replaced with The Police Station, Stanmore Road, Stevenage, his age as 26 years 11 months and his trade as Police Constable. He said he was married but had not previously served in the Military.

His description on enlistment was recorded as: Apparent age: 26 years11 months. Height: 5 feet 9 inches. Chest 39 inches 2 ½ inch expansion. Distinctive marks: Scar on each knee and left leg. He gave his religion as Church of England and his next of kin as his wife Kate Harrowell 95, High Street, Stevenage later crossed through and replaced with Police Station, Stevenage.

His Medical History Army Form B178 recorded that he was examined at Hertford on the 16th April 1918 and it noted the same information as his description on enlisting with the addition that he said he was born at Pitstone, Buckinghamshire, his weight as 146 lbs., hair light brown, complexion fresh, eyes brown and physical development as good.

On the 23rd April 1918 Samuel was one of fifteen Hertford County Constabulary Police Constables who were Mobilised at the same time. Ten joined the Grenadier Guards and five, including Samuel, as Coldstream Guards. Samuel joined as 26009 in the 1st (Provisional) Battalion, Coldstream Guards at Caterham. The others were 25004 Herbert Frank Deer, 25900 Walter Skeggs, 26168 Frederick Robert Smith and 24772 Arthur Eames. Other than perhaps their initial training there is no evidence to show that they served together.

On the 15th August 1918 Herbert was posted to the Provisional Battalion, Coldstream Guards at Windsor. On the 16th September 1918 he was appointed as an unpaid Acting Lance Corporal. On the 1st November 1918 he was appointed, for the day, as a paid Acting Corporal to conduct a draft of Coldstream Guards who embarked at Folkestone and disembarked at Boulogne.

On the 5th November 1918 he joined Base Depot and a week later joined the 5th Battalion. On the 29th November he was admitted to No. 24 General Hospital, Etaples with Bronchitis and on the 9th December, he embarked to England on HMS Brighton (Hospital Ship). On the following day he was admitted to the Scottish General Hospital at Aberdeen with Pleurisy and Bronchitis. He was discharged after 52 days and on the 28th February 1919, he was transferred Class Z Army Reserve.

His Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity. Army Form Z11 recorded: Name: Samuel Harrowell. Regtl. No. 26009. Rank: Guardsman. Record Office: Buckingham Gate. Unit: 1st Battalion. Regt.: Coldstream Guards. Pay Office: London Command. Address for pay: Police Station, Stevenage. Granted 28 day furlough. Theatre of War: France. Year born: 1889. Medical category: A1. Place for re-enlisting in emergency: Windsor. Specialist Military Qualification: Nil. Issued: Not completed.

He was awarded the British War and Victory medals.

Like every other soldier Samuel would have been granted 28 days leave on his demobilisation and he would have used this time to apply to re-join the Police. He would have had to have undergone a Medical Examination by the Force Surgeon to ensure that he was still fit enough for Police duties. He would have been re-Appointed on the day following the date of the end of his leave period.

Re-joining The Police.

General Order 39 of the 12th February 1919 announced the re-appointments to the Force of eight Police Soldiers who had been released from H.M. Army. Samuel was shown as PC 42 Harrowell S. posted to E Division at Stevenage from the 13th February 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. The 1919 and 1920 Electoral Rolls list Samuel and Kate Harrowell as living at the Police Cottage, Stanmore Road, Stevenage.

There is one thing of note in this Order which is the change in his Warrant or Collar Number from 55 to 42. 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.

On the same General Order PC 55 Benjamin Wright of G Division at Harpenden was re-Appointed keeping his old number.

General Order 182 of the 20th August 1919 informed Samuel that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £3/18/0 to £4/0/0 per week from the 10th August 1919.


The record has not survived but as the 1921 to 1925 Electoral Rolls list Samuel and Kate Harrowell as living at High Road, Broxbourne it is safe to assume he had been transferred to A Division.

The following General Orders all informed Samuel he would receive an increase of pay on the 10th August of the year shown:                                                                                                                                                                             General Order 142 of the 19th August 1921 from £4/2/0 to £4/4/0 per week.                                                           General Order 121 of the 10th September 1922 from £4/4/0 to £4/6/0 per week.                                                     General Order 148 of the 16th August 1923 from £4/6/0 to £4/8/0 per week.                                                                         General Order 149 of the 1st September 1924 from £4/8/0 to £4/10/0 per week.

The 1926 to 1927 Electoral Rolls list Samuel and Kate Harrowell as living at Park Lane, Broxbourne.


Again, the record has not survived but as the 1928 and 1929 Electoral Rolls list Samuel and Kate Harrowell as living at 10, Queen Street, Kings Langley and the following it is safe  to assume that he had been transferred  to D Division at Chipperfield.


Published on the 25th January 1929 in the Hertfordshire Mercury under the headline Co-operative Stores Rifled, Strangers Committed To Quarter Sessions: A forced entry into the High Street premises of the Chesham and Wycombe Co-operative Society during Tuesday night had its sequel at a special Police Court the following morning. Before Mr W.G. Garrett-Pegge, in the chair, and Mr A.P. Patterson. George Burr and Alfred Thompson, both labourers of no fixed abode, appeared to answer a charge of breaking and entering the High Street premises of the Chesham and Wycombe Co-operative Society, and stealing a quantity of articles. Mrs Violet Gould, Franchise Street, one of the assistants, stated that she locked the shop up as usual on Tuesday night, both the rear and the front doors of the premises being locked. The key of the rear door was left inside the door.

Mr Amos Sayward, Berkhamstead Road, secretary of the Society, stated that as a result of a communication he accompanied a Police Sergeant to the premises at about 5 a.m. on Wednesday morning. He found the place in disorder, and some articles were missing. The missing articles included two pairs of flannel trousers, one waistcoat, one shirt, one brush and comb in case, two scarves, two pairs of boots, and two jackets (produced), and valued at £5 11.

PC Samuel Harrowell, of the Herts Constabulary, stationed at Chipperfield, stated that at 2.50 a.m. on Wednesday, he was on duty, in plain clothes, at Moors End, Hemel Hempstead. He met the two defendants, who were walking towards Apsley. Witness asked them where they had come from and where they were going to? They said they had come from Aylesbury and were walking to London. Witness was not satisfied and searched them. In Burr’s righthand overcoat pocket witness found the case containing the brush and comb. Burr explained, after some hesitation, that “he pinched it”. Thompson immediately replied, “I will set the ball rolling, and tell the truth, we stole it from the ‘Co-op’ at Chesham last night.” In company with other officers, witness took defendants to Hemel Hempstead Police Station, and again searched them. He found them to be wearing some of the stolen articles. All the clothing was being worn under defendants’ own clothes. Most of the articles bore the “C.W.S.” trade mark. In consequence of what defendants had told witness, the Chesham Police were communicated with.

PS W. Heritage, Chesham, stated that as a result of a communication he visited the High Street premises of the Chesham and Wycombe Co-operative Society, at about 4 a.m. on Wednesday. He found, at the rear of the premises, that a glass panel of the door had been smashed. The door was unlocked, the key being on the inside. Against a box outside the door was a piece of wood (produced). Witnessed entered the shop and found the place in disorder. He caused a message to be sent to Mr Sayward, and they went round the premises together. In the boot department witness found an old pair of boots and an old pair of shoes, one pair being in a box in a rack, and the other pair lying on the floor. At 8 a.m. witnessed visited Hemel Hempstead Police Station and saw defendants. He received them into custody and conveyed them to Chesham. He cautioned them and charged them with the offence. After the charge, Burr said, “Right,” and Thompson said, “righto!” Burr further said, “When we got in there I fell over a pram and knocked a lot of suit cases down. I put my old boots in a box and put them in a rack.” Thompson said, “We got in there about 9 o’clock, and broke the window with a piece of wood. I should have had a better pair of boots than this, if I could have got in that window.” Defendants were wearing the boots produced. Defendants were at this stage charged. Both pleaded “guilty.” Neither gave evidence nor called witnesses, and they were committed for trial at the next Quarter Sessions.

A Minor Blemish.

On the 9th  September 1929 the Chief Constable cautioned Samuel because at 1 a.m. on the 23rd August 1929 he was 3 hours 5 minutes late parading for duty at Chipperfield.


Once more the record has not survived but as the 1930 Electoral Roll list Samuel and Kate Harrowell as living at 10, Souldern Street, Watford  and the following it is safe to assume he had been transferred to C Division at Watford.

Promotion And Some Harsh Treatment.

The record of his promotion has not survived as to when, but possibly in 1930 when he moved to Watford, but from the following Samuel had clearly been promoted to Sergeant. On the 23rd February 1938, the Chief Constable made enquiries into Sergeant 42 Samuel Harrowell. He determined that between 1st September and 18th October 1937 Samuel had acted in a manner prejudicial to discipline by entering into a contract with Constables 259 Cresswell and 268 Arliss, by offering to pay half the cost of a Road Fund Licence and in return to be permitted to use a motor car free of other cost, as a result of which a Road Fund Licence was not taken out at Watford between 1st September and 18th October 1937. The Chief Constable decided that Samuel should be reduced to the rank of first class Constable on £4/10/0 per week with effect from 23rd February 1938 inclusive.

Retirement And Life After The Police.

Samuel retired as a Constable on pension on the 9th August 1939 on the completion of his 25 years’ service.

In the 1939 Register Samuel, a retired Police Constable, and Kate Harrowell are recorded as living at Pine Croft, Links Way, Watford.

Samuel Harrowell died on the 11th June 1956 at Watford.

This page was added on 12/06/2020.

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