Thomas Owen Abrathat was born on the 25th August 1891 at Shenley and baptised there on the 11th October 1891.
His father, also Thomas Abrathat was a packer, a warehouseman and a school caretaker, who married Elizabeth Owen on the 8th February 1868 at Shenley. Sadly, she died in 1889 at Holborn. They had no children. He then married Elizabeth’s sister, Lucy Owen, on the 26th October 1890 at St. Paul’s, Finsbury. They had the one child, Thomas Owen.
During the 1881 census Thomas’ father and his first wife were living at 29, Featherstone Street, Finsbury. By the time of the 1891 census Thomas’ father and mother were living at Harris Lane, Shenley. They were still there in the 1901 census but by the 1911 census his parents had moved and were living at King Edward Road, Shenley. During the 1911 census Thomas, recorded as Owen, was working as a Footman in the household of John Saunders Gilliat, a Merchant and Banker, and living at 18, Princes Gate, S.W. London.
Thomas’ mother died aged 60 in 1913 at Barnet and his father died aged 69 in 1914 at Barnet.
Little is known about Thomas for the next two years until he applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary.
As part of that process George had to undergo a Medical examination by the Police Surgeon to ensure he was fit enough for Police duties. He would also have been interviewed and told to wait for a date of Appointment.
Thomas’ Form 3 Hertford County Constabulary Record Sheet has not survived but from other sources we know that he was Appointed as Constable 44 on the 3rd March 1913 on £1/4/6 per week.
He underwent his Probationer training at Police Headquarters at Hatfield. At the completion of his training he was Attested, and he was taken on to the Roster and posted to D Division at Hemel Hempstead.
General Order 45 of the 26th March 1915 informed Thomas that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £1/5/8 to £1/6/10 per week from the 3rd March 1915.
General Order 124 of the 18th November 1916 was a list of 16 Constables, including Thomas, 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 137 of the 21st December 1916 announced the result of the Examination for Promotion from Second Class to First Class Constable. Thomas was one of those that qualified having taken the exam on the 25th November 1916 in the office of his Superintendent.
General Order 22 of the 25th March 1917 informed Thomas that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £1/7/5 to £1/8/0 per week from the 3rd March 1917.
Army Service During The War.
Thomas’ Army Service Record has survived and from this we know the following: Thomas enlisted on the 11th December 1915 at Hemel Hempstead and on the 12th 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 address as 85, Cotterells, Hemel Hempstead, his age as 24 years 4 months and his trade as Police. He said he was not married and had never served in the Military before.
His description on enlistment was recorded as: Apparent Age: 24 years 4 months. Height: 5 feet 10 inches tall. 35 ½ chest 1 inch expansion. He gave his next of kin as his uncle Thomas Henry Lupton of the Post Office Arms, Puller Road, Boxmoor.
His Medical History Army Form B178 recorded that he was examined at Watford on the 19th April 1918 and it noted the same information as his description on enlisting with the addition that he said he was born at Shenley Herts., his weight was 138 lbs., his hair brown, complexion fresh, eyes brown and his physical development was good. He had two vaccination marks on his left arm.
On the 23rd April 1918 Thomas was one of fifteen Hertford County Constabulary Police Constables who were Mobilised at the same time. Five joined the Coldstream Guards and ten, including Thomas as Guardsman 32199 who joined the 5th (Reserve) Battalion, Grenadier Guards. They were given consecutive Army Service numbers. The others were 32193 William Sturman 32194 Charles Spencer, 32195 Horace Human, 32196 James Childs, 32197 Frederick Futter, 32198 George Reed, 32200 George Cooling, 32201 Leonard Wackett and 32202 George Berry.
Other than perhaps their initial training there is no evidence to show that they served together. The end of the war arrived before Thomas could be posted overseas and consequently, he did not receive any medals. On the 2nd December 1918 he was appointed as a Signaller at Caterham. On the 20th January 1919 he was transferred to the Army Reserve. On the 31st March 1920 he received his final discharge.
His Statement as to Disability Army Form Z22 recorded: Unit: 5th (Reserve) Battalion. Regiment: Grenadier Guards. Regt. No.: 32199. Rank: Guardsman. Name: Thomas Abrathat. Address: Post Office Arms, Puller Road, Boxmoor, Herts. Age next birthday: 27. First joined for duty: 23rd April 1918 Caterham. I do not claim to be suffering from a disability due to my Military Service signed: Thomas Abrathat. Examined: Chelsea Barracks 22nd December 1918. Name/address last employer: Hertfordshire County Police Hatfield Herts. Industrial Group: 35. Trade: Police Constable.
Like every other soldier Thomas 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. Having passed this, 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 5 of 6th January 1919 listed 13 Police Soldiers who having been released from H.M. Army were re-appointed to the Force with effect from the dates shown. Thomas was shown as PC 44 Abrathat T.O. of D Division at Hemel Hempstead on 2nd January 1919 on £2/8/0 per week. Each officer had to be formerly re-attested. Superintendents concerned had to report to the Chief Constable when this has been done, showing the date and place of Attestation and before whom taken. The 1919 Electoral Roll lists Thomas Abrathat as living at 85, Cotterells, Hemel Hempstead.
General Order 50 of the 23rd February 1919 instructed Thomas that he was being transferred from D Division at Hemel Hempstead to R Division at Police Headquarters Hatfield from the 27th February 1919.
General Order 75 of the 21st March 1919 informed Thomas that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £2/8/0 to £2/9/0 per week from the 3rd March 1919.
Qualification And Promotion To Sergeant.
General Order 32 of the 19th February 1920 announced that eleven Sergeants had qualified for promotion to the rank of Inspector and five Constables had qualified for promotion to the rank of Sergeant. Thomas was one of the Constables having sat the exam on the 24th January 1920.
General Order 34 of the 19th February 1920 announced that Thomas would be promoted to the rank of Acting Sergeant on the 1st March 1920. He remained at R Division but received a pay increase to £5/0/0 per week.
Thomas married Lily Hoar in 1921 at Amersham. They had no children. The 1921 to 1930 Electoral Rolls record Thomas and Lily Abrathat as living at the Police Station, Hatfield.
General Order 35 of the 6th March 1921 announced the confirmation of Thomas’ promotion to the substantive rank of Sergeant from the 1st March 1921.
General Order 36 of the 10th March 1921 informed Thomas that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £5/0/0 to £5/2/6 per week from the 1st March 1921.
Thomas attended a week long course of instruction at Police Headquarters for Police Sergeants commencing on Monday 13th June 1921 at 9 a.m.
The following General Orders all informed Thomas he would receive an increase of pay on the 14th March of the year shown: General Order 47 of the 8th April 1922 from £5/2/6 to £5/5/0 per week. General Order 60 of the 31st March 1923 from £5/5/0 to £5/7/0 per week. General Order 46 of the 18th March 1924 from £5/7/6 to £5/10/0 per week. General Order 51 of the 7th April 1925 from £5/10/0 to £5/12/6 per week.
General Order 154 of the 6th November 1925 announced that the Police Federation Joint Branch Board Meeting held at Constabulary Headquarters Hatfield on the 23rd October 1925 decided that Inspector A. King C Division would be Chairman and that Sergeant 44 Abrathat R Division would be Secretary.
Thomas attended another week long course of instruction at Police Headquarters for Police Sergeants commencing on Monday 1st March 1926 at 9 a.m.
Promotion To Inspector.
The records of when has not survived but it is known that Thomas was promoted to Inspector, possibly in 1929. It is believed that he remained at R Division at Police Headquarters.
Thomas’ wife Lily died in 1935 at Hatfield.
Thomas married May Rice in 1936 at Hatfield. They had no children.
Retirement And Life After The Police.
Thomas retired on pension as an Inspector on the 31st March 1939 on completion of 26 years’ service.
In the 1939 Register Thomas O Abrathat, a retired Police Officer and May Abrathat are listed as living at 61, Heathcote Avenue, Hatfield.
Thomas Owen Abrathat of The Rising Sun, 85, Beaconsfield Road, Hatfield died on the 24th October 1944 at Hill End Hospital, St Albans. He is recorded by the Commonwealth War Grave Commission as a civilian war death.