Walter John Thurley was born on the 18th August 1892 in Bartholomew Road, Bishops Stortford and baptised at Holy Trinity Church, South Street, Bishops Stortford on the 30th October 1892.
His father, Walter John Thurley who was a groom, married his mother, Alice Thurley on the 4th July 1892 at Holy Trinity Church, South Street, Bishops Stortford. They had nine children all born in Bishops Stortford:
1. Walter John.
2. Florence May born in 1894.
3. Thomas Edward born in 1895.
4. Lewis born in 1897. Served as Sgt 90004 RAMC in WW1.
5. William George born in 1899. Served as Private 44212 in Herts Regiment and 44672 Kings Royal Rifle Corps in WW1.
6. Alice Dorothy born in 1901.
7. Rose Lilian born in 1903.
8. Ellen Maud born in 1905.
9. Arthur born in 1908.
During the 1901 census Walter was recorded as living at London Road, Bishop Stortford with his paternal grandparents John and Anne Thurley. His parents and the rest of the family were living at 9, Nursery Road, Bishop Stortford. By the time of the 1911 census the family were living at London Road, Bishop’s Stortford. Walter is recorded as being employed as a Fishmonger Journeyman.
Nothing further is known about Walter until he applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary.
Walter’s Police Service Record has not survived but from other sources we know he was Appointed on the 9th August 1914 as Constable 315. He would have undertaken his Probationary training at Police Headquarters at Hatfield before being posted to Divisions. He was posted to F Division at Hertford.
General Order 98 of the 9th June 1915 was 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. Walter is shown as PC 315 Thurley W.J. F Division who enlisted in the Hertfordshire Yeomanry on the 17th June 1915.
Army Service During The War.
Walter’s Army Service Record has not survived but his Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Rolls reveal he joined the Hertfordshire Yeomanry as Private 2547 (later 105806 under re-organisation).
Walter married May Lewzey (it is believed that at her birth she was registered as Susan May) on the 22nd September 1915 at Luton. They had three sons:
1. Maurice Walter in 1920 at Hertford.
2. Ralph Desmond born in 1925 at Watford.
3. Victor John born in 1931 at Watford.
Walter 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.
Walter landed with the Hertfordshire Yeomanry on the 16th November 1915 in Theatre 2b, the Balkan Theatre of Gallipoli and the Aegean Islands. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star and the British War and Victory medals.
Like every other soldier Walter was granted 28 days leave when he was demobilised. He would have used this time to arrange his re-joining of the Police. Part of the process would have been that he would have had to have undergone a medical examination to ensure he was still fit enough for Police duties. The end of his leave would have coincided with date that he re-joined the Police.
Re-joining The Police.
General Order 90 of the 9th April 1919 announced that Walter, having been released from H.M. Army, was re-appointed to the Force at F Division at Hertford with effect from the 3rd April 1919 on £2/7/0 per week.
General Order 182 of the 20th August 1919 informed Walter 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 Electoral Rolls of 1920 to 1924 list Walter John Thurley as living at 132, Bengeo Street, Hertford.
General Order 109 of the 18th August 1922 informed Walter that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/4/0 to £4/6/0 per week from the 10th August
Parliamentary Elections 1922,
General Order 156 of 14th November 1922 gave Orders for Mounted Officers to perform duty at various locations in relation to the Declaration of the Poll in the Parliamentary Elections of 1922. Walter was to be on duty at St. Albans.
The Mounted Establishment Is Formed.
General Order 17 of 31st January 1923 announced the formation of a dedicated Mounted Establishment:
“From the 1st February 1923 the Mounted Establishment of the Hertford County Constabulary will consist of the undermentioned Sergeant and Constables:
Rank & No. Name Division Station
1. PS 35 Reid A. C Watford
2. PC 199 Briden J. A Braughing
3. PC 111 Sweetland G. A Bishops Stortford
4. PC 93 Potton F. B Hertford
5. PC 315 Thurley W.J. B Hertford
6. PC 331 Kimpton G. C Watford
7. PC 282 Eames A. E Kimpton
8. PC 200 Bangs A. E Hitchin
9. PC 212 Lambert S.J. R Headquarters
10. PC 78 Phypers E.W. R Headquarters
11. PC 233 Howe A. R Headquarters
Officers who have Mounted Equipment but are not included in the Mounted Establishment shown above will hand such equipment into stores forthwith”.
General Order 57 of the 30th March 1923 detailed Walter to be one of three Mounted Officers to Police the Hertfordshire Hunt Point-to-Point Steeplechases which were being held at Highfield Hall Stud Farm near St. Albans on Thursday 5th April 1923.
General Order 64 of the 3rd April 1923 detailed Walter to be one of three Mounted Officers to Police the Puckeridge Hunt Races which were being held near Cole Green Farm, Brent Pelham on Wednesday 11th April 1923.
General Order 72 of the 19th April 1923 detailed Walter to be one of six Mounted Officers to Police the Essex Staghounds bona fide Race Meetings which were being held at Tharbies Farm near Sawbridgeworth on Wednesday 25th April 1923.
General Order 148 of the 16th August 1923 informed Walter that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/6/0 to £4/8/0 per week from the 10th August 1923.
General Order 1 of the 2nd January 1924 instructed Walter that from the 14th January 1924 he was being transferred from B Division at Hertford to C Division at Watford and to occupy the cottage being vacated by Constable 261 Ward. General Order 6 postponed the move due to inclement weather. Finally, General Order 21 of the 3rd February 1924 instructed that the move would take place on the 11th February 1924. The Electoral Rolls of 1924 to 1927 list Walter John and May Thurley as living at 73, Estcourt Road, Watford.
General Order 50 of the 24th March 1924 detailed Walter to be one of four Mounted Officers to Police the Hertfordshire Hunt Point to Point Steeplechases which were being held at Highfield Hall Stud Farm near St Albans on Thursday 27th March 1924.
General Order 58 of the 5th April 1924 detailed Walter to be one of four Mounted Officers to Police the Puckeridge Hunt Races which were being held near Cole Green Farm, Brent Pelham on Wednesday 9th April 1924.
General Order 68 of the 14th April 1924 detailed Walter to be one of four Mounted Officers to Police Colonel Part’s Harriers Private Point to Point Steeplechases which were being held at Annables Farm near Redbourn on Wednesday 16th April 1924.
General Order 114 of the 15th July 1924 informed Walter that the scale of Rent Allowances set forth in Order 54 of 1922 has been confirmed and would be increased as from 29th June 1924 from 11/8 per week to 12/- per week.
General Order 117 of the 1st August 1924 detailed Walter to be one of two Mounted Officers to Police The Tring Agricultural Show which was being held at Tring Park on Thursday 7th August 1924.
General Order 149 of the 1st September 1924 informed Walter that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/8/0 to £4/10/0 per week from the 10th August 1924.
Parliamentary Elections 1924.
General Order 169 of 26th October 1924 gave Orders for Mounted Officers to perform duty at various locations in relation to the Declaration of the Poll in the Parliamentary Elections of 1924. Walter was to be on duty at Hertford.
General Order 43 of the 1st March 1925 detailed Walter to be one of four Mounted Officers to Police the Hertfordshire Hunt Point to Point Steeplechases which were being held at Highfield Hall Stud Farm near St Albans on Wednesday 25th March 1925.
General Order 46 of the 23rd March 1925 detailed Walter to be one of four Mounted Officers to Police the Puckeridge Hunt Races which were being held near Cole Green Farm, Brent Pelham on Wednesday 1st April 1925.
General Order 88 of 8th June 1925 gave instructions to Walter to perform Mounted duties at the Assizes being held at the Shire Hall Hertford at 11 a.m. on Wednesday 17th June 1925.
A Royal Visit.
General Order 93 of 21st June 1925 with many other Officers Walter was ordered to perform Mounted duties at the opening of Watford Peace Memorial Hospital by H.R.H Princess Mary Viscountess Lascelles.
“This ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. on Wednesday 24th June 1926 and will be preceded by the Presentation of an Address of Welcome by the Mayor and Corporation of the Borough of Watford at the Market Place at 2.45 p.m.
Command: The detachment of the Hertford County Constabulary on duty will be under the command of: Superintendent E. Maskell.
Movements Mounted: Constables 212 Lambert and 339 Oliver will ride Headquarters Horses and will report at King Street Police Station at 12 noon. Police Sergeant 35 Reid and Constables 93 Potton and 315 Thurley will ride horses to be hired by Superintendent A Division. The hired horses will be taken over by the Police Sergeant and Constables at Stanstead Abbotts at 2 p.m. on Tuesday 23rd instant and will be stabled at Watford on that night. The horses will be returned to Stanstead Abbotts immediately after the Ceremony on the 24th instant.
Escort: The Mounted Detachment under the command of Police Sergeant 35 Reid will meet the motor car conveying Her Royal Highness at Bushey Arches and escort the car during the period it is in Watford until it passes Bushey Arches on the return journey”.
General Order 106 of the 25th July 1925 detailed Walter to be one of two Mounted Officers to Police The Tring Agricultural Show which was being held at Tring Park on Thursday 6th August 1925.
General Order 115 of the 17th August 1925 informed Walter that he would be temporarily transferred from Wednesday 19th August 1925 from C Division at Watford to E Division at Hitchin, to perform mounted patrol duty. No records survive to explain why this was necessary or how long the transfer lasted.
General Order 148 of 28th October 1925 and General Order 27 of 8th February 1926 and General Order 81 of 13th June 1926 all instructed Walter to perform Mounted Duties at the opening of the Hertfordshire Assizes being held at the Shire Hall Hertford commencing at 11 a.m. on Monday 23rd November 1925 and at 11 a.m. on Monday 15th February 1926 respectively.
General Order 46 of the 29th March 1926 detailed Walter to be one of four Mounted Officers to Police the Puckeridge Hunt Races which were being held near Cole Green Farm, Brent Pelham on Wednesday 7th April 1926.
General Order 51 of the 7th April 1926 detailed Walter to be one of four Mounted Officers to Police the Hertfordshire Hunt Point to Point Steeplechases which were being held at Annables Farm near Redbourn on Saturday 10th April 1926.
General Order 81 of 13th June 1926 instructed Walter to perform Mounted Duties at the opening of the Hertfordshire Assizes being held at the Shire Hall Hertford commencing at 11 a.m. on Monday 21st June 1926 respectively.
General Order 100 of the 28th July 1926 detailed Walter to be one of two Mounted Officers to Police the Tring Agricultural Show which was being held at Tring Park on Thursday 5th August 1926.
The Electoral Rolls of 1928 to 1930 list John and May Thurley as living at the Police Station, St. Albans Road, Watford.
The record has not survived but from the newspaper article below it can be seen that about 1945 Walter was transferred to Welwyn Garden City.
Retirement And Life After The Police.
On the 9th August 1939 Walter retired on pension as a Constable having completed 25years service.
Published on the 18th August 1939 in the Hertford Mercury under the headline Police Retirements: Two members of the Hertfordshire Constabulary who have been stationed in the Welwyn district, are retiring after 25 years’ service. They are PC H. Human, who, before going to Welwyn nine years ago, was at Ware, Croxley Heath Green and Hertford, and PC W.J. Thurley who had been stationed in Welwyn Garden City for four years following service at Watford and Hertford.
In the 1939 Register Walter is recorded as being employed as a Storekeeper for a Manufacturers of Surgical Dressings and listed as living at 12, Gainswood, Welwyn Garden City with his family.
Walter John Thurley died aged 81 in 1974 at the QEII Hospital, Welwyn Garden City.