William Bozeat was born on the 11th October 1892 at Sandhurst, Berkshire. His birth was recorded as Willie Bozeat and certainly during his early life he was known as that.
His mother, Susannah Bozeat, during the 1891 census was recorded as living at The Lodge, Herne Hill Road, Lambeth in the household of Alfred Hopkinson, a Barrister at Law, where she was the cook. She died in 1896 at Brentford, Middlesex.
In the 1901 census Willie Bozeat is listed as living at Mill Road, Buckden, St. Neots, Huntingdonshire with his uncle John Wills, a shepherd, and his wife Emily Jane who was his mother’s sister. They were still at the same address during the 1911 census and Willie was employed as a groom.
Little is known about William’s life over the next few years except that he was employed as a groom and coachman by Miss Mary Grey Bonham Carter of Petersfield, Hampshire. He then applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary.
As part of the application process he would have had a medical examination by the Police Surgeon at Hatfield Police Headquarters. On the 10th June 1914 G.A. Upcoll Gill FRCS carried out the examination and certified, “I hereby certify that I have examined the above candidate as to his health and bodily strength and consider him fit for the Constabulary of this County.” He would also have been interviewed and then told to wait for a date of appointment.
William’s Hertford County Constabulary Form 3 Record Sheet has survived and shows the following: His name was recorded as Willie Bozeat and his age on joining was 21 9/12 years. He said he was born at Sandhurst, Berkshire on the 11th October 1892. His height was 5 feet 9 ¼ inches, chest 36 inches to 38 inches, complexion fair, eyes grey and his hair light brown. He said he could ride a pedal cycle.
Educationally he had reached the 5th Standard. He said his religion was Church of England and he gave his next of kin as his uncle John Wills of Buckden, Huntingdonshire.
He was Appointed as Constable 324 on the 22nd July 1914 and started his Probationer training at Police Headquarters, Hatfield on £1/4/6 per week. On the 5th August 1914 he was Attested: “Approved of and sworn in before us R.B. Fellows J.P. and Theo Bassett J.P. at Hatfield.”
On the completion of his training William was taken onto the Roster and posted to F Division at Hertford on the 12th October 1914.
General Order 41 of the 17th March 1915 instructed William that he would be transferred from F Division at Hertford to C Division at Sarratt on 26th March 1915.
On the 25th March 1915 William passed his Ambulance certificate, an important qualification which entitled him to wear a badge on his lower left tunic sleeve to show he was trained in basic First Aid.
General Order 125 of the 29th July 1915 and General Order 97 of the 12th August 1916 informed William that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 24/6 to 25/8 per week from the 22nd July 1915 and from 25/8 to 26/10 per week from the 22nd July 1916, respectively.
William was off sick for 51 days between the 14th August and the 4th October 1916 with Appendicitis.
General Order 119 of the 4th November 1916 instructed William that he would be transferred from C Division at Watford to D Division at Great Berkhamsted on the 9th November 1916 and to occupy the room at the Police Station vacated by PC 325 Reed.
General Order 5 of the 22nd January 1917 was entitled Police Constables (Naval and Military Service) Act 1914 Police (Emergency Provisions) Act 1915 Enlistment in H.M. Forces: Consequent upon the demand for men of military age for service in H.M. Army the Standing Joint Committee have reconsidered the strength at which it is necessary to maintain the force and have authorised that a further 20 members shall be released for Army Service. Five of these have been accepted provisionally by the Army Council for service in the Military Mounted Police. Further instructions with regard to these men will be issued as soon as received.
In accordance with the resolution of the Standing Committee dated 5th January 1917 the Deputy Chief Constable hereby gives the necessary consent as required by the above Acts to a further fifteen Constables for the purpose of enlisting in H.M. Army. William was included in this group. The Constables enumerated will be released from the Police Service as from Thursday 1st February 1917 inclusive and will be paid up to and including the 31st January 1917.
General Order 8 of the 25th January 1917 referred to Order 5/1917 and announced that the same fifteen Constables who were being released for military service were being granted leave of absence on 30th and 31st January 1917.
Army Service During The War.
William’s Army Service Record has survived and from this and his Medal Index Card and Medal Roll we know the following:
He enlisted on the 10th December 1915 at Watford and on the 11th 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 details were recorded: He gave his name as William Bozeat and his address as the Police Station, Kings Street, Watford. He gave his age as 23 years 1 month and his trade as Police Constable. He said he was unmarried and had never served in the Military before.
His description on enlisting was recorded: Apparent age: 23 years 1 month. Height: 5 feet 9 ½ inches. Chest: 37 inches 2 inch expansion.
He said his religion was Church of England and gave his next of kin as his uncle John Wills of Coronation Cottages, Mill Street, Buckden, Huntingdonshire. The particulars of his marriage were added later and his wife Edith of Priory House, Kings Langley was added to his next of kin.
His Medical History Army Form B178 recorded that he was examined at Watford on the 10th December 1915 and it noted the same information as his description on enlisting with the addition of his weight which was 140 lbs.
William was mobilised at Watford on the 6th February 1917 and the following day posted as Private 29229 in the Grenadier Guards to the Guards Depot at Caterham, Surrey. Of the fifteen men who were mobilised at the same time as William he was the only one to join the Grenadier Guards. Two others joined the Military Foot Police and the remaining twelve became artillery men.
A second Medical History Army Form B178 showed that he was re-examined on 1st February 1917 at the Central London Recruiting Depot Whitehall. It recorded that his weight was now 146 lbs, his physical development was good and that he had an Appendicitis scar. On the 6th February he was passed Category A. On the 28th February he was re-vaccinated. On the 10th November 1917 he had some dental treatment completed.
William married Edith Clarke on the 25th April 1917 at All Saints Church, Kings Langley.
On the 30th December 1917 he was posted to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force embarking at Southampton. The next day he disembarked at Le Havre. On the 10th January 1818 he joined the 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards in the field.
On the 9th February 1918 he was sent on a 4th Army Infantry School Course re-joining his Battalion on the 19th March 1918 in the field. On the 15th June 1918 he was taken to hospital by the 9th Field Ambulance and admitted with tonsillitis and re-joined his Battalion on the 29th June.
On the 17th November 1918 he was granted two weeks leave to U.K. re-joining his Battalion on the 1st December. On the 8th January 1919 he was posted Home and, on the 8th February 1919, he was transferred to Section Z Army Reserve. On the 31st March 1920 he was Discharged from the Army.
His Statement as to Disability Army Form Z22 records: Unit: 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. Regt. No: 29229. Rank: Guardsman. Name: William Bozeat. Address: Coronation Cottages, Mill Street, Buckden, Huntingdonshire. Age last birthday: 26. First joined for duty: 7th February 1917 at Watford. Medical category: A. I do not claim to be suffering from a disability due to my Military Service. Place of examination: Serlz 29th December 1918.
He was awarded the British War and Victory medals.
Like every other soldier William 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. William was Medically examined on the 22nd January 1919.
Re-joining The Police.
General Order 23 of 25th January 1919 listed 25 Police Officers who, having been released from H.M. Army, had been re-appointed to the Force. William was shown as: PC 324 Bozeat W. D Division at Great Berkhamsted from the 6th February 1919 on £2/7/0 per week. Each officer had to be formerly re-attested. The Superintendents concerned had to report to Headquarters the date and place of Attestation and before whom taken.
William’s Police Service Record was endorsed: Period of Army Service from 1st February 1917 to 5th February 1919 to count as Police Service for pension purposes vide Standing Joint Committee Resolution 35 dated the 9th October 1914.
His Police Service Record shows that on the 5th March 1919 he was transferred from D Division at Great Berkhamsted to D at Hemel Hempstead. The Electoral Rolls of 1919 to 1927 list William and Edith Bozeat as living at 14, South Hill Road, Hemel Hempstead. It also showed that on the 1st April 1919 he was awarded a pay increase to £3/15/0 per week as part of a national award.
The following General Orders and entries on his Police Service Record informed William that he would receive increases in his pay on the 22nd July of each year:
General Order 180 of the 11th August 1919 from £3/18/0 to £4/0/0 per week.
Service Record from £4/0/0 to £4/2/2 per week in 1920.
General Order 131 of the 31st July 1921 from £4/2/0 to £4/4/0 per week.
General Order 95 of the 31st July 1922 from £4/4/0 to £4/6/0 per week.
General Order 143 of the 11th August 1923 from £4/6/0 to £4/8/0 per week.
Service Record from £4/8/0 to £4/10/0 per week in 1924.
Qualification To Sergeant, Promotion And Transfer.
General Order 12 of 19th January 1927 announced the results of the Promotion Examination for Constable to Sergeant held on the 18th December 1926. William was one of 23 successful candidates.
William’s Police Service Record shows that he was promoted to the rank of Acting Police Sergeant and given an increase of pay from £4/10/0 to £5/0/0 per week on the 5th June 1927.
On the 8th February 1928 William was transferred from D Division at Hemel Hempstead to A Division at Bishops Stortford. The 1929 and 1930 Electoral Rolls list William and Edith Bozeat as living at 12 Pleasant Road Bishops Stortford.
William’s Police Service Record confirms that on the 5th June 1928 he was promoted to the substantive rank of Police Sergeant and given an increase of pay from £5/0/0 to £5/2/6 per week.
On the 5th June 1929 and 1930 William was again given an increase in his pay from £5/2/6 to £5/5/0 per week and from £5/5/0 to £5/7/6 per week, respectively.
On the 21st March 1931, the Chief Constable found William not guilty of without good and sufficient cause being uncivil to a member of the public, to wit, Mr F.S. Wand at Bishops Stortford on the 10th March 1931.
On the 5th June 1931 and 1932 William was again given an increase in his pay from £5/7/6 to £5/10/0 per week and from £5/10/0 to £5/12/6 per week, respectively.
Qualification to Inspector, Transfer and Promotion.
General Order 59 of 1932 announced that William had passed the examination to qualify for promotion to Inspector.
On the 11th March 1933 William was transferred from A Division at Bishops Stortford to E Division at Letchworth.
William’s Police Service Record shows that he was promoted to the rank of Acting Police Inspector and given an increase of pay from £5/12/6 per week to £310/0/0 per annum on the 1st May 1933.
William’s Police Service Record confirms that on the 1st May 1934 he was promoted to the substantive rank of Police Inspector and given an increase of pay from £310/0/0 to £320/0/0 per annum.
On the 1st May 1935 and 1936 William was given an increase in his pay from £320/0/0 to £330/0/0 per annum and from £330/0/0 to £340/0/0 per annum, respectively.
Published on the 28th August 1836 in the Biggleswade Chronicle under the headline Letchworth Woman And A Signature: Kate Sophie Gazeley (54), 5 Birds Hill, Letchworth, was charged with uttering a forged document with intent to defraud at Hitchin on April 1st and with obtaining certain stock and fittings under a false document on the same date. Oliver Charles Levy, Bucklersbury, Hitchin, wholesale and retail tobacconist and confectioner, said that defendant agreed to take the stock and fittings of a shop at Bucklersbury. He sent her an agreement and at the foot of it there was a guarantee for her husband to sign. Mrs. Gazeley brought to his shop the agreement duly signed by the husband and he handed over the keys to the premises. Subsequently he let her have further stock to the value of £2 15s, for which he did not receive payment. Later the defendant admitted that it was not her husband’s signature on the agreement.
Mrs. Annie Wakefield, 15 Brook Street, Stotfold, charwoman, said that while living at Letchworth towards the end of March, she signed a paper for Mrs. Gazeley at the latter’s request. Evidence regarding Mr. Gazeley’s handwriting was given. PC Lawrence said that defendant admitted that her husband had not signed the agreement, and in statement she said she found that the stock in the shop was not of the value stated, nor the trade £14 a week, as Mr. Levy had said, adding, “I twisted him as much as he twisted me.” Defendant’s husband said to witness: “I am having nothing to with it. I never signed any agreement.” Defendant, who pleaded guilty to both charges and reserved her defence, was committed for trial at the Herts. Assizes. The police opposed bail, and Inspector Bozeat asked for permission to have defendant’s finger prints taken. “I am too far gone to mind what happens to me,” cried defendant just before she was taken to the cells.
Published on the 4th September 1936 in the Biggleswade Chronicle under the headline Assault On Two Girls: Sentence of four months imprisonment was passed upon George Barker (26), of 77 Mattocke Road, Hitchin, who was found guilty of assaults on two girls. At a previous court, two Graveley sisters, named Phyllis and Gladys Gray, had described how, when they were returning home on their bicycles after attending a dance at Hitchin on Saturday, August 15th, they were accosted at 12.20 a.m. by a man, who had cycled after them along the Hitchin – Stevenage road. He made certain suggestions to them, offering them money. Gladys Gray threatened to slap his face and told him to leave them alone. He left them for a time, as there was someone coming, but he caught them again at Ashbrook and by placing his machine across the road forced them lo dismount. Saying he had come for the slap of the face which had been promised him, he struck them both with his fists. He also threatened to knock Gladys Gray’s brains out. The approach of a motor car saved them from further molestation.
PC Matthews (Hitchin) said that when he came across the girls at 12.30 a.m., they were both very distressed. Gladys Gray’s face was puffed and bleeding. The case was adjourned on that occasion as the defendant said he could bring witnesses to prove that he was elsewhere at the time. On Tuesday however, he turned up at the Court 20 minutes late and with no witnesses. He asked for a further adjournment. Refusing his request, the Chairman (Mr. Hugh K. Seebohm) said that both girls had been positive in their identification of him as the man who had assaulted them and the witnesses which defendant proposed to call had been with him at times other than that of the assault, so their evidence would have no bearing on the case. Inspector Bozeat revealed that Barker was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment for assaulting a woman in 1930 and in June 1933 he was sent to penal servitude for three years for a similar offence. Passing sentence, the Chairman told defendant that the offence he had been found guilty of committing was “a disgrace to any man.”
On the 1st May 1937 and 1938 William was given an increase in his pay from £340/0/0 to £350/0/0 per annum and from £350/0/0 to £360/0/0 per annum, respectively.
Army Deserter Caught.
Published on the 10th August 1938 in the Hull Daily Mail under the headline Hull Man Arrested as Army Deserter: The astuteness of a Police Inspector in Baldock, Herts., on August 8, led to the appearance at Hitchin Police Court on Tuesday of James Korlas, of 2, Walters Terrace, Scarborough Street, Hull, charged with being a deserter from H.M. Royal Artillery at Woolwich from August 3. Inspector Bozeat said he was on duty in High Street and saw the prisoner and asked him to give an account of his presence in Baldock. He was dressed in a light coloured jacket over brown dungarees. Witness told him he was not satisfied with his answers, and after examination of defendants clothing told him that he suspected him of being a deserter from the Royal Artillery. He replied, “I bought the things in Hull from a man I didn’t know.” Later defendant admitted that he was an absentee from the Royal Artillery stationed at Woolwich. He was remanded in custody to await an escort.
Published on the 6th January 1939 in the Biggleswade Chronicle under the headline Factory Breaking Charge Against Stotfold Youth: Footprints in the snow outside a Letchworth factory gave the Police one of the clues on the evidence of which they went to Stotfold and arrested a 21 years old youth. Verdun Leslie Cooper of 54, The Avenue, Stotfold who was brought up in custody at Hitchin Sessions on Tuesday, was charged with factory breaking and larceny at Letchworth on Christmas Eve.
Joseph Kinsley, accountant to T.H. Dixon & Co., said that at 8 p.m. on December 24th he found that the bottom half of the stores room door had been forced open. A cabinet containing cigarettes and tobacco had also been forced open. Sidney Harold Mead, who is in charge of the stores at the factory, said that the cabinet had contained about £2 10s worth of cigarettes and tobacco. The door of the cabinet had been practically ripped off and most of the former contents had gone. Some money, in coppers, was also missing.
PS Wallen (Letchworth) said that at 9.10 p.m. on December 24 on entering the stores of Messrs. Dixon’s factory with Mr. Kinley he found one pair of wire cutters and a file lying near a sheet metal cabinet, the door of which had been broken open. He found that a small pane of glass of a lavatory on the east side had been broken and the catch had been pulled up, leaving the window unfastened. In the snow under the window were footprints leading from the window they had the appearance of having been made by rubber boots or Wellingtons.
On the Sunday morning, in company with Inspector Bozeat, witness went to Stotfold. At 54, The Avenue, Stotfold he saw the defendant and told him they were making inquiries about some cigarettes and coppers stolen from a Letchworth factory. Defendant said “I was at Radwell. I don’t know anything about it.” Witness asked him to turn out his pockets and from his trousers’ pocket he took 7 ½ in coppers. Witness said: “That looks like Dixon’s money.” Cooper then said; “That’s the money,” and made a statement admitting that, after going for a walk through Baldock he broke into the factory and took the goods and the money.
Prisoner produced a packet of cigarettes and said he had hidden the others in Mr. Smith’s shed near Stotfold Post Office. Witness went there with defendant, who unfolded a sheet and produced a rush bag containing several packets of cigarettes. Cooper was taken to Letchworth Police Station where he was charged. He made no reply. On this evidence, Cooper was committed for trial at the Herts Quarter Sessions. Prisoner’s mother was present in the Court, but when asked whether she wished to apply for bail for her son said, “No, Sir, I do not think I do.”
Retirement And Life After The Police.
William retired as an Inspector on the 31st July 1939 having completed his 25 years’ service on an annual pension of £223/4/0.
The 1939 Register records William as a Retired Police Officer and a temporary Clerk in the Ministry of Labour at Maidstone and living with his wife at 9, Sycamore Crescent, Maidstone, Kent.
In 1949 he was employed as a Ministry of Food Inspector in Ramsgate, Kent and living at , Stanley Road, Ramsgate. In November 1956 he moved to ‘Lyndene’ 18, Maynard Avenue, Westbrook, Margate. His wife Edith died in July 1962.
On the 7th March 1983 he moved to St. Marys, Abbeyfield House, 9, George Street, Hemel Hempstead.
William Bozeat died on the 3rd May 1983 at St. Anthonys Nursing Home, 3, Mildred Avenue, Watford. He was a retired Police Inspector of St. Marys House, 9, George Street, Hemel Hempstead.