William Charles Hull was born on the 24th April 1894 at Sandy Bedfordshire.
His father, Frederick Charles a Foreman Plate Layer, married his mother: Catherine Dunton in 1890 at Biggleswade. They had three children all born at Sandy:
- Alice Maud born in 1891.
- William Charles.
- Beatrice Louisa born in 1896.
During the 1901 census the family were living at Hitchin Street, Biggleswade. In the 1911 census they were recorded as living at Foster Terrace, Hitchin Street, Biggleswade which was probably the same address. William was employed as a Railway Porter at Letchworth for the Great Northern Railway Co. Then he applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary.
As part of the process he had a Medical examination on the 6th August 1914 at Police Headquarters Hatfield by the Force Surgeon who issued the following certificate: 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. Signed: G.A. Upcott Gill surgeon. He would also have had an interview and told to wait for a date of Appointment.
Part of William’s Hertford County Constabulary Form 3 Record Sheet has survived but there is also a replacement Hertfordshire County Police Personal Record which has survived in its entirety.
They show that he was Appointed as Constable 284 on the 17th August 1914 and the following was recorded: His age on joining was 20 4/12 years, and he said he was born on the 24th April 1894 at Sandy, Beds. His height was 5 feet 11 inches, chest 35 inches to 37 ½ inches, complexion fresh, eyes brown and his hair was brown. He said he could ride a pedal cycle and his religion was Roman Catholic. He gave his next of kin as his father, Frederick Charles Hull of 126, Foster Terrace, Hitchin Street, Biggleswade, and later his first wife, Jessie Hill Hull and then his second wife, Eva Robina Hull.
William underwent his Probationer training at R Division Headquarters at Hatfield on £1/4/6 per week. He was in the 10th Training Class of recruits with Sergeant 57 Cousins and Constable 20 Wright as his instructors. On the 24th August 1914 he was Attested before A. Marchand J.P. and R.B. Fellows J.P. at Hatfield. On the completion of his training William was taken onto the Duty Roster and on the 18th September 1914, he was posted to C Division at Watford. On his twenty-first birthday on the 24th April 1915 his service started to count towards his pension.
On the 4th May 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 144 of the 20th September 1915 informed William that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £1/4/6 to £1/5/8 per week from the 17th August 1915.
General Order 167 of the 25th October 1915 announced two resignations as follows: Police Constable 206 George Bennett C Division having submitted an application to resign his appointment as a Constable of the Hertford County Constabulary, the resignation is accepted to take effect on 23rd November 1915. Police Constable Bennett will be paid up to and including the 23rd November 1915 and will be struck off the establishment as from that date.
Police Constable 284 William Hull C Division having submitted an application for permission to be allowed to resign his appointment as a Constable of the Hertford County Constabulary for the purposes of joining H.M. Army. Owing to the number of men who have enlisted from the Force, the Standing Joint Committee have given instructions that permission to join H.M. Forces cannot be given to any more men. Police Constable Hull is permitted to resign that on the clear understanding that the privileges conferred by the Police Constables (Naval and Military Services) Act will not be extended to him. He will be paid up to the 24th November 1915 inclusive.
Army Service During The War.
William’s Army Service Record has survived, albeit it is part of the burnt collection which was damaged in the Blitz in World War 2, and shows he enlisted on the 29th November 1915 at Woolwich in the Army Veterinary Corps as Horse Keeper 13748. Constable 56 Herbert William Thompson, who he had joined the Police with, enlisted with him and was Horse Keeper 13752. Other than enlisting and doing their initial training together there is no evidence to show they served together.
The following was recorded: He gave his address as 30, Saffron Road, Biggleswade, his age as 24 years 2 months, his trade as Police Constable. He said he was not married and had not been in the Military before.
His description on enlistment was recorded as: Age: 24 years 60 days. Height: 5 feet 11 ½ inches. Chest: 39 inches 3 inch expansion. He gave his next of kin as his father, Frederick Charles Hull of Saffron Road, Biggleswade.
His Medical History Army Form B178 recorded that he was examined at Woolwich on the 29th November 1915 and it noted the same information as his description on enlisting with the addition that he said he was born at Sandy, Beds., his weight was 162 lbs., his physical development was good and he had a scar from an appendix operation.
The day after he enlisted, he joined the No. 2 Veterinary Hospital at Woolwich and was granted Corporals pay of 6d per diem. On the 20th March 1916 he embarked at Southampton for France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. The following day he disembarked at Le Havre and joined the No. 3 Veterinary Hospital.
On the 20th June 1916 he was admitted to No. 14 Stationary Hospital at Wimereaux, but the reason has not survived. On the 5th August 1916 he re-joined his unit. On the 14th August 1916 he forfeited 7 days pay and was awarded 14 days confined to barracks for smoking whilst on night guard on the 13th August.
On the 24th September 1916 he embarked for England from Boulogne. On the 2nd October 1916 he transferred to the Royal Field Artillery, ‘C’ Company Reserve Brigade, Royal Ordnance Depot, Weedon as Private 186919 he was allowed to keep his former rate of pay of ½d per diem and 6d per diem Corporals pay. On the same day he was posted as a Gunner to the 43rd Reserve Battery.
On the 17th January 1917 he was posted to the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force and embarked the following day. On the 3rd February 1917 he disembarked at Salonika. On the 5th May 1917 he was posted to the 74th Anti-Aircraft Section in the field.
On the 14th December 1917 he transferred to the Royal Garrison Artillery as Gunner 197485. From the 20th April 1918 he spent 16 days in hospital at the No. 27 Casualty Clearing Station before re-joining his unit and then on the 20th May 1918 he was admitted by again by a Field Ambulance for a further four days before being discharged to his unit. The reasons again have not survived.
On the 16th November 1918 he was temporarily attached to the Military Mounted Police at their Barracks at Salonika (Thessaloniki, Greece) as a Lance Corporal. On the 9th March 1919 he was posted for duty to Constantinople from Assistant Provost Marshal at Salonika. On the 28th March 1919 he was posted to the Allied Police Company Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey). On the 14th June 1919 he returned from the Arabian Horn (peninsular) to unreadable place at Constantinople. On the 23rd August 1919 he embarked at Constantinople and the following day he disembarked at Chanak (Canakkale, Turkey). On the 30th August 1919 he embarked at Chanak for the UK for demobilisation. On the 10th October 1919 he transferred to Class Z Army Reserve on demobilisation.
His Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity Army Form Z11 recorded: Name: Hull William Charles. Regtl. No.: 197485. Rank: Gunner. Record office: Woolwich. Unit: Assistant Provost Martial Allied Corps. Regt.: Royal Garrison Artillery. Pay office: Woolwich. Address: 30, Saffron Road, Biggleswade, Beds. Theatre of war: Unreadable. Year born: 1892. Medical category: A1. Place of re-joining in event of emergency: Shoreham. Granted 28 day furlough. Issued: 3rd September 1919 Purfleet.
William 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 underwent a Medical Examination by the Force Surgeon on the 6th October 1919 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 202 of the 10th October 1919 announced William’s re-appointment to the Force as follows: The undermentioned having been released from H.M. Army is re-appointed to the Force with effect from date shown, inclusive: PC 38 Hull W.C. C Division Watford from 9th October 1919 on £4/0/0 (this was a new pay scale) per week. This officer must be formally re-attested. The Superintendent concerned will report to this office when this has been done, showing viz: Date and place of attestation and before whom taken. William was re-attested on the 14th October 1919.
There is one thing of note in this Order which is the change in his Warrant or Collar Number from 284 to 38. 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.
William’s Police Service Record was endorsed: Period of Army Service from 29th November 1915 to the 8th October 1919 to count as Police Service for pension purposes. Vide Standing Joint Committee Resolution 35 dated the 9th October 1914. It also recorded that he received a pay increase to £4/2/0 per week from the 17th August 1920.
William married Jessie Hill Langton on the 29th November 1920 at Watford. There is no record of them having any children.
General Order 157 of the 13th September 1921 informed William that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/2/0 to £4/4/0 per week from the 17th August 1921.
The 1921 Electoral Roll lists William Charles Hull as living at 32, Church Lane, Watford.
General Order 161 of the 21st September 1921 instructed William that from the 23rd September 1921 he was being transferred from C Division at Watford to D Division at High Street Green and to occupy the cottage being vacated by PC 277 Barkley. The 1921 to 1926 Electoral Rolls record that living at 8, Agnells Cottages, Cupid Green, Hemel Hempstead are William Charles and Jessie Hull.
General Order 113 of the 24th August 1922 informed William that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/4/0 to £4/6/0 per week from the 17th August 1922. His Police Service Record shows that he had a further advance to £4/8/0 per week from the 17th August 1923. Then General Order 149 of the 1st September 1924 informed him that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/8/0 to £4/10/0 per week from the 17th August 1924.
The General Strike.
General Order 62 of the 4th May 1926 concerned the Emergency Regulations of 1926 and instructions for 50 Hertfordshire Police Officers, made up of three Inspectors, seven Sergeants and 40 Constables, to be on standby should the Secretary of State call upon the County Force to draft men elsewhere at short notice. These included officers from A,B,C, D and E Divisions. Orders for equipment and clothing would be issued if and when necessary, but the men were advised that they would require some sort of haversack. William was one of the Constables named in the list.
General Order 101 of the 4th August 1926 instructed William that from the 13th August 1926 he was being transferred from D Division at High Street Green to E Division at Hitchin and to occupy a new Police cottage. The 1927 to 1930 Electoral Rolls list William Charles and Jessie Hull as living at 2, Police Cottages, Pirton Road, Hitchin.
General Order 117 of 29th August 1926 concerned the Emergency Regulations 1926 and instructions for 50 Hertfordshire Police Officers to be on standby should the Secretary of State call upon the County Force to draft men elsewhere. The first 20 named would be required to proceed at 8 hours’ notice or less. These included officers from A,B,C, D and E Divisions and it would appear to qualify to be amongst the 20 you needed to have a motor bicycle available. William was one of the first twenty named as he had a motor bicycle.
General Order 140 of 18th October 1926 declared: EMERGENCY REGULATIONS 1926. The following detachment of the Hertford County Constabulary is detailed for duty in the County of Derby as from 19th October 1926, inclusive: There then follows a list of one Inspector, three Sergeants and 47 Constables which included PC 38 Hull W. of E Division at Hitchin. The detachment will proceed by nearest railway route to St Pancras, London Midland & Scottish Railway, reporting on the main departure platform at 2 p.m., when Inspector Digby will parade the party and call the roll. The detachment will proceed by the 2.25 p.m. train to Derby. On arrival at Derby, Inspector Digby will report to the representative of the Chief Constable of the Derby County Constabulary who will meet the train and provide omnibus transport to Ripley about 10 miles distant.
Dress: Greatcoats, cape, cloth jacket, 2nd cloth trousers, 1925 issue helmet, leggings, truncheons and handcuffs, woollen gloves, lamps, whistles and chains. Divisional Superintendents will advance Railway fares if required and an account for same will be rendered to Headquarters Office for repayment. Inspector Digby will render a daily report direct to the Chief Constable’s Office each day, showing state of health of all members of the detachment and any matters of interest which may occur.
General Order 157 of 14th November 1926 THE EMERGENCY POWERS ACT, 1926. THE EMERGENCY REGULATIONS, 1926. COAL STRIKE: The Chief Constable is gratified to learn that the services of the detachment of the Hertford County Constabulary added temporarily to the Derby County Constabulary, were satisfactory, and he has much pleasure in publishing the following extract from a letter received from the Chief Constable of Derbyshire, under date 11th November 1926: Begins: “The detachment has done very good work and I will be grateful if you will be kind enough to convey to them my warm thanks for their services. I may say that Inspector Digby did very good work indeed and was of great assistance to my Ilkeston Superintendent. Will you also give him my personal thanks”. Ends.
If this letter from the Derbyshire Chief Constable seems a bit luke warm it transpires 10 of the Hertfordshire Constables suffered food poisoning after eating food which was supplied to them on behalf of the Derbyshire Police Authority. The Hertfordshire Force Surgeon said that their illness should be classed as an injury on duty and the Chief Constable agreed and said no one should suffer any stoppages from their pay. William was not one of those who suffered from the food poisoning.
William’s Police Service Record shows that he was awarded his 1st Additional increment of his pay to £4/12/6 per week from the 17th August 1931.
His Service Record also shows that on the 23rd November 1931 he was transferred from E Division at Hitchin to B Division at Bayford.
William’s Police Service Record shows that on the 1st March 1932 he was Commended in a Case of Larceny by Chairman of the Ware Petty Sessions.
William’s wife Jessie died on the 9th December 1935 at Hertford.
A Minor Blemish.
William was cautioned by the Chief Constable on the 13th April 1937 for failing to send a telephone message that a person had been injured in an accident on the 3rd April 1937.
William married Eva Robina Fry, a Telephonist of Buckenden, at Bayford Parish Church on the 3rd December 1938. There is no record of them having any children.
Driving Without Lights.
Published on the 24th February 1939 at the Hertford Mercury: At Hertford Police Court yesterday (Thursday) Kenneth Holland of Barwick was fined 10/- for driving a motor car without lights on January 23. Evidence of stopping defendant was given by PC Hull of Bayford. In a letter to the Court defendant stated that he was driving the car to Hertford County Hospital to enable a doctor who had travelled in the ambulance to get back home. He was strange to the car and must have switched his sidelights off by mistake when operating the headlights switch.
Published on the 4th August 1939 in the Hertford Mercury under the headline Alleged Housebreaking at Welwyn: “I should like bail. My wife is not well she is going to have a baby. I have some money I want to give her.” Said Leslie Hornett aged 23 of 70, Wendell Road, Shepherds Bush, W. at a special court at Welwyn on Friday, when he appeared on a charge of housebreaking and larceny at Welwyn om July 12. Supt. E.B. Spicer said that in view of certain other enquiries he must object to bail. He had told the Governor of the prison that he had no objection to Hornett sending any money that was his own property to his wife. Hornett was then remanded in custody until Welwyn Sessions today (Friday). The only evidence taken was that of arrest. PC Hull of Bayford said that on Saturday July 22 he saw Hornett detained at Notting Hill Police Station. He brought him to Hertford Police Station. In reply to the charge Hornett was alleged to have replied, “I did it.”
Published on the 8th September 1939 in the Hertford Mercury under the headline Theft of Golf Clubs, Prison Sentence for man at Hertford: Four cases of a similar nature were taken into consideration at the Hertford Borough Court yesterday (Thursday) when John Kent Ring aged 30 of 18, Basildon Court, London, W1. was sentenced to six months hard labour on a charge of stealing a set of golf clubs and bag the property of Dr. Gregson Williams from the East Herts Golf Club between August 23-27. King pleaded guilty. Dr. Gregson Williams of 6, Queen’s Road, Hertford said he valued the clubs which he kept at the golf club at £11 12s 6d. PC Hull said that he took Ring into custody at Marylebone Police Station and conveyed him to Hertford where he was charged. In answer to the charge Ring said, “I am not guilty I reserve my defence.” Ring said he was very sorry and said he realised he had been foolish. He asked for four other cases to be taken into consideration. Supt. Spicer said the other charges related to the theft of golf clubs at Brookmans Park to the value of £9 2s, at Datchet value £27 10s, Chorleywood and High Wycombe value £12. Ring said he had done his best to assist the Police and the whole of the property could be recovered. At the time he committed the offences he was in a low financial position. Supt. Spicer proved three previous convictions against Ring. Ring was sentenced to six months hard labour.
The 1939 Register records Police Constable William Hull and Eva Hull as living at the Police Bungalow, Bayford, Hertford.
The following are all taken from William’s Police Service Record. On the 30th December 1943 he received his 2nd additional pay increment of £4/15/0 per week.
Between the 10th and the 24th February 1944 he was off sick with influenza and cardiac trouble and as a result he was excused night duty from this date.
On the 1st September 1944, a War Supplement was added at 19/- per week to increase his pay to £5/14/0. Then on the 22nd December 1944 the War Supplement was increased to 23/- per week making his pay £5/18/0. On the 1st April 1945, a new scale of pay was introduced taking his weekly pay to £6/3/0. Another new pay scale took his pay to £7/0/0 per week from the 6th November 1946.
William took further St. John Ambulance first aid qualifications, obtaining a Voucher in April 1946, a Medallion in January 1947 and his 1st Label to his Medallion in January 1948.
William retired as a Constable on the 27th December 1948 after 33 years pensionable service and received a pension of £243/8/11 per annum.
He received the following certificate of service from the Hertfordshire County Police: No. 34/1948 This is to certify that Constable William Charles Hull served as a member of the Hertfordshire County Police from 17th of August 1914 to the 27th of December 1948 when he was pensioned on completion of service. During his service his conduct was exemplary 28th December 1948. Description: Height: 5 feet 11 inches. Age: 54 years. Eyes: Brown. Hair: Brown. Complexion: Fresh.
On retirement he lived at School Cottage, Newgate Street, Hertford and from the 24th December 1963 his address was 16, Glebe Court, Watton-at-Stone.
William Charles Hull, a retired Police Constable, of 16, Glebe Court, Watton-at-Stone died at the County Hospital, Hertford on the 9th May 1975. His funeral was held on the 16th May 1975 at 2.30 p.m. at Harlow Crematorium.