William Frederick Hunt was born on the 10th January 1886 at Bushey and he was baptised on the 5th March 1886 at Oxhey. The family were living at Pinner Road, Watford and his father’s occupation was recorded as a Platelayer.
His father, Thomas William Hunt, married his mother, Emily Sophia Bird on the 18th July 1880 at Watford. They had five children:
1. Thomas James born in 1881 and died in 1882 at Watford.
2. Emily Elizabeth born in 1883 at Watford.
3. Bertha born in 1884 at Watford.
4. William Frederick.
5. George Harold born and died in 1881 at Watford.
During the 1881 census the family were living at 91, Sotheron Road, Watford and William’s father was employed as a railway labourer, but he died in 1888 at Watford.
At the time of the 1891 census William’s mother was living alone at Sutton Road, Watford. William was living with his great aunt at 15, Aldenham Road, Bushey, Watford.
William’s mothers married Frank Hulett in 1892 at Watford. They had four children two of whom died before the 1911 census. Only three have been identified suggesting the fourth may have been a still birth:
1. Frank Hulett born in 1893 at Watford. Enlisted in 1916 and served with the RNAS and the RAF.
2. Fanny Hulett born in 1895 and died in 1898 at Watford.
3. Arthur born in 1897 at Watford. Enlisted in 1915 served with the RFC and RAF.
In the 1901 census Frank Hulett his sons Frank and Arthur and step-daughter Emily Hunt were living at 39, Salisbury Road, Watford. William’s mother was recorded as being a patient staying at the Cottage Hospital, Vicarage Road, Watford. William was still living at 15 Aldenham Road, Bushey, Watford and working as a general labourer.
Early Army Service.
William enlisted on the 1st September 1905 at Hounslow, for short service of eight years with the Colours and four in the reserves, as Private 6360 in the Lancers of the Line at.
The following was recorded: William said he was 19 years 8 months old and he was born at Watford. He said his trade was a Platelayer, that he was not an apprentice, was not married and had never been sentenced to imprisonment. He said he was serving with the 2nd Voluntary Battalion, Bedford.
The following day at Hounslow William was medically examined and the following recorded: Apparent age: 19 years 8 months. Height: 5 feet 11 inches. Weight: 137 lbs. Chest: 37 inches with 2-inch expansion. Complexion: Fresh. Eyes: Brown. Hair: Black. Mark: Small scar between shoulder blades. He said his religion was Church of England and gave his next of kin as a cousin Mr. A. Horwood 15, Aldenham Road, Bushey.
He was posted to the 21st Lancers but on the 26th April 1906 after 238 days service he purchased his discharge at his own request on payment of 18/-.
William’s Hertford County Constabulary Form 3 Police Record Sheet has survived and reveals that he clearly applied to join the Police before he left the Lancers as, four days after being discharged he started his training as a Police Constable at C Division at Watford earning £1/1/7 per week.
The following information was recorded: William gave his age on joining as 20 6/12 years and that he was born at Bushey New Town, Watford. His height was 5 feet 11 inches, complexion fresh, eyes brown, hair black and he had a small scar between his shoulder blades. He said he could ride a pedal cycle but could not swim. He gave his religion as Church of England and that his trade was as a Platelayer, but his last employment had been with the Army at Hounslow.
He underwent a Medical Examination at Police Headquarters at Hatfield. Force Surgeon Lovell Drage signed the following declaration: 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. Dated 30th April 1906.
His training would have been carried out on Division by a senior experienced Constable under the supervision of the Superintendent. On the 5th June 1906 William was Approved of and sworn in before L. Evan J.P. and S.J. Holland J.P. at Watford but he was not appointed as Constable 248 until the 10th July 1906. However, his service was not allowed to count towards his pension until he reached the age of 21 years on the 10th January 1907.
General Order 17 of the 26th July 1906 reiterated this by announcing that PC Hunt 248 was appointed on 23/11 per week from the 10th July 1906.
In December 1906 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.
His Police Service Record shows that on the 17th January 1907 William received an increase in his pay to £1/5/8 per week. Then General Order 26 of the 19th August 1908 informed him that he would receive a further increase £1/5/8 to £1/6/10 per week from the 30th July 1908 viz.
General Order 19 of the 5th June 1909 announced that William had been Commended by the Chief Constable for arresting an escaped prisoner from the custody of a Stockport Police Officer. Viz: General Order 19/1909.
General Order 2 of 13th January 1910 gave instructions to dozens of Police officers in connection with the General Election of January 1910. Voting was carried out over several days and schedules were drawn up detailing where and when officers would perform duty. The following excerpts refer to William.
Return of Officers and Men detailed for duty in the Eastern or Hertford Division on Wednesday 19th January 1910.
Div. Rank No. Name Station Place for Duty
C PC 248 Hunt W F Watford Hertford
Return of Officers and Men detailed for duty in the Northern or Hitchin Division on Friday 21st January 1910.
Div. Rank No. Name Station Place for Duty
C PC 248 Hunt W F Watford Datchworth
Return of Officers and Men detailed for duty in the Mid or St Albans Division Tuesday 25th January 1910.
Div. Rank No. Name Station Place for Duty
C PC 248 Hunt W F Watford St Albans
Return of Officers and Men detailed for duty in the Western or Watford Division 27th January 1910.
Div. Rank No. Name Station Place for Duty
C PC 248 Hunt W F Watford Watford
William married Alice Mary Sibley on the 6th July 1910 at Watford. They had a daughter Doris born in 1911 at Hertford.
William’s Police Service Record shows that between the 28th September 1910 and the 15th October he was off sick with a strained back. He did not suffer any stoppages from his pay suggesting that this was an injury suffered whilst he was on duty.
His Service Record also shows that William was transferred from C Division at Watford to F Division at Hertford on the 16th October 1910.
It also shows that between the 6th January 1911 until the 25th February 1911he was again off sick, this time with an injury to his left side. Again, he did not suffer any stoppages from his pay suggesting that this was an injury suffered whilst he was on duty.
During the 1911 census Police Constable William and Alice Mary Hunt are listed as living at 36, Thornton Street, Hertford.
General Order 28 of the 17th August 1911 informed William that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £1/6/10 to £1/8/0 per week from 27th July 1911.
William’s Police Service Record shows that he was transferred from F Division at Hertford to G Division at Wheathampstead on the 5th October 1911. The Electoral Rolls of 1913 and 1914 list William Frederick Hunt as living at The Folly, Wheathampstead.
A Spot Of Trouble.
General Order 12 of the 26th February1912 announced that William had been disciplined for neglect of duty. The exact details are not shown but two incidents are referred to. The first occurred on the 20th January at a shooting party at Wheathampstead and the second on the 18th February 1912 at his house at Wheathampstead. His pay was reduced to £1/6/10 per week from the 8th February 1912 for a period of six lunar months and he was severely reprimanded.
His Police Service Record shows that on the 25th July 1912 his pay reverted to £1/8/0per week and then on the 1st October 1912 it was increased to £1/9/9 per week.
In Trouble Again And A Transfer.
His Police Service Record shows that on the 14th August 1913 William was severely reprimanded and ordered to transfer at his own expense by the Chief Constable for omitting a Conference Point on the 17th July 1913 and making untrue statements. It also shows that on the 1st November 1913 he transferred from G Division at Wheathampstead to D Division at Northchurch.
On the 10th January 1914 William received an increase in pay to £1/10/4 per week.
William’s Police Service Record shows that he was Commended by Chairman of Great Berkhamsted Petty Sessions on the 1st April 1914 for his action in the case of Police v. Charles Carter Larceny, vide Order 52/1914. Published on the 4th April 1914 in the Bucks Herald under the headline Thefts By A Boy: Charles Carter, of Northchurch, pleaded guilty of stealing a quantity of tinned salmon from the International Tea Stores at Berkhamsted where he was employed as errand boy. He was placed on probation for 12 months and ordered to report himself to Mr. Mundin, the Police Court Missioner, every month.
On the 17th September 1914 William received an increase of pay to £1/10/11 per week.
General Order 86 of the 28th May 1915 announced: The undermentioned Police Constables 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
Police Constable (Naval and Military Services) Act 1914, Police (Emergency Provisions) Act 1915
1. Police Constable 248 Hunt W.F. D Division
2. Police Constable 189 Clark J.W. F Division
Police Constable 248 Hunt and 189 Clark will be permitted to join the Army at once and will be 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 of 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. William is shown as PC 248 Hunt W.F. D Division who enlisted in the Royal Engineers on the 1st June 1915.
Army Service During The War.
William’s WW1 Army Service Record has not survived but from his Police Service Record, Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Roll the following is shown. He enlisted on the 1st June 1915 in the Royal Engineers (Field Coy.) as Private 101957. He landed in France on the 30th September 1916 and served on the Western Front until March 1917 and was promoted to Lance Sergeant. He obtained a Commission as a temporary 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers on the 28th August 1917. Served with 12th Reserve Battalion, Ballyhannan (Ireland) from the 28th August 1917 to the 1st May 1918. He was then attached to the Royal Army Medical Corps at Blackpool as a Company Commander from the 1st May 1918 to August 1918. He served in (Burma) India from October 1918 to November 1919. He was Demobilised on the 4th December 1919 as a Lieutenant. He was awarded the Victory and British War medals which his widow, Mrs W.F. Hunt, applied for giving her address as 161, Chester Road, Watford.
Like every soldier William would have been granted 28 days leave when he was demobilised. He would have used this time to arrange his re-joining of the Police. Part of that process would have entailed him having a medical examination with the Force Surgeon to ensure he was still fit enough to carry out the duties of a Constable.
Re-joining The Police.
General Order 12 of the 17th January 1920 stated that the Chief Constable regretted to announce that on demobilisation from H.M. Army the undermentioned Police Officer has been certified by the Constabulary Staff Surgeon to be unfit for further police service: PC 248 Hunt W.F. D Division Date of medical examination 4th December 1919.
This was followed by General Order 14 of the same date which was entitled Disablement Pension – Award of: Subject to any pension awarded from Army Funds the following Disablement Pension has been awarded to PC Hunt demobilised from H.M. Army and subsequently found to be unfit for further police service. PC 248 Hunt W.F. D Division 12 years completed approved service. Pension granted £117/6/5 from the 4th December 1919.
Life After The Hertford County Constabulary.
On the 6th August 1920 William joined the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary.
The Auxiliary Division (AD) of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) was a para-military police unit which, with very few exceptions, accepted only ex-officers from the British Army (or one of the Empire armies). They served as separate units from the RIC and the RIC had little control over them. The AD RIC Company Commanders reported to the Commandant of the AD RIC and he reported to General H.H. Tudor, the Chief of Police in Ireland. The AD RIC should not be confused with the “Black and Tans”, which was made up of ex-British Other Ranks and served as part of the RIC, being used to bolster normal RIC numbers.
William’s RIC Service Record has survived and shows that his RIC number was 72296 and his AD RIC number was 104. He became a third class District Inspector and Intelligence Officer with B Company based in Templemore Abbey, Tipperary. Between the 24th November and the 2nd December 1920, he was Second in Command of B Company.
On the 5th February 1921 he was posted to Depot and relinquished his rank of Platoon Commander at his own request, reverting to being a Temporary Cadet. No record has survived as to why he did this. He was on leave between the 5 and 18th February 192.
In 1921 he was Posted three times. Firstly, on the 21st March he moved to C Company. Then on the 28th May he returned to Depot and finally on the 11th June he was posted to R Company.
Murdered By The Irish Republican Army 26th June 1921.
William was shot by the IRA as he took tea in a Dublin Hotel. The IRA men involved were Paddy O’Connor, Michael Stack, Peter Larkin and O’Toole. The following three differing witness statements show how difficult it is to be sure of their accuracy.
Statement Of Paddy O’Connor.
A G.H.Q. Intelligence report gave information that two Auxiliary Officers were in the habit of having tea in the Mayfair Hotel in Baggot Street and instructions were issued to eliminate them. The Intelligence Officer was Paddy Drury and he was in touch with one of the maids in the place. I assembled the Section to do that job in Leinster Lawn on the evening of the 26th June 1921. Drury contacted the maid and he came back with a full description of the men and where they were. I issued instructions to the party and we proceeded to the Mayfair Hotel. It had been arranged with the maid that I should give four rings on the bell and a knock, and in this way, she would know it was us coming. I did this and she answered the door and told me the room in which the Auxiliaries were. The party divided as I had instructed them to do. We entered the room where the Auxiliaries were seated at tea with their wives and children. They jumped to their feet and, as they did so, we opened fire and shot the two. We got away all right, but we were pursued by an armoured car. The car we had set to take us away broke down as we were about to enter it, so we retired on foot on towards Hones Street. As we turned into Holies Street the armoured car turned in from a back Street in pursuit of the party, but we succeeded in escaping. It seems the wives of the shot Auxiliaries rushed into the street and attracted the attention of a British armoured car which was passing at the time. Evidently its crew must have spotted us as it wheeled round and pursued us. However, we got safely away.
Statement Of James Tully.
In June 1921, we were detailed to shoot two auxiliaries who were staying in the Mayfair Hotel, Baggot Street. The party consisted of Paddy O’Connor who was in charge, Michael Stack, Peter Larkin, Jack Hanlon, Jim O’Neill, and myself. My job was to dismantle the telephone. At about 6,30 on a Sunday evening we entered the Hotel. The two auxiliaries with two women and a child were in a room. O’Connor, Stack, Larkin and O’Toole pushed open the door of the room and fired, killing the two auxiliaries. O’Connor took their guns. O’Neill was to have had a car running in Fitzwilliam Street to take the guns away. When I came out, I put my gun in the car. O’Neill could not get the car started so it had to be abandoned and I lost my gun. The others, living in the area, had taken their guns with them.
Statement Of Michael Stack.
Padraig O’Connor selected a few of us and told me that we were being chosen to carry out an execution of two Auxiliary Officers who were staying at the Mayfair Hotel in Baggot Street. Six of us assembled at the Museum at about 3 p.m. No sooner had we assembled when Frank Saurin came along and I heard him say that the maid in the hotel to which we were going was friendly and would give us all the help we required, adding that the Auxiliaries were then in the hotel. We moved off straight away. The section leader and myself were the first to go to the door which was answered by the maid. We asked her what room the Auxiliaries were in and she told us the second room on the left where they were then having lunch. I asked her where the telephone was and she directed me to it, so I told a member of the section to dismantle it. The section leader and myself opened the door of the dining-room and fired at the two Auxiliaries seated at the table with their families, the section leader taking the left-hand man and I taking the man on the right. Both men collapsed on to the floor where they were then approached by the Section leader who searched them for any documents that may have been of use to us. I think their names were Hunt and White. On leaving the dining-room, I was about to re-load my gun and as two rounds had been extracted from it, I remained looking at the empty gun. On seeing me, the section leader said, “What are you going to do now?”. I replied, “I am after losing two rounds of ammunition. So, he asked did I want him to find them for me. I said, “I have only four left now if I lose these two”. So, he said that we’d have to lift the sideboard out from the wall to retrieve the two rounds, which we did. This incident may have saved us from walking into a trap for, as we left the hotel, two tenders had just passed in the direction of Stephen’s Green. We walked out and down through the tram line in Holies Street and got back into College Green where we took a tram to O’Neill’s of Francis Street where we dumped our guns.
Published on the 27th June 1921 in the Irish Independent:
About 7 o’clock yesterday evening Temporary Cadet Hunt and Section Lender White, Auxiliary Division R.I.C., said to be stationed at the I. and N.W. Railway Hotel, North Wall, were fired at while having tea with their wives in the Mayfair Hotel, Lower Baggot St. Dublin. Cadet Hunt was struck in the breast and killed instantaneously. Section Leader White was wounded in the jaw and back. It appears that the two ladies, who were staying in the hotel, were joined by their husbands shortly before that hour. They were all seated in the dining room at the back of the house, when a knock came to the hall door. A servant opened it and immediately a number of men rushed in and entered the dining room. The two cadets were apparently taken by surprise, and several shots were fired at them, their assailants making off immediately after. Section Leader White following them as far as the street. The servant fainted.
Assistance was at once summoned by Mrs. White, and Cadet Hunt was taken in the Corporation ambulance to Sir P. Dun’s Hospital. Section Leader White was removed to King George V. Hospital, having first been attended to by Dr. I.J. Curtin. Seen by an Irish Independent Representative, Dr. Curtin said that Mrs. White, came to his house, which is only a few doors away, and said that her husband had been shot, and asked him to come see him. He found the wounded man on the doorstep, and from a superficial examination did not seem to be very seriously injured.
The other man was lying dead on the dining room floor. A lady living in a house adjoining stated that she heard about 6 shots fired rapidly. At first, she thought that they were knocks and that a raid was in progress, but on going down and opening the hall door she saw a man standing outside, his face covered with blood.
A Dublin Castle report states that Section Leader White was seriously wounded. Mrs. White immediately telephoned to the company to which her husband was attached, and a party of police arrived quickly on the scene. Section Leader E.W. White is a native of Bristol und was only recently married. He served in the Navy as a Lieutenant during the war. Temp. Cadet W.F. Hunt’s home was at Watford. He enlisted in 1915 in the R.E. in the ranks and took a commission in 1918 in the Inniskilling Fus. He leaves a wife and little girl.
About the same time, says the Castle account, 4 or 5 men approached the driver of a motor car in Lower Fitzwilliam St. One of them presented a revolver at the chauffeur, and directed him to drive them away immediately, but the man told them that his car was out of order, whereupon they tried to start the engine themselves. Failing to so they departed hurriedly, leaving behind them a Webley revolver, holster and belt.
Mrs Hunt gave evidence at the inquest. It appears that they were after William Hunt in particular for a reason.
Mrs. W.F. Hunt, 161 Chester Road, Watford, Herts, being duly sworn, is examined by the Court, and states: The deceased, William Frederick Hunt, was my husband and his age was 35. We were having supper at 6.45 p.m. at the Mayfalr Hotel, 30 Lower Baggot Street, six to eight lads (ages between 17 to 2O) all of whom were armed and one of them masked rushed into the dining room and I suddenly heard a shot fired and my husband fell out of the chair. He pretended to be dead, but they rolled him over and fired a shot into his chest: the one who fired said “You are dead D.I. Hunt” and another man ‘”There’s two of these men gone”. They then ran away.
On the 26th June 1921 John Nolan was picked up and identified by Mrs Hunt as one of the murderers.
Arrest Report: Name: John Nolan. Occupation: Wheelwright at Roches, Ship Street.
A party was out on a Curfew Patrol on the 26th June 1921 and the accused was found at the junction of Holles Street and Wentworth Place at 22.40 hrs. As he could not give a satisfactory account of his actions for the afternoon and evening he was detained at Coy H.Q., instead of being sent to the Bridewell. While In detention he was casually noticed by Mrs. Hunt, widow of the late T. C. Hunt and she stated that he was one of the party who murdered her husband. Her little daughter who was alone when she happened to see him also made the same statement and described the part he took in the affair. Mrs. White could identify him. In view of the above facts It was thought best to detain him until Section Leader White is fit to give evidence.
Alice Hunt eventually received two pensions for her dead husband as having previously served as a policeman in England, before joining the ADRIC, a loophole in the appropriate legislation left his widow eligible for a pension from both forces. Civil Servants tried to find some way out of this obligation one of them described it as “absurd” but eventually they conceded they would have to pay.
RIC Pension Record Ref no. 10912 shows: Widow: Hunt Alice Mary born 1885. Children: Doris Hunt born 14th May 1911 date on which allowance will cease 13th May 1926. Name of late husband: W.F. Hunt. Rank: Temporary Cadet. County serving in when died: Dublin. Commencement date of pension: 27th June 1921. Annual pension: £39/0/0. Annual allowance for each child: £2/10/11. Where paid: 164, High Street, Camden Town to 31st July 1922 then 161, Chester Road, Watford.
The compensation court in Dublin awarded £1200 to Alice Hunt and £1500 to Doris.
On the 26th January 1922 sensational episodes in the recent Irish hostilities were recalled at the Dublin City Sessions, when the Rt. Hon. the Recorder made the following awards: Enfield W. White, Auxiliary D.I., R.I.C., £1000 for injuries received by being shot through the head, June 26, in the Mayfair Hotel, whither be went accompanied by Temp. Cadet Hunt, to see his wife. Mrs. Alice Hunt £1250 for the death of her husband, and her child £1500.
Published on the 6th March 1934 in the Yorkshire Post under the headline Girl’s Appeal Tragic Death of Her Father Recalled: The appeal of a young woman named Doris Hunt against the sentence of six months imprisonment in the second division, passed upon her at London Sessions on a charge of stealing a handbag at a shop was allowed yesterday by the Court of Criminal Appeal, consisting of the Lord Chief Justice (Lord Hewart) and Justices Charles and Lawrence. It was stated that in 1921 her father, an officer In the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was serving with the “Black and Tans” and one evening when he was dining at an hotel in Dublin with his wife and daughter, six masked men burst into the room and riddled him with bullets. One bullet grazed one of Miss Hunt’s legs. The tragedy, which occurred when she was aged 10 gave her a terrible shock, her counsel said and she had never recovered, her intelligence now being that of a child of eleven. The evidence of the shooting was not before the Court which passed sentence upon her. Miss Hunt was bound over in her own recognisances of £20 to be of good behaviour for 12 months, and the Court ordered her to undertake to obey and stay with her mother.
In the 1939 Register Alice M. Hunt a widow is listed as living at 161, Chester Road, Watford whilst Doris Hunt, a film actress and a servant, was listed as living at 60, Park Lane, City of Westminster, London.
A Move To New York.
William’s Police Service Record contains a report dated the 15th July 1985 written by Assistant Chief Constable David T. Handley who during a private visit to New York visited Mrs. Hunt and her daughter:
On Wednesday, 3rd July 1985, I visited Mrs. Hunt at her address in Park Avenue, New York taking her some flowers and making it very clear to her that I was calling on behalf of the Hertfordshire Constabulary, offering our heartiest, if marginally premature, congratulations on her one hundredth birthday.
Mrs. Hunt is really quite a remarkable woman. She is obviously in possession of all her faculties and has an instant recollection of the earlier periods of her life. She can remember vividly her husband being appointed to the Force and their first house in Thornton Road in Hertford where her daughter Doris was born. She was extremely pleased to see me, but clearly quite worried that I was coming to check up to see that she was still alive! She had taken the trouble to produce a series of documents and photographs so that I could actually see that she was who she said she was.
It would seem that her husband, during his service in the First World War, became very involved in Ireland, having been commissioned in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. At the end of the War, he was invalided out of the Hertfordshire Constabulary but then joined the Royal Irish Constabulary. It was during his service with them that he was tragically killed. Mrs. Hunt mentioned that her husband’s body was brought back to England and there was a funeral and memorial service at Watford. It may well be that a copy of newspaper reports might be obtainable.
She then lived with her niece in Watford until the end of the second World War when she went out to join her daughter in America. Her daughter, now Mrs. Schwartz, who was slightly injured in the attack upon her father, received a lump sum payment of £5,000 from the Irish Government, who also made arrangements for her to receive a private education. On leaving school she obtained employment in the theatrical profession and in the late ‘Thirties, under the name of Doris Hunt, became something of a film star.
These were her mother’s words, who said that she can remember going to the cinema and seeing her daughter in both the main film and the supporting film. No doubt something of the then Miss Hunt’s film background can be ascertained.
She was, so she said, friendly with Sir Alexander Korda and in the late 1930’s he arranged for her to go to America to further her career. She did not, in fact, appear in any films there, having married the producer of the first one. However, she mentioned that she made a number of television commercials. She does not seem to have done anything professionally since. She is now a member of New York “Society” and has been married five times. Her scrapbook clearly shows that she is well known to people like Paul Getty and the Kennedy family.
Mother and daughter live in a most beautiful apartment in Park Avenue and clearly have no financial worries. They have both travelled extensively and only last year did the mother become somewhat (although not completely) housebound. A party has been arranged for Mrs. Hunt’s actual birthday. They are looking forward very much to receiving the telegram from the Queen, which they have been told has been arranged, and I have no doubt this will probably be delivered personally by the British Ambassador, who is a friend of theirs.
Published on the 19th August 1985 in the Watford Observer:
A Police widow from Watford, Mrs. Alice Hunt, celebrated her 100th birthday in New York yesterday more than half a century after her husband was assassinated by the IRA in Dublin. Her husband was Bushey born William Hunt who worked as a platelayer on the London and North Western Railway before joining the county police force in 1906. He served at Watford for four years and moved to other stations in the county before the outbreak of war.
He served in France and won a commission to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers which took him to India. He was discharged from the army in 1919 but was declared medically unfit to resume duties with the county force so he enlisted for the Auxiliary Division of the Royal Irish Constabulary. Two years later he was shot and killed while lunching with his wife and daughter in the Mayfair Hotel in Dublin. The bullet that killed him passed straight through his body and into his daughter’s leg.
His daughter Doris was awarded £5,000 by the Irish Government for the injuries she sustained.
Though he was serving in Ireland the family had been living in Chester Road, Watford. A full military memorial service was held at Watford Cemetery with a gun salute and bugler who played The Last Post. High ranking officers from the County Police Force, the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Middlesex Regiment attended the funeral.
Some years later Mr. Hunt’s daughter, Doris, took up acting and appeared in several films during the 1930s. She moved to the United States and married an American film producer after the war. Mrs Hunt moved to America soon after to live with them. Despite living across the Atlantic Mrs. Hunt still receives a Hertfordshire police pension of 22s 8d a week.
Earlier this year she was visited at her home in Park Avenue, New York by the former Assistant Chief Constable of Hertfordshire Mr. David Handley, who passed on the police force’s best wishes. Mrs. Hunt told him that the thing she was most looking forward to on her 100th birthday was receiving a telegram from the Queen. Since his return from America Mr. Handley’s department has been in touch with Buckingham Palace to make sure she is not disappointed.