William Henry Hussey was born on 27th August 1892 at Back Lane, Bushey and was baptised on 23rd October 1892.
His father was also called William Hussey and was married to Frances Ann Dobson. They had nine children, William was the eldest of five boys and four girls, two of whom died before the 1911 census.
In the 1901 census the family were living at Grove Cottages, 7, Falconer Road, Bushey and William senior was a bricklayer. By the time of the 1911 census they had moved to 14, Merry Hill Mount, Bushey. William senior was still employed as a bricklayer and son William was a general labourer.
In 1914 he applied to join the Hertford County Constabulary.
His Police Service Record has not survived but we know from other sources that he was appointed as Police Constable 306 on the 10th August 1914. Recruited at the same time were PC’s Freeman, Human, Skeggs and Wallman. They would have undertaken their Probationers Training at Police Headquarters before being taken on the Roster and posted to a Station. At the end of his training William was posted to ‘A’ Division at Ware.
General Order 45 of 26/03/1915 informed William that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 24/6 to 25/8 per week from 25th February 1915.
The outbreak of the war saw a wave of xenophobia sweep the nation and many Germans nationals who were considered a threat to the nation were sent to internment camps for the duration of the war. Libury Hall, Great Munden, Ware became the County’s largest internment camp. Prior to the war the manor house had been converted into a German Industrial and Farm Colony to provide work and housing for unemployed and destitute German men. It was therefore a logical move that it should be expanded and during the course of the war 566 men of ages 60 to 90 were interned in the camp. The pre-war director, W. Müller, remained in charge of Libury Hall under the supervision of a British commandant and an armed police guard. The police were housed in a farm cottage on the site. (Source Herts At War website)
William was delegated to act as one of the armed guard. However, due to a change of Policy, regular Police Constables were withdrawn from the guard. General Order 63 of 15th April 1915 instructed William to return to his normal duties:
“Consequent upon the Military Authorities having undertaken to provide a Military Guard at the German Farm Colony, the undermentioned officers of this Police will resume ordinary duty and will proceed to their respective stations, as under, on 15th April 1915:
PS 70 Bowman W. B Division Bishops Stortford
PC 306 Hussey W.H. A Division Ware
PC 307 Markwell J. C Division Watford
PC 298 Smith G. E Division Hitchin
PC 62 Allen W.J. F Division Hertford
PC 137 Dowty F.W. G Division Harpenden
PC 276 Deer H.F. E Division Little Munden”
General Order 187 of 6th December 1915 informed William that he was being transferred from ‘A’ Division at Ware to ‘C’ Division at Watford from 9th December 1915. Two days later General Order 189 notified him that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 25/8 to 26/10 per week from 1st December 1915.
General Order 124 of 18th November 1916 was a list of 16 Constables, including William, who had signified their desire to sit for 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 21st December 1916 announced the result of the Examination for Promotion from Second Class to First Class Constable. Five officers, including William, did not qualify but they would have had to do so at some point. Unfortunately, no record exists of when that happened.
General Order 141 of 28th December 1916 informed William that he would receive an increased rate of pay from 26/10 to 27/5 per week from 1st December 1916.
General Order 5 of 22nd January 1917 announced details of Constables, including William, who were being mobilised by the Army.
“Police Constables (Naval and Military Service) Act 1914 and Police (Emergency Provisions) Act 1915.
Enlistment in H M Forces. Reference Order No/. 148/1914 and Subsequent Orders on the Same Subject.
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.
Of this number 5 have been accepted provisionally by the Army Council for service in the Military Mounted Police viz:
1. PC 11 Pearman C.H. A Div. Wormley
2. PC 34 Bolter F.L. B Div. Albury
3. PC 49 Smith A. C Div. Watford
4. PC 249 Burns A. E Div. Hitchin
5. PC 255 Stroud T. E. E Div. Graveley
Further instructions with regard to these men will be issued as soon as received.
In accordance of 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 the undermentioned Constables for the purpose of enlisting in H. M. Army.
1. PC 297 Kempthorne T.R. A Div Ware
2. PC 9 Emery A.C. A Div Ware
3. PC 139 Freeman A. A Div Hoddesdon
4. PC 265 Camp H. B Div High Wych
5. PC 299 Trussell H. B Div Bishops Stortford
6. PC 261 Wallen J. C Div Watford
7. PC 132 Wallman H. C Div Watford
8. PC 306 Hussey W.H. C Div Watford
9. PC 133 Mansfield A. C Div Watford
10. PC 320 Collett W.C. D Div Hemel Hempstead
11. PC 324 Bozeat W. D Div Great Berkhamsted
12. PC 266 Cripps W.P. E Div Baldock
13. PC 129 Burch S.G. E Div Stevenage
14. PC 300 Jones H.B. E Div Hitchin
15. PC 150 Darton W.C. F Div Welwyn
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 25th January 1917 granted the same 15 Constables mentioned above leave of absence on 30th and 31st January 1917.
Army Service During The War.
In the Army Service Record of PC 133 Arthur Mansfield are hand written notes, dated 1st February 1917, listing 4 names: Harry Wallman, Joseph Wallen, Arthur Mansfield and William Hussey, stating that they are four Police officers having enlisted at Watford and would they be accepted together into the Royal Horse Artillery at Woolwich. They were accepted and have consecutive service numbers – Wallman 205951, Hussey 205952, Wallen 205953 and Mansfield 205954. However, they did not remain together as after their initial training they all served in different units.
William’s Army Service Record has survived and from this and his Medal Roll Index Card and Medal Roll we know the following:
He was originally attested on 10th December 1915 at Watford. On 11th December 1915 he was transferred to Section B Army Reserve and resumed his Policing duties waiting to be mobilised, as were numerous other Hertfordshire officers.
Each Section B man was issued with a khaki armlet with a red Crown stamped on it. They were worn on the upper left arm to show that they had enlisted in the Army but had been placed in Section B of the Army Reserve. Each armband had an individual serial number on it which was recorded on their Army enlistment record. In William’s case the top of the original copy of his Army Form B2512 is stamped “Armlet Number” and to the left of that, rather indistinctly, is written a number, possibly 16771 which is probably for his armband.
The following was recorded:
William gave his address as the Police Station, Watford, Herts. He stated he was 23 years 4 months old, his occupation was a Police Constable, he was not married, that he had previous Military service of one year in the 9th Territorial Battalion, Middlesex Regiment.
His description on enlistment in 1915 was recorded as; apparent age 23 years 4 months, his height 5 feet 10 inches and his chest 39 inches with a 2 inch expansion. He stated he was Church of England. His next of kin were recorded as his father, William Hussey 10, Titian Avenue, Bushey, Herts. and Theresa Florence Buck of 20, Banbury Street, Watford.
From William’s Medical History Army Form B 178 we know that he had also been examined on 10th December 1915 at Watford and the following additional information noted: his height was 5 feet 10 inches; his weight was 160 lbs and his chest was 39 inches with a 2 inch expansion.
On the 2nd February 1917 he was mobilised as Gunner 205952 and the following day posted to Depot Royal Horse Artillery. Then on the 16th February 1917 he was posted to R Battery R.H.A.
On the 9th April 1915 William married Theresa Florence Buck at the Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels, Watford. They had four children; Eustace William George – born 1919 at Hertford, Peter Stanley born 1921 Royston, Thomas Frank born 1923 at Royston and Anthony Robert born in 1927 at Bishops Stortford.
On the 30th May 1917 William was posted to France and on the 26th July 1917, he joined B Battery R.H.A. 15th Brigade. On the 30th November 1917 he was posted as “Missing”.
A Prisoner Of War.
On the 9th January 1918 William’s wife Theresa replied to a letter presumably from someone in the Royal Horse Artillery. Writing from her home address of 20, Banbury Street, Watford she says:
“Sir, Many thanks for letter received. Enclosed please find Post Card which I received from my husband Thursday January 3rd, other one War Office January 9th. Yours faithfully T.F. Hussey”.
The post card referred to is not included but an entry on William’s Service Record refers to it and records that he is a Prisoner of War at Dülmen, Germany.
Reiterating this is the War Office Daily List No. 5488, received from various sources and dated 9th February 1918, which shows Gunner 205952 W.H. Hussey, Royal Horse Artillery as a prisoner of war in German hands.
From the records of the International Committee of the Red Cross we know that William was not wounded when he was taken prisoner at Cambrai on the 30th November 1917 and was at Dülmen Camp on the 7th January 1918 having been previously held at Le Quesnoy. On the 24th April 1918 he is recorded as being held at Freidrichsfeld Camp.
On the 9th December 1918 having been released he arrived at Dover. On the 17th February 1919 he was transferred to Class Z Army Reserve at Woolwich. He gave his address as 20, Banbury Street, Watford.
On the 20th January 1919 he was issued a Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity Army Form Z11 and granted a 28 day furlough. He was later awarded the British War and Victory medals.
Back home the families had not been forgotten as can be seen by General Order 20 of 19th January 1919 entitled, “Allowances to wives of Police Soldiers”.
It announced that the Chief Constable had considered the position of each individual Police Soldier under the new scale of pay and found after taking into consideration the total income of the family from allowances, including the value of the soldier’s food and clothing, that in 16 cases the families were in a worse financial position then they would have been had the man remained in the force. These cases were put before the Standing Joint Committee and they authorised extra payments, with effect from 1st July 1918. PC 306 W.H. Hussey ‘C’ Division was awarded £0/0/5 extra per week with £0/11/10 to be paid retrospectively with the allowances for the week ending 22nd January 1919.
Re-joining The Police.
General Order 38 of 11th February 1919 announced that having been released from H.M. Army PC 306 Hussey W.H. C Division was re-appointed to the Force with effect from 11th February 1919 on £2/8/0 per week. Prior to his re-appointment he would have had to have a medical to ensure he was still fit enough for Police Duties. Having passed that he would also have had to have been re-attested,
General Order 92 of 11th April 1919 informed William that he was being transferred from ‘C’ Division at Watford to ‘E’ Division at Bennington on the 17th April 1919. The Electoral Rolls of 1919 and 1920 list William as living at Stoopers Hill, Benington. Stoopers Hill is no longer in use as a street name in Benington but it is believed to have been what is now Town Lane.
General Order of 21 5th February 1920 and General Order 3 of 5th January 1921 informed William would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/0/0 to £4/2/0 per week from 1st December 1919 and from £4/2/0 to £4/4/0 per week from 1st December 1920 respectively.
There is no General Order showing William’s transfer from Benington to Royston but the Electoral Rolls of 1921 to 1924 list him as living at 45, Kneesworth Street, Royston.
General Order 199 of 10th December 1921 again informed William that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/4/0 to £4/6/0 per week from the 1st December 1921.
The Motor Van Burglars. Exciting Chase and Capture at Royston.
Published on the 15th September 1922 in the Herts. & Cambs. Reporter & Royston Crow:
On Friday morning two men in a Ford van who had been carrying out a series of house breaking raids in the neighbourhood of Hatfield were stopped at the Cross, Royston. Unfortunately, one of the men escaped and is still being hunted for.
When the fact became known that a burglar had been arrested there was considerable excitement in the town and a large crowd assembled outside the Police Station hoping to catch a glimpse of the prisoner. This of course was denied them once the doors closed on him. But the Ford van stood in the yard of the Police Station, and this was to be seen every time the gates were opened.
Superintendents, Inspectors, Sergeants and other officials were continually coming and going during the afternoon and excitement ran high, every fresh car that drove up raising the hopes of the public that it might contain the other man.
The first raid was made at Woodside, the Hatfield residence of Sir William Selby Church, Bart., K.C.B., the well known physician, on Thursday evening, September 8th. The house was entered by a bedroom window, to reach which a ladder had been removed from the stables. Sir William Church and his daughter had just finished dinner when a maid discovered that there was someone in one of the bedrooms. A man was seen to come out of the room and to enter another room, through the window of which he made his escape. An effort, in which Sir William, who is over 80 years of age, joined, was made to investigate the matter, but the thieves had gone in the motor van, taking with them a jewel case, and a dressing case containing articles valued at about £200.
The second raid was made on a house near Welwyn. After making a dash from Sir William Church’s residence the men and the van went off northwards, and when nearing Welwyn left the Great North Road and proceeded by private road to “Sherrards,” The residence of Mrs Grey Hill. An attempt to break in was frustrated by the butler, who, hearing a noise, discovered the men near the house. He gave chase, but the men succeeded in reaching their motor van and made off.
A third raid was made on a garage at Woolmer Green. The burglars continuing their dash northwards came to Woolmer Green and entered a garage belonging to Mr. William Lisles, and took away 2 tins of petrol, 2 tins of oil, a motor car tyre, 2 cycle tyres and a parcel of sparking plugs. The men continued on their journey, but in the meantime the Chief Constable and the Deputy Chief Constable (Superintendent Knight) had been notified and instructions had been telephoned to all stations, and a special control of all roads was soon in force. These special controls instituted by the Chief Constable have been particularly effective on other occasions, and captures have been successfully accomplished. A cordon of police was formed at Stevenage and soon a Ford was seen approaching. The driver ignored the command and signals to stop, and dashed through the cordon of constables, but not before the number XK7036 was observed. The car was chased by a motor cyclist but was eventually lost sight of.
Capture At Royston.
The chase was continued throughout the night, and police everywhere were on the alert and were anxious looking for a Ford van bearing the identification marks XK7036. At 12.15 noon, on Friday, PC Hussey, who was stationed on the Cross, Royston, saw the Ford van coming up Kneesworth Street. There was no mistaking the number, it was an easy one to remember and all the police in Hertfordshire had been repeating it for the past 12 hours – “XK seventy thirty-six,” that was how they said it. PC Hussey signalled the van to stop, and this time the signal was obeyed. The constable told the two men inside of his suspicions concerning them, and jumping on to the footboard, ordered the men to drive to the Police Station.
The van proceeded up the High Street, and at the top, the command “Turn to the left,” was ignored, and the van dashed up the London Road with the men beating at the Constable’s arm in an endeavour to throw him off, but the constable pluckily stuck on. In the struggle the glass wind screen of the van was smashed. The Constable all the time had his eye on the magneto switch, and at last he was able to reach this and dexterously switched off the current and at the same time removed the key. The van was swung round and stopped of its own accord opposite the old green lane near the water works. With an exclamation of “We’re done now!” the two men, knocking the Constable on one side, dashed out of the van and bolted up the green lane with the Constable close on their heels. The younger man attempting to break through the hedge, got entangled in some barbed wire and was secured. The elder man then doubled on his tracks, crossed the London Road and although there were several people about it is not quite certain where he disappeared, but it is believed he went through one of the garden gates of the houses opposite and eventually made his way over the top of London cutting and has not yet been recaptured.
The captured man, the younger of the two, and the motor van were taken to the Police Station and the hunt for the other man began. A number of the Special Constabulary Reserve, Boy Scouts and others joined in the chase. Mr Hunt, the proprietor of the Cinema, had his car at the Cinema and at once put the vehicle at the disposal of the police. Useful work in the search was done by Mr Peter Ryland in the fields, on horseback, and the police wish to thank these and others for the ready assistance given them. Mr Hunt drove his car himself and accompanied by PC Sturman went up the London Road and by the Reed Joint to Barkway. From that village they took the road leading to Buckland and when nearing Buckland Church about 3.15 p.m. a man, carrying a small parcel, was seen to come from the hedge on one side of the road and without any signs of haste pass over and get over a gate into a field. When the car reached the gate, which was of course in only a few seconds of time, the man had disappeared, and although a thorough search was made of the field by the Constable and Mr Hunt not a trace of him could be found. His footmarks could, however, be seen near a culvert on the side of the road from which he was first seen coming. News came in later that a man answering the description was seen at Wyddial, and a bicycle was stolen from that village which it is thought the man got away on.
The description of the man is given by the police as follows: –
“Known as Arthur Edwin Young, aged about 35, height 5ft. 8in., thin build, brown hair and eyes, clean shaven, has an abscess mark on right side of neck, large feet, walks quickly but with an awkward gait.”
The missing man is well known to the police and is said to be able to climb a 20 feet wall and trees like a monkey. He is well known at fairs and race meetings as a caterer. The Ford van in which the men were driving belongs to Young and was not stolen and was used by him to go from place to place. The bundle, seen in the photograph above, on top of the van is the supports of his stall, and the van when captured contained a quantity of food stuff, tea, sugar and crockery.
The other occupant of the van who was captured is William John Holmes, nothing more than a lad, about 17 years of age. On him was found a few gold broaches and ear-rings, the greater part of the proceeds of the burglary evidently being in the possession of the elder man. From information given by the prisoner the larger articles, including the dressing case, stolen from Woodside, together with the articles taken from the Garage at Woolmer Green, were recovered from their hiding place in a field at Stevenage.
The van was taken to Hatfield by road on Saturday morning and the prisoner was conveyed by train by PS Megaughey and PC Hussey and brought before a special Bench and remanded until Monday, when he was brought up again and remanded until September 18th.
How the van came to be coming from the direction of Kneesworth on Friday morning has been remarked upon, but from enquiries in various places where a van answering to the description was seen it would look as if the route taken by the burglars after leaving Stevenage was by Weston, Walkern, Red Hill, Slip End, Ashwell Station, the Mordens, Bassingbourn, Kneesworth to Royston.
Since Thursday night two other burglaries in the county have been reported to the police and from the nature of means of entry and certain marks left behind there is reason to believe these were committed by the wanted man. During Sunday night Hawkshead House, North Mymms, the residence of Mr A.C. Clauson, K.C. was broken into and a quantity of jewellery stolen. Mr and Mrs Clauson were away in Scotland. A similar entry was also made during Sunday night at Melham Manor, about two miles away from Hawkshead House.
More recent reports, however, do not seem to confirm the idea that these later burglaries could have been the work of the same man who stole the bicycle from Wyddial, because a bicycle found abandoned near Epping Forest has now been identified as the one taken from Wyddial.
General Order 125 of 22nd September 1922 announced that William had been commended:
Rex. – V – William J. Holmes – Burglary
At Hatfield Special Petty Sessions on 18th September 1922, the Chairman, Colonel W.J. Halsey O.B.E., commended Constable 306 W.H. Hussey of the ‘E’ or Hitchin Division for initiative and courage displayed in boarding a moving motor car and effecting the arrest of Holmes on a charge of Burglary. The Chief Constable endorses the Commendation and directs that an appropriate entry shall be made on the Constable’s record sheet.
The Motor Van Burglars. No News Of Missing Man.
Published on the 22nd September 1922 in the Herts. & Cambs. Reporter & Royston Crow:
Nothing further has been heard of Arthur Edward Young, the elder of the two burglars, who escaped from the motor van, which was stopped at Royston by PC Hussey on Friday, September 8th.
Prisoner Committed For Trial.
William John Holmes, of 6, Rokeby Street, Stratford, E., who was captured at Royston, was brought up again on remand at Hatfield on Monday last and charged with breaking and entering the residence of Sir William S. Church, at Woodside Place, Hatfield, on September 7th. PC Hussey gave evidence of arrest at Royston. PS Megaughey produced a long statement made to him by the prisoner at Royston –
In the course of this prisoner said that he, his father and uncle Alfred Edward Young, went to Barnet Fair on September 4th, and found trade very bad. On September 7th his father left them for home, and later he and his uncle left in a motor car with the intention of going to Doncaster races. They found that they had only about two or three gallons of petrol and no money. So, his uncle suggested that when they got to Woodside Place they should stop and look for some petrol. They could not find any, and his uncle put a ladder which they found lying on the ground against an open window. His uncle entered and soon came down again with a portmanteau. His uncle put the portmanteau into the van, and they left. When they were about eight miles away, they got out to find some petrol. His uncle broke into a garage. Each of them went inside and took 12 tins of petrol, lubricating oil, a motor tyre, two cycle tyres and some sparking plugs. Further along the road three policeman tried to stop them, but they managed to get through, and went into a bye-road, and then into a field where they stayed the night. They hid the can of oil and the tyres. The following morning, they were disturbed, and travelled on again to the point at Royston where they were stopped by a policeman. The police took the jewellery out of the van, but the portmanteau had been left with the tyres.
Evidence was also given to the effect that prisoner accompanied a policeman to the spot where he had hidden the articles mentioned and they were found.
Asked if he any questions to put, prisoner said: “It is given in evidence that I did feloniously enter the house. But according to my statement I remained outside.”
Prisoner was then charged with breaking and entering the garage at Woolmer Green and committing a felony there.
Evidence was given by Joseph Lloyd to the effect at about midnight on Sept. 7th, he saw two men coming from the direction of the garage towards the motor van, which stood in the road. Witness went up to the van and took the number, which was XK7036, and then informed the proprietor of what he had seen. The proprietor at once communicated with the police.
Prisoner was committed for trial on both charges at the Quarter Sessions.
The Motor Van Burglars.
Published on the 20th October 1922 in the Herts. & Cambs. Reporter & Royston Crow:William John Holmes, the younger of two motor van burglars who was captured at Royston on Sept. 8th, by PC Hussey, was at the Herts. Quarter Sessions on Monday last sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. In passing sentence, Sir Alfred Reynolds said that, on account of his age, Holmes would only have a very light punishment. He had evidently been working with an experienced criminal. It will be remembered that the prisoner with his uncle, a man named Arthur Edward Young, on the night of September 7th, entered the premises of Sir William Selby Church, at Hatfield, and stole jewellery to the value of £200. The men then drove off and raided a garage at Woolmer Green, taking away tins of oil, petrol and motor tyres, etc. They then drove through a cordon of Police at Stevenage and eventually reached Royston about noon the following morning by a round-about way, where the motor van was stopped. Unfortunately, the elder man escaped and has not yet been captured.
The second offender, Albert E. Young aged 30, was eventually arrested and sentenced at Hertford Quarter Session to five years penal servitude for burglary and theft of jewellery, valued at £200, at Woodside, Hatfield the residence of Sir William Selby Church, on September 7th, and for breaking into a garage belonging to William Lister at Woolmer Green and stealing tyres, petrol etc. on the same date.
General Order 169 of 28th December 1922 and General Order 14 of 16th January 1924 informed William that he would receive an increased rate of pay from £4/6/0 to £4/8/0 per week from 1st December 1922 and from £4/8/0 to £4/10/0 per week from 1st December 1923.
The Electoral Roll of 1926 lists William as living at 18, Heath Avenue, Royston but those of 1927 to 1929 show him and Theresa living at Police Cottage, Brent Pelham so he had clearly been transferred again.
Retirement And After The Police.
On the 2nd July 1929 William faced a minor discipline enquiry by the Chief Constable. Subsequently the Chief Constable suspended him from duty pending examination by the Staff Surgeon. The Staff Surgeon having certified that he was unfit for further service the discipline was not proceeded with and on the 14th August 1929 William retired on a Medical Pension.
William died on the 23rd March 1933 at Watford. An Inquest was held on 28th March 1933 and adjourned to 25th April 1933.
Police Pensioner’s Death.
Published on the 3rd April 1933 in the West Herts. & Watford Observer:
Inquest Adjourned For Pathological Report.
The Deputy Coroner (Mr S.P. Thompson) opened an inquiry at Shrodells Institution, Watford, on Tuesday, into the circumstances of the death of Mr William Henry Hussey which occurred at Shrodells on March 23. Deceased was an ex-policeman, aged 40 years, and lived at 59, Fuller Road. He had been in the Institution since August.
Theresa Florence Hussey, the widow, said that she last saw her husband alive on March 22. For several years he had been depressed and thought everybody was against him. He had been like that since September 8, 1922, when he received an injury to his head and right shoulder whilst on point duty. He was then in the Herts. Constabulary at Royston. Apart from being moody, on occasions he was cheerful. Witness had never heard threaten to do himself any injury. The Deputy Coroner then adjourned the inquest until April 25. In the meantime, a pathological report is to be obtained.
Although William’s death was attributed to natural causes the family have always held that it was a direct result of his being assaulted at Royston.