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Thursday, 30 June 2011

WWI Metropolitan Police Special Constables

Gatton Park

In August 1914 at the outbreak of war 24,000 Special Constables were sworn in to serve with the Metropolitan Police. The Special Constable’s book for Banstead survives within the Metropolitan Police and contains a suprising amount of personal information. Here are just a few examples showing that the Specials came from all walks of life:

Kingswood Court, Kingswood

Trevor Gaulter BENSON was sworn in on 14 August 1914 and given the warrant number 0013518. He was 22 years of age and described as a Gentleman of Kingswood Court, Kingswood. He resigned on 29 June 1915 for private reasons. Benson was the son of Mr. Alfred Benson of Gatton Park and had attended school at Eton. The reason for resigning from the Specials was probably to enlist because in 1919 his name is amongst those who were awarded the OBE for military operations in Italy.

Alfred Valentine DYE joined on 8 January 1915 in Hammersmith and transferred to Banstead on 2 February 1915. He was 28 years of age and was shown as being a Chauffeur of Kingswood Court, Kingswood – no doubt he was Mr. Trevor G. Benson’s chauffeur! DYE transferred back to London to B Division on 27 June 1915. This was two days before Mr. Benson’s resignation from the Specials and if Benson was about to enlist it would have meant that he had no further requirement for a chauffeur.

Charles William EVANS joined on 18 February 1915 and given the warrant number 0040569. He was 35 years of age and shown as being the Head Gardener at Kingswood Court, Kingswood. He resigned from the Specials on 20 July 1915 just one month after his employer.

Walton-on-the Hill

Robert Edward BASSINDALE was sworn in on 28 August 1914 and given the warrant number 0029302. He was 23 years of age and worked as a Clerk in the Post Office at Walton on the Hill. He resigned on 18 March 1916 in order to enlist. The National Archives holds a medal card for a Robert E. Bassindale showing that he served as a Driver with the RFA – service number 219953.

Burgh Heath

Alfred William FURLONG joined on 19 October 1914 and given the warrant number 0035875. He was 33 years of age and shown as being a Barrister of “Picktree”, Waterhouse Lane, Burgh Heath. He resigned to enlist in the Anti-Aircraft Corps on 3 May 1915. At the end of the war he was a Lieutenant with the RGA.

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