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Hello Brian,

I realise that I have not posted my name. My sincere apolgies. I will add to the thread over the next few days and hope that the 'body of knowledge' will increased through other members.

Kind regards,

Kevin

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Hello Brian,

I realise that I have not posted my name. My sincere apolgies. I will add to the thread over the next few days and hope that the 'body of knowledge' will increased through other members.

Kind regards,

Kevin

Many thanks, Kevin. There are a good number of members, me included, who would rather respond to a real name rather than an internet name.

It is much more friendly.

Looking forward to more posts, the ones you have posted are most informative and have given us an insight that is not commonly available.

Regards

Brian

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Hello Brian,

Another note, dating from 1914, alerts SC Group Leaders to the need to make plans for any enemy landings that might take place. Subsequent documents illustrate the lengths that were taken to formaulate evacuation plans, including a census of all livestock and methods by which they could be moved ahead of any advancement by hostile forces etc... Other documentation relates to a census being carried out in each area to identify all methods of transport that might be required in an emergency. Part of the planning also entailed Special Constables carrying out speed tests, where named officers would be despatched to outlying farms and there receive a signature on a postcard from the occupiers to confirm that the visit had been made. It is interesting to note that even at this early stage of the conflict time consuming and complex tasks were being allocated to the Special Constabulary Group Leaders who were unpaid, part time volunteers.

The contents of the 1914 are :-

Chief Constable's Office,

Morpeth,

25th November 1914.

Points with regard to Removal of Transport, &c, in case of a Hostile landing.

Let each group leader in his area prepare his figures of Vehicles, Horses, Motors, Petrol Stores, Flour Supplies, etc, and imagine a movement being ordered to the West and how it would best work out as an orderly exodus and not as a stampede.

Let each Group Leader talk quietly to the Farmers when he is going about and prepare the way for such an exodus not coming as a shock (if it ever does come) but rather as a thing which has been quietly though out and arranged for.

Each Petty Sessional District will have different problems and will have to look at the job from a different aspect to its next door neighbour perhaps, e.g. if the hostile landing be at Berwick or Bamburgh certain things would have to be done in a certain way in your area: if it took place at Whitley Bay it might well that your necessary Action were at first almost nil. Of course this goes to show that as no one knows where it may take place. You must be prepared for any or all places. You will of course read"B" and "C" and go carefully into every clause with your Emergency Committee: Memo "D" is now in your hands and brings the points more up to date.

Fullarton James,

Chief Constable

Kind regards,

Kevin

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Hello Brian,

To follow up my point about the load placed on Group Leaders, the attached questionnaire from 1914 illustrates the point in that this particular Group Leader was a Solicitor and that at least some of the admin. work appears to have been carried out from his office. It is slso worthy of note that a question relating to motor vehicles has been added.

Kind regards,

Kevin

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Hello Brian,

The attached images are a fairly good example of the postcards used to verify the attendance of Special Constables at Farms during the previously mentioned tests.

Kind regards,

Kevin

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Hello Brian,

Another interesting piece is attached by way of a note from North Eastern Railway to the Group Leader, Mr Middlemass, outlining the availability of trains to be used in an evacuation.

Kind regards,

Kevin

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Hi Kevin,

These are great documents that give such an insight into the duties of the Special Constabulary during the War Years. Up until now that closest things I've seen by way of a document chronicling the duties of the Specials are those comic post cards you see for sale dating from that period. I am joking of course, however, it is great to see these documents and I thank you very much for posting them for all to see.

Regards

Brian

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Hello Brian and Mervyn,

Many thanks for your comments Brian. Coincidently, another area of interest to me is the collecting of WW1 comic postcards relating to the Special Constabulary. They give another insight into the role of the Special Constaularies during the Great War as they often depict the range of duties undertaken (guarding waterworks, gas works etc..). They also give an insight into the capacity for humour seen in the British public during the horrors of the time. Although that is going off subject a little, there might be scope in the future to post some good examples.

Mervyn, I am still going through the file and will try to establish any reference to numbers etc.. They are remarkably well preserved but quite dirty and, in some cases, fragile. I'll let you know.

Kind regards,

Kevin

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Hi Kevin,

I think it would be great if you would post these comic post cards here. You are so spot on in that they demonstrate the British capacity for humour during he darkest of times.

It would be nice if everything to do with the Special Constabulary could be kept in this one aera. At times you have to search all through the forum to find the information on a particular subject; so it would, or I should say could, be avoided for the Special's collector if we were to keep it together.

I'm looking forward to viewing your collection of post cards.

Regards

Brian

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Hello Mervyn,

In answer to your question about numbers, I have started to tease out some documents - some of which I cannot copy due to size, dirt etc...

As a start I have collated information on the structure of "B" Division which should put into context the later information on speciic numbers per Group. I have copied the contents of a two page document which is, unfortunately, undated.

"A" OR ALNWICK DIVISION.

SPECIAL CONSTABLES.

EAST COQUERTDALE WARD PETTY SESSIONS DIVISION.

PARISH COMMANDER - Leslie. R. Pym, Thornhill, Alnwick.

Deputy " " - Thomas.A.Thorp, Bondgate Hall, Alnwick.

No. 1 GROUP - Group Leader - Thomas.R.Reavell, Bondgate, Alnwick.

Deputy " - Charles Hindmarsh, Bondgate, Alnwick.

Parish - Ledbury.

No. 2 GROUP - Group Leader - Marcus.I.Wade, Fenkle Street, Alnwick.

Deputy " - William Meech, Estates Office, Alnwick.

Parish - Alnwick (part of)

No. 3 GROUP - Group Leader - Robert Middlemass, South Road, Alnwick.

Deputy " -

Parish - Denwick.

No. 4 GROUP - Group Leader - Hugh Archbold, Scott Street, Alnwick.

Deputy " - George.M.Turnbull, Olive Terrace, Alnwick.

Parish - Alnwick (part of)

No. 5 GROUP - Group Leader - Hugh.J.Percy, Front Street, Alnmouth.

Deputy " - Tom Bickerton, Ashburn Villa, Alnmouth.

Parishes - Alnmouth, and Shilbottle.

No. 6 GROUP - Group Leader - Malcolm Whiteford, Castle Hill, Warkworth.

Deputy " - Albert.E.Day, Hillrise, Warkworth.

Parishes - Warkworth, and Acklington.

No. 7 GROUP - Group Leader - John.T.Duncan, Queen Street, Amble.

- Deputy " -

Parishes - Amble, Radcliffe, and Hauxley.

No. 8 GROUP - Group Leader - John Short, Newton-on-the-Moor, Felton.

Deputy " -

Parishes - Newton-on-the-Moor, Swarland, and Felton.

BAMBURGH WARD PETTY SESSIONAL DIVISION.

No. 9 GROUP - Group Leader - Maurice.A.Coates, Middleton, Belford.

- Deputy " -

Parishes - Belford, and Middleton.

No. 10 GROUP - Group Leader - Ernest.J.Hart, Bamburgh Castle.

- Deputy " -

Parishes - Adderstone, Bamburgh, Easington, Mousen, North Sunderland, and Warenford.

NORHAM AND ISLANDSHIRE PETTY SESSIONAL DIVISION.

No. 11 GROUP - Group Leader - Capt.V.G.Tippings, Morris Hall, Norham.

- Deputy " -

Parishes - Carham, Cornhill, Duddo, Felkington, Grindon, Norham, Norham Mains, Horncliffe, Shoreswood, Thornton, and Twizel.

No. 12 GROUP - Group Leader - John Black, Sea House, Scremerston.

- Deputy " -

Parishes - Abcroft, Kyles, Loanend, Longridge, and Ord.

Edited by SCcollector

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Hello,

OK. So far so good.

By my reckoning No.3 Group at Denwick had nine Special Constables under Mr Middlemass, the Group Leader.

I will fill as many gaps as I can when I can. If the detail is too much then please do not hestitate to let me know. I personally feel that the maximum information shared helps to ensure that it is retained after our time but this may not be the view of everyone.

Kind regards,

Kevin

Edited by SCcollector

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Here's a grouping that was awarded to P.C. B (Bernard) Bowen, A Division of the Metropolitan Police. The 1887 Police Jubilee Medal with the 1897 Clasp came with the original box top addressed to P.C. Bowen. This begs the question that, if the recipients of the 1887 Jubilee Medal only received the 1897 Clasp, provided they qualified, then why is it that P.C. Bowen received this medal complete with Clasp after 1897. I say "after" because he would have had to have been on duty at one of the parades etc. to have qualified. I've posted the medal with this question on the Commonwealth Police thread as well to see if any of our members there or here can answer this question.

The grouping came with the "National" Special Constabulary Long Service and Good Conduct Medal named to Bernard Bowen as well as the Metropolitian SC Long Service broach-style Medal 1914, and a cap badge for the Met's Specials. The cap badge has two loops for attachemnt to the cap and ,I believe, is not a lapel badge. Whether the cap badge and the Metropolitian Medal were awarded to SC Bernard Bowen is not above question. however, I think it is likely his. Any of the members thoughts and opinions are, as always, welcomed and appreciated.

Regads

Brian

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Hello Mervyn,

The records are incomplete for the whole of the Division. The figure that I have managed to tease out are :-

No. 1 Group. 21

No. 2 Group. 21

No. 3 Group. 17 (revised)

No. 4 Group. 22

A guess would be around 230 SCs serving in the whole of "B" Division spread over the twelve groups. That's the best I can do I'm afraid.

Kevin

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Hello Brian,

A very nice group. It seems likely that the PC, in retirement, answered the call in 1914 and joined as a SC. Very interesting.

I had tried to load a humorous WW1 postcard depicting Special Constable guarding a waterworks but the file was too big. I have attached, however, a couple of images of the Birmingham Waterworks medal which was awarded to those lucky enough to spend the war guarding the water supply for the city.

Kevin

Edited by SCcollector

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Hello,

I've attached a couple of images of the Hartlepool medal, the contents of which are fairly self explanatory. Hatrlepool is mentioned in the Northumberland bundle that I sorting through at the moment but I think the reference refers to naval bombardment rather that an attack from the air. I will try to scan the page, if not I will copy the contents.

Kind regards,

Kevin

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Hello,

Thanks Leigh. That would make a lot of sense as the letter that I have in the Hartlepool bundle mentions an incident at Hartlepool and gives advice to Special Constables living within three miles of the sea on what to do in such a case. I will try to upload it. If that fails I will copy the details as it is quite interesting.

Kind regards,

Kevin

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Hi again,

The file was too big to upload so here is the transcription :-

CHIEF CONSTABLE'S OFFICE,

MORPETH,

28th December 1914.

MEMORANDUM to Special Constables within three miles of the Coast.

POSSIBLE BOMBARDMENT.

1. - After the event at Hartlepool it is only proper that instructions should be issued to you how to act in a similar attack be experienced by your Town or District: you will understand I am only talking of a bombardment, which probably would be over in 45 minutes or an hour.

In this order I am not alluding to an attempted Invasion.

2. - The experience of the Hartlepools shows that the best chance of safety lies in the people remaining in their own houses and not going out into the streets. Should there be any cellar, that would be the best place, otherwise the basement and the back or whichever side is furthest from the enemy's guns.

3. - Your duty therefore, in the event of a bombardment, will be to wait for no further orders but immediately to act in the district surrounding your own dwelling, or where you may be at the time, by using all your efforts towards keeping the inhabitants off the streets and generally inducing them to carry out the suggestions contained in Paragraph 2.

4. - When the firing has ceased you will thoroughly visit the area for which you are acting and remove to hospital those who are injured, being careful to see that a building which has been hit and damaged has not buried in it ruins any human beings requiring help. Fires would also probably have broken out and would require immediate attention.

Fullarton James,

Chief Constable of Northumberland.

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Hello,

Another transcription relating to the coastal areas. This one is undated and unsigned :-

Confidential

There is reason to believe that German agents seeking to enter or leave this Country and finding ordinary passenger routes closely watched may endeavour to enter or leave on small merchant vessels, especially at minor ports and creeks, etc.

The Port Authorities have been warned against the possibility of such attempts being made, and I am to request that the Police may also be instructed to exercise special vigilance.

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There's a fair bit concerning the bombardment of Hartlepool & other British towns out there on the web I would imagine, there was a tv programme re the Hartlepool incident a couple of years ago, really interesting stuff.

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The Hartlepool shelling caused great indignation throughout the Country - we never thought anyone would dare attack us. The medal is worth about £200. I think I still have one left in the badge cupboard.

Brian was only saying recently, how surprised he was when this thread on the Special Constabulary took off so well. Certainly the range of collectors and their comments have been of a high order and there is great interest in the Specials - particularly from Specials - serving and retired. When my book first came-out, it was Specials who sent me copies to sign - the Regulars bought, but did not have the same historical interest.

Kevin has been fortunate to locate this archive and I have been very interested to read the formality of the instructions - but then, one has to remember that this is all a very new concept. Northumberland was not densley populated and that shows at the small numbers created for each Parish - note how the Parish is still the central point - as it was in the past. Looking at these groupings, I don't think they were intended to do anymore than help locals move to safer areas in case of an attack - but again, local residents are the first to detect 'strangers' and that goes back to Saxon times and the Headboroughs and Tythingmen.

We must continue to add to Brian's posting and in the future this will be an important reference section.

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Here is another interesting letter to Robert Middlemass from the year 1914. Unfortunately, I am unable to decipher the signature. It may be Arthur Schofield, but I cannot be sure. He appeared to part of the divisional structure above Group Leaders and several papers are in the bundle :-

LINT CLOSE

ALNMOUTH

NORTHUMBERLAND

8th December 1914.

Tel. 13. Almouth.

Dear Sir,

At the meetiong of the Central Committee yesterday the Collecting Areas we had selected were approved, and I havee this morning a letter from the Chief Constable formally agreeing to this.

INSTRUCTIONS :- It was agreed that the Lord Lieutenant should write to the newspapers giving a list of the various local Emergency Committees and some outline of their duties and this will be done forthwith.

INSTRUCTIONS TO CIVIL POPULATION :- I have tried hard to get permission for our instructions to be printed and circulated but after full consideration the Military representatives declined to allow this, and finally it was agreed that the Committee might issue written instructions to special constables who in turn were only to give verbal instructions.

SPECIAL CONSTABLES :- It was laid down that they must be non-combatents, must not carry firearms and cannot therefore join the Volunteer Association which was refered to in Circular E.

CIVIL POPULATION :- It was pointed out that the special constables could not compel them to move, they could only give full information and then the responsibility would rest upon the person who declined to shift. The Military, however, could use compulsion and they would certainly do so in case the emergeny required it.

Yours faithfully,

Arthur Schofield ?

Robert Middlemass Esq.,

Alnwick

Edited by SCcollector

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