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Has anyone got a photograph of a H Division helmet plate that they could share with me? I've scoured the internet and can seem to find an example from every division, except H!!!

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BJofW  -  are you referring to the helmet plates that for a short time pre-war identified the Division + number ?  I don't remember an "H" in that series  -  perhaps it came under "J"    ?      Mervyn 

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Mervyn, I had just assumed that H would have had one like the B one below. I've been unable to find an example on the internet so perhaps your right and they never had such a thing?

Lot-428-1.jpg

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The top collector for these helmet plates is retired Ch. Supt. Vic Wilkinson  -  he has been the Chairman of PICA for the past 10 years and is about to retire.   PICA is the Police Insignia Collectors Association and is limited to serving and retired Police officers.   However, if you contacted him I am sure he would be of assistance.   Please let me know if you need an email as you will have to go through the Assoc..

Mervyn 

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12 hours ago, Dave Wilkinson said:

This looks very much like a very dodgy copy!

Dave.

Now you come to mention it, it does look rather naff doesn't it. But it's the only one I've been able to find. Which given the allure of H Division, you'd have thought there would have been more examples out there?

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I have had some success with identifying police officers in photos from their helmet plate numbers and their combination  of coronation / jubilee medals.  Because numbers were re-allocated the same isn't quite so easy with helmet plates on their own.  I have tried but almost always been frustrated because invariably I have ended up with multiple options for the Divisional Numbers. 

Again this isn't my field so I don't know what date this helmet plate is and you will probably tell me I've got the wrong period but I can say that for the reign of GV this number was mainly held by just one man. 

Warrant No 97902 Albert Hayward who joined 7/2/1910 as H 314 and retired 11/03/1935 as a PC in H Div (still H 314).  

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Thank you for taking the time to look up the details of PC Hayward. The helmet plate depicted is in fact a Victorian version adorned with what is commonly known as a "Guelphic" Crown. That said, the Met. continued to wear it for several years after Victoria's death. The King's Crown version was approved by the Commissioner, Edward Henry on 2nd November 1906,and subsequently sealed by the Receiver's Office on that date. So, PC Hayward (joining in 1910) would have been issued with the King's Crown version. As you correctly say, divisional numbers were re-issued and a further potential complication is that in recent years collectors have "swopped about" divisional letters (and in some cases numbers) between different helmet plates. This has been done for a variety of reasons and as a result it is now almost impossible to say with any degree of certainty that a particular numbered helmet plate was worn by a particular man.   

Best wishes, Dave.

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Thanks Dave - I wasn't sure about how old it was.  It just seemed worth pointing out that one man had served his whole career with that particular number.  It's even worse with trying to identify men in the dockyard divisions (1st - 5th) as their helmet plates all had an anchor and the number but nothing to distinguish 2nd from 3rd division etc. 

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I suspect that PC Hayward was one of many who over the years completed their service in one division, retaining the same number. I imagine that it must be quite rewarding to put a name to a Met. man in an old photo as a result of tracing his number and division through records, AND narrowing it down to only one possible individual. But then given the size of the force and the turnover of men (particularly in the early days), such occasions must be few and far between. Insofar as the Dockyards are concerned I'm not sure whether each dock division maintained a separate numbering system or whether they were consecutively issued to cover all the Dockyards. In other words, was there a PC 30 at Chatham and another PC 30 at Devonport ? That said, unless you could ID the location then I guess that putting a name to the guy would be just as difficult for the reasons you mention.  

Dave.

Edited by Dave Wilkinson

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5 hours ago, Dave Wilkinson said:

Thank you for taking the time to look up the details of PC Hayward. The helmet plate depicted is in fact a Victorian version adorned with what is commonly known as a "Guelphic" Crown. That said, the Met. continued to wear it for several years after Victoria's death. The King's Crown version was approved by the Commissioner, Edward Henry on 2nd November 1906,and subsequently sealed by the Receiver's Office on that date. So, PC Hayward (joining in 1910) would have been issued with the King's Crown version. As you correctly say, divisional numbers were re-issued and a further potential complication is that in recent years collectors have "swopped about" divisional letters (and in some cases numbers) between different helmet plates. This has been done for a variety of reasons and as a result it is now almost impossible to say with any degree of certainty that a particular numbered helmet plate was worn by a particular man.   

Best wishes, Dave.

I am understanding this correctly, that the numbers and letters on these helmet plates are interchangeable? I had always assumed that they were cast, but having them interchangeable certainly makes more sense. 

 

Just out of interest, should I ever track one of these helmet plates down (I've never seen any for sale), how much should I look at paying for one? 

 

 

It's also interesting to learn that they continued to use the Victoria version after she'd died and didn't replace them straight away with a Kings Crown version.

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3 hours ago, bigjarofwasps said:

I am understanding this correctly, that the numbers and letters on these helmet plates are interchangeable? I had always assumed that they were cast, but having them interchangeable certainly makes more sense. 

 

Just out of interest, should I ever track one of these helmet plates down (I've never seen any for sale), how much should I look at paying for one? 

 

 

It's also interesting to learn that they continued to use the Victoria version after she'd died and didn't replace them straight away with a Kings Crown version.

The divisional letters and the numbers are indeed removable, and interchangeable between plates.

The King's Crown versions have been selling on the internet auction site for £200 plus. I've not seen a Victorian example offered for sale but I would imagine that it would attract quite a bit of interest and an appropriate hammer price. 

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In answer to Dave's query:

In other words, was there a PC 30 at Chatham and another PC 30 at Devonport ?

Yes the allocation of divisional numbers was managed by the divisions and not centrally - so technical at any one time there could have been an officer with the same number in all five divisions (1st - 5th). 

Note because 5th Div was very small the highest number in use there would have been around 40.  

1887 5th Div  1 Ch Insp  1 Insp  4 PSs  28 PCs

1897 5th Div  1 Ch Insp  1 Insp  4 PSs  28 PCs

1902 5th Div  1 Ch Insp  1 Insp  5 PSs  36 PCs

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19 hours ago, Dave Wilkinson said:

The divisional letters and the numbers are indeed removable, and interchangeable between plates.

The King's Crown versions have been selling on the internet auction site for £200 plus. I've not seen a Victorian example offered for sale but I would imagine that it would attract quite a bit of interest and an appropriate hammer price. 

Thanks Dave, that's very interesting. I'll keep my eyes open and report back if I come across any examples.

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The late Victorian/early Edwardian pattern plates can be found if you keep your eyes peeled - having been looking for one for some time now I am aware of about 4 or 5 that have been offered for sale over the last year or so. For some reason they tend to turn up at the smaller auction houses where I didn't learn about them until their online catalogue listings turn up on Google searches several weeks (if not months) after the fact...

A noticeable exception was one listed on Ebay at the end of April. The seller was in the US, and for some reason Ebay had told him the plate was a prohibited item to own in the UK - this is of course complete nonsense, since they have been obsolete since before the Great War! As a result the seller wouldn't ship directly to the UK and wouldn't be convinced otherwise, but after a lengthy conversation the seller agreed to let me bid on the grounds I would have it shipped to a friend-of-a-friend in the US, who would then forward it to me. End day came, and with a much lighter wallet I became the proud owner of the plate to 131 C :

http://postimg.org/image/k1fezhc9n/

Met_Police_plate_comparison.jpg

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