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Hello

I have attached a photograph a detachment of the Devonport Borough Police, in 1913. (This detachment had helped police the Cornish china clay strike.) The sergeant is my great grandfather, David Moore (1868 -1917).

May I ask: what is the badge on his chest? I know he was awarded a Merit Badge for meritorious conduct, when a PC in 1900; but I have been given to understand that these merit badges were typically of cloth, and worn on the cuff. But he doesn't appear to have anything on his cuff! So I'd be grateful for a steer here.

All of these policemen wear a different badge on their right upper-arm. This would appear to be a red cross badge, similar to that worn by the RAMC. Is  that what this is?

All of the policemen wear a round device on their shoulder. Again, I would be grateful to learn what this is.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

Kevin

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Kevin,

The badge on his chest is Devonport's version of the Merit badge. Contrary to what you have been told not all merit badges were of a fabric manufacture, nor where they all worn on the arm. Each force that awarded merit badges (not all did) decided upon the design, style of manufacture and where it was to be worn. The badge on the arm is a first aid badge (generic). The badges on the shoulder are not in fact circular but are "eye" shaped. The merit badge and the shoulder badge are depicted in the attached photo. I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes, Dave.

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Dave

That's enourmously helpful! In fact, it's answered all of my questions - thank you very much indeed.

I've attached a photograph of the Demport Police in 1910 (Sgt Moore far right, I think). At this time the policemen wear nothing on their shoulders - it would seem that on their collars they wear: the 'eye' shape badge; their division letter; their number; the Crown. 

Thanks again for your help.

 

Kevin

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Kevin,

The first photo you showed (with your Great Grandfather on) depicts the men wearing "summer" uniform with epaulettes. They are without belts and the helmet is of a lightweight pattern. The jacket and trousers would also have been of a thinner material. The second photo depicts the men wearing a heavy winter uniform and helmet. As an aside, the merit badge which I have has a silver hallmark for 1914. This is the year the Devonport force amalgamated with the neighbouring Plymouth City Police.

Dave.   

12 minutes ago, Kevin Ross said:

P.S.

Dave - may I ask, why are the 'eye' badges of different colours? The helmet badge and buttons seem to me to be of different hue because of age? - but the 'eye' badges by design. 

Kevin

Kevin,

The "bright" badges and buckle are in German silver (white metal). The items to the right are are brass/gilt. The top right collar/epaulette badge is in bright gilt and may have been worn by a senior officer. The different metals are probably from an earlier (brass) period and a later (white metal) period.  Hope this is helpful.

Dave. 

Edited by Dave Wilkinson
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Thanks again Dave. I have long wondered why the Force is shown in different photographs wearing different pattern helmets.

I hope you find the attached interesting. "Miss Lily Moore'" is my grandmother; she died in 1992, aged 90. 'Mayon-cottage' is the house where she and my father were born, and in which I grew up.

I think I'm right in saying that the Devonport Borough Police (and 'H' Division of the Devon Constabulary, who policed Stonehouse) amalgamated with the Plymouth Borough Police in 1914. The Force became the Plymouth City Police in 1928, when Plymouth acquired City status. 

Kevin

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Kevin,

Many thanks for the news cutting. Very interesting. The Metropolitan Police who attended the funeral were almost certainly from Devonport Dockyard which at that time would have been a Metropolitan Police responsibility. Yes, you are correct with your information regarding "H" division and the transition of "Borough" to "City". Several years ago there was a very good book published called "Policing the Peninsula" by Simon Dell. It covers the history of Westcountry policing from 1850 - 2000. Some excellent photos of Devonport Police.

Dave.

 

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Thank you for the recommendation Dave - I'll order this book today.

Two (of six!) of David Moore's sons had police careers: Sydney followed his father into the Devonport, then the Plymouth force - he became a sergeant; Frederick joined the Metropolitan police (in London, not the Yard!) and became a first class Detective Sergeant. 

But I think of more interest to members of this forum would be David's brother, Frederick Albert Victor Moore (1864-1944). He served in the (London) Metropolitan police, and features in this 2006 ''Guardian'  article:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2006/mar/03/arts.artsnews1

I've attached a photograph.

 

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10 minutes ago, Dave Wilkinson said:

 

If you have difficulty in getting hold of Simon Dell's book, let me know. I have a spare copy.

Dave.

Thanks Dave.

I've attached a photograph of Uncle Sid (Sydney Moore, born 1892); and two of Uncle Fred (Frederick Moore, born 1893), one as a PC and one (direct from Central Casting!) as a Detective Sergeant:

Kevin

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Kevin,

Uncle Sid appears to have the Plymouth City Police long service medal. Det. Sgt. Fred looks a cool dude! All things considered, the family must, between them, have been awarded quite a few medals. Have any of them survived (the medals I mean)?

Dave.  

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I did intend to ask about the medals. Uncle Sid served in the Royal Garrison Artillery during the First war - so that would be the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. You have explained the third - thanks. But why is he wearing it on his right? 

Uncle Fred was in a Reserved Occupation during that war - he was a shipwright at the Yard. So, he is wearing no medals in the PC photograph. But he was given the attached certificate.

Alas, I have no idea where these medals might be. I do have Sgt David Moore's wooden truncheon, however!

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Kevin,

The Plymouth City Police long service medal was awarded by the Watch Committee of Plymouth Corporation. Medals awarded other than by the Sovereign are worn on the wearers right side (left as you are looking at him). Its a shame that the medals were not kept in the family. Presumably, your Great Granddad's Merit Badge is missing also. I assume they have been either "lost" or sold. Unless a relative has them tucked away somewhere.

Dave.

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Thank you Dave - that explains that one.

I would guess that the First war medals were handed down in the direct line, and are held by one of Sid's grandchildren.

The Merit Badge is indeed missing. When Sgt Moore's truncheon came to me, it came with a Police whistle. I assumed this belonged to Sgt Moore as well, but no: it belonged to my grandfather George Ross, who served in the RAF Police during the Second war. 

So Sgt Moore's whistle is amongst the missing.

Kevin

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Kevin,

Not much consolation, but the whistles issued to Plymouth Police were marked "Plymouth Constabulary" so if it turns up you will know it for what it is. A number forces simply issued generic versions marked "Metropolitan". Good luck with any further research you do.

Best wishes, Dave.

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Dave, you have been very helpful with this, for which assistance I am very grateful. May I try your patience one last time?

You have explained that the policemen in the 1913 'China clay strike' photograph are in summer uniform, with the lightweight helmet; whereas the photograph in post #3 shows the winter uniform and helmet.

The post #3 photograph is of the 1910 George V proclamation parade: the wider, uncropped photograph includes soldiers in full dress, wearing greatcoats. So the policemen will be wearing their finest.

The attached is, I understand, from 1914. Here the helmets are of a third, more elaborate  pattern, with what seems to be a 'pickelhaube' spike. Is this simply a later helmet? 

Thanks again for your help.

Kevin

 

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Kevin,

Although the force only used one pattern of badge throughout its existence, this badge was used on a number of different patterns of helmet over the years. The final type worn was the ornate version you mention. At one time, instead of wearing a helmet during the summer months they utilised a peaked kepi. A photo depicting this type of headgear is shown the the "Policing the Peninsula" book. In the 1914 group photo you show, it can be seen that they are wearing the large belt plate depicted on the photo of the badges etc which I posted earlier. I hope this is helpful.

Dave.

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Kevin and Dave,

A very interesting and informative thread, thanks very much to you both.

Kevin, sorry to be a pain, but if you get a chance can you show an enlargement of the seated Officers in the last Photograph. Would like to see the caps and Helmet being worn if that's possible.

Thanks again Simon

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Here you are Simon - I hope this is what you're after. I've also attached the Chief Constable from the 1910 proclamation parade photograph. I find the quasi-miliitary look very interesting. (I have been told that, although it appears that his jacket and trousers were of different colours, this is not the case. His uniform would have been uniformly blue - monochrome photographs show colour very poorly, apparently).

The Chief Constable was called John Henderson Watson. After the 1914  amalgamation he became Chief Constable of the Bristol Constabulary, was investigated for corruption, suffered a breakdown, and committed suicide. A very sad end to a distinguished career.

Kevin

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