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Remembered Today:

Do you know where the Uniform and Cap badge is from?


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Hi, the photo is of my great great grandfather, George Powell.  We know he was in the Military Police and we think this photo was taken during the WWI.  He came from the Plaistow, East end of London.  I'd be grateful if anyone could shed some light on this mystery for my family.

George Powell M Police WWI.jpeg

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Michelle Young

Welcome to the forum. To me it looks like a civilian police uniform. I await the experts.

Michelle 

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46 minutes ago, Michelle Young said:

Welcome to the forum. To me it looks like a civilian police uniform. I await the experts.

Michelle 

Hi, we did find a little bit of info, he was actually in the Metropolitan Police 1914 based in Newham K Division. Not in the Military Police, which my Uncle thought. There’s a memorial in Forest Gate to the men in K Division who served during the war. Great Great Grandpa Powell (photo) survived into old age as I’ve another photo of him much older. 

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I imagine there was nothing preventing him from joining the MP post1914.

Do you have anything to suggest that he served in the war whether that be police or otherwise?

 

Simon

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5 hours ago, MBurlinson said:

Hi, the photo is of my great great grandfather, George Powell.  We know he was in the Military Police and we think this photo was taken during the WWI.  He came from the Plaistow, East end of London.

 

Hi,

 

Any idea when the picture was taken? I'm struggling to find a George Powell connected to the Metropolitan Police Force and Plaistow on the 1911 Census of England & Wales. There is however a 43 year old George Alfred Powell, a Metropolitan Police Constable who was born Poplar, London. He was recorded as the married head of the household at 26 Parkfield Road, Willesden. Wife was Mary Ann and three of their four children were still living with them. Is that the right man?

 

Cheers,

Peter

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Andrew Upton

The man in the photo is not a regular PC in the Metropolitan Police though, but a Special Constable c.1915/16 - he is primarily identifiable as such by the crowned SC badge visible alongside his division identification letter of K (for Stepney as identified above) that was worn either side of his collar, but also through his peaked cap (instead of the cork helmet used by regular PC's) with the crowned Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary badge in bronze, plus the Duty Armlet being worn on the upper left arm (worn by regular PC's on the lower left arm) - the latter was a hang-over from wearing the armlet in civvies and after issue of uniform became more widespread it did eventually move to the same position as the regulars and is generally a good indicator of a slightly earlier date:

 

image.jpeg.958e6a5013178174d67afb2794f22f67.jpeg

 

WW1 Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary Constable's Cap Lapel Badge

 

WW1 Metropolitan Special Constabulary Police Cap With Cap Badge to J.  Compton Al- Gunstar

 

 

 

Edited by Andrew Upton
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Through police sources we’ve since found out that K was given to the Met Police Division of Newham and George was from Plaistow, district of West Ham as it was known then. We found a WWI memorial to K Division based in Forest Gate dedicated to all the men from Newham that served, plus I spoke to a K Division retired Police officer who was stationed at Forest Gate and told me they’re still K Division in Newham, his daughter serves in West Ham. We also discovered 350 were also conscripted as drill sergeants to train army personnel during WWI which we found out from a bonafide Military history website, my Uncle insists that he was part of that.  George Powell’s wife was called Alice, they had one daughter my great gran Alice, later she married Harry Sharman. Harry was a Sergeant in the Royal Engineers at the Royal Artillery in Woolwhich - I found his war records from WWI.  There’s photo of Harry and Alice below. We know so much about Harry and Alice but not very much about Alice’s father George Powell.

F666A8C2-E9EE-4816-81BE-EC006FB69A32.jpeg

B3385A6F-271D-4994-B916-2CB8877BEDC0.jpeg

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Harry has the cap badge of the Essex Regiment rather than Royal Engineers.  Also had he been a sergeant of the RE he would have had a grenade arm badge above his stripes.

8F05A908-62EA-486F-BE5B-DF496A2C2D7A.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Toontraveller

Hi, As far as I can ascertain there is only one PC Powell from K Division who served during the First World War .

 

He was PC 388 K Div. Fred Powell And his warrant number was 104 984 .

 

He  joined the Armed Services on 11/12 January 1917 and survived the War. Joined the MPS on 29.3.1915 and left the MPS 7.4.1940 as a PC on K Division.(TNA data) 

 

 I suspect your GreatGreat Grandfather was a Metroplitan Police Special based on the excellent advice of Andrew Upton who recognised the uniform and badges and there being only one PC Powell from K Div who joined the armed service.

Recruitment of Special Constables at that time was huge, to backfill large amounts of Full time Officers who served during the War.

 

Newham is still part of K Division.

 

The Police Memorial Stone mentioned lists the fallen Officers From K Division and not all who served from K Division .
 

Hope this helps.

 

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Toontraveller

Hi, also should have mentionedIn my other post m  at the start of the War  was a request from the Military To Police Forces for drill instructors .

 

At the beginning of the War there were at least a dozen full time Metropolitan Police Officers seconded to assist as drill instructors  for the Military, other Police  Forces provided them as well.

A lot of the drill instructors joined or remained with their Regiments and went off to War .

Your post prompted me to find a book “The Specials - How they served London “ The Story of The Metropolitan Constabulary Colonel by W.T Reay published in 1920 which explains the role the Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary  played during the First World War.
 

Thee is mention in the book of how seriously the Specials adopted drill instruction . there was a Force wide Director of Drill and a manual of drill issued which applied the platoon principals of modern infantry movement. there was also  designated Divisional Drill Instructors and assessments, as well as inter Divisional Drill competition. ( Who have have known!,) 

 

It may be your Great Great Grandfather was part of this group of Drill instructors?

 

 

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Toontraveller

Hi, good evening.

 

i had a quick look in the book mentioned above, which confirms K Division had Special Constabulary units established at Limehouse( HQ For K Div. Specials) , Poplar, East Ham, West Ham , Forest Gate, Plaistow, Canning Town, North Woolwich, Ilford , Barking, Chadwell Heath and the Isle of Dog’s which fits in with the photograph and home location of Plaistow .
 

You do not mention when he joined the Military Police ,  Thousands of Specials in London would go onto serve in the Armed Service’s,  so may have gone onto serve after volunteering as a Special .
 

I have read previously (can not remember where) that on occasion retired soldiers assisted local new Territorial units which were  just being raised  as Drill Instructors to train  new recruits at the start of the recruitment phase for the new Territorial Battalions but may have not actually been part of their strength, so record of assisting/ helping may not be formally recorded.

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