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Remembering the sacrifices of our WW1 veterans

As Remembrance Day approaches to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War here at Bedfordshire Police we have been remembering our 22 officers who made the ultimate sacrifice and died during the war and the additional 168 who also saw Military Service during that conflict.

As Remembrance Day approaches to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War here at Bedfordshire Police we have been remembering our 22 officers who made the ultimate sacrifice and died during the war and the additional 168 who also saw Military Service during that conflict.

The Bedfordshire Police Museum has set up a special exhibition at Police Headquarters in Kempston and a (invitation only) service is being held at St. Pauls Church, Bedford on November 25th to mark the sacrifice of those who fell and commemorate all who served. If anyone wishes to attend the event email k375jackson@btinternet.com with details of the number of invitations desired together with a postal address.

I have been trying to trace relatives of the men who left the constabulary to serve with the armed forces to invite them to the event.  Thanks to the valuable assistance of some retired colleagues I have been able to put together an archive of many of the men we will be commemorating and the descendants of several of those men will be joining us on the 25th 

There were 12 regular officers and 10 special constables who died in the war.

While our knowledge of many of the men we are remembering has increased significantly over recent months, a few sadly remain a mystery. One of those of whom we now know considerably more about is PC Edmund Wressell Kirk, who was born in Cambridge, joined the Irish Guards in 1906 and then joined Bedfordshire Police in 1913 and was posted to Woburn on the Leighton Buzzard Division. PC Kirk remained as an Army Reservist and was recalled in 1914, promoted immediately to the rank of Sergeant, he died of wounds at No.14 General Military Hospital in Boulogne on 18 November 1914.

We also identified PC Thomas Pickin, who was another Beds Constabulary casualty, who served with the Coldstream Guards and was killed in action on 27 November 1917.

I think it's important to pay our respects and remember those who fought for our freedoms and celebrate our heroes. 

Our Beds, Herts and Cambs Road Policing Unit is also featuring a poppy on all of their marked patrol vehicles in the build-up to the centennial Remembrance Sunday.

The idea was put forward by PC Mark Fairclough and Joint Protective Services ACC Paul Fullwood, both of whom served with HM forces before joining the police.

ACC Fullwood, who leads the unit, said: “I am proud to support the Remembrance Day with this gesture. This is certainly not a glorification of war. We will be supporting the Royal British Legion poppy appeal as we show our respects on this momentous anniversary.” 

Here is the full list of officers who served:

  • PC George Stephen Babbington
  • PC William Dean
  • PC Henry William Gordon
  • Edmund Wressell Kirk
  • PC Francis Joseph McCartie - died at home of TB contracted during War Service (buried in Kempston Cemetery)
  • PC James Norman
  • PC Charles Herbert Pedley
  • PC Walter Frederick Surridge
  • PC William Byron - died at home in 1920 as result of injuries sustained during War
  • PC James Chandler - died in Germany (Army of Occupation) 26.12.1919 during the 'flu epidemic
  • Charles Harold Slade

Special Constabulary:

  • Charles W. Cooper
  • William Freeman
  • Cecil Henry Green
  • Albert Henley
  • Ralph Neale
  • Fredrick Robert Richmond
  • William James Roberts
  • Frederick Joseph Rolls
  • Frederic Baron Tanqueray
  • Thomas LLewellwyn Vaughan

The museum is open to the public via prior appointment by emailing keith.jackson9159@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk

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