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by Hampshire Constabulary History Society

Foreword by Olivia Pinkney QPM, Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary.

At least 42 men from the Hampshire Constabulary and its constituent forces failed to return from the First World War. This book aims to explain how and why they died, and to record where they are buried or remembered.

In the early 1900s, the United Kingdom was a much different place to today. Society was more formal and structured, work was scarce and wages low. Families were large, and there was intense pressure on young men to leave home and seek employment to reduce the burden on their family. Many young men chose a military life, which offered secure employment, a steady income, a sense of adventure and the chance to visit distant and exotic parts of the British Empire, an opportunity not readily afforded to those who worked close to home.

At the end of their military service, scores of these young men sought similar occupations; those which would provide a regular income, offer a challenging lifestyle, and would recognise and value the character traits that military life instilled in them. Many chose to join one of the numerous Police forces in existence at that time; not necessarily in their hometowns, but often in towns or cities associated with their military service.

The declaration of war, in August 1914, saw a number of these young Policemen recalled to the “Colours” to meet the growing threat from German-led forces, believing that “it will all be over by Christmas”. How wrong they were. Despite a patriotic rush to enlist in 1914 and early 1915, the realities of war soon reached home as casualties mounted. Even after hostilities officially ceased, in November 1918, significant numbers succumbed to illness and injuries directly related to their war service.

Post-war, in towns, cities and villages across the nation, memorials were erected to honour their dead. However, in many cases, men who had left to join Police Forces elsewhere were not included as they were no longer considered residents. Similarly, they were not included on memorials in the towns they policed as, unlike today, they were not regarded as part of that community. As such, many Police officers are considered the ‘forgotten fallen’.

Police forces did, however, create their own memorials to commemorate fallen colleagues, several of which, sadly, have been lost over time due to Police force amalgamations and police station closures. Of those that remain, many are displayed behind closed doors, inaccessible to the public who are often unaware of the sacrifices made by Police officers during this crucial time in our history.

This book aims to ensure that the men of the Hampshire Constabulary and its constituent forces who did not return from war are no longer just names on our memorials, but remembered as they deserve to be. They are part of our Police family and should never be forgotten.

We Will Remember Them.


Published on the Blue Lamp Books imprint.

Vol II: 1939-45 is available now: pre-order to receive a limited edition numbered are signed copy.