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First World War

Members of the North Riding Constabulary were called up to serve their country in the First World War.

On the outbreak of the First World War, eleven members of the North Riding Constabulary were called up from the Reserve – ten to the Army and one to the Navy. On 8 November 1914, PC Vickerman, serving with the Grenadier Guards, was killed in action.

Three others by that time had been wounded, PC Wood of Ainderby Steeple, PC Keown of Malton and PC Potter of Whitby. Two of them had recovered and returned to the front and the other was still convalescent.

These were the first of 88 members of the force who were eventually to go into the Services before the war ended. This memorial commemorates those who lost their lives:

First World War

In October 1914, the Standing Joint Committee received a letter from the War Office requesting the release of Chief Constable Major Robert Lister Bower CMG for important military work overseas. He served in France from October 1914 to February 1916.

During the First World War the North Riding of Yorkshire, like the rest of the country, suffered intermittent bombardment from the air, mainly from German zeppelins, and in addition, there was an isolated bombardment of Whitby by German warships. Special Constables were called out and proved a great help during raid alerts.

Download: The Ultimate Sacrifice in the Great War

Sometimes their duties were livened up by enemy aircraft and one such incident resulted in an account for £55 being laid before the Police Authority in July 1916, for damage done to a motor car. It seems that a Special Constable was carrying a War Office message from Easingwold to Shipton by car during an air raid, when a searchlight from a zeppelin shone on the windscreen of the car, causing the driver to misjudge a sharp turn in the road and crash.

This text on this page is reproduced from the book “The First Hundred Years of the North Riding of Yorkshire Constabulary”, first published in 1956