A municipal police force was first formed in 1836 as a result of The Municipal Corporations Act 1835.

Due to the nature of Oxford City and the university, policing was initially a joint operation with the existing university constables. The council police force consisted of one superintendent, two inspectors and eight constables, covering from 4am to 9pm and the 17 university constables covering from 9pm to 4am.

The dual system was not efficient and was criticised by the Government Inspector of Constabulary and in 1869 under the Oxford Police Act 1869 a new force of one superintendent, two inspectors and 32 constables was formed administered by a committee made up of representatives from the council and the university. However it was not until 1889 that the corporate was given full control of the police force, which due to an extension of the city boundaries, was increased to a total establishment of 62.

In the 1911 census 12 single police officers were recorded as living in the city police stations, together with a caretaker and his family, plus, on the date of the census (Sunday 2 April 1911) three prisoners. A further five single police officers were living in 55 James Street, Oxford.

The early 1900s saw an increase in workload of the police force, especially in relation to use of the motor car. As a city police force, the chief constable was responsible for making recommendations connection with applications for electric trams and motor omnibus licensing, and the licensing of drivers and conductors, with similar responsibilities in respect of licensing of lodging houses and places selling intoxicating liquor.

Although a separate police force under the overall control of the Oxford City Watch Committee, the force was subject to annual government inspections by the Inspector of Constabulary, and also to nation legislation and government advice covering police forces.

By 1914 the force establishment of paid police officers had further increased to and all ranks establishment of 79.

On 4 August 1918 when war was declared six constables were immediately recalled to the Colours. To cover the absence of these officers and in anticipation of an increase in workload all rest days and annual leave were suspended.

From 1914, with the introduction of the Special Constabulary Act 1914, some members of the second police reserve were sworn in as Special Constables, which gave them the full powers of a constable within the borough of High Wycombe and the surrounding area.

In addition to the six constables recalled to the Colours, a sergeant and a constable responded to a request from the military to assist in drilling of new recruits. During the course of the war, a total of 32 officers were recalled to the Colours, or volunteered.

On 5 April 1917, Grace Costin a social worker was appointed the first police woman in the Oxford City police to assist in the increasing problem of prostitution and dealing with young children. On 21 December 1917 a further police woman, Elizabeth Saunders, was appointed. Although working as police women and in full uniform, the women did not have the powers of arrest of a police officer. These were not granted, nationally until 1941.

One constable who volunteered for military service was PC Harry Brockland, who joined the Royal Garrison Artillery. Harry survived the war and returned to the force, finally retiring in 1933. During his war service, he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for conspicuous gallantry and Military Medal (MM) on 12 December 1917 and a bar to the military medal on 11 December 1918.

Four officers were killed during the military action.

The four men who died were:

Albert George Taylor was born in Shabbington, Buckinghamshire in 1890.

He was one of eight children of Joseph and Maria Taylor. His father was employed as an agricultural labourer.

In the 1891 Census (Sunday 5 April 1891) the Taylor family, then with five children, were living in Crendon Road, Shabbington. At the time of the 1901 Census, the family, then with six youngest their children, had moved to Witneys Farm, Warpsgrove, near Thame in Oxfordshire. Joseph was employed as a stockman on the farm.

By the 1911 Census (Sunday 2 April 1911) the Taylor family had again moved to Ickford, near Thame. Only two children, including Albert who was 21, remained at home. Albert was employed as a bricklayer.

On 25 August 1911 Albert, aged 21, was appointed Police Constable 39 in the Oxford City Police.

In 1914 military tension was rising in Europe. On 4 August Germany invaded Belgium as a means of accessing and invading France. Due to Germany’s refusal to retreat from the invasion Britain had no option but to declare war on Germany, and The Great War, later also to be referred to as World War One, commenced.

Between October and December 1914 Albert married Hilda Jane Clifton in Headington, Oxford (registered Headington, Oxford 1914 Oct-Dec Volume 3A Page 2272).

Like many young men, Albert volunteered to serve in the military, and on 27 May 1915 he was released by the Chief Constable of the Oxford City Police, under the provisions of The Police (Emergency Provisions) Act 1915, for military service. He was appointed to 132nd Oxfordshire (Heavy) Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. This was the same unit that another volunteer police colleague; George Judd, had been appointed to ten days before.

Between July and September 1915 Hilda Taylor gave birth, in Oxford, to a son; Ronald G Taylor (registered Headington, Oxford 1915 Jul-Sep Volume 3A Page 1886).

On 1 October 1917 Sergeant 291926 Albert Taylor, aged 28, of 132nd Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison, Artillery was killed in action while serving in Belgium. He is remembered with honour and buried in grave reference VII.B.4 in The Huts Cemetery, Leper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

Charles Martin was born in 1881 in Astley, Warwickshire.

Details of his early life have not been traced through online research.

On 12 October 1903 Charles was appointed a Police Constable in the Oxford City Police.

In the 1911 Census (Sunday 2 April 1911) Charley (Charles), aged 30, is recorded as one of 11 police constables residing in Oxford City Police Rooms, Oxford.

In 1913 Charles married Daisy E Morris in Witney, Oxfordshire (recorded Witney, Oxfordshire 1913 Apr-June Volume 3A Page 1937).

In 1914 military tension was rising in Europe. On 4 August Germany invaded Belgium as a means of accessing and invading France. Due to Germany’s refusal to retreat from the invasion Britain had no option but to declare war on Germany, and The Great War, later also to be referred to as World War One, commenced.

Although in his mid-30s, Charles was within the age bracket of people who were asked to volunteer to serve in the army, which he did. He volunteered and was released, as several of his police colleagues by the Chief Constable of Oxford City Police under the provisions of The Police (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1915 for military service. He was enlisted into the Royal Garrison Artillery.

In May 1917 Corporal 291924, Charles Martin, of the 132nd (Oxford) Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, was wounded while in action and on 15 May 1917 he died from his wounds.

He is buried and remembered with honour in grave reference K.14 in the Athies Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas de Calais, France.

Edward John Collett was born in 1885 in Appleford, which was then in the county of Berkshire, but since county boundary changes in 1974, is now within the county of Oxfordshire. He was the eldest of ten children of James and Sarah Collett.

In the 1891 Census (Sunday 5 April 1891) the Collett family, then with three sons, lived in Church Street, Appleford, and James was employed as a groom and gardener. The family remain living in Church Street, Appleford at the time of the 1901 Census (Sunday 31 March 1901). The family then consisted of seven children and Edward, then 15 years old, was employed as a teamster on a farm.

On 10 July 1908 Edward, aged 23, was appointed Police Constable 66 in the Oxford City Police Force.

In the 1911 Census (Sunday 2 April 1911) Edward was 25 years old and was a Police Constable in Oxford City Police, living in police accommodation at 55 James Street, Oxford. His parents, were still living in Appleford with six children remaining at home.

In 1914 military tension was rising in Europe. On 4 August Germany invaded Belgium as a means of accessing and invading France. Due to Germany’s refusal to retreat from the invasion Britain had no option but to declare war on Germany, and The Great War, later also to be referred to as World War One, commenced.

Like many young men Edward volunteered for service in the military. In 1914 to enable a police officer to join the army he needed to first resign from the police force and on 5 September 1914 Edward resigned from the Oxford City Police and was appointed to 5th Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

In 1915 The Police (Emergency Provisions) Act 1915 was introduced which enabled police officers, with the approval of their Chief Constable, to be released from their police force, with the understanding that on completion of their war service they would return to their police force, and their war service would count as police service. In cases where police constables had already resigned to join the military, Chief Constables retrospectively applied the Act to them, so Edward remained as a member of Oxford City Police during the duration of his military service.

In May 1915 the 5th Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry was mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne, France on 21 May 1915.

Between January and March 1916, while on home leave, Edward married Rose Elizabeth Geary in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire (registered Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire 1916 Jan-Mar volume 6A page 885).

By the time of the First Battle of the Scarpe, in France, Edward was Sergeant 12748 in 'C' Company of 5th Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, and as a result of wounds received, he died, at the age of 31, on 1 May 1917.

Edward is remembered with honour in the Warlincourt Halte British Cemetery, Saulty, Pas de Calais, France, where he is buried in grave reference IX F 11.

After his death in late 1916, John and Rose’s son, Philip E G Collett, was born (registered Bedford, Bedfordshire 1917 Oct-Dec volume 3B page 383). He never saw his father.

George Gibbard Judd was born in Brackley, Northamptonshire, in 1888. He was one of five children of George Goodwin Judd and Emily Judd.

In the 1891 Census (Sunday 5 April 1891) the Judd family, with three children, were living in Banbury Road, Brackley. George was the second eldest, and the eldest son. George (Snr) was employed as a haggler, who was a person going from door to door selling goods, also classed as a pedlar.

In the 1901 Census (Sunday 31 March 1901) the Judd family, with George (Jnr) now 13 years old, were still living in Banbury Road, Brackley with all their five children. George (Snr) was employed as a carter.

On 3 October 1910, at the age of 22, George was appointed a Police Constable 44 in the Oxford City Police.

In the 1911 Census (Sunday 2 April 1911) George was living in the City Police Rooms in Oxford. His family had moved to 49 Nelson Street, Buckingham, and George (Snr) was still employed as a carter.

In 1914 military tension was rising in Europe. On 4 August Germany invaded Belgium as a means of accessing and invading France. Due to Germany’s refusal to retreat from the invasion Britain had no option but to declare war on Germany, and the Great War, later also to be referred to as World War One, commenced.

Like many young men, George volunteered to serve in the military, and on 17 May 1915 he was released from the Oxford City Police under the provisions of The Police (Emergency Provisions) Act 1915 for military service. He was appointed to 132nd Oxfordshire (Heavy) Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.

On 12 June 1915 George married Elisa Fanny Payne in Summertown, Oxford (registered Headington 1915 Apr-June Volume 3A Page 2764). They lived in 2 Wood Street, St Ebbs, Oxford.

George was promoted to Corporal in the 132nd Battery on 8 September 1915 and Acting Sergeant on 11 July 1916.

In July 1916 the 129th Howitzer Battery of The Royal Garrison Artillery was formed and George, by then a full Sergeant, was transferred to the 129th Howitzer Battery on 30 October 1917.

On 8 May 1918 Sergeant 291929 George Judd, of 129th Howitzer Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, was killed in action. He is buried and is remembered with honour in grave reference D.43 in Couin New British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. For his actions, possibly leading to the action in which he was killed, George was awarded the Medaille Militaire, a French medal.

Information on this page found and verified from researching archived police records and newspapers plus from entries on the following websites: Find My Past, Ancestry, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Forces-war-records.