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Is this a Police Officer?

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Is this a Police Officer?

Postby eurogordi » Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:53 am

Some time ago I loaded a picture of William Lilley, my father-in-law's grandfather, which I believed was taken around 1870. Based on what my father-in-law remembers (he is now 92 and his grandfather died 20 years before he was born), William Lilley was a fireman - and someone replied to my original posting that this was probably correct!

However, even though I still cannot locate William Lilley in 1871, I have finally tracked him down in 1861 where he is a Police Constable in the Hampshire Constabulary. I have now found a copy of his Police Service Record at the Hampshire Record Office, so am now wondering if this picture, reloaded below, shows an early Police uniform.

William Lilley was only a Police Constable for a little over 15 months, and it is sheer luck that this coincided with a census year - otherwise I may never have found this out. Now I just need to know if the photo is likely to date from 1861 and whether it is an early Police uniform ... or was William Lilley somewhere else in 1871 as a Fireman!!

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RE: Is this a Police Officer?

Postby paulberyl » Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:33 am

Hi Eurogordi,

The Hampshire Constabulary History Society have a website at [link=][/link]

This has a page on helmets and I have to say that the helmet worn by your ancestor does not look like any of the helmets shown. Also up until around 1864 many Police Officers wore top hats rather than the now traditional style of helmet.

However I am attaching a photograph of a Victorian Brass Fireman's helmet, which does look very similar to the helmet worn by your ancestor. My money would be on him being a fireman at the time the photograph was taken.


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RE: Is this a Police Officer?

Postby eurogordi » Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:13 pm

Thanks Paul. I've contacted the Hampshire Constabulary History Society and they have advised me that the helmet shown in my photograph was indeed used by Hampshire Constabulary at the time William Lilley was a Police Constable (1860). Although similar to a Fireman's helmet, it was also used by parts of the British Army and, as many Sergeants and above were ex-Army, they were happy for the helmets to be worn.
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RE: Is this a Police Officer?

Postby » Wed May 07, 2008 10:40 pm


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