Appreciative gifts to Chief Constable

Peace Day police 1919

[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: August 2nd, 1919]

Just before the magistrates adjourned for lunch in yesterday's riot proceedings, a very interesting ceremony was performed by the Town Clerk, who, on behalf of the police drafted into the town during the recent troubles, presented Chief Constable Griffin with a handsome walking stick and framed photographs, in appreciation of his efforts to secure fore them the maximum amount of comfort during their stay here.

Insp Wright, immediately before the adjournment, was introduced to the Town Clerk by Insp Janes, and asked him, on behalf of the united Police Forces which had performed duties during the recent riot to present a stick and photographs to Chief Constable Griffin as a mark of their appreciation for all that he had done for them since they had been here. Chief Constable Griffin, he said, had done everything possible, in the circumstances of which the Town Clerk was fully aware, in securing for them the maximum amount of comfort.

The Town Clerk, in making the presentation, said it was exceedingly gratifying that the men who had been brought into the town during the times of its adversity had thought it most desirable to co-operate with the members of the Chief Constable's own Force in giving him that permanent record of the “Peace Celebrations” in Luton. The Force depicted in the photograph and some of the members appeared with their heads bandaged.

In addition to the very large group of the united Forces, smaller photographs of the members who, for various reasons were unable to be included in the grand group, were also handed to the Chief Constable by the Town Clerk. There were also separate framed photographs of the Beds County Constabulary and of the St Albans City Police.

“We, as individual residents of the town are very grateful to all these men who have been withdrawn from their homes and usual surroundings to come to Luton at a time when Luton was not very well able to take care of itself,” said the Town Clerk. “I wish to express to each of you individually, as well as to all collectively, my personal appreciation of all you have done and all you have put up with whilst you have been in Luton.”

He did not think, however, that the had much to grumble about because Chief Constable Griffin, notwithstanding the great difficulties and mental strain of the time in dealing with the position of affairs, had been able to see that every man had been properly accommodated.

He took the present expression of appreciation as meaning that the visiting police would take away with them at least one pleasant memory of Luton's unhappy incidents.

The Chief Constable, in expressing his thanks to the members of the Forces, said he could assure them he appreciated very highly indeed their expression of appreciation of what he had been able to do for them, and the gifts would certainly always be held among his most valued treasures. He would like to mention that he had also received gifts from the Bedford and Cambridge Borough Forces.

It had been a very arduous and anxious time for everyone concerned, and he was very pleased to know that his efforts on their behalf had been appreciated.

He was essentially a policeman. He had risen from the ranks and he knew the difficulties and discomforts they all had to contend with on duty in such times as they had just experienced. In putting the men here, he fully realised the seriousness of the position, but he remembered his former experience of similar happenings, and resolved that while every man should do hit duty, he should, at the same time, get every comfort it was possible to have.

He was not concerned with he expense, but he was determined that every one of them should be housed as comfortably as possible. He had found them all “a splendid lot of fellows” and on no occasion had he had to find fault with any one. They had all done their duty splendidly and there had not been a cross word during the whole times the Forces had been together.

It had been the grandest thing that had ever happened to the Luton Force, not in that the riots had occurred, but in the fact that the members of the Luton Force had had an opportunity of mixing with members of outside forces. Such a thing always tended towards a more efficient police service. Again he thanked them all.

[The picture above fits the description of the large photograph presented to Chief Constable Griffin in 1919. It is from T. J. Madigan's 1993 book The Men Who Wore Straw Helmets (The Book Castle).]