A Sussex Policeman Part 2

In Part 1 I told the story of PC Llewellyn TESTER (1883-1943) who came into contact with my Brighton forebears in 1912.  He was in the Brighton Police Force from 1904 to 1930 but was not the only member of his family to be a policeman:

1 Charles TESTER (1849-1914) was Llewellyn’s father.

He was baptised at Balcombe in 1848, one of at least four children to William & Mary TESTER.  William was a labourer and by 1871 the family were in Ardingly.  Charles was also a labourer but after marrying Harriet TESTER (not obviously related) at Ardingly in 1872 he joined the East Sussex Constabulary on 9 Feb 1875.  They moved to Mayfield and then to Eastbourne in the late 1880s.  By 1890 they had had ten children.  The personnel registers for the East Sussex Constabulary are much less detailed than those for Brighton and the only other thing I know about his police career is that he retired on 8 Feb 1900 after 25 years service.  His pension was £46 17s 4d per annum.  With Harriet he moved back to Mayfield where he was the foreman on a farm.  Harriet died at Brighton in 1912 and Charles at Chiddingly in 1914.

2 Henry HOLLINGDALE (1853-1918) was Llewellyn’s father-in-law.

Llewellyn TESTER’s wife was Ellen HOLLINGDALE, one of fourteen children of Henry HOLLINGDALE & Ruth WHITEWOOD.  Henry was from Rodmell and Ruth from Benenden in Kent.  They married at Brighton in 1878 and spent the rest of their lives there.  Henry was a shepherd at Rodmell before he moved to Brighton and joined the Brighton Borough Constabulary on 23 Sep 1875.  Just four months after his marriage he was promoted to Police Constable 2nd Class and in 1880 to Police Constable 1st Class.  Like Charles TESTER he retired from the Brighton Police after 25 years service (on 26 Dec 1900).  His pension was £51 11s 8d per annum. Henry died in 1918 and Ruth in 1922.

3 Maurice Leonard TESTER (1911-1934) was Llewellyn’s youngest son.

He was a constable with the Chesterfield Borough Police.  After working in Brighton he joined the police on 7 May 1933.  Later that year, on 8 Sept, he was sworn in as a police constable in the Chesterfield Borough Force.  Less than a year later he was on holiday in Sussex and was staying with his parents at Haywards Heath.  At about 3.30 pm on Thursday 31 May, whilst riding a motor-cycle over Ditchling Common, he collided with one of three cows that were crossing the road near Hallett’s Corner.   He was thrown from his motor-cycle and hit his head on the kerb.   He died the next day at Haywards Heath Hospital.

The Inquest was held at the Sergison Arms Hotel, Haywards Heath, on Tuesday 05 June.  His father stated that Maurice was perfectly healthy, was a good rider, and had been using the Haywards Heath road across Ditchling Common twice a day.  The Police Constable who attended the scene, PC HUNT, stated that the cattle were put out on the Common by people who had grazing rights.

There were two witnesses to the accident who had slightly different viewpoints.  The first, William FORD (of Burgess Hill), stated that the deceased was travelling quite slowly and hit the first heifer.  The second, Albert William REYNOLDS (a lorry driver from Brighton), said that the deceased was travelling at a fair speed and attempted to go between the first and second cows but hit the second one.  There was much talk about where the southern boundary of Ditchling Common was.  The accident happened almost opposite a sign warning drivers about the presence of cattle.  The Jury returned a verdict of “Accidental death” and added a rider to the effect that the entrance and exit of the Common at the south end should be indicated by gates and a warning notice.

As with the death of his father in 1943 details of the accident, inquest & funeral can be found in the Mid-Sussex Times.

4 Bernard Llewellyn TESTER (1908-1995) was Llewellyn’s oldest son.

I do not know where, or when, Bernard joined the police.  But in the Mid-Sussex Times of 5 June 1934, as part of the report into the death of his brother Maurice, it was stated that Bernard was “a Sergeant in the Norwich City Police who is shortly to marry the policewoman attached to that force”.  This was at a time of general apathy to women in the police and it was down to the local authority to decide if they employed women.  By 1936 there were only 175 women police officers in the whole of England & Wales.

Bernard married Lucy May EVANS at Norwich in 1936 and they spent the rest of their lives there.  Lucy was born at Ebbw Vale in Wales in 1905.  Her father was Frances John EVANS and, guess what, he was a Police Constable!

The Mid-Sussex Times of 7 Apr 1943 reported the death of his father, Llewellyn, at Haywards Heath.  It stated that Bernard was an Inspector in the Norwich Police Force who had just been appointed as the ARP (Air Raid Precaution) Controller for Norwich.


Part 1