The Mallard family – brothers and cousins in the Gloucestershire Constabulary
Four members of the Mallard family were Gloucestershire Constables at various times between 1882 and 1912. The police records, together with census and newspaper records, allow us to see something of their lives.
Charles Mallard was born in Holwell Oxfordshire in June 1860. In 1871 his family had moved to Lower Swell and Charles was working as a plough boy.
On 23 December 1879 Charles, then aged 19, joined the Gloucestershire Police force, his record give his previous occupation as a labourer, and his height was 5 feet 10 inches. On joining he agreed to pay 4 shillings if he resigned so that his uniform could be altered for its next wearer.
From the 1881 census and court reports in the Citizen we know Charles was a policeman in Cheltenham.
On 9 November 1880 Charles was joined in in the Gloucestershire Constabulary by his 18 year old younger brother John. In the 1881 census they are both listed as living at the Police Station in Crescent Place – together with 23 other constables, 4 sergeants, 2 inspectors and the superintendent. The families of the inspectors and the superintendent also lived in the police station.
After just over 3 years service, Charles resigned from the Police. He emigrated to Australia and arrived in Sydney on 26 December 1883.
Charles initially worked as a labourer in Sydney but then joined the New South Wales Police Force on 3 October 1884. His records mention his English police experience and also his height, now 5 feet 11 inches. In 1899 he was promoted to senior constable and was paid approximately £2.5s a week.
Charles spent the rest of his life as a policeman in metropolitan Sydney. Local newspapers describe some of his adventures including the rescue of several people from a gas filled building. For this bravery he was awarded a Royal Humane Society silver medal. He was promoted to sergeant in 1914.
Charles died in 1918 aged 58.
Meanwhile John Mallard had left the Gloucestershire force in July 1884, after 3 years service. When he married in 1891 his occupation was recorded as a Great Northern Railway policeman based in London. He remained a member of the GNR Police with service in Yorkshire and Manchester until his sudden death in 1911 aged 48 whilst on duty. By then he had been promoted to Inspector.
A third Mallard brother, James, was also a Gloucestershire Policeman, joining in January 1894. James remained in the force as a constable until his ill heath retirement in 1912 aged 41. The records show that his health deteriorated from 1904 with increasingly long periods of absence. He was reluctant to retire, appealing to the Chief Constable and going for a second medical opinion. After retirement he was awarded an ill heath pension of £1.16s 9d / month. This was calculated (based on the years he worked) at 18/60 of his final wage.
James Mallard c 1900
James worked as a school caretaker after leaving the Police. He died in 1937, at his funeral his pall bearers included Police Officers.
The final Police Force member of the family was Joseph Mallard a cousin of the three brothers. Joseph first applied to join the Constabulary in 1909 but was rejected on health grounds; his chest measurement was ¼ inch below the 36 inches (measured under the vest) required. He applied again 6 months later and fortunately his chest had grown by the necessary amount. His application form reveals his neat handwriting, and possibly a sense of humour as his response to the question “can you swim” is recorded as “never tried”. He said he could ride a bicycle and a horse. His pay on starting was £1 1s 7d / week.
After he joined in December 1910 Joseph spent time in Cheltenham and other stations before he was posted to Dursley in July 1911. In early October a letter was send by the local Superintendent to the Chief Constable expressing concern about Joseph’s ability to become a useful policeman. The letter said that Joseph had become “quite the laughing stock of the neighbourhood and “would I fear bring ridicule on the whole Police Force”. The Superintendent suggested that Joseph “is not quite compos mentis”. He reported that Joseph had a “most ungainly walk and jerky movements which make people think he is under the influence of drink.” Joseph told members of the public that “any fool could become a policeman”.
Before action could be taken on this report an incident occurred which resulted in Joseph’s senior Constable reporting him to the Dursley Superintendent and the Chief Constable. The reason for the report is that Joseph was “in a Public House when not necessarily there on duty”. The report describes how, during his fortnightly rest day, Joseph had gone to a local pub to have tea. Whilst there a disturbance took place between the barmaid and a man in the bar. When Joseph intervened he was assaulted by another man.
Joseph’s side of this story is given in a letter he wrote to the Superintendent and the Chief Constable. He felt that there was no harm in going to the Pub for tea in the private room. It was whilst tea was being prepared that the man had an argument with the barmaid and struck her. Joseph “took her part” and held the man back but was in turn hit by another person. Joseph apologised but did not think there was any wrong in his action.
It seems that these two reports led to Joseph leaving the Force, he submitted his resignation on 1 November 2011 and finished on that day. He was given a certificate stating that whilst in the Force his conduct and character were quite satisfactory and that he was willing and attentive to his duties. In 1912 a reference was sought from the Midland Railway but we do not know if this was followed by a job. He died in 1937.
Sources: Records in the Gloucestershire and Sydney Police Archives, Gloucester Citizen, Sydney Morning Herald, UK Census records, family photographs.