PC Ernest Sydney Stone was the policeman in Kings Langley for 27 of the 38 years of his service in the force. His funeral service, held at All Saints’ Parish Church Kings Langley on Tuesday 26th of August 1958, only a few weeks after his retirement, was attended by local magistrates, representatives of the Hemel Hempstead R.D.C, the Kings Langley Parish Council, the Services Club, the British Legion and other village organisations.
The following reports are from the Langley Times Saturday 9th August 1958
The end of a chapter
PC Stone joined the Hemel Hempstead division of the Herts Constabulary in 1924 and served in Watford from 1925 to 1931, from then until a few weeks ago when ill health forced him from duty, he served at Kings Langley, how well he served is a chapter of history in itself.
Prior to his police service PC Stone served with the Royal Artillery in France in World War 1. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1919 and served much of his time in India on the north west frontier. His squadron leader was “ Bomber” Harris. His beat in the village comprised the whole of the area within the parish boundaries, from Shendish in the north to the Flint Cottages on the Watford road in the south and from the canal in the east to Whippendale Bottom in the west. An extensive area that must have assumed increasing proportions as illness overtook him.
Police Constable E.S. Stone.
“Tell me, Miss Maverick, what are your reactions to this country after such a long absence? said Peter Hague on TV “ Picture Parade.” The Texas Wonder paused for a split second, and then replied with her usual alacrity “say, Peder, your London policemen are still wunnerful.”
And so they are but no more wonderful than our own PC Stone affectionately known to old timers as “Stoney” [or Copper Stone]. For this quiet, dignified, unassuming, conscientious officer of the law, now, alas, compelled to retire through ill health has had the gargantuan task of “supervising” (I can find no better word) an area which if truly rural in patches, is likewise veritably extensive.
His last patrol
It seems only yesterday that PC Stone returned from his last patrol, a tired man worn out with a overstaying his pensionable date. His police station a forlorn black wooden hutment in the Watford road was not long since scheduled for demolition, and the house breakers and builders have all but completed the end of a noble chapter chronicling our good friend’s activities on foot or on his familiar push-bike.
The police, qua police, have not always been popular. In the days of my youth, a naughty child would generally be deterred from disobeying his parents by a threat to hand him over unless he mended his ways. But today we live in a Welfare State where a child is taught self-expression in this uninhibited island. So it fell to PC Stone’s lot to arrange for its attendance at the Hemel Hempstead Juvenile Court, where the Bench has been known to deal so leniently with the young offenders that their offences, too often repeated, have led to their removal to a reformatory. I have never heard PC Stone give evidence on these occasions because the public is not admitted to those matinees. Wherefore Lord Chief Justice Goddard was prompted to declare that for this reason alone the Juvenile Court was not, in fact, the court of law. But “Stoney” used to tell me that his hands were terribly tied by this ultra humane treatment of young delinquents.
In his younger days, before they began to spare the rod and spoil the child, there was sensibly less juvenile crime them in this half of the twentieth century. However, I feel sure he adapted himself to the circumstances of each case and gave his evidence with complete impartiality, tempered with a high regard for the feelings of parents who had done their best to bring up an erring youngster in the way he ought to go.
Friend and councillor
In my young days there used to be a popular distich which ran:
“He who takes what isn’t his’n
When he’s cotched* must go to prison”
* dialect for caught.
But that is a thing of the past. During his career “Stoney” has brought off some notable adult arrests but I have no space left to discuss them in these columns. Today your police officers more often appear in the role of a friend and counsellor.
There was PC 49 and the inimitable Dixon of Dock Green, beloved of discriminating televiewers. I take leave to add another name to the list, and in so doing, to invite my readers to charge their glasses. The toast is : “PC Stone of Kings Langley.”