Unique to Hull was the creation of a voluntary Special Constabulary. Comprised of mature men over military age and drawn from all classes of Society, it raised over 3,000 Special Constables during the First World War and released large numbers of men for active service.
Under the Command of Captain George Morley, the Chief Constable of Hull, the Special Constabulary was largely responsible for keeping Public Order and controlling Street Traffic.
The Special Constabulary was organized into the following Districts:
- East – Commanded by Mr. Chas Raine and Mr. WH Slack.
- South East – Commanded by Major WS Walker
- North East – Commanded by Col AH Rishworth, MBE
- West – Commanded by John Watson, MBE
- River Section – Commanded by Major, AJ Atkinson, MBE, & Commander, Walton of the Royal Navy Reserve.
- Central – Commanded by James Downs, OBE & Mr. RC Follett, MBE.
Between 300 -400 Special Constables patrolled Hull Docks continuously. Protecting the Docks from spies and sabotage was enormous work. Many ships arrived in Hull conveying returned Prisoners of War and large numbers of Port visitors, and the Special Constabulary were responsible for their escort and safe conduct.
They supervised the King and Queens Royal visit to Hull in 1917 and the City inspection of Forces by Field Marshall French. They undertook enormous clerical duties and were on constant stand by for Air attacks
The Special Constabulary controlled all Hull road traffic and protected the Civil Population. In the event of invasion, they were responsible for all means of transport and had powers to remove property and destroy anything useful that may fall into enemy hands. Motor controls were organized on all main roads approaching Hull so that no vehicle could enter the City without knowledge and consent of the local Authorities.
Hull was the only City to publish a weekly Newspaper for its own Special Constables. It was called the ‘Special Constable Gazette’ and edited by Mr. RC Follett.