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Alderson, Thomas Hopper (1903–1965), wartime rescue party leader, was born at Ashburne Stables, Sunderland, on 15 September 1903, the fifth of six children and first son of Thomas Alderson (1864–1945), domestic coachman, and his wife, Sarah Annie, née Hopper (1872–1942). He was educated at a village school; then at ...

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Mary Sophia Allen (1878–1964) by Mrs Albert Broom, 1916 [centre, with members of the women police] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Allen, Mary Sophia (1878–1964), police officer, was born on 12 March 1878 at 2 Marlborough Terrace, Newport Road, Roath, Glamorgan, the daughter of Thomas Isaac Allen, a superintendent of the Great Western Railway, and his wife, Margaret Sophia Carlyle. Her sister, Mrs Hampton...

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Sir Robert Anderson (1841–1918) by James Russell & Sons © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Anderson, Sir Robert (1841–1918), spymaster, detective chief, and author, was born on 29 May 1841 in Mountjoy Square, Dublin, the son of Matthew Anderson (1804–1888), crown solicitor, Dublin, and his wife, Mary. He himself described his more distant forebears as 'among the Scotch colonists who made ...

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Bacon, Sir Ranulph Robert Maunsell (1906–1988), police officer, was born on 6 August 1906 at 30 Ridgmount Gardens, Bloomsbury, London, the only son of Arthur Ranulph Bacon (1872–1949), electrical engineer, and his wife, Hester Mary Ayles. There was at least one sister, Joan Alice Mary (Mrs Bury)...

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Bather, Elizabeth Constance (1904–1988), police officer, was born on 11 October 1904 in Winchester, Hampshire, the daughter of the Revd Arthur George Bather, a housemaster at Winchester College, Hampshire, and his wife, Lilian Dundas Firth. She was educated at St Swithun's School, Winchester...

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Henry George Blogg (1876–1954) by Thomas Cantrell Dugdale, 1942 © reserved; photograph courtesy of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution

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Blogg, Henry George (1876–1954), lifeboat coxswain, was born in Cromer on 6 February 1876, the son of Ellen Blogg. He was educated at the Goldsmiths' School, Cromer, where he proved quick at learning and revealed an unusually retentive memory. He took no part in games, failed to defend himself against bullying, and never learned to swim. When nearly twelve he began life as a longshore fisherman. In 1894 he joined the ...

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Bower, Sir (John) William Nott- (1849–1939), police administrator, was born on 20 March 1849 at 17 Micklegate, York, one of the children of John Bower, a barrister and leader of the bar in the ecclesiastical court of the province of York, and his wife, ...

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Sir Edward Ridley Colborne Bradford, first baronet (1836–1911) by Henry Tanworth Wells, 1900 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bradford, Sir Edward Ridley Colborne, first baronet (1836–1911), administrator in India and police officer, was born on 27 July 1836 at Hambleden Cottage, Buckinghamshire, the second son of William Mussage Kirkwall Bradford (1806–1872), who was rector successively of Rotherfield Greys, Oxfordshire; Weeke, Hampshire...

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James Braidwood (1800–1861) by unknown photographer London Fire Brigade

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Braidwood, James (1800–1861), fire officer, was born at Edinburgh on 3 September 1800, the ninth of ten children of Francis Braidwood (b. 1752), a cabinet-maker who became a successful builder, and his wife, Janet Mitchell. His grandfather, William Braidwood, a strict sabbatarian, was one of the ‘...

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Carbonell, William Leycester Rouse (1912–1993), police officer in Malaya, was born on 14 August 1912 at 150 Albert Palace Mansions, Battersea, London, the youngest of three sons and fourth of five children of John Carbonell, owner of a small engineering firm, and his wife, ...

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Patrick Colquhoun (1745–1820) by Robert Dunkarton, pubd 1802 (after Samuel Medley, exh. RA 1802) Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

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Colquhoun, Patrick (1745–1820), magistrate and a founder of the Thames police, and his twin, Ann, were born on 14 March 1745 in Dumbarton. Their parents, Adam Colquhoun (1711–c.1755), sheriff-substitute and keeper of the register of sasines for Dunbartonshire, and Isabell, née...

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Harry Daley (1901–1971) by Duncan Grant, 1931 © 1978, Estate of Duncan Grant, courtesy of Henrietta Garnett; collection Guildhall Art Gallery; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Daley, Harry (1901–1971), police officer and author, was born at 49 Stevens Street, Lowestoft, Suffolk, on 14 November 1901, the second son and fourth of the five children of Joseph Daley (d. 1911), skipper of a fishing smack, and his wife, Emily Firman...

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Dawson, Margaret Mary Damer (1873–1920), a founder of the Women's Police Service, was born at 1 York Road, Hove, Sussex, on 12 June 1873, the daughter of Richard Dawson (b. 1829/30), a surgeon, and his wife, Agnes Baird Hemming (1851/2–1926), who in 1914, following her husband's death, married ...