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Inspection of Special Constables

Crowds applaud 900 Special Constables as they drill before a packed pavilion in Barking.

Non-Fiction 1916 1 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for London's Screen Archives


At the outbreak of war, Sir Edward Ward, who had served In India and the War Office and been appointed Chief Commandant of the Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary, called for more Special Constables to join the ranks, depleted by Army call-ups. Here, 900 such men are diligently inspected by Ward at a playing field in Barking, before they march in squares across the grass to the applause of watching crowds.

The Special Constables were volunteers, paid in expenses, who Ward organised into a more cohesive force during the war. They were asked to guard the water supply, bridges and public buildings from possible action by German agents.