Liverpool City Police

Constable 179K Ernest Kearn Turner by Dave Moore Retd.

Ernest Turnerw

This is my grandfather, Ernest Kearn Turner, who served as a constable with Liverpool City Police from 1911 until 1941 (the year I was born).

Ernest was born on 21st December 1887 at Halfway House, an inn in the village of Fordham, Montgomeryhshire; his parents William and Caroline were the innkeepers. In his youth he worked on his grandfather’s farm, which is where he developed his skills of horsemanship.

He met Evelyn Thomas, a girl from the nearby town of Welshpool who was “in service” with one of the local well to do families. The couple fell in love and before long Evelyn fell pregnant. They decided to make a life for themselves in the city and so off to Liverpool they went; Evelyn taking up employment as a servant at a house in Wellfield Road, Walton and Ernest submitting an application to join Liverpool City Police.

1911 was a momentous year for the couple. They were married, their first child Gladys was born, and Ernest was sworn in as a constable. In those days initial probationary training took place at Everton Terrace. Recruits were given a “K” Division collar number; a practice which continued until the 1970s, but at the end of the training programme, they were posted to a territorial division and given their divisional number which, in my granddad’s case was 187 “D”.

“D” Division was just over the road from Everton Terrace, a square mile of dockland, warehouses and crowded working class dwellings. Ernest duly reported for duty at Rose Hill and patrolled his beat along and around Scotland Road and Great Homer Street, little realising that 50 years later his grandson – me – would also be a bobby pounding the same streets as 202 “D”!

Ernest’s service in “D” was short-lived owing to the start of WWI in July 1914 and he joined the army, but not before receiving an award from the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society for stopping a runaway horse on Great Howard Street. His competence with horses was noted and he served as a corporal with the Corps of Military Mounted Police.

Ernest Turner1w

After the armistice, he returned to his duties but by this time he had sustained a severe knee injury which restricted his mobility; leaving him with a pronounced limp for the rest of his life.
Although he returned to “D” Division, it was obvious that he was unfit to patrol the streets and so he was posted to the Main Bridewell at Cheapside, where he remained as Constable 179 “K” until his retirement.

Ernest Turner2w

Once I joined Liverpool City Police in December 1961, my granddad and I would often share experiences, swapping stories of patrolling the beat in “D” Division. What was astounding was how little had changed in 50 years; the streets and the shops were more or less still the same, although by that time large scale demolition of the rows of terraced houses had begun and the ambitious rebuilding programme of the area was underway, rendering the area as it is today, largely unrecognisable.

After he retired, Ernest made the most of his abiding love for horticulture. He stocked his garden with flowers and acquired a number of allotments which ran alongside the railway line at the back of his house. There he grew vegetables and raised chickens, making a modest living as a smallholder. He died on 26th February 1966, aged 78, following a brief illness after a stroke.

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