Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 04

Location of interview:Edmonton

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police: 1 September 1932

Date left Met Police: 1 September 1963

Rank of leaving:Constable

Divisons served:

Specialist service:No specialities

Transcript of interview

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Track 1: 1'56": Introduction and early life on the railway.

Track 2: 1'51”:  Introduction to London: Training and learning by heart from Instruction Book. Posting to N Division. Stoke Newington section house and learning court procedure.  Life in Tottenham Section house.  Cut in police pay rates.

Track 3: 1'20”: Description of ground at Tottenham.  Applied to become married. Transferred to Hornsey. Married accommodation. Married life at Crouch End.

Track 4: 7'19”: Police duty preparing for World War 2. Testing of air raid sirens.  Experience of first enemy bombs dropped. Siren on roof of Hornsey police station.  Tyre lever used to make siren work after it would freeze in cold weather. Fire bombs falling on Crouch End. Danger from shrapnel from bombs. Entering premises to rescue people from bombed buildings.  Blackout. Temporary mortuaries. Experience of dealing with casualties.

Track 5: 1'7”:  Decided against promotion: Employed occasionally as Acting Sergeant and knowledge of Crouch End area.  Return to Salisbury on retirement.

Track 6:  1'55”: Employment in retirement as civilian for Ministry of  Defence and then returned to London.  Hobby dealing with model railway engines in retirement. Death of his wife.

Track 7:  2'47”: Early life, working on railway as an oiler and greaser in Salisbury before joining Police.

Track 8:  3'22”: Applied to join Metropolitan Police because he had been unsuccessful with other Forces.  Recruitment process.  Medical examination and educational written test. Moved to London and reported to Peel House.  Experience of moving to London. Training for reporting road traffic accidents and process in pocket book.

Track 9:  3'9”: Experience living in Section House: Experience with colleagues when he had joined at Tottenham police station at a lower rate of pay. Relationships with Inspectors and Sergeants. Discipline. Patrolling Tottenham High Road.

Track 10:  3'32”:  Description of uniform for summer, winter and ceremonial duties.  White gloves used for point duty.  Transferred to Hornsey when he married. Discipline became more relaxed during World War 2. Ceremonial duty facing crowds.  Princess Marina's wedding. Marquee at Hyde Park for providing refreshments and beer to police. Use of special single decker police buses for transport.

Track 11: 9'8”:  Description of duty on early turn and refreshment periods: Railway at Hornsey. Description of ground at Hornsey: Trams replaced by trolley buses: Trained as police driver: Testing of air raid sirens for World War 2:  Wood Green acted as Divisional Headquarters and sirens operated from Wood Green at first, later possibly from New Scotland Yard:  Wood Green High Road, Green Lanes Haringey and Crouch End Broadway described as busy places. Further training; Grade 2 advanced car driver: Q Car duty: Wireless car duty attending burglaries at Bishops Avenue and Highgate, Hampstead Heath, Highgate Village.  Muswell Hill part of same Sub Division. Dealing with mentally ill man from Colney Hatch hospital riding up Highgate Hill on tricycle.

Track 12:  22'44”: Passed promotion examination before the War; Took part time employment in factory during the War. Feeling of exhaustion at end of War; Duty to enforce law on blackout and screened lights in cars;  Employment with shorter hours with Council after retirement. Regret at modern apparent practice of not dealing with all calls immediately and lack of visible police patrols; Dealing with injured animals and catching stray dogs; Night duty testing doors that were left unlocked; Christmas duty; Police children's parties; Police dances; Regret at police stations being closed at night; compensation culture;  Alexandra Palace race course and roller skating rink; Blandford Hall; Discipline action against eating in a cafe, being off beat and being improperly dressed;  Being fined by Chief Superintendent;  Enforcement of refreshment times;  Parachute mine falling at Crouch End during War dealt with by controlled explosion with by naval ordnance officers; Officer killed at Edmonton during War. Carrying respirator on duty; Fire watch duty.

Track 13:  0' 52”:  Introductions for follow up interview.

Track 14: 2'25”:  Early life in Salisbury.  Family background.  Employment before joining Police. Family connections with Police.  Height limit.

Track 15:  0'15”: Question about recruitment procedure.

Track 16:  4'52”:  Recruitment process;  medical examination and educational test; Training school for 10 weeks;  Model railway exhibition at Vincent Square near Peel House; Taken by coach to Stoke Newington section house; learning court procedure.  Section House at Tottenham above police station; reaction to severe pay cuts; Conditions in section house sleeping in cubicles.

Track 17:  4'47”: Became married after one year and transferred to Hornsey; Station Sergeants at Hornsey;  Inspector's action dealing with parachute mine:  Practical joke played on Inspector.

Track 18: 7'55”: Policing in 1930s. 10 officers on each of three shifts at Hornsey;  Quick change over from late to early turn next day; Marking implements to detect unlawful entry to premises that died out after War;  Wartime: monitoring of tests of air raid warnings;  Fear of use of gas by enemy and precautions; Anti aircraft batteries;  unexploded shells taken to police station; Incendiary bombs; Rescue work in bombed buildings; Stray cart horse causing traffic danger at night in Park Road Hornsey; Practical joke played on other officer.

Track 19:  2'27”: 1930s:  Policing marches organised by Oswald Mosley; Police marching to Hyde Park.  Beer available to police for refreshments at marquee; Informal revenge taken against culprits who assaulted a police officer;

Track 20:  7'4”:  Wartime: World War air raid sirens on police boxes; Danger in de-freezing sirens on rooftop in old weather;  Air raid sirens staffed despite automatic operation.  Carrying sandwiches on patrol to be eaten at police boxes; Some cafes would give meals to police officers in back room;  Beats doubled in war time because War Reserve officers also on duty; Women Police officer at Hornsey after War.  Women Police Office at Hornsey.  Women patrolled in back of wireless car; Dealing with half-naked mentally ill woman at hospital identified as missing as result of AS message.

Track 21:  5'40”:  Wartime: air raid shelters.  Anderson shelter that officer installed himself with neighbour;  Larger public shelters; Officers on duty at Turnpike Lane Underground station; Morrison shelter with iron netting inside houses;  Officers continued on duty during air raid; Investigation of report of signalling to enemy from engine sheds transpiring to be car headlights;

Track 22: 9'45”:  Wartime: Bomb blast blowing off clothes of victims in Tivoli Road, Hornsey; Increased fire risk because of coal fires in houses;  Recovery of bodies in rain in dark;  Circulation of Casualty Lists.

Track 23:  6'38”:  Retraining of officers returning to Police Service after War;  Discipline relaxed slightly;  Driving course;  Advanced driver training; Q car driven by Class 1 driver, therefore he drove Wireless car. Mentally ill person jumping on traffic light pads, man on tricycle: Ejection of patient from hospital feigning illness; helping elderly person back into bed; Dealing with mentally ill people.

Track 24: 2'54”: Location for taking refreshments including Crouch End Hill;  Police box nearby and subterfuge to protect informal refreshment locations;

Track 25:  8' 59”: Policing in 1950s: Crew of Wireless Car busy with calls:  Spent 30 years at Hornsey: Wolseley patrol cars;  Police vans;  Parking in streets near Haringey Arena and Tottenham Hotspur sporting events. Policing football matches off night duty; Introduction of Worked Additional Rest Days paid as overtime; Wartime: difficulty of patrolling in blackout. Silence at night and ability to hear tugboats on River Thames.  Flares dropped by enemy aircraft. Rescue of two girls with Air Raid Warden.

Track 26:  5'31”:  Change of uniform. Greatcoats in winter;  capes;  lightweight mackintosh; gloves; Black helmet plates replaced by white metal.  Production of truncheon on parading for duty; Patrolling officer noticed empty garage and reported M.P.'s car missing that was stopped later on Great West Road having been stolen;  Recovery of body from Highgate Pond.

Track 27: 7'13”: Involved in police vehicle accident with motor cycle before retirement; Suspended from driving duty and then re-instated;  Station telephone switchboard operator;  After retirement worked in Salisbury for Southern Command (Army);  Returned to London after wife's illness.

Track 28: 1'2”: 45 years of retirement from Police Service; Hobby with model railway engines.

Track 29: 5'7”: Appreciation of stable career as a police officer after thwarted ambition to be a railway engine driver. Loss of family members and acquaintances in World War 1; Played piano duets with his wife.  Secure career seen as good marriage prospect.


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