Location of interview:South East London
Date joined Met Police:15 September 1952
Date left Met Police:30 August 1983
Rank of leaving:Constable
Specialist service:No specialities
Transcript of interview
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Track 4: 3’30’ Life before joining the Police. Born in Kingsgate on the coast. Born as last of 8 children. Lived right on the beach. Age 11 World War Two broke out. He was living in Margate by 1939. Margate residents were evacuated and he was sent to Blackheath, London. Recalls air raids, bombs, V2s. Doodlebugs. Recalls his role in notifying neighbours of the bomber’s direction. Recalls one afternoon a bomb landed 2 streets away. Father was sitting reading the paper when the V2 exploded. Recalls the mayhem after the explosion.
Left school age 14 and found employment at the electro-plating factory. Returned to Margate after the war. Worked in a hotel washing plates. Trained as a hotel manager until age 18. Age 18 called up for the army.
Track 5: 0’35’ Trained as a driver mechanic and rose to full Corporal. Offered the Sergeants stripes, but refused. So transferred to Bulford as a drill instructor. Demobbed age 20 and returned to the hotel for management training.
Track 6: 1’36’ After 2 years in the army, adjustment to civilian life was difficult. Recalls one of his army colleagues had joined the MET. Applied and accepted. Peele House training. Recalls enjoying the discipline and military lifestyle.
Track 7: 0’37’ 30 colleagues in the training course. Recalls there were no WPCs, which he was grateful about at the time.
Track 8: 0’42’ Officer they called Fannel. Ex-military police officer.
Track 9: 3’24’ Posted to Old Street and lived in the section house. Relief work. Learning the beats. Hoxton Street and witnessed a lady calling for help. Reflects that he had a lot to learn. Describes life working the beat. City Road. Witnessed a car at night with 1 light out. Describes reporting the man. Learning to direct traffic. Describes the challenges of directing traffic. Acquired furnished accommodation in Eltham. Transferred to Blackheath, Lee road police station to be near home.
Track 10: 2’33’ Wages £12 10 shillings. Change in uniform from tunics to collar and tie. Torches. Flat caps. Sergeant in charge of the relief patrolled on foot to supervise beat officers. Duty officer travelled by car. Ringing in book. Importance of the police box to keep in touch with the station. Duty armband must be worn on parade.
Track 11: 0’07’ Lee Green Police Station
Track 12: 1’49’ Occasion of working late turn. Lee Green railway station. Incident of an elderly women who had walked onto the bridge and had been run over by the train. Describes responding to the accident. Checking the electricity was turned off. Ambulance and the removal of the lady.
Track 13: 0’52’ Describes another incident of a motorcyclist who would race down Sidcup road. It had crashed into the metro post on the side of the road and the driver was decapitated.
Track 14: 1’12’ Another incident. Cross-road at court road and sidcup road. A vehicle jumped the lights and collided with another car. First PC on the scene was on a light weight motorcycle and fainted at the scene. Responsibilities of officers.
Track 15: 0’06’ Suicides
Track 16: 3’05 Suicides. Describes incidents of suicides that the police had to respond to. Recalls a Lee Green incident of suicide with gas fumes. Recalls access via a ladder up to a window and being confronted by fumes. Officers had past out. Rescue and resuscitation.
Track 17: 0’08’ Report handed in.
Track 18: 0’06’ Rewarded.
Track 19: 0’06’ Life saving certificate.
Track 20: 1’19’ Tramp who committed suicide and found within an old bombed out house. Describes the old and deteriorated suicide scene. Removal process.
Track 21: 0’33’ Third incident of a postman who was retiring and found his wife had hanged herself.
Track 22: 1’50’ Dealing with theft. Theft at a meat factory. Describes surveillance operation and apprehending the thieves. Recalls how they found the stolen meant that had been well hidden.
Track 23: 0’58’ Night duty called to Lee Green police station and responded to a break-in into Lee Green railway station.
Track 24: 0’25’ Describes apprehending the thieves through a car hire company.
Track 25: 4’39’ Old drunks. Describes one incident of a drunk who was causing problems in the police station. Describes the Duty officer’s clever and swift work to resolve the disturbance. Class 1 area car driver and high speed chases. Chase on one incident of a car with juveniles. Pursued the vehicle to Brixton High street and then apprehending the juveniles. Recalls one poor man had been arrested by accident.
Track 26: 1’13’ Two way phone introduced. Describes the problems they experienced operating the new equipment.
Track 27: 2’21’ Section 66; stop, search and detain. Recalls stopping a vehicle with two men in it. Arrested the two men who had stolen 500 luxury toilet seats. Recalls that they were awarded 50 toilet seats.
Track 28: 1’47’ Riots. Operating in plain clothes. Explains that a complete police uniform had to be ready. Middle of the night he was called to a Brixton riot. Met at Woolwich police station to respond to incident in Brixton. Petrol bombs.
Track 29: 3’19’ Lewisham riots. Recalls being on standby for the arrival of the rioters. Anticipation. Drawing truncheons. Nervous. Describes how loud the riot was and that a newspaper reporter went into the crowd and was badly injured. Recalls that the crowd had stolen nails and were throwing them at the police. 6 mounted branch arrived as backup. Describes the success of using horses.
Track 30: 0’13’ Juvenile Bureau.
Track 31: 1’49’ Juvenile Bureau established: 1968 MET police adopted a system whereby juveniles could be cautioned rather than being sent to court. Used to deal with minor crimes. Applied to become a Juvenile police officer. Recalls the application process and anticipation of being given the posting.
Track 32: 1’58’ Describes being selected for the Juvenile Bureau. Small office in Eltham. Recalls how they went about their new role. Decision making on juvenile crimes on a case by case basis. Home address enquiries. Required that parents and the juvenile admit guilt. Only one caution allowed per juvenile.
Track 33: 1’34’ Juvenile bureau and dealing with one juvenile who was reported for indecent assault at school. Describes the caution process of the juvenile.
Track 34: 0’07’ Conclusion