Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 61

Location of interview:Nursing Home, Chagford, Devon

Officer's Gender:Male

Date joined Met Police: 7 July 1919

Date left Met Police: 7 July 1946

Rank of leaving:Constable

Divisons served:R (Woolwich), Deptford.

Specialist service:No specialities

Transcript of interview

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Track A1: 7'53": Reasons for interviews of ten pensioners who had been serving in the Metropolitan Police in 1919 when the National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO) had been formed.  Dictated by interviewer, Charles Hasler (himself a 72-year-old police pensioner). Accounts of the interviews, by Charles Hasler and Geoffrey Taylor, appears in the London Police Pensioner magazine issues 75-78. [Transferred into the Oral History archive from original tape cassettes despite being recorded under different conditions].

Track A2:  0' 59”: Introduction to this specific interview by interviewer Charles Hasler.

Track A3: 3' 56”: Joining Metropolitan Police after being wounded during military service with Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry in First World War having joined up at age of 16 years.  Service in Palestine and France as Corporal.  Joined Metropolitan Police as he was not tall enough for Plymouth Police.

Track A4:  4' 23”: Training at Peel House. Posted to R Division at Woolwich, under Superintendent AB Barrett. Use of hand ambulance to transport prisoners.  Transferred to Deptford and some period of service at Lewisham.  Acting Sergeant wearing two stripes.

Track A5:  7' 15”:  Award of King's Police Medal by King George V.  Describes investiture at Buckingham Palace.  Attended house fire at Blackheath in 1927, at time of many false fire alarms. Servant girl in bedroom had been drinking and had upset candle.  He had been reassured that nobody was in the building, but shouted out 'Is anybody there?' and heard the girl shout out for help. Entered building, carried girl down stairs just before they collapsed and suffered burns to hands and arm.

Track A6:  6' 32”:  At Peel House when Police Strike occurred.  Argument with striker who tried to persuade him to go on strike. His pay was less than £3 per week when he joined. He regarded his pay in London as favourable compared with Devon labourers.  Work after police service.

Track A7:  2' 19”: Violence in Deptford.  Physically powerful female lodging house keeper Margaret Bishop who sorted out violence amongst her lodgers rather than rely on help from police officers.

Track A8: 12' 24”:  Hours of duty and split shifts, performing 4 hours duty, and then returning later for a further 4 hours.  Night duty.  12 days annual leave.  Uniform with 'stand up' collars before shirts introduced. Number 1 uniform jackets buttoned up to collar.  Impressed by bravery of women police during World War 2. Irish labourers  brought in to clear up bomb damage.  Bomb disposal experts would sit on unexploded air bombs. Flying bomb incidents. Admired the women police. Lived at Blackheath Road when single, then in a bungalow at Bexleyheath after he was married. Sub Divisional Inspectors.  Divisional Detective Inspector.

Track A9: 16' 33”:  Preparation for educational examination with colleague and passing the certificate.  Superintendent's car and police van were only vehicles at station.  Boundary with Kent Police near Bexley and detecting suspects from kent travelling to London.  Stopped and arrested suspect in possession of stolen police uniform.  Military police dealt with soldiers from Woolwich garrison. Duty at Goodwood races. Placed bet after tip from Gordon Richards, jockey.  Discipline was stiff.  Wounded in both legs in First World War in Palestine.

Track A10: 10' 58”:  Assaulted on duty.  General Macready as Commissioner when joined.  Lord Trenchard as Commissioner.  Assistant Commissioner Royds.  Reduction of pay.  10 year service scheme.  Would join the police again. On duty at Cenotaph meeting woman who had lost 6 sons in war. On duty at Coronation of King George VI.

Track A11: 1' 56”:  Women Police.  One female officer at station.  Matrons.

Track A12:  0' 51”: Postscript by Charles Hasler. Interviewee died at age of 97 the year after his interview.

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