Location of interview:Wing, Rutland
Date joined Met Police: 2 April 1905
Date left Met Police: 1 October 1946
Rank of leaving:Constable
Divisons served:K (Plaistow, Canning Town and Limehouse). X Division (Ruislip)
Specialist service:No specialities
Transcript of interview
Click on to listen to track.
Track A1: 14' 26": Introduction: Lance Corporal at Tidworth barracks, school of Infantry and Cookery. Worked on farm near Coventry for a few months. Somerset Light Infantry. Promoted Lance Corporal temporarily. Machine gun training. Went to France 1918 as machine gunner until end of World War 1. Demobbed 27 January 1919. Worked on farm for 15 shillings (75p) per week and then a guinea (£1.05) per week. Visited by police officer on holiday who recommended the police. Choice of Police Forces in local area. Chose London, partly because country police officers had to do 4 hours day duty and 4 separate hours on night duty. Went to Scotland Yard and accommodated at Adelphi Street, near Strand. Walked over bridge to Renfrew Road. Trained at Renfrew Road (later Gilmour section House). Medical examinations. Recruits had been through armed services and were very fit. Listened to court cases at Lambeth magistrates court. Only two recruits passed from his intake. Joined at £4 15s (£4.75) per week.
Track A2: 9' 31”: Posted to Plaistow just after Police Strike had ended. Some officers had been placed on sick list or on leave to protect them from being dismissed. Officers had all been through a hard time during World War 1. Served at Canning Town, and Limehouse in 1921. Leman Street was headquarters of H Division. Knew songs that were current at time of Boer War. Grew up in Warwickshire. Public would always inform police station if a police officer was in trouble. Jimmy Barnes(?) famous footballer. Colleagues Station Sergeant Alec MacDonald, and Ginger Pitcher. Practical joke tying stray donkey to door of colleague to wake him up for early turn.
Track A3: 12' 1”: Tug of War championship won by Plaistow. Alec Munro (23 stones in weight) acted as anchor man. Lived at Plaistow in cubicles, then Bow Road. Scouts playing trumpets at church parade. Breakfast, tea and supper provided by cook. Officers paid mess bills. Wages were £3.10s (£3.50) per week. Officers carried 'burglar's traps' on night duty to mark premises to indicate whether they had been entered. Practice ended after discussion during a weekly lesson on law and changing procedures. Sub Divisional Inspector rank. Superintendent dismissed after complaints about his behaviour by Jewish residents.
Track A4: 11' 34”: Tom Fallon. Walter Batson and Barking – Southend walk. Traffic speeding duties with two civilian assistants and stop watch. Tom Fallon's Divisional number was 999K. Origin of 999 system. 1926 First Aid certificate. Second class educational certificate. First class certificate required for promotion. Geoff Carter became Sub Divisional Inspector, then collapsed and died at court. On K Division from 1919 until 1930. Transferred to Ruislip. Some houses at Ruislip in those days. Fixed points for Sergeant to meet Constables, with beats measured precisely with a bicycle.
Track A5: 7' 2”: Served on X Division in World War 2. His home was bombed. (Break) Remembers 1929 Centenary Parade at Hyde Park. Duty at Wembley football matches. At East Ham he did duty at West Ham Football ground. Relationships with players. Wally Cole, Chief Constable, and relationships with senior officers. Encouraged to get his head down to study for promotion, but he was too keen on sport.
Track A6: 8' 58”:Discussion on First Aid awards. Changed duties to accommodate sport. General discussion about sport. Relations with West Ham football club. Played football at Gas Board sports ground. Eagle Hut used for training influx of recruits. Peel House in Regency Street. Colleague Bill who scored a century in Police Cup Match.
Track A7: 8' 27”: If he arrested a suspect he always dealt with the prisoner straight. Duty in 1926 General Strike, working 12 hour shifts, and suffered nervous exhaustion. People were taken to work on lorries. One car taking workers was tipped into river. Police officers accompanied bus drivers. Harlequins football club volunteers released buses from East Ham depot. Renewal of tram lines from Aldgate to Barking to create employment. Cobbled streets. Motorcyclist whose wife was a nervous passenger, fell off and killed because of bumpy roads. Officer posted to front door of police station at West Ham. Motorcyclist injured trying to overtake tram, and sudden death.
Track A8: 21' 54”: Policing Northolt Aerodrome in World War 2. Pill box used by Army and roads closed around the airfield. Well camouflaged. Polish airmen, off duty driving through road block without stopping and resultant shooting of airman's wife. Sentry taking mistaken shots. General discussion. Went back to farm in Warwickshire working for his brother when he left the Police. Nostalgia for the 'old days' when people were poor but happy, and importance of officers on the beat. Patrolling in pairs. Officers worked in pairs only when needing corroboration of evidence against prostitutes, or because of violence at 'Spike Island' in Canning Town. Old woman who would empty toilet bucket out of window on to police officers. Officer dismissed for 'idling and gossiping'. Propositioned to leave police and play cricket for Licensed Victuallers Association with a job to fit in with cricket duties. Officer nicknamed 'Stormy' who referred to women gossiping outside public house when agricultural traveller asked for directions to a local man who kept a cow. Split shifts. When on officer had booked on, they were not allowed back in to police station, so officers used a billy can for drinks, using nail or screw in shop door frame. Half hour refreshments allowed after Police Strike. Half hour ran from time of leaving beat rather than arrival at police station, therefore an officer on an outlying beat could not reach police station anyway.
Track A9: 12' 1”: Mosley Riots and Black Shirts. On duty at Cable Street. Mosley was running away and escaped angry crowd by slipping down small passage way between Cable Street and the next road. George Lansbury political marches at Tower Hill. Joined under old legislation before 1921 Police Act. Proficiency pay of 2 shillings after probationary period. Further 2 shillings for passing First Aid examinations. New system backdated to July 1919 and officers were required to sign for new conditions and for 30 years' service rather than 26. Discussion about pay and conditions. Left with £80 gratuity.
Track A10: 11' 34”: Discussion about oldest police pensioners. Some pubs would leave pint of beer for police officer or give gratuity for police officer on beat, until practice stopped. System for exchanging dispatch documents between stations. Johnny Walker's brewery in Limehouse, and pub called The Eagle.
Track A11: 16' 58”: Served as PC 424K and PC 799X. Good fortune in surviving World War 1. Served as support with 22nd Canadian Division. Mark 3 Vickers machine gun. Arras. Sheet of flame created by guns. Acted as messenger carrying information between different parts of the front line. Police officer caught for stealing property from lockers. Never heard of case of rape. Murder of Chinese man. Detective Inspector treated men as a father 1921. Officer heard noise at Railway Tavern. Use of oil lamps on night duty. Loan of civilian suit to naval officer drunk in uniform after celebrating promotion. Use of hand barrow.
Track A12: 5' 16”: Charlie Brown at Limehouse, renowned for Chinese antiques collection. Changes with new Superintendent who would check the station books each day. Warnings given about approach of Superintendent. Admiral Royds. Interview closed by Charles Hasler.