Friends of the

Metropolitan Police History

Officer 68

Location of interview:Twickenham

Officer's Gender:Female

Date joined Met Police:15 May 1950

Date left Met Police:13 November 1955

Rank of leaving:Constable

Divisons served:

Specialist service:No specialities

Transcript of interview

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Track 1: 14’45’ Introduction to interview. Life before joining the MET. Lived in Shephards Bush with parents. Brother died. Grandmother had lost her 2 daughters. Her father was the only child. Considers the bad relationship between her mother and father. Father left his mother and moved in with his parents. Explains that her mother had another child with her father, which she left with her father as well. Considers limited relationship with her mother. Happy childhood. School experience. Interest in dancing. Professional dancer in a pantomime. Left school at 13 during the war. Recalls her father and grandfather were taxi drivers and gamblers. Describes her father and grandfathers passion for horse racing. Recalls being in Brighton when Chamberlain negotiated peace before the war. Age 11 moved to Whitton and war was declared. Recalls impact of the war on school experience. Rural life in Whitton during the war. Exposure to the war and the threat of bombs. Left school at 14. Worked as a Junior Clark. Then worked for a building company in Twickenham. Ambition to join the RAF. Age 17 joined the Air force.

Track 2: 11’38’ Life in RAF. Training in Cheshire. Trained to be a wireless operator. Blackpool training. Considers her strict upbringing and her freedom during training. Love of dancing. Posted to Leighton Buzzard to the filing section. Explains her role. August her Grandmother died and returned home on compassionate leave. Recalls his father had a new partner. Posted to Hendon to RAF station. Looked after all the officers records. Grieving for her grandmother and decided to apply to go overseas.  Posted to Brussels. Posted to Paris. Lived in a hotel in Paris and recalls her great experience at the posting. Working in the signals section. Enjoyed the work. Posted to Bushy Park. Hated her new posting. Applied to go overseas again and posted to Hamburg, Germany. Recalls the depressed situation in Hamburg post-war. Enjoyment of the young serviceman clubs.

Demobbed. Returned home, along with her siblings. Clark job in TV rentals. Brother decided to join the police force. Widespread concern about juvenile delinquency. Reflects on her time in the RAF.

Track 3: 10’08’ Discusses the issue of juvenile delinquency. Teddy Boys. Youth rebellion and difficult relationship between youth and elders. Twickenham Teddy Boys.

Attraction to joining the police. Desire to help and make a difference. Recalls the recruiting board. Families reaction to her decision. Recollections of the recruitment process. Acceptance to the MET. Considers her fitness and her concerns for her small physique. Considers her role in the MET as a WPC. Protected policing role. Describes female applicants who were rejected. Section house and Sergeant Saville. Penbridge, Bayswater, Section House. Recalls enjoyment of her living conditions. Process of joining the MET after the interview.

Track 4: 12’06’ Recalls her training colleagues with ex-military backgrounds. Camaraderie between ex-serviceman and women. Advantages as an ex-servicewoman. Training with male trainees. Learning parrot fashion. Pressure of learning. Exercise. Instructor Hobbs and learning self defense. Sports. 13 weeks of training. Court procedure training. Illness during final stages of training. Reflects on her enjoyment and ease joining the MET.

Returned home at weekends. Rent allowance and posted to Ealing. Demands as a recruit. Patrolling with an experienced PC. Explains the different courses and aspects of the job for a WPC. Explains the expectations for WPC. Limited pay, working hours and job expectations compared to male PCs. Training at Twickenham, followed by examinations.

Posted to Twickenham. Worked alongside one other WPC. Superiors supervision of WPCs.

Track 5: 15’14’ Chief Inspector Cybil Hill and Inspector Cockel, who were responsible for 1 district. Recalls their inspection of WPCs work. Issue of Americans who were stationed at Hampton Wick, where young girls would congregate. Hampton Police Station. Meeting at Hampton Wick with other WPCs. Considers the WPCs hard work and good work. Describes supervision. Ealing matron. Communication with WPCs during patrol. Women police beats separate to male police beats. Describes her beat area. Police boxes used for communication. Teddington Council Estate and issue of a lady with a child on the estate who was living in dirt and squalor. Reports after incidents. A4 branch and filing records. Young persons act and the specific responsibilities of WPCs. Juvenile court. Informal policing tactics to improve social problems. Explains that WPCs were less restricted by policing legislation.

Track 6: 4’58’ Juvenile court. Attending court in plain clothes. Brentford juvenile court. Role escorting juveniles to court from the remand home. Describes the crimes of the juveniles. Probationer officer and juvenile officer. Paperwork for court procedure. Describes the variety of juvenile cases. Supervising role the WPCs played for the juveniles.

Track 7: 14’15’ Incident of a man hitting his wife. Recalls her role to resolve the domestic incident. Describes returning to the domestic home with a male PC after she was rudely spoken to by the husband. PC reprimanded the man and considers the protective role of PCs for their WPCs. Remembers the protection WPCs were given as a unformed body within the MET. Describes the WPCs uniform. Pride in smart presentation. Pocket books, wallet. Social worker role of WPCs.

Role of WPCs. Illegal immigrant enquiries. Missing persons enquiries. Escapees from mental homes. Describes an incident of a female escapee from a mental home. Aggressive lady and her role taking the lady into the police station.

Track 8: 14’51’ Bill Elliot. Describes being taken to the mortuary to respond to the murder of a girl with an axe. Pathologist’s work. Recalls her reaction to the situation. Man called White Way, who lived in Teddington, murdered two girls with an axe. Considers the post-traumatic impact of dealing with the incident. Coronation event the following day. Role of WPCs on public order events. Role helping women and children. Describes the pressures of the work. Recalls the Coronation. Describes the general public and the Queen of Tonga. Recalls the refreshments provided to the police. Remembers her neighbors’ reaction to her role in the Coronation.

Escort police work. Incident of a troubled girl who would frequently run away. Describes the children’s warrant and her role retrieving the runaway in Ireland and escorting her back to London.

Considers her time off work and the pressures of the work. Recalls a Swedish WPC Governor and her supervisory role with the WPCs. Considers the approach to policing by WPCs and the significance of marriage for career paths.

Track 9: 9’02’ Working at Rochester Row during the Festival of Britain. Recalls her enjoyment of the area and people in the area. Variety of work. Recalls helping a WPC get her first arrest. Role during the Festival of Britain.

Recalls excellent colleagues at Rochester Row; WPC colleague Bab Rumur and PC Starrut at Rochester Row. Recalls humorous incident with her colleagues at Rochester Row. Noal Thomas and other ex-marines who all supported one another as MET officers.

Allowances as a WPC. Financial assistance for travel. Cycling for transportation.

Track 10: 7’08’ Public events; death of Queen Mary and King George 6th and their lying in state at Westminster Hall. Recalls the death of King George 6th. WPC Sergeant Pike and the WPCs role during the funeral ceremony. Chelsea Barracks and drill practices. Role of Mrs Basser. Pipe band leading their parade. Recalls enjoying the day. 150 WPCs parading during the event. Medals of WPCs. Describes marching past the Queen. Princess Elizabeth’s return to the airport and the public presence along the streets.

Track 11: 7’23’ Police Federation’s lack of WPCs and subsequent agreed vote to elect a representative WPC into the Federation. Recalls her surprise that she was elected along with Mrs Barker and Mrs Beck. Recalls her colleagues and their role in the meetings. Remembers the issues they discussed. Paperwork from the Federation to distribute to the METs WPC. Dislike of the role in the Federation.

Engagement and married in 1955. Resignation from the Federation.

Track 12: 24’03’ Describes meeting her husband through the MET. Husband was an aid CID at Rochester Row. Detective Constable. Lived in Whitton once married. Husband transferred to Hounslow. Pregnancy and decision to leave the MET in November. Lack of finances. Describes her resignation from the MET. Problem of WPCs marrying other PCs and leaving the MET. Inability to return to the MET part-time. MET assistance when leaving the force.

Returned as a part time civilian at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington. Considers that she found the work boring. Recalls a colleague she respected. Advert for a licensing officer at Richmond police station. Enjoyment in her new role. Recalls a colleague who was upsetting everyone in the office. Application to move to the yard because of the difficult colleague. Moved to missing persons unit as a civilian. Reflects on the difference to working as a police officer. Dislike of her new position. Chief Inspector requested she go to the yard. Offered a job at Twickenham. Advantage of career opportunities in the MET as an ex-WPC. Recalls her work in the missing persons unit and her frustration working in the unit. Happy to move to Twickenham into the Class office.

Loss of her Father and sister in the same week soon after moving into her new position. Considers her approach towards retirement and desire to leave as an EO. Recalls her failure. Eventual promotion to EO in the process section. EO was in charge and she was given this new role in the process office in Hammersmith. Considers her lack of knowledge. Dislike of her new role in Hammersmith. Recalls the poor dynamics between the staff in the office. Husband helped her with her work.

Invited to Twickenham as EO. Recalls by that point she had learnt about the role and gained experience.

1986 husband died of cancer.

Important role of Twickenham in her life. Life after the MET. Ashford Hospital secretarial job. Considers her enjoyment in her new role. Going away party.

Track 13: 3’12’ View by friends of her position as a retired police officer. Preconceptions of police officers. Important role of WPCs as a social worker. Reflects on her career decision and enjoyment of her role as a WPC.


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