Some personal memories of 'A' Division by Terry Brooks Ex PC 154 A/138932
You can email Terry at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A NICE SURPRISE
Today 13th February 2002, I had a very nice surprise. Peter Crouch & Terry Oglethorpe both of AD Garage fame & Terry of Federation fame, not to mention my colleague in the A Division front row of the pack, all those years ago; called at my home to see me. We had a great time reminiscing about old pals. Alf Bull who was observer on the car with Terry as driver, when they got a call to a disturbance man with a gun. In they went Alf in front, where a man was brandishing a shot gun standing at the top of the stairs they were climbing. Alf said " Look here old son you don't want to use that really, now do you". Carried on up the stairs saying " Now give me the gun" which luckily he did. Alf then, with Terry spoke to the woman and persuaded her and the man to make it up. All seemed well, until some months later Alf was summoned to a Civil Divorce Court, where the woman needed him as a witness that the husband had threatened her with a gun. Alf never got a reward or commendation for this. Though in a similar situation, my friend Inspector Bill Breslin, who was strapping at Lewisham, took a weapon from Claus Von Bulowe, who it has to be admitted, had killed a police officer I think, at Kenley; for which Sir Robert Mark promoted him in the field, to Superintendent for his bravery. Thoroughly deserved. Bill got a law degree and left the job.
Pete told me that the drivers had a get together at Rebatos Restaurant in Stockwell, owned originally by Tino and Sheilagh of Hispaniola & Maimies Bar fame. He and Terry told me that our favourite guvnor Cryil Canham, has been there on a number of occasions. Terry told me that Cyril was driving his car, to get some wall paper and paint, when as he approached a cross roads, he had a heart attack and the car shot across the road and hit a tree. Luckily the air bag saved Cyril and he is fine now, though he watches what he eats and drinks. Jim Fitzgerald saw Cyril in Swaffham Norfolk about two years ago. He is much loved by all who served with him and under him at AD and Bromley, where he has many friends enquiring about him. He Bill Gilbert & Vic Coventry were the best I ever served with.
Terry is in regular contact with my good friend of Hendon days Harry Slipper our Federation Rep after Reg Webb & before Terry. Harry knows a lot of History about those days. Let's hear from you Harry. Regards to Avril his wife who was deputy Mayor of Croydon.
Brummy Heywood was remembered by Pete as an observer who was extremely vigilant and often pulled blokes up for a question or two, reminding them to behave themselves in his presence. I'm sure they needed no encouragement, as he was Light Heavyweight Champion of the Army in the Middle East.
DON GREEN & CHERRY BRANDY +NORMAN GOVER
That man Brooks here again. Millie Chenery (wife of our old pal Hugh (Harry) Chenery who as you can see from, Where are they now is deceased ?), Visited me at home the other day, in my crippled state. We got talking about Harry's great friend ,the famous Don Green, who had been serving in the Norfolk Constabulary; and who was encouraged to join the Met and Royalty Protection Staff, by officers he met at Sandringham. This he duly did and was to be the principal protection officer, to the young school boy Prince Charles. One Norman Gover formerly also of The Guards, was to be his assistant. Norman was well known at Cannon Row, for his constant use of cockney rhyming slang. Such as " What o! Me old chinas, I'm just going dahn the frog, into the battle, to 'ave a pint of pigs". Well you can imagine just what we thought; that later when as King Charles, making his Christmas Broadcast, we would hear something like "'Ullo me old flowers me old branchers, I 'opes as how, you've all 'ad a good cain and able and a few schooners of wallop and nah 'av yer plates rested, in front of the jerimiah". Luckily, he was much more influenced by Constable Don Green, who spoke well. Don was six foot five and well built, also very smart. The complete opposite to Norman, who was still wearing my Dad's old Welsh Tweed overcoat, which I gave him in 1953 (as it was too small for me), when I met him at an A Division rugger match, at Northampton, in the late 1960s, by which time, it had gone from grey to yellow with age. Well to get to the point Don & Norman visited a hostelry for a drink and as you are all aware, Prince Charles fancied one, telling the officers that The Queen had allowed him to have a Cherry Brandy, at the previous Christmas. So of course they bought him one. At least Don probably did, as Norman was well known for hanging back and had been on occasion, frog marched to the bar at the Windsor Castle (now known as the Cardinal) cerca Ambrosden Avenue Section House. Norman could get away with it, most times, as he was a very amusing character. Well as you know, some rat, informed the press and we all know that's curtains. Norman was I think, posted, Norwood Green out in the sticks. Similar punishment was to have happened to the excellent Don. Who resigned and went to work for Warner's Holidays and became manager at one of their Suffolk holiday sites. He was very well thought of by the Brothers Warner. Prince Charles also thought well of Don. He always got a Christmas Card from the Prince and when he died of bowel cancer, much later on, Prince Charles sent a beautiful wreath, with very kind words. The Warner's also sent a wreath. Millie thinks that he was looked on as a father figure; by Prince Charles. I never had the pleasure of knowing Don; but I wish I had.
I arrived at Cannon Row from Training School, around 15th May 1953, with 150A Harry Slipper of Federation fame, and Arthur Titmarsh, later the only P.C. in Cyprus for the Eoka period, who was promoted to Inspector there. All the others were Sergeants.
Harry and Arthur were 6'1" tall but I was 5'11.75 " and heavy built. They needless to say were slim. When we reported to the front office, Harry Chenery was in there with the Station Officer. I heard Harry say to the skipper " look at that bloke. He's a bit of a short arse for this division. What's it coming to, blokes under 6ft in A division?" Justifiable actually, as I was, apart from the War Reserve Officers, the first under 6ft to join the Division. The thin edge of the wedge you might say, though in my case a fairly portly wedge. Later all four of us became the greatest of friends, despite being on different relief's. In fact, Hugh Harry Chenery and I later were Stewards at many Amateur Boxing Internationals, along with Jim Barbour and Ian Watts, for Jim Titmuss Chairman of the London A.B.A., and ADs Van driver.
We the new boys, were sent to the Chief Inspector James Martin Smith, who gave us the welcome speech. He afterwards, asked us if we could all swim, as it would be handy, as 1 Beat was by the riverside. I replied "yes Sir" , the other two kept quiet, as they could not swim. At Hendon, I'd witnessed them going into the showers, to get wet. However, I never saw them swim. They said to me when we got out of the guvnors office " You berk! We will have to stay on the opposite side of the road from the river, when we patrol 1 beat or it's beat patrols".
We at that time, had Cod's Eyes Osborne as the Chief Super, who in those days commanded the whole Division. The District Commander was Mr Smith, a slim elderly Gentleman, who loved to ride the Horses of Great Scotland Yard, where his office was situated. Cod hated Horses and always looked like an old sack tied up in the middle, when on a horse. He did on occasion ride with Mr Smith, but reluctantly.
At the Coronation he had to be on horse back and looked as described above. He rode up sagging badly towards 390 A Albert Lewis, who was at the bottom of King
Charles Street, Whitehall end and called quite loudly " Lewis get them flaming people back aht of it". Thus showing some restraint, in view of the occasion.
One day after his usual ride on Rotten Row, Mr Smith rode into the yard at Cannon Row, where Peter Varley, Ex Corporal of the Horse, in the Horse Guards and later rider of Imp, the horse the Queen rode after Winston had been retired, was waiting to ride the horse back to GY. Great Scotland Yard. Mr. Smith in his riding gear had an appointment in Mr. Osborne's office. 236A Milky Williams was on the switch board, when the Guvnor's dolls eye went down, indicating a call. Milky answered and got this from the Chief Super " Is that you Williams"? "Yes Sir". " Come up ere an 'elp me 'orf wiv the Commanders Riding Boots" "Yes Sir"., replied Milky, who though short, being a war reserve officer, was very strong, with hands like shovels. Up he went, where he saw the Commander sitting in an armchair, with The Cod standing behind him. " Right Williams. I will 'old the Commander in his chair ,whilst you will co 'old of his boot and when I say 'eave, you 'eave. Milky grabbed the boot and proceeded as told. However, he didn't know his own strength, or the adhesive quality of the boot. He pulled so hard that he pulled the Commander and The Cod over and out of the armchair, ending up propped against the wall, with his backside on the floor, the boot being in his hands and now thankfully clear of the Commander leg. " You stupid cowson"., said the Chief Super "No no Usborne" said the Commander in his perfect patrician voice, " Let Williams have a go at the other one, though not so energetically this time. Thank you Williams". Luckily this was a better effort and successful. The Cod said " with a red face "Get aht Willyams". I was Station Patrol and had relieved Milky on the switch board. Did we have a laugh at that!
Chief Superintendent Osborne had been a Sergeant at the start of the war and was inflicted with very flat feet and was unfit for military service. He did become, a later Assistant Commissioner Major Margetson's Aide de Camp, throughout the war and earned his promotion. He was the most unlikely Guvnor for A Division, as he spoke with a very gruff London accent.
He was once at Buckingham Palace, as a guest at the Queens Garden Party; when a man was observed by PC Lawrence, going into the bushes. Lawrence thinking the person could be up to no good; went to investigate and found the Cod rolling a fag. "Ullo Lawrence! I 'ates those blinking tailor made fags, I always rolls me own. Better for your 'elth" said the guvnor " Very good Sir" replied Lawrence and rejoined his colleague at the post.
The Cod became Commander 2 District and an ex A Div PC 197A Ray Brassel, had transferred to S Division, was up before him for his fifteen months exam. The Cod asked what he would do if a member of the Public, made a complaint against one of his colleagues. Ray said " Well Sir there's a lot of cobblers in the I.B., but if you want the truth, I'd square it up as best I could, trying to be sympathetic and placating to the man. To save any aggro down at the nick". The Cod Replied " You are in the s**t Brassel get 'aht and see us after you've been in another three months".
One last Cod story. He was keen on watching the Middlesex Seven a Side Preliminary Rounds some of which were at Hendon Sports Ground adjacent to the Training School.
He as Commander of the District always attended and enjoyed the bar, where after 11 pm drinks were not unknown. ( This is probably why the prelim sevens were played there) Anyway it was past 11 pm and several were ordering up, not least the Cod. Due to the pressure of requests, the barmen did not get to him; where upon he shouted at the top of his considerable voice "F*** it if I don't drink no b*****d drinks. Close the f*****g bar". And it was closed. The Sevens I believe, were never played there again.
There was a Barrow Boy on Rochester Row's Manor at the top of Francis Street near Victoria Street, who looked just like the Cod; so much so that we all reckoned, he was the Cods brother. He may have been, as he had a Westminster City Council Licence to Trade. Dear old Cod was a real character and not an unkind guvnor.
There was one thing that was remarkable about Mr. Osborne He never forgot the names of his men.
MORE MEMORIES FROM ALPHA DELTA
For 197 A Ray Brassel's first Armistice Day Parade, he was posted to the Home Office entrance, along with Dickie Hawes the regular P.C. at the Home Office. Their duty was to see that the Celebrities were given a good view of the Centoaph scene and all that went on. Also the Chief Inspector or may be by now Superintendent Grade 2 James Martin Smith, felt his presence at the door along with Hawes & Brassel would be a good idea, especially he having been a military man. He turned to Ray Brassel and asked if his Cap was on correctly and square. " Yes Sir". replied Brassel "but there is a piece of red ribbon hanging down, and you could do with a hair cut Sir". Where upon Jaimie scuttled inside the Home Office to re tie the ribbon which shaped the inside of the hat to his head and rejoined the men having got himself ship shape. He did not reprimand Brassel for insubordination. In fact he remarked " You are absolutly correct I do need a haircut". Most of AD's upper ranks were Good Guys.
Wacker Fred Lane PC 314 A was learning beats with me and we had to relieve 4 & 5 Protection on the Horse Guards Parade ground, at the corner of the back garden of Downing Street. I had told Fred that there should always be one of us at the very corner of the garden wall, whilst the other patrolled from there to Approach Road and up to Birdcage walk and on his return, the other should circumnavigate the complete Parade Square and return. Unfortunately, I had strayed from the garden wall, to the Approach Road, a matter of 40 yards. At that precise moment down the Foreign Office steps, came Inspector Hemley, followed closely by a guide showing American guests the Parade Ground and later the Guards Memorial. Mr. Hemley gave us both a rollicking which we accepted. However, when the Yanks were within hearing distance, he suddenly flew into a harangue, castigating us with words such as " You two are useless. You'll never make coppers. As far as I'm concerned you might as well leave the Job". The Yanks were all staring at us and Hemley was about to leave after them. When I said in a low volume voice but sufficient for him to hear. "Mr. Hemley don't dare think you can get away with that. Quite apart from us being unfit. You have just demonstrated that you are totally unfit. We have both just recently been in the service, where we learned that the first rule of command, is never to dress down your N.C.Os. in the presence of their subordinates. Those tourists who are our subordinates, can have little faith in either of us, should they be involved in an incident". This was said getting progressively louder, as the Yanks drew away. I was careful that they did not hear what was said. Hemley tried to interrupt but we would have none of it. Fred backed me up through out this incident and was most indignant. Hemley then said "I'll see you both up at the Admiralty Arch at 9 p.m. for the Royalty Movement". "Right Sir" we both replied. We reported as instructed. "Right see that nothing holds up the Royalty Movement under the out Arch". said Mr. Hemley. Nothing more was said. Unfortunately for Mr. Hemley, he committed precisely the same error in Downing Street, in front of a large crowd. This time however, he came across PC 390 A Albert Lewis who had been a Sergeant, as had Wacker Lane, in the Army. Lew said "Mr. Hemley be in the Inspectors Office when we book off" . Reg Webb the Federation Rep heard about both incidents and took up the matters on our behalf . Mr Hemley received a warning as to his behaviour. This was one of the very few Bad Guys.
I knocked off a drunk and incapable Irishman Frank McQuillan in Whitehall, just prior to Christmas 1953. When I searched Frank, he had over 200 pounds on him. A lot for those days, considering our annual pay was 400 pounds. It was put with the rest of his possessions and sent to Bow Street Court. Whilst we were waiting to go into Court, Frank asked me "Sergeant did I have any money on me last night, when you nicked me"? "Yes Frank". I quoted the amount, though now I can't remember the exact sum. " Ah! God Bless you Inspector, I thought some bastard might have rolled me". Frank told me, he had drawn the money to go home for Christmas, later this same day. When we went into the Court, I said the magic words "No trouble Your Worship". Frank was then asked if he had anything to say. " Yes Sor, I'd like to thank the officer for nicking me and give him a couple of quid for his trouble, Cos I understand me money is intact". "I don't wish know about that" said Sir Lawrence Dunn. I think Frank was fined ten shillings. I was about to go out with him to the Warrant/Jailers Office, to pay him out and see the fine paid. When the Court Inspector said "Wait lad" Jock the Court Officer who called all the names of defendants out, was told to get his relief to cover him and go with me to see that I was not able to receive Franks kind reward and then to send Frank on his way, having ensured that no rendezvous between us could be arranged. He was then to return with me to the Court, where I was directed to wait, until the Inspector was satisfied that Frank was well on his way. I was then released, with the bare time spent there, on my Time Off card.
In those days, Irish men in trouble, always gave you at least one rank above your entitlement and often raised it, as the conversations went on. So if you had a very long and possibly threatening talk, you could end being addressed as Superintendent.
During that wait at Bow Street Court; I heard the funniest defence ever. Two of A Divisions Aids to C.I.D. gave evidence of a Suspect Person Loitering with Intent to Steal from Motor Cars, all set in the vicinity of Rochester Row's Manor and the alleged attempts, separated by at least half an hour. The officers having given their evidence, as the defendant had pleaded Not Guilty, waited to cross examine the defendant, should he give evidence on oath. Which he did. Having taken the oath in a very effeminate voice, also having minced his way from the dock to the witness box; some of us thought, fancy a queer doing sus. Having given his details to the Court, he said in the manner just described " Well Your Worship, I was never so surprised as when I was nicked for Sus. Importuning may be, but Never Sus. I went into this toilet and showed mine to the better looking of the two, when he and his mate said your nicked. Well you could have knocked me down with a feather, when I was charged with Sus and these two came out with that Cock & Bull story". Yes I think there is some doubt in this case. Case dismissed" said Sir Lawrence. "Oh! Thank you Your Worship You are a real gent". replied our effeminate defendant.
The two aids both left the job. One was last seen as a Railway Porter. The other went to Jail after some dodgy stuff to do with drugs.