I joined the Gloucestershire Constabulary on 14th February 1921 Valentines Day with two others, Ted Evans (son of a Police Super) and Jim Bailey (the son of a farmer) at New Court, Lansdown Road Cheltenham. My age was 23 years. We were interviewed by the Chief Superintendent Mr Bigg. We then messed about for the remainder of the day. We slept in a large bedroom and that was our first day in the policeforce. Pay £3.10.0d. per week.
Next day we were taken down to Cheltenham and sworn in before the Magistrates at the Central Police Station and now we were Police Constables, my clothing number was 189. We were then taken to the clothing store for fitting out ( not with new uniform) the clothes that was nearest to our fit, we took this down to a tailor for alteration. Our hours at HQ was from 9am till 5pm. After about a week the Police Headquarters was going to move to Holland House a house further down the road so it was decided that I should stay and help and my 2 mates should go to stations. Ted Evans went to Staple Hill, Bristol, and Jim Bailey to Stonehouse, that meant I was living at home (my home was then in Swindon Road) and duty at HQ from 9am till 5. This lasted until April when the police recruited another 115 men (which I took, as they were called up to the Central Station, Cheltenham, for billeting)
During this time I was told I could face the responsibility of going on duty in Cheltenham which I did. I was taken out by one of the Sgts and he took me to the junction of Pittville Street and Albion Street. This would be about 7pm and he told me I could have an hour directing traffic. Well I had not had any training whatsoever and it wasn’t long before I had my- first problem. A man came up to me and said “Officer (I thought, oh my) I have just come from a pub in Warwick Place where a man tried to sell me a puppy dog, which was a
puppy dog I had lost just previously”. He claimed it was his dog so in the end I said I would go round to the pub and see this man and he still claimed it was his dog. Not knowing what to decide I asked them if they would like to come to the Central Station for the Sgt to decide. Well, in the end the Sgt told me to report the man for failing to report finding a puppy dog and the other man got his dog back. Eventually the man was brought to Court on a summons; I gave evidence and he was fined 5/- for failing to report finding a
dog and that was my first case in the Police Force.
It was now about April 26 1921 and I was told I was going to be stationed at Staple Hill, Bristol. I was then stationed at Staple Hill as a single man and the food was supplied to us (6 others in the same station, all single) by the resident Sgt’s wife. It was then that I started on Police Patrol on a beat on my own, still without any Police training, and it was during this time that the Coal Miners came out on General Strike. It wasn’t long before everyone was without coal including the Police Station. There was a large railway siding at Staple Hill and the inhabitants discovered that there was a lot of nobbly coal which had fallen from the coal trucks and rolled down the embankment and so they resorted to going to the embankment and scratching for this small coal. The Railway Company complained to the Police Supt. about this and instruction was issued to us to report anyone found on the railway line searching for coal. Well it wasn’t long before nearly all the men at Staple Hill
had 3 or 4 names down for summons for trespassing on the railway. They were taken to Court and generally fined 5/- and the coal confiscated, that it found its way to fill our fire grates at the Station, and in each case the Police Officer was rewarded with 2/6d by the Railway Company for a conviction. This carried on for about 2 months when the Chief Constable issued an order that no more rewards were to be received by the Police from the Railway Company. Since not so many cases of trespass. I was eventually (after reporting about 12 people for different offences, nothing serious) transferred back to HQ in November 1921 with the other men who had been called up and sent to different stations without Police Training and we started a 2 month course and then sat our exams. We all passed and were then sent out to different stations to start our proper careers. I was sent to Gloucester and I considered myself lucky as my fiancee was living in Cheltenham and who
I was engaged to. I had promised her I would marry her as soon as I had raised £100 and got the Chief Constable’s sanction.