1945-1950

1945: Norman Ratcliffe:134 On Thursday 23rd August, 1945 at about midday, an RAF Mosquito fitted with experimental equipment from the RAE was flying over the Hogs Back at about 17,000. Something went wrong and it dropped to 12,000 feet and broke up. The plane hit the ground around Wanborough Manor Farm. The pilot was Fl. Lt Brooks and he was able to deploy his parachute and landed safely near Flexford Farm, Wanborough. His passenger was a scientific officer from the RAE, Mr Becker. He was killed and his body recovered in Greencut Copse, Wanborough.

At the Inquest into the death of Mr Becker evidence was given that the flight was authorised and experimental elevator equipment was on board. No explanation was given as to why the aircraft broke up, not even by the pilot. PC Deacon of Puttenham gave evidence of finding the body. The cause of death was multiple injuries. The Inquest verdict was Accidental Death.

At the same time as the crash an army lorry carrying Guardsmen from Pirbright was coming down from the Hogs Back. It was suggested the driver swerved to avoid the falling wreckage and lost control. The lorry hit the verge and turned over, killing 4 Guardsmen and serious injuring 4 more.

At the Inquest it was said the lorry zigzagged for some distance before hitting the verge and turning over. The front passenger in the lorry said it was doing about 20–25 mph on a straight road, and when the driver braked it shot across the road and turned over. PC Nokes of Camberley said there were some broken areas near the verge otherwise it was a good road. No evidence seems to be given to connect the lorry as avoiding the plane.

1945, 27 August: Upper Hale, Farnham Division: Murder of Agnes Muriel Ellacott: George Ellacott, Muriel's husband and Dennis Nash were close friends. Over time the relationship between Muriel and Nash developed and they began an affair. The husband became suspicious and he asked his friend not to go to the house when he was not there. Nash visited Agnes at her home and was told to leave which did returning a few hours later. He tied a rope around her neck and tried to strangle her; then he slit her throat with a razor and before leaving the cottage, turned the gas taps on. As soon as the body was discovered and the police informed Nash was soon arrested tried and found to be insane.135

1945: Police vehicles: The Force had 55 cars, 4 vans and 51 motorcycles.136

1945: Pay Scale B is abolished:137 'Scale B', the lower pay scale for post-1932 recruits, was abolished. Police pay was formally increased for the first time since 1919.

1946, February: PS William Locke awarded King's Police Medal for Gallantry placed himself in front of a prisoner who was displaying an automatic pistol and attempting to escape ... more

1946: Police Act: Surrey Constabulary lost to the Metropolitan Police, Esher, Cobham, Stoke D'Abernon, and Walton on the Hill, Kingswood, Chipstead and parts of the parish of Coulsdon and Epsom and Ewell District Council. In exchange came Warlingham.

1946: Married women are allowed to service in the police:139 The ban on married women serving in the police service was lifted.

The Duchess of Windsor's jewellery case found in the garden.

The Duchess of Windsor's
jewellery case found in the garden

1946, 18 October: The Times: Surrey Police announced yesterday that a considerable amount of jewellery had been stolen from Ednam Lodge where the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were staying.

Ednam Lodge, Sunningdale the house of the Earl of Dudley where Duke and Duchess of Windsor had been guests and her jewellery was now reported stolen. Tom Roberts attended. As the theft was close to the Metropolitan Police District, Metropolitan Police assistance was sought and the head of New Scotland Yard fingerprint department Superintendent Cherrill with DI Capstick and DS Monk came to help. The jewels were priceless because of their historic association but were never found.140

Body found in Woldingham chalk pit.

Body found in chalk pit.

1946, 30 November: Tom Roberts called to a murder at Woldingham by Superintendent King of Oxted Division.141 Chalk Pit murder: The extraordinary events surrounding the murder of John Mudie ... more

1946: Denis Turner: It was not until after the Second World War that there was renewed interest in the use of dogs. A housebreaking that Tom Roberts dealt with convinced him that dogs were necessary ... more

1947: April Surrey Constabulary reformed to include the Boroughs of Guildford and Reigate.

1947: Rent allowances are increased:142 The Report of the Police Council Committee on Rent Allowances recommended that the rent allowance should be high enough to reimburse the reasonable rent and rates of all members occupying unfurnished rent property. New maximum allowances of 30 shillings for the provinces and 35 shillings for London were recommended, and these proposals were accepted by the Government. The system by which police authorities paid a compensatory grant in respect of income tax on rent allowances was also introduced.

Murdered children

1947, 26 July: Tom Roberts on a conference in Manchester was called back to Guildford to deal with the murder of a child and another seriously injured. Leslie John Goff ... more

Sunbeam Talbo 1948

 

 

1948: Traffic Department: Sunbeam Talbot 90; an open top tourer also used and known affectionately as "pneumonia wagons".

1948: Stan Wood: The Darby Days: The Surrey Police Dog Section was first formed in 1948 when the chief constable, Mr Joseph Simpson imported Sergeant Harry Darbyshire into the force from the Metropolitan Police. In the early days he lived ... more

1948: Item ref: CC98/11/11Murder at 76 Harrow Road, Warlingham.

1948, spring: Sergeant Darbyshire makes first arrest with a tracking dog Anna of Avondale following a burglary at Hersham, finding one of the burglars hiding under a hedge in a neighbouring garden and the second nearby.143

Victor Thomas Herrett killed in action

Victor Thomas Herrett
killed in action

1949, 12 March: Junior Police Clerk Victor Thomas Herrett Aged nineteen killed in action in Malaya whilst on National Service.

Much of the following information is from ex PS591 J H Futcher who served as a "Boy Clerk" at the same time as Victor, with whom he was in almost daily contact.

Victor was the son of PC Herrett KPM who was killed whilst on duty in 1929. He was born after his father had been killed and after his mother returned to her family home "Merriewood", Beacon View Road, Elstead where the family still lived in 2004. Victor grew up in Elstead where he went to school before serving at Farnham as a Junior Police Clerk the forerunner to the police cadets and was called up in the late 1940s for National Service.

Victor was born on 26th May 1929 and joined the Grenadier Guards, his father's regiment, on National Service aged eighteen and into his final four months was killed on active service in Malaya fighting guerrillas in the jungle.

On the 11th March 1949 the RAF attacked a camp overlooking the Sungei Jeloh squatter area where six hundred squatters had been evacuated under new emergency regulations. They had been assisting the terrorists with food and money. Grenadiers followed up the air strike and found nothing of interest except a few long deserted huts.

The following day a Grenadier patrol commanded by Capt. D W Hargreaves was ambushed in the Sungei Jeloh valley near Kajang, fifteen miles south of Kuala Lumpur. His platoon of twenty men was driving up a track, which was found to be impassable due to logs blocking the way. The bandits opened heavy automatic fire when the vehicle stopped. Three Guardsmen were killed immediately. Grenades were thrown at them and the bandits fired 2-inch mortar bombs.144

Surrey Constabulary exact date unknown.

Surrey Constabulary exact date unknown.

1948, 12 May: The Scotsman: Parcel Bomb Sent to General Baker: Disguised as a roll of periodicals: Posted in London: Investigations by Home Office experts last night showed that a parcel delivered yesterday to the Cobham, Surrey home of General Sir Evelyn Baker, former GOC British Troops in Palestine contained a high explosive, probably gelignite. The postmark indicates that the parcel was posted in London and Scotland Yard are trying to trace the precise district from which it was posted. The package was cylindrical about a foot long and about three inches in diameter.

The postman put it on a ledge in the porch and a member of staff who went to collect it immediately became suspicious. Surrey Police called in Scotland Yard and Superintendent Thomas Barratt of the CID who is in charge of the investigation into the death of Mr Rex Farran went to the house. (Note: The bomb that killed Rex Farran was intended for his brother Roy a highly decorated major from the wartime SAS who had been working undercover in Palestine.)

The package was taken to the General's wife who started to open it but noticed a wire and some black insulating tape and she immediately recalled seeing a photograph of a bomb sent to General Barker some months ago shortly after he returned from Palestine. The police were called and it was collected by the police. Although there were no prosecutions, many years later it was revealed who was responsible for this crime and the murder of Rex Farran.

Frederick Radford with his first wife.

Frederick Radford with his first wife.

1949, April: Murder of Margery Radford at Milford: Surrey County Sanatorium in the grounds of St Thomas' Hospital. Returning from leave on a Saturday Dr Alison ate a pie on his desk and became violently ill. Unwell over the weekend he went into work on Monday and was handed a confidential letter which indicated that one of his patients was being poisoned by her husband. The pie he had eaten had been sent in for analyses!

DI Crowhurst from Godalming soon attended the hospital and the next day analyses from Scotland Yard showed there was arsenic, potassium arsenite containing three times the fatal minimum dose, in the pie. As the results came in the woman Margery Radford died in the Milford hospital. Keith Simpson carried out the post mortem and found 6.5 grains of arsenic; two would have been fatal. Arsenic in the hair allowed for the calculation that she had been receiving the poison for three or four months.

On 15 April DI Crowhurst arrested the husband and took him to Detective Superintendent Tom Roberts at Godalming. He was released after a lengthy interviewed to come back the following day for the inquest on his wife at the police station. He did not turn up and he was found in his room at the hospital where he worked having committed suicide. He left a note denying any involvement in the poisoning. At the inquest it was found that the husband had poisoned what turned out not to be his wife as he was a bigamist, and then committed suicide. Radford was a laboratory assistant.145

1949: Oaksey Report part 1 launched:146 The Oaksey Committee of Inquiry into the Police Service published its First Report after a lengthy examination of pay and conditions of service. Oaksey recommended a modest pay increase, conditional upon police officers agreeing to 'average'; i.e. to have their pensions based on the their average pensionable pay over the last three years of their service. The Oaksey recommendations came as a major disappointment and did nothing to solve the great post-war shortage of police officers, caused because police pay continued to lag behind rates available in other areas.

1949, September: Move to Mount Browne where a new control is established for the new joint police fire brigade wireless scheme. It was linked by radio beam to the short wave master station at Sunnydown on the Hog's Back where the transmitter and receiver are situated and in turn to the two satellite stations at Stoke D'Abernon and Caterham. Constant touch can be maintained by speech over the air with patrol cars and any area in the county can be cordoned off within two minutes and every car switched into a chase.

In September 1949 the Surrey Constabulary moved to their new home in a mansion set in park land to the south of Guildford, Mount Browne. The house with thirty seven acres was purchased for £17,000 with a further £12,000 spent on adapting the new offices. The laying out of the sports facilities which included two football pitches, cricket pitch and rifle range cost £3,200 and the existing tennis court close to the house was brought back into use.

By 1951 twenty houses were built in the grounds and the whole site gave the sense of space and offered a great deal of room for expansion. The new century with a combination of development, the growth in the force area, the changing ways of working, numbers of office based staff all with personal transport, recruit training and the enhanced dog training facilities all ensured that Mount Browne was a congested difficult place to visit or work. All the houses are now offices, and over the decades a new wing was built, as was a training school, forensic science wing, and a new dog training school.

Graham Ingram: Regarding the wireless coming to the police in 1949, and being shared with the fire brigade, (HF). I recall some old 'sweats' from the control room saying how time consuming it was because the HF operators took twice as long with messages because they had to repeat back to the crews everything that they were given.

Geoff Bloomfield: When I joined Surrey Constabulary in 1949, Mount Browne had just become the headquarters, before going to training school I spent some weeks there chopping wood and keeping the fires alight for the chief constable and other senior officers.

1949: Traffic History: PC 51 Alfred Hay: I moved to Dorking in early 1949 and was the divisional driver until Traffic Department was first formed that year. I was crewed with Arthur Apps as J110 (Humber Snipe) on E4 Area, the other crews in the Area being ... more

1950, 9 and 13 June: The Scotsman: Policewomen: There are vacancies in the Surrey Constabulary for women of good education who are looking for an interesting career. The work entails uniform street patrol, dealing with women and girls who are the subject of police enquiries and plain clothes duties in the CID Candidates should be between 22 and 35 years of age, not less than 5 feet 4 ins in height and in good health. The service is pensionable and a constable's pay on appointment is £5.11s.2d a week rising to £7 5s 8d (plus allowances of approximately 18 shillings a week after training). Women are eligible for promotion to higher ranks. An attractive uniform is provided and recruits are given 3 months residential training after joining.

1950, 21 September: The Times: Surrey Police are looking for a man who brutally assaulted a girl at The Causeway, Egham late on Tuesday night. He threw her into a ditch where she was found unclothed and with serious injuries. The girl aged seventeen from Egham has a double fracture of the jaw and other head injuries.

1950, 4 October: The Times: A burglary was reported where paintings valued at between ten and fifteen thousand pounds had been stolen from the mansion of John Page-Blair at Windlesham Court. Surrey Police are making a detailed investigation and it is believed a gang specialising in hauls of this kind may be responsible.

1950, 5 November: Sutton Place jewellery theft Duke and Duchess of Sutherland: The jewellery was valued at £54,000 - worth over a £1m today. No doubt there was staff involvement and they did have links to a man suspected of being a country house burglar but there was no evidence. Two years later the butler, now working for Lord Thorneycroft gave himself up and was again interviewed by Roberts admitting involvement naming his accomplices. At trial the charges against the butler McLeod were dropped and he became the principle prosecution witness and the other two Burley and Sparkes did their time. The jewellery was never recovered.147, 148

1950: Towards the end of 1950 Detective Superintendent Tom Roberts recovered six famous painting in a raid following a "tip off". The paintings, five Dutch masters and a French picture worth £30,000 pounds, had been stolen from the home of Mrs Guinness at Holmbury St Mary, the widow of the brewer. It is believed the thief was acting on the orders of a man who may have been behind the theft of many other British art treasures from country houses and may give a clue to the identity of the man sought across Europe and America. This man may have been linked to the theft of £63,000 of jewellery from the home of the Duke of Sutherland's home in Guildford.


134 Collyer, Graham and Rose, David (1999). Guildford, the War Years, Breedon Books, ISBN-10: 1 85983 177 X, ISBN-13: 9781859831779. This has a section on the history of the RAE.

135 Maxton, Caroline (2005). Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths in Guildford, Wharncliffe Books, p. 155.

136 Chief Constable (1945). Notes on the administration of the county police during the war.

137 http://www.polfed.org/aboutus/69DD9AB47F534348AD5D1415843163AA.asp [19 January 2010].

139 http://www.polfed.org/aboutus/69DD9AB47F534348AD5D1415843163AA.asp [19 January 2010].

140 Roberts, Tom (1987). Friends and Villains: an Autobiography, Hodder and Stoughton, ISBN 0-340-41150-3.

141 Roberts, Tom (1987). Friends and Villains: an Autobiography, Hodder and Stoughton, ISBN 0-340-41150-3, p. 95.

142 http://www.polfed.org/aboutus/69DD9AB47F534348AD5D1415843163AA.asp [19 January 2010].

143 Roberts, Tom (1987). Friends and Villains: an Autobiography, Hodder and Stoughton, ISBN 0-340-41150-3, p. 79.

144 Lindsay, Oliver (1996). Once A Grenadier--: the Grenadier Guards 1945-1995, L. Cooper, ISBN-10: 0850525268, ISBN-13: 9780850525267, pp. 38-39.

145 Roberts, Tom (1987). Friends and Villains: an Autobiography, Hodder and Stoughton, ISBN 0-340-41150-3, p. 116.

146 http://www.polfed.org/aboutus/69DD9AB47F534348AD5D1415843163AA.asp [19 January 2010].

147 Roberts, Tom (1987). Friends and Villains: an Autobiography, Hodder and Stoughton, ISBN 0-340-41150-3, p. 124.

148 Johnson, Wilfred Harold (2000). Surrey Murder Casebook, Countryside Books, ISBN-10: 1 85306 6427, ISBN-13: 9781853066429.

 

Surrey Constabulary badge