Early Days at Camberley

1961 December: Early Days at Camberley: John Stone: I joined in December 1961 and did my training at Sandgate with "punchy" Wallace as the physical training instructor and Will Squires as the Drill Sergeant. Our class Instructor was Sergeant Hill (Kent) and the Commandant was Frank Brown.

In my class that I can remember from Surrey were Clive Hanks, Pat Nagle (transferred to Surrey Fire Brigade), Dave Morris, Ian Somerville, and Dave (doc) O'Connell, who became a Solicitor. I remember the runs along the sea front, the drill parades where we were also taught how to direct traffic, the self-defence, and the end of course dances.

It was hard work but it was also good fun, and when we had a weekend off four or five of us would hire a car during which we had to spend a lot of time learning definitions for the Monday morning.

I was posted to Camberley where the Inspector was Bill Ezzard and the sergeants I remember were Ken Crafter, Vic Mansell, and Stan Plummer. One of the Detective Constables was John Over and the court was just behind the old police station.

I remember Saturdays in the summer having to do traffic duty on the old A30 at the Cambridge Hotel traffic lights. I recall climbing into the cab of a lorry on one of the trading estates just to rest the old feet, and fell asleep. I think I missed three points (yes, we had to stand outside a 'phone box every hour for fifteen minutes). Nobody missed me, fortunately.

We cycled miles in those days on bikes we were told we had to buy on £12 a week although we got an allowance of half a crown. Mick Kenny was my tutor for the first couple of weeks then I was on my own, and I remember one of the first jobs I got from a point was a cot death. I headed off wondering how on earth I would cope, and having arrived Jim Mundell (motorcyclist) turned up to help. I was truly grateful for that.

In the winter of 1963 I was posted to Hersham into my first police house at the old police station. There were two houses (Margaret and Frank Howell lived in the other) with a block of cells between and an office on the front with a toilet block in the front garden where the key to the front door was always hidden.

The police station was originally a Metropolitan Police divisional station so I was told. The office was manned for two hours morning and evening, and "Dolly" Stratton had a rota for the office men with a job each day such as polishing the brass, doing the garden, cleaning the windows, polishing the floor.

Our section of six stretched to the A3 at Pains Hill (we used to cycle there and make a point at the AA box), to the Halfway, to the county boundary on the Esher Road, and the reservoir almost into Molesey. Harold Wallace and Jock Burke were on the section as well as Frank and I but I can't remember the others.

Wednesday was court day at Chertsey and we used to cycle there, often three or four of us together. The bread and butter offences in those days apart from the basic motoring offences were riding two on a bike, bike without lights, riding on the pavement, and nicking road lamps.

Two years later, after much complaining about the state of the house, we were moved into Meadowside at Walton where our neighbours whilst we were there included Terry Crockett, Brian Hooker, Ken Newell, George Williamson, Bob Marshall, Bill Barlow, Ken Harwood and John Bowra (both transferred to Met), and Alan Longhurst.

I remember the floods of 1968 and watching people wading down the road on their way home from work, but as our daughter Melinda was born in September fortunately I was on annual leave. We didn't get water in the house although many others in the road did, but there was lots of sewage floating around which was rather unpleasant.

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