Dog Section 1959

1959: Dog Section: Stan Wood: The Bob Ling years 1959 – 1966: On Harry Darbyshire's retirement in 1959, Bob Ling was promoted to Sergeant in charge of the Dog Section. Among the handlers at the time were Bill Redwood, Fred Booker, George Wraight, Len Truss, Geoff Bloomfield, Peter Morley, Bob Twentyman and Jock Duff. There was also Alan Osment, who sometime in the early 60s was promoted to sergeant, for normal section duties at Buckland but kept his police dog. Elementary and advanced courses continued to be the only courses on offer and these were run by Bob Ling and his assistant George Wraight.

The Dog Section in 1962 had the following handlers:

PS Bob Ling (Section and Training)
PS Alan Osment (Buckland Section Sergeant and dog handler)
PC George Wraight (HQ and Assistant Trainer)
PC Bill Redwood Farnham
PC Fred Booker Godalming
PC Peter Morley Guildford
PCs Chris Proctor and Geoff Bloomfield Woking
PCs Roy Cartwright and Jock Duff Weybridge
PC Len Truss Reigate
PC Ken Curnow Dorking.

About 1963, Bill Redwood was promoted to operational dog sergeant and in 1964 Fred Booker was also promoted. Bill was Western and Fred, Eastern. I think it was at this time that we stopped being under the charge of CID and became Divisional Handlers.

A new dog centre was opened at West Horsley with four acquired houses; two handlers, Peter Morley and Stan Wood, became answerable to Guilford and Godalming and Chris Proctor and Jock Duff to Woking and Weybridge. Fred Booker had a Section running out of Buckland and Sidlow.

Unfortunately this system did not last very long and in 1965 the handlers were put on Division, some with dog vans and some paired up in divisional vehicles. Bill Redwood returned to divisional sergeant duties at Guildford where he remained until 1970 when he returned to the dog section and joined the training school. A new dog sergeant transferred from Northumberland, Tom Yeouart. He resigned in 1976.

1963 saw the introduction of refresher courses for general purpose police dogs and dogs from all over the country returned each year to their training school for a two-week course. Being in the right place, young, fit and active, a keen novice, Stan Wood was enlisted onto the training staff to assist with kennel duties and to run criminal and hide for up to eight dogs every day.

In 1965 Bob Ling undertook a secondment for one year to the British Guiana. George Wraight took over training as acting sergeant. This continued up to August 1966 when George transferred to Thames Valley. This was a huge loss to the section as George Wraight was a top class instructor.

In the meantime Bob Ling had returned to the UK but did not return to Surrey as he had resigned and went into private dog breeding and training. This was another great loss as now two instructors who had trained under Harry Darbyshire had left the Force.

With just four years training albeit under the guidance of two brilliant trainers I had the good fortune to be promoted to sergeant in charge of dog training with Sergeant Tom Yeouart in charge of operational dogs (Western) whilst Fred Booker remained with the Eastern dogs.

Fred Booker's memories of the Dog Section can be found here.

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