Farnham Traffic Department

1963: Farnham Traffic Department: John McLaren Bartlett: I joined Traffic in July 1963. I had a week's experience with Traffic during my probation. Norman Lampard had the problem of showing me the Traffic style. He was crewed with John Tappin.

Posted to Farnham and joined Brian Haynes who had been working with Johnny Hitt at Burpham. Johnny, or Ron, seemed to be known by two first names. For the first two weeks Brian drove. I had never travelled at such speeds. I then went on a five day driving course. PC Wilson (Chertsey) was one of the PCs, I regret I cannot remember the other.

I can remember our instructor Ernie Oliver asking for the driver's wrist watch. He put it under the rear wheels of the Hillman Minx we were driving up Guilford High Street. The PC had dropped slightly backward on a previous attempt. He got it right that time!

At the end of the week I was met at HQ by Brian. Ernie said in response to a question from Brian: "He will be alright." Little did I know what was coming; I was presented with the keys, "You are driving". We set off back to Farnham out the back way, along the Coombe straight, where the brothers tested their Jaguars.

I turned towards the A3 and went to change from second to third. A hand was put on top of mine, the other waving in a gesture that only meant more speed. By the time we reached the A3 I wondered what had hit me. We reached Farnham in a time I thought was not possible.

In the section house at Farnham was Jim Rankin and Jim Lawrence, motor bikes, John Parsons came a little later. Cliff Myhill, Robin Chapman and John Lugger. In the police houses at the rear of the police station yard was Ken Gosling (stripy) Brian Haynes, John Boyes. I think Harry Sales arrived, Olive Oil, sorry John Hoyle. I think John Tappin, I am missing one or two. Mike Blencowe arrived.

The names I remember include Tim Healey and spaniels, Dave Bowden, Fred Creagh who went to CID. A little hazy because when Farnham closed, a sad day, we all got moved to Burpham.

I can remember Doug Brazier, Rodney Stone, John Tappin, Eddie Armstrong, Clive Rawlings, Dave Tailor, Brendon Hewson, Tony Keefe with Sergeants Spurgion, Nicholas, Flight Commander Buckman (ex-RAF). Artie Watkins and Gerry Atfield were Inspectors.

Norman Lampard had left Burpham on promotion and was at Farnham. Doug Brazier was a huge man whereas his mate was somewhat smaller. I can remember seeing him Garth as he was known, driving the Austin Westminster. It had a flag above the steering wheel which dropped down when the power steering lacked power? There was enough room for four of him on the front bench seat. He, however, drove it well.

On one occasion when walking the beat at Guilford I had called for assistance. Doug Brazier and Tim Healy arrived in a Sunbeam Rapier. The two men emerged and it was amazing how the two of them fitted into the car in the first place.

It was strange how that after the two centres combined we kept to our respective areas. We never knew why Farnham had closed, it seemed illogical. We had been Inspected by the HMI who asked " What do you know about the Barbed Wire Act?", useful for a traffic man, and given a good report. The cars could not have been cleaner.

I started driving the Sunbeam Rapier; I think the only car never to have been on its roof? The Ford Zephyr followed, always with Town and Country tyres on the rear. Jim Starkey at HQ garage, when challenged, retorted "I thought you liked the tyres". He had to be joking; I think he had purchased a 'job lot'. The billiard table front Ford was due to follow, which the chief declined. Apparently Ford had other ideas about a contract. We ended up with the totally under powered GT Cortina.

I remember my first advanced course at Chelmsford. The instructor told me that he could always identify a Surrey traffic man. Why? He always swooped up behind a car to gather speed prior to overtaking. Not a good image. However I did alright.

One day Gerry Atfield arrived at Farnham as I started late turn. He asked me to road test a Ford - a 'works' Lotus Cortina. Did that Go! The journey was from Farnham across the Hogs Back, then turning right at the A3 junction towards Hindhead; at Hindhead another right to Farnham and back to the traffic centre. Gerry's face remained a smile. I think he enjoyed the ride as much as I had the drive.

Why cannot we have these I asked? No garage expertise was the short answer! (He was a very good traffic man and probably missed his early days.) A breath of fresh air arrived with the Triumph PI. That was more like a proper car.

During my time on Traffic I worked with, after Brian Haynes, Colin Campbell, Dave Bowden, Gerry Bixley, Frank Bond, Lionel Covey and Geoff Green. Another chap who lived at Ash Vale, one of two brothers, also spent some time with me. With due modesty every PC who was put on with me got a '1st'. Thank you Brian Haynes, your tuition was first class!

Just before I transferred to the Metropolitan Police I had a new crew mate who lived at Burpham, I cannot however remember his name. It is sad, on reflection that I had formed a desire to deal with crime and wanted to go onto CID. Having completed a learner at Camberley I was subsequently offered a position at Caterham.

I had purchased a house in Farnham and with two small children the prospect of a move was not viable. I do not think you can get further apart in the county. Thank you the management!

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