Police Cadets in Surrey

1953: police cadets came to Surrey: Before the Second World War in 1939 Reg Callingham became an un-established Clerk the pre-cursor to boy clerks, along with John Maskell and George Cork. They were stationed in the county police station Woodbridge Road in Guildford. In 1953 the Police Cadet was instituted, before which young men who joined had been referred to as junior clerks or boy clerks. They had no proper training and were considered by most as general dogsbodies, starting with cleaning and polishing duties and progressing to minor administrative tasks, etc. This all changed in 1955 when a uniform was issued and formal training introduced, consisting of a month's residential course at headquarters before a divisional posting. When the cadets who could join after sixteen were old enough at nineteen they had the opportunity to join the Force. The cadet arrangements were discontinued in 1981.

John Gladwell: I joined the Surrey Constabulary as a Boy Clerk in August 1953 at Guildford Police Station and a few months later was issued with a uniform and became one of the first Surrey Police Cadets. I was employed in Divisional Office at Woodbridge Road, Guildford doing clerical work, accident recording, production of driving documents, etc and telephone switchboard work. We used to attend Mount Browne; I think it was one day a week, for drill, inspection, physical training and sport, mainly football, under Police Sergeant Jock Ball who was the recruiting sergeant.

Jim Rankin: I believe it was mid/late 50s when they began recruiting. I saw an article in the "Caterham Times" applied and was posted to Redhill. I was the first Cadet there and the problem was Inspector Almond did not really want one! I joined in 1959 now fifty years ago.

1954: John Molyneux: In 1954 I left school and joined Surrey Constabulary as a JPC, a Junior Police Clerk or boy clerk, at Dorking police station on Monday, 9 August 1954. My collar number was 13 but it was several months before I received a uniform.

It comprised a peaked cap with a blue band around it, a cap badge, two pairs of trousers, two blue shirts and half a dozen collars. The jacket was a battledress blouse type with an open neck. Footwear was not provided, each Cadet being expected to wear suitable black shoes and dark socks. For wet weather wear a mackintosh coat was provided. I joined with Cadet 22 John Powell (later to become PC 471). Cadet 10, Tony Davie was at Leatherhead.

A condition of service for cadets was that they went to classes to 'improve themselves'. I left school with seven GCE 'O' level passes but this cut no ice with HQ, so John Powell and I enrolled for typing classes at Dorking Evening Institute. We were the only males amongst about twenty five girls and after only a few weeks we were asked to leave!

Just before 9 am that first Monday I duly reported to the station officer and was told to sit in the front office. When the regular station officer returned from meal break, he assumed that I was a juvenile prisoner, until a member of Divisional Office staff enquired as to my whereabouts.

station switchboard

I was then treated differently and shown how to work the switchboard. This was of the 'hope and poke' variety with five 'flaps', twenty 'eyeballs and what seemed a veritable cats cradle of plugs and cords. The falling 'flaps' were two exchange lines, a direct line to H.Q., a line to Dorking fire station and a spare line. The 'eyeballs' were connected to each extension and at the front of the apparatus were three rows of switches.

On my first day I managed to cut off the superintendent from the chief constable.

Express messages and R.D. (Rapid Distribution) messages had, as their names implied, to be circulated without delay. Headquarters distributed these messages and began only when every division was on line. This delay enabled whoever was on switchboard duty to contact the sub-division and, hopefully, each section within the sub-division.

During my first day at the station, I was called into Chief Inspector Mothersele's office for a 'chat'. He gave me a piece of advice which I shall never forget. "See all, say nothing."

Sport was an important part of off-duty activities. Unlike my fellow cadet, John Powell, I was not a cricketer or footballer, but the Divisional Office Sergeant, Bob Kimm, was a keen bowler. In those days there was a lawn outside the station and one Sunday afternoon - we worked shifts of choice - he showed us how to bowl.

As well as a lawn, there were houses occupied by Detective Inspector Messenger and Inspector Layton, and a well patronised social club. There was no section house, the single PCs living at the Porlock Hotel in South Terrace, next to the Cottage Hospital and just around the corner from the nurse's home!

Although there was a cleaner at the station, it was the cadet's job to clean the lamp at the entrance to the station, and to change the bulb in it when needed. Cadet training took place at Guildford monthly with a lecture in a room above the GPO garages in Leapale Lane in the morning.

After making our way to Mount Browne (bus/shank's pony) after lunch we assembled on the front hill, near the dog kennels, for an hour of drill, courtesy of PS Williams. After this we crowded into the brown van and were taken to Guildford Lido for swimming and life saving.

On one occasion we assembled on the sports field where we were addressed by the Chief Constable, Joseph Simpson. He explained to us that he would not be exempting his cadets from National Service and that, when called up, we should not ask to be placed in the Military Police.

I went into the RAF and at 'square bashing' was often called upon to fasten collar studs. The police issue shirts almost got me court marshalled. Because they were the same colour, but less itchy, than RAF issue shirts, I decided to wear one on return to Germany from home leave. At Harwich I was stopped by a 'snow drop' and asked why I was wearing an officers shirt. I replied that it was very remiss of the NAAFI to sell them. He asked no more questions but told me to change as soon as I got back to camp!

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