Traffic Department – Farnham and Burpham

1964: Traffic Department: Colin Campbell: I was Cadet 27 at Burpham Traffic Centre (HTB) in 1964. The Inspector was George Young and the sergeants were John Over, Artie Watkins and John Nicholas. The chief inspector (stationed at HQ) was Arthur Bruce. Some of the PCs names I remember are: Doug Brazier, Tony Keefe, Harold May, Frank Kennison, Norman Lampard, Ted Wild, Tom Hamilton, Ron Searle, Jim Platt-Higgins, Brian Richardson, Terry Keller, Peter Barbrooke, Eric Roots.

Duties of the cadet included answering the switchboard, writing out the duties, entering all paperwork into various registers, both coming in and going out of the office, dipping the underground petrol tank – this had to be done daily by gently lowering a metal measuring stick into the tank to get a reading of fuel available (in gallons, no electronic or other gauges). If the stick was put into the tank too hastily it created a false reading by displacing the fuel. The cadet was also responsible for ordering the fuel.

Sometimes the cadet would patrol with the crews. The vehicles were blue Ford Zephyr 6, call signs J13, J14, J15, J18, and J27 (strange how one remembers some things and not others). The motorcycles were Triumph and Matchless.

In 1967 I was a PC at Farnham Traffic Centre (HTF) where the sergeants were Ken Gosling and Mike Blencowe. I had three 'crew mates' there, John Bartlett, Jim Rankin and John Boyes. Some of the other PCs were Dave Forder (later transferred to Metropolitan Police), Peter Baker (locally known as 'Toffee' Baker, left the job and went to work as a Probation Officer in Hampshire), Clive Rawlings (later transferred to Metropolitan Police), Robin Chapman, Keith Worger, Roger Weedon, Dave Bowden, Colin Didrikson (I think). Other names escape me at the moment.

Vehicles were, initially, Ford Zephyr 6 (blue) and (sometimes on loan from HTB) a white Austin Westminster. These were later replaced by white Mk1 Ford GT Cortinas, (much to everyone's disgust when it was discovered they were not really man-enough for the job, although they did survive for a few years).

In those days crews were given one day of 'maintenance' duty a month when they washed, polished and serviced their allocated vehicle (a service consisted of all the usual daily checks and an oil change when appropriate (every three thousand miles - can you imagine letting one loose on today's vehicles?) Jock Forbes the Farnham Divisional mechanic would sometimes take on the task of oil change if there were other pressing matters!

Late 1960s HTF was closed and personnel transferred to Burpham (HTB). During my years at HTB two of the inspectors were Albert Tobin and Pip Kerridge (not sure in which order), and sergeants John Nicholas, Eric Spurgeon, Doug Buckman (to name but three) and some of the PCs Mike Shelley, Geoff Larkins, Mick Binckes, Chris Taylor, Keith Simmonds, Pete Older, (who worked with Doug Brazier – sublime to the ridiculous if you knew their totally different statures!), Doug Rowlands, Les Wesson, Vic Melhuish, Les Gillingham, Peter Hills, Dave Hills, Tony Parrott, Ian Parrott, Derek Cooper, Bob Cooper, Pete Stringer, Rupert Heritage, John Ewens, Peter Ritchie, Bernie Buck, Phil Robinson, Lionel Covey, and some of the above mentioned from 1964 plus the HTF personnel.

There were two mechanics, Bob Rule (one of the original AA patrolmen of the A3) and Brian Norman. There was a 'handyman' George Newman and a lady clerk in the office from time to time, I think Mrs Kent.

At this time headquarters garage (HTH) was part of Traffic Department and was situated in Ladymead, Guildford. It was managed by Jim Starkey and Gordon Everingham with Jack Spratt in charge of the stores. I remember an occasion when water got into the underground fuel tank at the garage and petrol had to be filtered through wash leathers to remove water before being dispensed into the vehicles.

Ford Cortina replaced by Triumph 2.5 PIs in early 1970s, Triumph Motorcycles replaced by Norton Commandos.

In 1974 I was promoted to sergeant and transferred to Chertsey Traffic Centre (HTC) where the chief inspector was Gordon Everingham and Inspector Chris Rodgers. Sergeants were John Hitt, Pat Depper (later left the job and went to Wales), Bryon Alden and Shane Burrows. Later changes were Chief Inspectors Mike Wicks and Roger Rennie, Inspector Mike Karn, and Sergeants Keith Worger, Tony Suter and Mick Wickens.

Some of the PCs were: Malcolm McGarrigle, Andy Richardson, Bob Russell, John Bridger, Keith Redparth, Dick Johnson, Richard Redpath, Roger Grimble, Mick Sampson, Graham Brown, Pete Moore, Mary Moore, Alyson Parsons, Sandra Nunn, Gordon McFarlane, Dick Johnson, Jeff Gooden, Graham Glazier, Dick Allen, Roy Coole, Richard Priestley, Tony Buddle, Jim Vear, Chris Maxwell, Mick Wells, John Baughen, and Martin 'Taff' Davies.

The very efficient office clerk was Marion Lawrence. At this time HTC was policing its first section of motorway (M3) which had opened early 1970's; later to have responsibility for the M25 as each section was commissioned.

Motorway patrol vehicles were Range Rovers, of which there were two at HTC. The commissioning of motorways changed the roll of the traffic officer as there were strict instructions that the motorway always had a patrol on it; that was the priority. Shift patterns had been changed to allow an overlap, and at night when the motorway crew had a meal break the one other HTC car had to 'cover' the motorway.

If there was an incident or accident on the motorway (M3) then 'backup' was often called for from either Hampshire or other Surrey traffic patrols. Unlike today, the motorway signing was basic and in the event of an accident causing lane obstruction or closures, patrols were deployed with flares to hold or place on the hard shoulder to warn other motorists.

There were certain crews who 'specialised' on motorway patrol and preferred that work as opposed to other general traffic patrol duties. Motorway patrol vehicles always had to be fully crewed and it would only be in very exceptional circumstances that a closure would be authorised, and it would need the chief superintendent's authority.

Later in the 1970s the Triumph PI was replaced by lacklustre Triumph TC models and later again by the Ford Granada, which was an improvement. Norton motorcycles were gradually replaced by BMWs.

During my service on Traffic, the senior officers changed from time to time. Superintendents I recall were Mark Hutchings, Tony Forward, Gerry Atfield; other names escape me at the present. Not forgetting Rosemary Boxall of course, the long serving admin person.

In 1964 the driving school (HTD) was run by Bomber Brown and Bob Moore who trained drivers in an Austin Cambridge and Sunbeam Rapier. Things have moved on a bit since then!

By the 1970's there was a sergeant in charge of the driving school, Danny Shaw. The driving school grew over the years; Colin Highton replaced Danny Shaw when Danny retired and more instructors were recruited as Surrey trained drivers for all the classes of vehicle in use.

Also part of Traffic Department was road safety and road survey – both stationed at headquarters. Various personnel were there during the years of my service, including Artie Watkins, Tony Davy, Eric Adams, Doug Buckman. The road safety officers on division included sergeants Gerry Bixley, Peter Bradley and Vic Melhuish.

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