Assault on Weybridge Police Station

1959: Mervyn Saunders: Assault on Weybridge Nick: In 1959 I was a seventeen-year-old cadet at Weybridge Police Station, then a divisional headquarters. My duties up to that point had consisted of manning the switchboard, typing the duties, making tea and nipping down the town to get the Governor's (Duchy Holland) ounce of Golf Block.

It was about 9 pm on a Saturday night and November 5th celebrations were taking place on the small park across the road from the Nick. There was a bonfire and a large crowd. I was there off duty and enjoying the festivities with a young lady friend (actually it was the DI's daughter, but that is another story).

Some pushing and shoving developed between two groups of people and shortly PC Jim Mundell turned up on his motorcycle to deal with the developing fracas. For a few moments everything was normal. I could see over the crowd that he was warning a man about his behaviour. Suddenly a tussle started between the two of them and it had obviously turned into an attempted arrest.

Unfortunately for Jim Mundell the crowd took up the cause of the potential prisoner. A great cry from them went up and Jim disappeared under a sea of bodies.

I ran to the Nick as fast as I could and blurted out the story to Dave Hart, the station officer. He grabbed his helmet and ran round to assist leaving me in charge, there being no other officers on site. There were no personal radios in those days and I had to call Control for the nearest mobile units to come in and help. Some Traffic cars arrived and soon four or five prisoners were being bundled through the front door. They went straight into the cells and the officers, including the now dishevelled Pc Mundell, returned to the scene as things were getting out of hand.

By this time Dave was back, but the angry crowd had come round to the front of the Nick shouting for the release of their friends. About four hundred quickly assembled and the few uniformed officers fending them off could easily be overwhelmed.

It was decided to let about three of the ringleaders in to talk to the officer in charge of the station (Dave) in an attempt to calm the situation. These three were particularly aggressive and loudmouthed and were demanding the release of their friends. They threatened to take over the police station and release their friends themselves if we did not comply. The situation was getting tense.

Half a dozen policemen were holding off four hundred angry demonstrators. Dave and I were unable to calm or placate the ringleaders and so a show of strength was called for and we decided to throw them out as by this time they had started to walk toward the cells. Picture the scene - a probationer and a cadet decided they were going to heave three local toughs out of the Nick!

About this time I thought it might be a good idea to nip down to the newsagent and get Duchy his next ounce of tobacco!

Ejecting the yobs proved to be quite difficult. We pushed them toward the front door, but these were seasoned toughs and the punches began to fly. The struggle continued for a few minutes and I was beginning to tire. Everybody was shouting. We were shouting, the yobs were shouting and the crowd outside was shouting.

Suddenly, I heard reinforcements coming from the direction of the section house. Some of the off duty officers had heard the din and came down to investigate. I looked round and saw the formidable Jock Laurie closely followed by Noddy Hood, rushing up the corridor to give us a hand.

I gave Yob Number One a heave and slipped and fell. Just as well because half a house brick flew through the window right on target for my head, had I been standing up! Down on my knees amongst the flailing bodies, I looked up and saw Yob Number Two get his just deserts.

Because he was trying to remain in the police station he had had his back to the open front door. Just on the outside of the door were two or three steps that lead down to the small car park in front of the Nick. He was shouting the usual obscenities and standing in an aggressive posture with his head and chin thrust forward.

Jock wasted no time in planting a massive "haymaker" right on it. I had never seen a man lifted off his feet by a single blow before (or since). It appeared that he had been launched and he sailed out through the door in an arc backwards, his feet never touching the steps, and landed in a heap on the tarmac.

Seeing the ignominious departure of their once fearless leader the other two lost their collective "bottle" and quickly followed him. We slammed the door shut after them and heaved a sigh of relief. The ejection of the ringleaders from the police station had a salutary effect on the crowd and they dragged their wounded and groaning comrade away to consider their options.

More officers now arrived and soon there was a line of them across the car park, including three dog handlers, one of whom was Jock Duff and the tame grizzly bear that he insisted on calling a German Shepherd. I believe Tom Farndale was also there.

I never got home that night. The last train to Woking was long gone by the time it was over and I spent a chilly night in an empty room in the section house. I went to sleep reflecting on the night's excitement and a mental picture of Yob Number Two doing his version of an involuntary back somersault out the front door.

Return to main text


Surrey Constabulary badge