|George Sharp Ex PC 149 'A'/121517 'AD' 1931 to 1934
|Home Page | Help Requested | George Sharp Page | Musical Memories | Percy Beard's Pictorial Memories | Points of View | 21st Century 'AD' (1) | Historical Notes. | 21st Century 'AD' (2) | 21st Century 'AD' (3) | 21st Century 'AD' (4)|
GEORGE SHARP Welcome to the George Sharp Page. Alpha Delta Plus is most fortunate indeed to have 'found' George on the other side of the world in New Zealand via the modern day technologies of the internet. Update: Sadly, George passed away peacefully on the 28th August 2007 in New Zealand aged 96....Thanks George for your contributions to Alpha Delta Plus
Welcome to the George Sharp Page. Alpha Delta Plus is most fortunate indeed to have 'found' George on the other side of the world in New Zealand via the modern day technologies of the internet.
Update: Sadly, George passed away peacefully on the 28th August 2007 in New Zealand aged 96....Thanks George for your contributions to Alpha Delta Plus
|LEFT: Me At Six Months Service.....1932.
CLICK ON THIS IMAGE TO VIEW A PICTURE OF GEORGE AS HE IS TODAY.
(When taken to 'How We Look Today (1)remember to scroll down the page to view George's picture)
EARLY MEMORIES OF ALPHA DELTA
The attachment is not 'Vanity', but to prove my 'Bona Fides'. The photo was taken March 1932 at 6 months service, (you can blow it up to obtain the full Div No.) and I retired at 25yrs in 1956 after doing the rounds of No.1 District.
Now approaching my 92nd Birthday, am still Computer Literate, and have been for over the past 17 years. Am using a "PowerMacintosh G3'
Yes I can tell a couple of stories about 'AD' and probably a little more. As previously mentioned, arrived at 'AD' on 14th September 1931 from 'Peel House' Regency Street, with 3 other colleagues. They were Alfred Howes 121A, Hugh Brewer 172A,(Deceased), and Albert Treeby 555A.(Deceased)'. Both Brewer and Treeby were on the same relief as myself, Alfie Howes was on another relief. We all became firm friends.
Alfie Howes 121A, is still alive and lives at Brighton Sussex,(we exchange Xmas greetings)
We were assigned a Cubicle each in the Section House above the'Stables' situated in the Station Yard. The Section House Sergeant was an old 'Scot' Sgt Fitzgerald. Even in those days the Section House was being looked at covetously by the C.O. Authorities looking for more Office Space to expand, which came a couple of years later and we were told to quit.
The Mess Room and Kitchen were fairly spacious with the usual cooking facilities with a dinner cooked for us each day. The 'Dues' for our accommodation including the 'Dinner' was Seventeen Shillings and Sixpence per week,payable directly to Sgt Fitzgerald who was always found hovering over the 'Pay Table' each Wednesday to collect payment. For the rest of our food we looked after ourselves.
Above the Station entrance,1st Floor was the Billiard Room with 2 full sized Tables, behind that was the Rest Room and Library, and on the upper floors resided the Sub Inspector (Brown) and family, and also the Chief Inspector (Ballantyne) and family. On the top floor was the Supts Office and District Office. In the Basement was the 'Gym' 'Uniform Room' and 'Canteen' also a Rifle Range. PC Colleagues were P.C, 101A. Dave Llewellyn, Bill Cundy, Alfie Curle, Harold Dee, to name a few.
Among the notables was the famous 'Jimmy Titmus' heavyweight Boxing Champ of the 'Met', a most genial fellow who never threw his weight around, was well liked, (a little 'Punch Drunk') and 'Tom Smith' Cruiser weight Champ. We had regular trainig 'Gym' nights and on one occasion I had a couple of rounds with Tom Smith as 'Practice'.Tom had recently had an 'Op' for 'Appendicitis' and we understood not to hit him around the stomach area, in the excitement of a 'Close In' I inadvertently hit Tom, around the Belt. The reaction was swift for me, and I failed to remember anything for the next 10 mins!
The 'Supt'.(Martin) was rarely seen except when on his way home via 'King Charles Street; (watch out 1 and 2 Specials) at 5pm each day, and as he was never in Uniform except for special occasions, he always patrolled in 'Civvies' and was difficult to spot, hence if you were caught 'Idling and Gossiping' (a Major Offence) you could expect a days pay or at least a severe reprimand. Discipline was very strict, these were hard times in the Thirties.
We were 'Bloodied' on our second week (Learning Beats) with the arrival of the 'Hunger Marchers' from 'Jarrow Scotland' who were determined to 'March on Parliament' which resulted in the famous riots around Parliament Square of that time. (More Later)
The Mess Room' had about 10 tables and the furthest from the door was a 'Special Table' reserved for the 2 oldest members in the Section House, who were approaching their 30 years of service and still single. They were 'Harry Thatcher', and 'Bill Wait', any youngster who placed his cutlery upon their table would find it quickly removed to another table, both were assigned to special duties, 'Harry Thatcher' was in the Houses of Parliament and 'Bill Waite' was appointed to be on the door (Uniform) at 'York House' St. James Palace, which was the Official Residence of the
'Crown Prince Edward the 'Prince of Wales' who later became the uncrowned King 'Edward the V111 and it was in this capacity at 'York House'(Early
Late and Night) that I have a special tale to tell about 'Bill' and the 'Prince'.
The story of the day was that on Night Duty after Midnight providing that 'His Royal Highness' had retired, and the Patrolling Officer (duty Inspector) had done his rounds, all was safe for 'Bill' to slip inside York House into the little office (which was manned in the daytime until
5pm by a Household member) put up his feet, and partake of the usual tea and sandwiches, followed by a possible snooze.
Inside the Office was also a small 'switchboard, that also had a direct link to 'AD'. There was also a 'Public line' which was left connected to the 'Prince's' room' after 5pm.
It was also about 1 am that 'Brownie the 'Sub' had descended from his quarters at 'AD' to the station Office informing the Duty Officer that he had decided to take a patrol around the Sub Division, and picking up the Section Sergeant, left the Station.
Of the 2 reserve men on duty, the 1st Reserve was 'PC Curle' (known as 'Curly') who would 'Have a 'Go' at anything and promptly decided to notify 'all stations' that the 'Sub was Out'
realising that 'Bill' was probably near to the 'Land Of Nod' gently connected by the 'direct line' to York House, but it appeared that 'Bill'
was not quite alert enough to observe the slow winking eye on the 'switchboard; and failing to answer, 'Curly' decided to attack via the
public line.The next thing was that 'Bill' was startled by the continuous chatter of the switchboard indicating that 'HRH' was jumping up and down on his telephone prestle switch which indicated something amiss.
Tiptoeing up the stairs 'Bill' knocked gently on the Prince's door to receive a gentle command to 'Come In'. 'Bill' then enquired 'Did you
want me your Royal Highness??' to which the Prince replied 'Yes is your name Bill??'Replying in the affirmative, the Prince then asked 'Who is your Sub??' On being told that he was the Superior Station officer, the Prince replied 'Well Bill, I have to inform you that your 'Sub' is out'
Cheers for now, more later, a little about 'AW'
George Sharp PC 149A
Wt. No. 121517
|MY FIRST ARREST
The above photo is taken from a very old newspaper cutting in the 'Sunday Pictorial' dated October 16. 1932. and refers to an incident at Trafalgar Square.
I am the Officer on the right of the photo, the other Officer if my memory serves me correctly was named 'Phipps' and he came to my aid on this occasion when things were cutting up a bit rough.
The cutting was retrieved from a photographic collection owned by my daughter and I was unaware of its existence until recently. Very tattered, torn, spotted and brown stained, I have worked on the press cutting using my 'Mac' (which is well known for its superiority when using Graphics) together with 'Adobe Photoshop' and my 'Scanner' hoping that it will transmit as an attachment satisfactorily.
Notice the Uniform referred often as 'Ceremonial Dress'when in fact it was correctly named a 'Tunic'. It was Regulation Dress in the Spring and Autumn, very warm and 'Flannel' lined. There were 2 issues, the ' Best' was for day duty and 'Ceremonial' the other(Secondhand) for 'nights'. The incident at Trafalgar Square, occurred when Sir. Oswald Moseley a Fascist, and Sympathiser of 'Adolph Hitler' was holding a meeting assisted by his thugs who all wore the 'Fascist' Uniform with a Red Arm Band depicting the 'Swastika Emblem'. Giving the 'Fascist Salute' and strutting around in typical German Army 'Goose Step' manner.
These 'Uniformed Thugs' would interfere with any stubborn interjector and evict them from the crowd in support of Sir Oswald causing severe disturbances.
The Govt. eventually stopped this 'Joker' (Sir Oswald) by passing a Law that made it an offence for any person to appear in public wearing a Political Uniform.
Now it was around midday on the Saturday the square was full of listeners. sympathisers, and objectors. We expected trouble as usual, the'Mounted' at 'GY' were on alert, and the bench seats around the square were fully occupied except for one bench seat that was fully occupied by one individual who decided that he wanted the full seat to himself and lay sprawled full length, and fast asleep.
Observing the fully occupied seat I decided to put things to rights.
Now in those days with severe unemployment, many of the layabouts were destitute, unshaven, and unclean. Some were also covered in 'lice',the seats were washed down by 'Carbolic' every night by the 'Westminster 'CC' and we never touched the layabouts by hand, if this could be avoided,for fear of contamination, we therefore usually nudged them to wakefulness by a gentle nudge of our foot on their feet.
This individual however was smartly dressed, did not appear to come into this category of a 'Down and Out, but nevertheless the same tactics were used out of habit I guess, and raising my right foot hit the bench seat, tapping the seat very firmly, then moved my foot to tap his instep telling him to 'Wake Up'.
It required this action twice to have any effect, and it was at the second attempt that I heard a woman's hysterical voice loudly exclaiming behind me 'How dare you kick that man, I saw you deliberately kick him', again the woman repeated the statement causing nearby persons to gather into a small crowd and watch the fun. With the usual interjections things began to look awkward.
Now to raise ones foot to the height of the Park Bench Seat then move the foot into a tapping motion whilst maintaining balance on the left foot could put me slightly off balance, but at no time did such a brutal act as 'Kicking' occur, 'Your Worship'.... nevertheless by this time the sleeper was now awake and fully aware of the situation deciding he also was going to 'Have a Go' at me shouting that I did kick him which I denied , he then said 'What are you going to do about it?? You haven't got the guts of a louse!!.
This last statement finalised the issue, and grabbing the individual by the shoulder I said 'Your Nicked for Obstruction' .
At 13 months service, this was to be my first arrest in the 'Job'by this time I was assisted by the other PC who came to my aid and together we 'Frogmarched' the individual to 'AD' .
We had a Station Van, but there were no cars etc to come to your aid to assist in transferring a prisoner to the 'Nick' in those days, and the 10 Min. walk to 'AD' gave me time to assess the situation and decide if my original charge of 'Obstruction' might not stick. It was weak in
the least, and then it hit me. The Metropolitan Police Act of 1839 was the one...' Insulting Words and Behaviour likely to cause a 'Breach of the Peace'
Now this Act which I believe has long been superseded was made at the time of Sir Robert Peel. It catered for a multitude of sins and we called it the 'Breathing Act' and as its name implies you could be done for 'breathing',but the strict discipline involved with it prevented such abuse, but the fact remained that under that particular section any person creating any act (swearing etc ) or behaving in such manner as to cause an offence to any member of the passing public resulting in reaction or 'Breach of the Peace' was invoking that section and an arrest justified.
I know for a fact that there was one person annoyed by the activities . It was a woman wasn't it ??.
So it was that we arrived at 'AD' with our 'Charge' laying the information before the Station Inspector the kindly Inspector Mr Burket, who being satisfied with my complaint completed the 'Charge Sheet',confined the Prisoner to the Cells, then phoned Bow Street Court to enquire if they could take a case at that late hour of the day, it was by now around 1-15pm. and the option of holding the prisoner all night possibly over the week end in the Cells was not favoured.
Bow Street agreed to the request and I nipped up to the canteen for refreshments and a 'Cuppa' making my way up to Bow Street for the 2pm session.
Being just out of Probation (13 months) I was a bit shaky giving my evidence, the Magistrate of the day was sympathetic however, prompting me by asking if the behaviour was disturbing or was anyone annoyed?? to which I replied in the affirmative, and a conviction obtained.
George Sharp Ex PC 149'A'
Wt No. 121517
||LEFT: My home in the early 30's... Alpha Delta Section House (Arrowed)
|MY HOME......'AD' SECTION HOUSE
Here is an aerial photograph of the old 'AD' Section House (Arrowed)in which we lived in the 'Thirties'.
The original photo , from which I have selected a portion, was taken around 1996 during the time of the excavations for the new underground line at Westminster Station. Hoarding can be seen around the base of the buildings in Bridge Street.
My cubicle was in the front of this building on the 3rd floor from which I was able to look Northward out over the AD forecourt and out over towards 'Backhall' C.O. watching the coming and going of the 'Flying Squad' on which I was to serve in later times.
Our proximity to 'Big Ben' can be seen, and its chimes every quarter an hour were hard to become
accustomed to in the early stages as far as sleep was concerned, but like all things we soon became accustomed.
In front of the Section House facing South towards us as we look at it once stood a large Office Block, whose former presence can be seen by the weathering and shading of the Stock Bricks and has apparently been demolished for the Underground excavations. This Office Block was in close
proximity, about 5 feet away from our windows,.
Opposite my Cubicle across the passageway was Pc Joe Pringle (cant remember his number)and we often used to raise his window to 'Chat Up' the Office girls, and it is PC. Joe Pringle that I have a tale to tell.
Joe, who was about 2 yrs. my senior, was an 'old boy' of a famous school, which shall be nameless, frequently seen wearing his old school tie, and Joe's one ambition was to get into the CID. Having applied he was overjoyed to find himself appointed 'Winter Patrol'. He was very keen and was often ribbed about this.
Joe was awakened just after midnight one early morning and informed that a message had been received that a Gazetted and very much 'wanted' man had been seen loitering in Trafalgar Square. The CID had no one on duty, and Joe was the only possibility. Would he go up and try to find this man. He was easy to identify as he only had 'One Eye and One Arm'.
Joe immediately dressed and took off. After about 90 mins. Joe returned to report to the Station Officer that he had no luck and was going to retire to bed. The Station Officer not aware of events, questioned Joe more closely about his mission and the 'Penny Dropped'. Leaning close to Joe the Station Officer said "Aye laddie but you didn't look very far,had you raised your eyes upwards you would have seen him about 165 feet up on a very tall column" .
That's all for now Cheerio.
George. Sharp. ex Pc.149A
||DEAN'S YARD, WESTMINSTER ABBEY
THE 'ABBEY DEANERY'
Westminster Abbey had 3 special Posts in my day in order to protect the Treasures within from thieves etc.
The Posts were 'Abbey Front' (North Entrance) the 'Deanery Cloisters'(South Entrance) and 'Poets Corner' (East Entrance) The latter was,'Night Duty' only posting being a short patrol about 100 yds in each direction. I have often wondered where he was when the 'Stone Of Scoone'was stolen??
We had numbered 'Special Posts' 1 to 6, but in addition there were named 'Special Posts' such as 'No.10.' 'Clock Tower' (Big Ben) 'India Office' (Armed Post), and as previously mentioned, the 'Abbey Front','Abbey Deanery', 'Cloisters', and 'Poets Corner' .
The term 'Abbey Front' was used incorrectly to mean the 'East Entrance' where most visitors entered. The Front of the Abbey is in fact as most people know the West Entrance.
It would be interesting to hear from the present day Officers how current postings compare to my days at 'AD' during the 1930s.
However it was the 'Deanery Cloisters' Special at the rear of the 'Abbey' that this article is about. This 'Special' was the most miserable and nerve racking in my experience during the hours of
darkness, eventually sending one very nice Pc. 'Round the Bend'.
The 'Deanery' approached by 'Deans Yard', was entered via a small archway with an iron gate, (See photograph RIGHT) with the 'Deanery'on theleft' On the right was a doorway from which a nice 'Cuppa' used to appear for the 'Late Turn'around 4pm, then on towards the 'Cloisters' or 'Abbey Graveyard' as I called it, which appeared interesting to me the first few times that I was posted, (in daylight I would add). These postings for me, fortunately, were always on a relieving basis for the day and never was I posted for the month,(it was terminated when I had about 6 months service anyway) but I was posted a couple of times 'Night Duty' which I quickly learnt was not for the 'Faint Hearted'. This posting was eventually terminated due to circumstances I am about to relate.
The rear door of the Abbey is at the North East corner of the 'Cloisters', and this had to be checked on commencing patrol,with the 'Chapter House' entrance on the east side. The South East corner of the 'Cloisters' with a prominent 'Effigy' on the wall also leads to Westminster School. (This Effigy was seen to move by a very agitated PC later on) .
The first couple of times posted I found it to be interesting studying the names of the numerous Abbots, Bishops and Monks named on the flagstones , or were they 'Gravestones' (I never found this one out)who appeared to be buried under the flagstones over the past 1000 years, and to me, there was no room left under those 'Gravestones' to bury a Cat!
It was a lonely posting after nightfall, daylight was not so bad as we had the occasional tourist who, making their way to the interesting'Chapter House' would sometimes stop and chat.In those days there were no 'Back Packers' , Aircraft travel was not on as far as overseas long haul flights were concerned. Tourists had to afford the fare by sea and were usually of the affluent variety.
It amazed me during my visit to the UK in 1966 when visiting my old haunts to the Abbey I encountered the large number of assembled 'Back Packers' in the Cloisters who were 'etching' also studying the 'Wall Effigies' and 'Flagstones' of the Cloisters, they would have been good company in my day. As I have said, as darkness closed down especially with the long winter nights around 4.30pm it became very lonely, the only relief being the patrolling Officer or the man on 2 beat in passing.
My first stint on night duty in the 'Cloisters', came in late 1931 around Xmas time. It was harrowing to say the least.
Parading at the usual 9-45pm for Night Duty in the Parade Room, the Section Sergeant called my number 'One Forty Nine'? I replied 'All Correct Sergeant' to which he replied 'Abbey Deanery'. Now my reply which was 'Thank You Sergeant' was not meant to be caustic but a ripple of laughter passed among the ranks, and an elderly Pc leant towards me and said quietly 'Watch out for the Abbey Ghost' I treated this remark as a joke, but it is surprising how a remark of that nature can rankle. I had heard about the 'Abbey Ghost' but treated it a superstition.
With 'Big Ben' striking 10pm making my way round the 'Abbey' to the rear I expected to see the 'Late Turn' Pc. whom I was to relieve, at the same time also to be told of anything unusual, but he had quickly disappeared into the night.
Making my way into the Deanery, then passing on to the 'Cloisters', the rear entrance to the Abbey at the North end of the Cloisters had to be checked on commencing patrol, along with the 'Chapter House' entrance on the east side. There was no lighting of course, the only scource of illumination was my 'Wooton' Lamp' carried normally on the Belt and easily detachable. Made of strong steel construction, weighing about 16 ounces , accumulator powered, it was quite an effective scource of light also on many occasions found to be an effective weapon by more than one Pc.
Having encircled the 'Cloisters' checking out that all was well, 'Big Ben' had struck 12 midnight, I remember sitting on a stone ledge around the cloisters wall feeling drowsy and with helmet in my hand I knew that if I fell asleep I would drop the helmet and so wake up, but there was no need, after sitting for few minutes I became aware of something or somebody watching me in the darkness. There was faint illumination from the sky onto the grass area in the centre of the 'Cloisters' but I could
The remark of the elderly Pc. on parade came to me. Was it the 'Ghost'? Switching on my light I observed a nice sizeable 'rat' which quickly scampered away, but there was no figure in a white sheet.Nevertheless from then on, I decided to keep walking, looking anxiously towards refreshment time at 2am when 'Big Ben' with its strident tomes,would inform me of the much wanted break, and then it would be 'Hurry Up 6am'. and the finish with a quick scramble into bed before daybreak.
Things came to a head eventually when around 2 am one long night when the Pc posted to the 'Cloisters' appeared at Cannon Row very agitated declaring that the large 'Effigy' on the wall at the South East end of the Cloisters had moved, then spoke to him telling him 'To Prepare to meet Thy God' and I know that he was Tee Total.
The last thing we heard about this particular Pc. was that he had been cast 'Medically Unfit' and the 'Abbey Cloisters'Posting was closed down, the Iron gate at its entrance was being closed at night fall. It was a relief.
Cheers George .T. Sharp Ex 149A
|POINT DUTY, BRIDGE STREET 1932
Looking out for trams, shire horses and draymen who may require the call of nature!!!
DRAYMEN AND THE CALL OF NATURE ETC. DISCIPLINE It is well known that you cannot have efficiency without discipline The only thing in favour of the rain was the fact that it was Wearing my great coat, also my 'oilskin cape' which was of There was a row of about 6 shops in Whitehall extending from It was at the least , a very desolate scene indeed, here Tomorrow about just 16 hours away the scene would be a hive 'Backpackers' were not in existence in those days and as far I thought I could discern some movement down Whitehall Goodness gracious, it was 'Brownie', (Sub.Insp .Brown.) What Pretending not to observe 'Brownie' until he was I felt the fluid splash up on my lower leg, and I am sure Oh well, you loose some, and you win some!
It is well known that you cannot have efficiency without discipline
The only thing in favour of the rain was the fact that it was
Wearing my great coat, also my 'oilskin cape' which was of
There was a row of about 6 shops in Whitehall extending from
It was at the least , a very desolate scene indeed, here
Tomorrow about just 16 hours away the scene would be a hive
'Backpackers' were not in existence in those days and as far
I thought I could discern some movement down Whitehall
Goodness gracious, it was 'Brownie', (Sub.Insp .Brown.) What
Pretending not to observe 'Brownie' until he was
I felt the fluid splash up on my lower leg, and I am sure
Oh well, you loose some, and you win some!