Immediately turn to the back page – as do all others – where the obits are. The very first name; Commander Len Adams. When he was a Superintendent, Adams once threw me out of his office with words ringing in my ear, “You’re a f—–g left-wing agitator.” You can probably guess from that, that I was the Constables’ Divisional Rep on the Police Federation. He once told me that he was not an autocrat! I told him that any difference was minimal to the point of non-existence! Yea. We did have our differences! Quite funny, really, me, a right-winger if ever there was one, being labelled a leftie! I’ll never live it down!
On the ‘Re-Unions’ page were two items of interest; a re-union of Hammersmith, Shepherds Bush and Fulham officers on 9th May. I shall try very hard to get there as I’ve not seen my old mates for such a long time and every year, we are getting fewer! And a 40th Anniversary Re-Union of our tour of duty on the island of Anguilla, in the Caribbean. The lads are trying to meet on the island. I’d like to go but……….empty pockets can’t stretch that far, I’m afraid.
Next year will be the 40th anniversary of our venture into the Caribbean to ‘restore order’ on the island of Anguilla. It is being proposed that we hold a re-union on the island. I must confess that it would be nice to see how the island has been developed, and try to find one or two old faces – if I could remember them. Our ‘landlady’ and her fisherman hubby, Ron, may well still be around, as must Carty. He had been in the police force and was the Umpire for all our cricket matches. A big chap who always wore a stetson-style hat.
However, as an O.A.P. now, it won’t be within Dickiebo’s means to afford such a trip, so will have to await the report of t’others on their return. Look out, Anguilla!
I saw this photograph today of Anguilla Airport. Hasn’t changed that much since Dickiebo’s ‘occupancy’ in 1969, has it?
I just hope that the landing-strip has been improved – this was an R.A.F. plane landing there in 1969. (Note the RAF Fire Service Landrover, which was THE Fire Service on the island at that time!).
I was gonna do a blog yesterday, but things just got on top of us – that is, B & Dickiebo. Our Belkin Wireless Router packed up, so Belkin very kindly sent us, completely free of charge, a brand new replacement. That was the good news! The bad news? After 6, yes 6, hours of trying, we still could not get it to work. At 8pm we gave up. No offence intended, but we had absolutely had it, from trying to understand English spoken with a broad Indian accent, which got us nowhere anyway. B actually counted out her mouldies with a view to us going up the pub, we were so peed off. Imagine that. No beer so far this year, and as near as dammit to giving in! Well we didn’t, but we had a chinese instead. The first this year.
This morning, bright and breezy, we decided to try again. So we ripped out all the cables, disconnected the bloody lot, and started off from scratch, using only the CD-Rom which came with the Router. You can guess the rest, can’t you. Yea. Total success. Thank God. (And I really do mean that!)
Heard that Nick has been successful in his application for promotion at Swansea University – position of Sports Development Officer. Pay isn’t that great, but is an increase of 50% to his salary, so isn’t all that bad. There were 46 applicants, shortlisted to 6 for interview, so he did well. One of the interview panel (a woman) told him that he was certainly the smartest looking applicant. Mind you, he and B did go out and buy him a rather smart Italian suit, Italian-brown, with pink shirt and super pink & brown tie. As one of his work-colleagues said, “Blimey. You do scrub-up well!”
I’m pleased to see that people are voting on my poll, even though it’s only 9 people!! What the hell one has to do to get people to participate, I don’t know. Pioneer Woman showed a photograph of her hubby, holding their son, on her blog, and asked for a caption. I thought of one but on going to add it to her Comments section, I saw that in less than 24 hours, she had got 1, 600 replies. Streeeewth! I think I’m getting a headache!
I was chuffed to recieve an e-mail from Wayne Harrigan, in Canada, about my Anguilla blog. Seems that he and his good wife have been there on hols, and are returning in 2 weeks time. He actually walked past Lloyd’s, which I mentioned. I’d sure love to see it again. (Yea, OK. And the pretty l’il thing)!!
Back in 1969 when I was with the British Police Unit in Anguilla, I woke up one morning in a terrible state. I slept on the floor, as there was a distinct shortage of beds, and I was shivering uncontrollably from head to toe, and freezing cold. In Anguilla! The other lads didn’t quite know what to make of it, but when I spoke, it was through clenched teeth, and this worried them. After a short discussion, they decided to get on the radio to contact Zulu One – the British Red Cross doctor. (He used to do a right good striptease act in our Police Club [Papa Charlie], to the accompaniment of us all, singing, “Get them down, you Zulu Warrior, Get them off, you Zulu Chief” – but that’s another story!).
Well, they couldn’t contact the Quack, so they opted for the next-best thing – the Army Medics. A squaddie soon arrived, clearly showing that he really did have other things to do, and made a rapid diagnosis from his position just inside our building. “Anguilla lurgy!”
“Is it serious?”
“No. Coupla days in hospital.”
“But the nearest hospital is probably a thousand miles away, on board one of Her Majesty’s Ships.”
All of this had been thought out and tried before! I am simply taken to ‘Lloyd’s‘ on the other side of the island, and there I would recuperate under the care of Mrs Lloyd! I think that ‘Lloyd’s‘ was a sort of hotel, or Guest House, or something similar, and the good lady had been trained as a nurse in the UK. Opinions varied amongst the lads, with some saying that she was a trained Midwife, and the others said that she had commenced training as a nurse, but had opted-out, to return to Anguilla. I can now add my two penn’orth: I reckon that she was trained in psychiatry! Why? Well, consider the facts;
I arrive at Lloyd’s in a right state, and am put straight to bed. There I remain for a coupla days, feeling quite sorry for myself, and acutely aware of all life’s blessings back in Blighty. Eventually though, I have to eat, and am given some rather nice ……….er, well……….a sort of soup, containing lumps of meat. I recall thinking that the meat was very similar to tinned salmon, only with a slightly thicker texture. In answer to my query, I was told that it was turtle. Poor little sods! Anyway, I think that ‘eating’ was part one of Mrs Lloyd’s assessment of ‘fitness to return to duty’!
And part two? Well now. There was this lovely young lady who used to work at Lloyd’s! She was very pretty, had a lovely disposition, and was always smiling. What I did not know, was that by Mrs Lloyd’s reckoning, when you are well enough to notice her, then you are indeed ready for duty. And I failed this test. Miserably. I asked the young lady, in a voice filled with ‘please feel sorry for me’, if she would accompany me for a short walk, to test my recovery. Being the sort of person as described, she readily agreed, and I hastily prepared myself for my convalescing walk. Nice one, Dickiebo!
I got dressed and went to the front of the building. There I was soon joined by said young lady, who said, “My boyfriend will come with us in case you are too weak to make it!” And there stood boyfriend. A handsome young Anguillan, with ultra-smoothe skin, magnificent, whiter-than-white teeth, a big, friendly smile, and ….wearing a dog-collar. Holding what I took to be the Good Book, he said, “Do you know de Load, my friend?” And, standing slightly behind him, with a matching smile, stood pretty, young girl.
So. This is how I got discharged from Lloyd’s. Having shown myself to be pretty much back to normality! At least, by London Police standards!
PS. If my Anguillan Reader sees this, then please say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ to Mrs Lloyd for me, should you come across her. Though she will not, needless to say, actually remember me. But this was me;
You know how some people can have their photograph taken, then they invariably say, “I never take a good photo!” Usually women! Well. I thought that I’d share this one with you. I know that I’ve shown it before, though a smaller version, but it is just sooooo bad, and I’m in one of those awful moods at the mo, that I thought that I shall punish myself by showing it again.
‘Tis Dickiebo, and as you will gather, ’twas just after our arrival in Anguilla.
Our li’l old operation in Anguilla in 1969 seemed to generate some interest from fellow-bloggers, so I wondered whether you may like to see some more of my photographs, with a little explanation of our experiences. What? You don’t? Well, as the Police would say, “Tough”!
The 2 types of RAF planes which operated in the operation, were the Andover, and the Hercules. The Hercs only came when it was absolutely necessary, e.g. bringing our large Generators, due to the almost impossible landing area. The plane had to come in over a large hill, drop like a stone onto the landing zone, which was; only yards from the hill, a dusty mud-strip, and only yards long. I’m no pilot, but I believe that everything was thrown into reverse even before the plane hit the ground, so as to stop in time. The plane would immediately disappear in a massive cloud of dust and as a token gesture, an RAF Landrover, containing a couple of ridiculous fire extinguishers, would also disappear into the dust storm. It was truly spectacular, and I genuinely salute our RAF for their expertise. They would act as if it were nothing, but I could detect a bit of an exaggerated swagger in their steps! Whenever a Herc came in, we would all turn up at the Airport to get a photo:-
The ‘Airport’ was only a small concrete building, and would not normally be occupied by anybody, except one of us, acting as ‘Immigration Officer’! However, when a plane was due – not very often, I can assure you – some locals would turn out, as did we ourselves, simply to see who was arriving. Remember, only very small planes could land there.
Nice to see Nigel with some clothes on, though still with back to the camera!
We set up an ‘admin’ office on a piece of waste ground; (Dickiebo’s knee is bandaged following an injury whilst playing volleyball. Cuts had to be covered-up due to the dust).
And this is the house that I lived and worked at, on our arrival on the island;
And the rear view, with empty rainwater tank adjacent, the top of which provided us with a sunbathing area when we didn’t want to travel all the way to the beach (about 100 yards) away.
And the same view
Later on, we lived in this building, known to us as ‘Square One’. Most military types will guess that this stood for, ‘Single Quarters 1′!
The island itself was extremely dry and barren. The only animals to be seen were one or two ‘geep’ as we called them. (Because we reckoned them to be a cross between a sheep & a goat!). Housing was quite primitive
Nowt much to see
We mainly cooked our own food, where we lived. We had steak one day, followed by ‘drumsticks’ the next, and so on. I swore that when we returned to Blighty, I would track down whoever it is who has all the bloody chicken breasts! Nigel did our cooking, and we took it in turns to do the chores – washing-up, peeling spuds, preparing veg (under Nigel’s strict guidance!), etc. We did have a slight hiccup when our Inspector refused to take his turn doing the chores, so we refused to let him have any food, which meant that he had a most uncomfortable drive back and for to the army camp for his food. But, in fairness, he did so for the remainder of his tour of duty. Tough!
We set up our own drinking-den, Papa Charlie (Police Club) and were excellently supplied for booze by our military.
I don’t mind tellin’ you. It was hell, and any chance that we got to have a break – we did so.
As for trouble. I honestly think that we had more hassle from senior officers – police and army – than from any island inhabitants. We did a sort of census of the island, as there were no postal addresses! Met a lot of nice people this way. Had to have a drink (Mungay Rum) with most of them! One turned out to be a relative of the Met’s very first black police officer. I think the name was Gumb.
Shortly after our arrival, a Brit arrived to start Radio Anguilla. He was a Roy Dunlop, and Roy and his wife (Helen?) frequently invited us to his house in the evenings for dinner. Marvellous. Only snag with Radio Anguilla was that they only had 5 – yes, 5 – records to play! God! They drove us mad. I remember that most were of Mahalia Jackson, but one was Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’. I used to like it!!!
We played Volleyball every evening, against army and other police teams, and played cricket against the locals. We never won! Perhaps they cheated! Well, the umpire was always Carty – who had been in the local police force. Insisted on always wearing a stetson hat.
On the business side, things were more than a bit dodgy. Anguillans refused to accept the authority of the officials based in St. Kitt’s, so we had no effective legal processes whatsoever. Just imagine – no Courts! You gotta laugh. First time that I did duty at Police HQ (my God. You shoulda seen it!!!!), I had been there for an hour or two when I heard a noise coming from a nearby room. None of the rooms had doors or windows and were a breeding-ground for mosquitoes. I went to check, and found a local man asleep there! Turned out that he was in custody. Had been for several months. Murdered his wife. No Courts to deal with him, so he was engaged as the Police HQ Cleaner! Still there, as far as I know.
Remind me to tell you, one day, about the ‘authorised shot’, (a civilian) who with a shotgun, missed a dog from about 5 yards, at the widow Audrey Fleming’s.
I expect most of you remember this, don’t you? In 1969, some local erks in Anguilla, led by Ron Webster, decided that they no longer wanted to be Governed by the Brits and the legal Government in force, covering the islands of St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla. So, rather unwisely, they threw the High Commissioner off the island, at gunpoint. Well, you just can’t do that, ol’ boy. Just isn’t cricket. So, the might of the British Empire was dispatched. Well, some Paras and London Bobbies!
We’re coming – golf clubs & all! (That’s my Dickiebo!)
En route, we stopped off at Antigua, in this building;
And prepared for the coming conflict;
When we arrived, we took matters seriously, and ‘orft we jolly well went’ to put down this ‘insurrection’!
No doubt about it, we took this serious. Honest! (Note Dickiebo’s moustache!!)
This lovely lady, and her hubby Ron, kindly permitted us to take over their house as our base. They lived in the rear, ground-floor, and we had the front rooms – for living and working. (No upstairs!)
These were taken from the house;
About 100 yards away was
Yea. Still using me golf clubs! Well, obviously we had to have some recreation:-
And, being as some sneak took, and dared me to print, the above disgusting golfer, I too can be a sneak:- (Look closely – he is our Inspector facing us, and Nigel from Twickers from the rear)!
Xmas 1969, and we decided to forego our Xmas Dinner, to give the island kids a party;
I worked with a great bunch of lads, and we all got on famously with the local people. God bless ‘em.
And even big, bad, Ron Webster, was not so bad after all. Gave me a wave, anyway.
And so, home. Courtesy of the Royal Air Force.
British Police remained in Anguilla for a few years, recruiting and training a Police Force, and the island has been totally transformed into a holiday haven. (Not, of course, suggesting that this was down to us! Far from it.). But, everything has to start somewhere. Don’t it?