Jack Cawdrey joined the Southampton County Borough Police in 1939 as PC 120, when he was 21, and was initially posted to Woolston. This was then known as the punishment division under Superintendent John Hill! In 1941 he transferred to the motor patrol just after he had completed his probation, and this apparently put a few noses out of joint as it was said “his number wasn’t dry!” and some older members of the Force had been hoping for a transfer to the ‘mobile’. The reason for such an early preferential treatment was because his previous trade had been that of motor mechanic.
He was very pleased to serve under Inspector Fred Saunders and Sergeant Frank Muddiman. Freddie Page was the prison van driver, George Jones was the Chief’s driver and some other members of the patrol were Harold Turner, Roy Dear, Albert Chalk, Frank Thompson, Syd Trim, Frank Holloway and Bill Hayter.
In 1942 Jack was called up and served until 11 November 1945 when he rejoined the Force. His first Chief Constable was Mr J.S. McCormack, who was later replaced by Mr H.C. Allen, who immediately placed the Force on 12 hour shifts with NO rest days!! Fortunately he left for medical reasons and was replaced by a real gentleman, Mr Frederick Tarry, who came from Exeter. He used to turn up at PHQ for every alert and was highly regarded. He left after the war to become one of Her Majesty’s Government Inspectors, a very senior position, and was replaced by Mr Charles Box, who was also highly regarded. The 5th Chief Constable he served under was Alfred Cullen.) On my return from the Army he had to go back on the beat for a while before returning to the mobile section, where he carried out motor cycle patrol, later moving onto cars. Bill Hayter and Jim Glass also worked on the cars and when Bill was made sergeant and Jim transferred to CID Jack took over as No.1 mechanic.
Jack stayed on as motor mechanic for about 18 years, but civilian staff were taken on to do the same work in 1963 so he spent the last three years of his service on cycle and car patrol. He retired on 31 January 1966 and emigrated with his family to Australia in March of that year.
In May 2018 Jack celebrated his 100th Birthday. The following photos were taken in Australia.