After a little time on the police
cars, Joe became a police motorcyclist.
“Motorbikes were a step up from the
cars. I started on the cars but I had my own motorbike,
along with a few others who used them to travel to and
from work. I was given a test on an old Velocette, a big
un. We had a Triumph, an old Velocette, and two Nortons,
DUK 23 and DUK 24, both 500s. Riding them was like
sitting on a park bench. I had been riding a 500c.c.
Ariel, I’d been doing it in the army, and had had a
motorbike before. After my test I was told that they
wanted me to be a permanent traffic man, they wouldn’t
let you do this until you were a motorcyclist as well as
a driver. Once you were a motorcyclist you could flit
from cars to motorbikes.
Joe on his 500cc Ariel. Riding in
a trial for the Wolverhampton Motor Cycle Club. Courtesy
of Joe Davies.
There was a vacancy on the bikes,
and George Llewellyn went to see Superintendent Pendrid.
He said “I’ve got this vacancy, and I’d like to have
Davies permanently.” Pendrid responded with “He wants to
get his number dry first.” He clearly didn’t want me to
have the job”
Superintendent Pendrid was
referring to two incidents that happened much earlier in
Joe’s career, both of which he totally misunderstood.
Joe described them as follows:
“When I was a young bobby, I was
showing a younger man around. We were going up York
Avenue in the middle of the night. I remember this
distinctly. I saw a hedgehog run across the road in
front of us, and I said to my colleague, Tom I said,
look at that bloody thing there. We went on and I never
thought another thing about it.
I came off nights at 6 a.m. At half
past nine there was a knock on our door, a policeman,
who said “Pendrid wants to see you straight away”, so
off I go. I got out of bed after only two hours sleep,
this was discipline, they would do the same if a place
had been broken into on your beat, and have you out the
next morning. You had to check the clubs, everywhere
were there were cigarettes and spirits, and put it down
in your book. You didn’t just glance at it, you had to
try every door and window, and check the clubs two or
three times a night.
When I got there and was marched-in
by the sergeant, he said “First thing, where were you at
3.30 this morning?” I said I’ll have to look in my
pocket book sir. He replied “I know where you was, I’ve
had a serious complaint about your conduct. I’ve had a
lady telephone me. She was looking out of her bedroom
window in the night and there was two policemen riding
bikes up the road, and one was heard to say “look at
that bloody thing there”. Oh I said, a hedgehog crossed
the road. He hit the table hard as though he was going
to smash it and said “how did you think that up so
quick?” He didn’t believe me. I said it’s true, ask PC
Handley. He dressed me down and said “When you want to
have a cussing session get in a field where they can’t
Another example which he wouldn’t
believe, happened at Red Lion Street Police Station. We
always kept a police van in the yard in case of trouble.
There was a big hostel full of Polish people where the
East Park estate now stands. There was some trouble
there one Saturday night while I was on duty, so I
dashed in, got the van and dashed out. Pendrid was just
coming out of the canteen when he saw me fly out. On
Monday morning I was on the carpet again.
The entrance into Red Lion Street Police
|He said “You’re going to kill somebody you are.” I
said “What’s wrong sir?” and he replied “I saw you
coming out of that gate like a mad man in the van.” I
said “I was off the hostel, there was some trouble”, and
he said “You’re going to kill somebody.”
Joe as a police motorcyclist in
1953. The machine is a 500cc BSA A7. The first of
its kind used in the borough. Courtesy of Joe Davies.
that there was a policeman standing in Red Lion Street
who waved me out. He said “There wor.” I don’t think he ever believed me.
What can you do?”
Unfortunately this had
repercussions when George Llewellyn went to see Pendrid
to recommend Joe as his chosen candidate to fill the
vacancy for a motorcycle patrol rider. Pendrid wanted
another man called Baker, who had no motorcycle
experience. When Baker went out for a trial run on one
of the motorbikes he was quite scared, and rang George
Llewellyn stating that it was not for him. George was
delighted, and returned to Pendrid who now let him have
his way. Joe was now officially a police motorcycle
They were badly off for equipment,
with just one helmet per motorbike. They had been ridden
for years by people wearing flat caps, but when the
courtesy patrol was introduced, they obtained two or
three 'Corker' helmets. Each time a rider returned from
his patrol and handed the bike over to the next man, he
would also hand over his helmet. Joe went onto the courtesy patrol
and continued to work with the bikes and cars until he
was in line for promotion in 1954.
Joe in action on his DMW machine.
Another view of Joe on his DMW.
Joe and some of his police
A final view of Joe on his police
Return to Life
In The Police