A New Career

Joe had an uncle in the police, who was a sergeant at Albrighton in Shropshire. At the time policemen were important members of the local community, considered to be on par with doctors or solicitors, and were well respected. Joe’s uncle didn’t think that lorry driving was a suitable career, and convinced Joe to apply to join the police when the war had ended. He said “There’s no future in that young Joe, you ought to try for the police”. Shropshire police were not recruiting during the war, but Wolverhampton was keen to recruit servicemen, who would be able to join the force as soon as the war had ended.

Joe’s uncle obtained an application form from the new Chief Constable of Wolverhampton, Norman W. Goodchild, O.B.E. who had been appointed in June 1944. He had previously been Chief Constable of Barrow-in-Furness. After completing the form, Joe passed his medical, and a written exam, and then had to come to Wolverhampton for an interview.

He was marched into the Chief Constable’s office in Red Lion Street Police Station, but the interview seemed to be going wrong, right from the start. Mr. Goodchild said “You’ve got a police record, you had better tell me about it”. Joe explained how he had 3 convictions during his time at the haulage firm.

One night when driving on the A49 between Liverpool and Hereford he was reported for the illegal use of a spotlight during the blackout, and fined ten shillings. He was also reported for not painting the bumper white, a requirement at the time. The bumper had been damaged in Liverpool and the garage had not repainted it. For this he was fined another ten shillings. This was a lot of money because he was earning just two pounds a week.

The third conviction happened when a sack of corn fell from his lorry in the Mersey Tunnel. It was seen by the local police who picked the sack up and stopped him when he came out of the tunnel. This time the fine was two pounds, a whole week’s wages.

Luckily Mr. Goodchild was a man of vision. After Joe’s explanation he said “It does show a mark of irresponsibility, Davies, but I’ve looked at your army record, and it is exemplary.” Joe thought to himself “Thank goodness you don’t know what actually happened in the army”.

Joe in the airborne, around 1946. Courtesy of Joe Davies.

Although Joe had a successful interview, he would have to wait a while before he could become a policeman.

Mr. Goodchild was keen to recruit servicemen to replace the many old bobbies who were serving beyond their retirement age. He knew that when the war ended they would be off, leaving him short staffed.

About half a dozen servicemen had joined Wolverhampton Police at this time. Mr. Goodchild applied to the War Office to get them released, and managed to get some out on what was called “B Release”. Joe was one of them.

As soon as he joined the police force, Joe was transferred to the regimental police until after the war had ended. He left the armed forces on the 10th August, 1946 to start his new career.

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