Served from 1962 – 1965

“THEN AND NOW”

 
P.C. Keith Hatfield on the verandah
of St. George’s Police Mess circa 1963

‘Then’ began in 1939 in a small hamlet alongside the banks of the River Derwent close to Castle Howard in North Yorkshire where I remained until the Army took me off to Catterick in 1957 and then on to Germany for 2 years where I served in the Royal Signals. Berlin was my base – well before the Wall – so duties included border patrols and NATO exercises. Great fun – as was being young, single and living in Berlin.

1960 saw my discharge and a period of uncertainty. Having outgrown village life and itching for ‘the good life’ I ventured first to Leeds and then Sheffield in search of it, but without success. I realized that the missing link was companionship and so decided to go back into uniform and joined the West Riding Constabulary, where after basic training in Harrogate, I was posted to Ecclesfield on the fringes of Sheffield.

I’ve climbed mountains and disarmed potential killers but the one thing that really left me feeling vulnerable and exposed was that first morning walking alone to the police station from my lodgings in uniform. With every step I listened for a traffic accident, a shout for help or an approach by a member of the public. So happened that no-one needed a police officer that morning and I arrived unscathed and with a newly acquired swagger. However, rural Ecclesfield was not the most crime infested place in Yorkshire and weeks began to drag as did routine shift work and I began to have second thoughts about a long career in the constabulary. Well into my second year as a probationary constable I was summoned one day to the presence of the Duty Sergeant who informed me that unless my ‘report’ figures increased considerably during the next couple of weeks he would have to submit a negative quarterly evaluation of my capability. So, finding myself one morning on the early shift I positioned myself discreetly beside the entrance gate of a steel works just as the night workers were leaving and stopped and charged countless cyclists who failed to stop at a ‘Halt’ sign. My ‘report’ figures soured as quickly as my disillusionment and I was about to ‘jack everything in’ when I saw an advertisement for Police Officers in Bermuda. Mmmmm.

My trip to Crown Agents in London for an interview with Deputy Commissioner Frank B. Williams followed reasonably quickly and then my return trip to catch a BOAC flight to Bermuda a few weeks later was the beginning of what was to become a whole new adventure.

On my flight from Heathrow was a fellow ex West Riding Constabulary policeman called Mike Rickards – unbeknown to each other we had both followed a similar route through our probationary period and had come to the same conclusion. We arrived at Kindley and were met by two sergeants – Ken Morris and one other – and driven to Hamilton, where we were kitted out and then a few days later went our separate ways, Mike to Somerset me to St. George’s where I remained until leaving Bermuda in 1965. Mike and I kept in touch and we journeyed together to New York for a week in 1963 where we had fun in and around Greenwich Village watching jazz.

Keith patrols the beat in King’s Square St. George’s

It is difficult to condense life in the Bermuda Police into a couple of paragraphs as there were so many incidents that one recalls, lots of fun intermingled with tragedy and a little danger at times, but overall it was an exhilarating and life changing experience. There were times when good professional police work resulted in lives being saved and law and order maintained and there were times when one would have thought that Mack Sennett had arrived with the Keystone Cops. I remember an evening with Arthur Bean and ‘Doc’ Hall rounding up a couple of horses in the Somer’s Gardens – ‘Doc’s’ rodeo skills were beyond belief.

On another occasion whilst on ‘Crime Patrol’ I was summoned to Mount Area on St. David’s as ‘Lone’ Trott had decided to dismantle it whilst being the worse for wear Thinking of Mount Area – they did wonderful sea food there, especially their fish sandwiches .

Life in the Bermuda Police Force in the early 60’s was exciting – off duty time in summer at Admiralty, Elbow Beach or John Smith’s Bay taking in the sun. I played cricket for the Police 2nd X1 and occasionally with the 1st team alongside Clive ‘Fury’ Donald.   College week was always exciting – lots of cuts and bruises as young women fell off their mopeds often into the arms of an on duty policeman and then later into the arms of an off duty policeman. In wintertime life dragged a little – the usual round of parties and darts in either Somerset, St. George’s or Hamilton and obviously rugby and football. Much of the time was spent keeping my old Lambretta roadworthy as journeys to and from Hamilton often resulted in gear cable breaks. The ride past the perfume factory was always a pleasure and I enjoyed passing through Flatt’s Village. Night time was a little more precarious as the countless toads set up road blocks.

Gunpowder Cavern circa 1964
Standing l-r an Irish colleague who's name escapes Keith, a local young lady,Tommy Barton,
another young local lady, Not sure, Dave 'Jock' Adam, ‘Boob’ Travis, a relative
of the owner of Gunpowder Tavern,Keith Hatfield at rear, and Chris Floodgate.
Sitting - Tom O Sullivan.Terry Lambert, and Bob Holdsworth

Life in the St. George’s Police Mess was always interesting. Invariably there would be a gaggle playing cards – crazy eights was always popular.

Keith and fellow officers at the St. George's Police Mess
This is our photo of the week in "Who, When and Where". Can you assist in identifying everyone here?

Television and radio were fun – ZBM1 with Everest De Costa always played The Beetles or The Hollies and was happy to take telephone calls with requests. ‘The Munsters’ and ‘Car 54 where are you?’ were always on at suppertime as was The News and weather. The News was introduced by a man – I think Wilf (Davidson) - who always prefaced everything with, ‘bought to you by Cockspur Rum’ and after taking a swig proceeded with the News etc. As the evening went on his smile widened and his introductions lengthened and the news was more cheery. WINS 10-10 was the New York radio station we also listened too with ‘Murray the K’ – also a Beetles fan. We really lived in the fast lane.

 
Nadine and Keith circa 1964

I along with many of my colleagues began a romance with a nurse – parties threw us together frequently – and whilst Island life was fun and relatively stress free it also had many limitations so in 1965 Nadine and I decided to return to the UK. We settled in London but didn’t marry until 3 years later. She trained as a Health Visitor and I as a Probation Officer.

 
Gathering of former Bermuda Policemen
and Nurses in 1990 near Bath in England
l-r Richard Hill, Keith and Nadine (nee Stevens) ex-nurse at KEMH, 
another ex-nurse at KEMH, Nick Hall, his wife Viv (as vivacious as ever), ex-KEMH nurse, Robin Henagulph,
Jo Hill (nee Fairey) - ex nurse at KEMH, and one more ex-KEMH nurse, Robin’s wife Nadine.
 
Reminiscing about the "Good Old Days!
Robin Henagulph, Nick Hall and Keith on the same trip
 
Nurses Get Together in 2004 in Toronto
These three ex-KEMH Nurses all met for the first time in 1964
l-r   Keith’s wife Nadine 'Stevie' Stevens, Millie Ryder (sadly died in 2011),
and Ann Piett who married the late Tom O' Sullivan in 1965

In between having children and following our respective careers we travelled a lot. Our love of the mountains took us to the Himalayas in Nepal, Morocco, Turkey, Eastern Europe, the Alps, Iceland and the other Scandinavian countries and all of Europe.

 
Keith and Nadine and trekking in Morocco circa 1998

We trekked around Kenya, the Indian Sub Continent, Australia, New Zealand, China and Fiji. Now we feel we have done the long hauls and enjoy much of our time exploring all that London and the British Isles have to offer which is considerable.

Career wise, Nadine ran family clinics and Youth Advisory Services until formal retirement some 15 years ago but has continued on a part time basis as a community Health Visitor. I focused on Child Protection and became an Independent Consultant and finished my career working for the NSW Children’s Services travelling between Sydney and Canada recruiting Child Protection Specialists. I was appointed as a Magistrate 10 years ago and had to retire recently as I had reached the maximum permitted age.

For fun and relaxation I work as a Tour Guide at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

 
Keith escorts a group of Tibetan monks
on a tour of Lord’s Cricket Ground

We spend much time with our grand children and enjoying our time together doing whatever. We have never been back to Bermuda – going back never hits the spot – and we are happy to remember our time there as it was in the early 1960’s.

 
Keith and Nadine with their first grandchild, Jack, taken in 2009
Jack is now five and their second grandhild, Molly, is three.

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Comments  

#1 Terry Bawden 2017-04-13 11:23
Keith, in the photo 'Gunpowder Cavern 1964, the 1st man on the left I think is Bob O'Shea and the young lady next to him is Cathy Mann who is a close friend of my wife and is still in touch although she lives in Saskatchewan, Canada. All the best, Terry
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