We recently heard from John Freeborough who was delighted when Clive Owen informed him about our website and the Bermuda Ex-Police Officers Association.
John had served in the Birmingham City Police prior to joining the Bermuda Police as PC 285 between August 1970 to August 1975.
In his own words, "I was greeted by Paul ‘Rowdy’ Yates when disembarking from the plane and after a very short couple of weeks in training, ended up working 12 hour shifts in the riots – led by Inspector ‘Red’ (Doug) Hebbard. Rudy Buchetti made a fortune feeding us lovely meals!
I managed to get disciplined for making ‘incorrect’ – FUNNY – comments in the Governor’s Guard Hut.
At first opportunity I transferred to St George’s on Sgt Brian Flook’s shift and was immediately introduced to the system of signing bar chits – at all hours of the day and night. Learnt how to play euchre – great card game. Joe Colton was the Inspector “begorrah, bejasus.
Somehow managed to become St David’s Parish Constable for a couple of years and what a memorable experience that was. Wonderful clam chowder, turtle steak at Mount Area with Clarie Borden & Cockspur rum. Patrolled with Ronnie Bogan, Foxy Pitcher (mad driver ) Mick Creswell & Frank W Smith.
Played snooker for the Police.
Met my (soon to be) wife, Sue in the St George’s Police Club on a Tuesday evening in November 1972 and we married in her home town of Blair Gowrie, Scotland in June 1973. Susan was actually born in Malta while her father was serving in the "Wavy-Navy but was brought up on Blairgowrie, Perthshire, from an early age. Susan had been recruited by the English Sports Shop on Front Street.
When I first met Susan she was chatting to a young, newly arrived Dave Cocker who also happened to be from Blairgowrie. A week later I attended Susan's shared house in Harrington Sound, armed with a 40 oz bottle of Cockspur, and ended up cooking their evening meal! I remember sleeping on the sofa, being late for work the next morning and having to buy BLT's for Brian Flook and the boys!
A couple of days later, Sue went on a month's World buying trip with ESS, and I was there to meet her at the airport on her return. Just 6 weeks later we were engaged, and as my half term holiday was due, we booked a flight to Scotland and were married 6 months later.
I ended up as Hamilton Parish Constable living in Crawl Hill and losing money playing poker in the Crawl Hill Club (Hamilton Parish Working Mens Club ). Doug Proctor took over from me when I returned to the U.K. Interesting to read Doug’s update & so pleased Finola is still with us.
I was amazed at Ronnie Boggan making Sergeant as I never thought he would get round to taking the promotion exam, but good for him - & his alcoholic dog ! Sorry to hear he is now deceased. Good man. "
Sue and I returned to the UK in August 1975 and bought a 3 bedroom semi in Wythall, Worcs. We both wanted children but Sue wanted them born and brought up in the UK hence my 5 year contract not being renewed. Our lovely Fiona was born in February 1978 followed by her equally adorable sister Helen, on Boxing Day 1978. Fiona and her husband Paul have two gorgeous boys, Simeon who is almost 5, and Daniel who will soon be 3. Fiona taught full-time until the boys arrived. Helen is a Senior Associate with Eversheds Solicitors based in London, and other than working very excessive hours, is doing very well."
When we returned to I retired after a total of 35 years service, the last 22 of which was as Sergeant.
After 28 years of marriage, Sue and I had a non-acrimonious divorce - after drifting apart and the girls both being at university, and then Sue very tragically, suffered a sudden brain embolism a few years later and passed away within a week of being taken to hospital. It was devastating for us all, especially the girls.
We are now living in Redditch in a lovely little 2-bed semi & working 7 hrs a week @ Tesco's on the check-outs. Love it. Talking rubbish to customers (the bullet does NOT need firing ) & saving 10% on my shopping.
I cannot complete this missive without mentioning the reason I actually applied to join the Bermuda Police.
Some very good friends of my parents had a son named Barrie Meade who came out to Bermuda as a "bobby" and who came home on holiday. Needless to say, we met up on a Sunday afternoon - when I was due for my last night of night shift at Steelhouse Lane, on foot patrol - and Barrie introduced me to Cockspur - and coke, ginger, lemonade, peppermint, and probably water! I was, at that time, a very lightweight imbiber, and remember wobbling off to work on the bus and swaying slightly whilst on parade. I somehow managed to avoid detection and escaped with nothing worse than a hangover and some interesting insights into police life as a Bermuda bobby!
So it's Barrie's Fault!
Hope you are all well, and have at least as many very happy memories of time in Bermuda as I have."
John Freeborough aka ‘Super chicken’ ( nickname of Cockspur Barbadian rum )
NB Would love to have contact with Doug and Finola again ... we would have LOTS to talk about.
Editors note - John has provided us with his contact details, including email. If you want to contact him please write to us at email@example.com We have also put him in touch with Doug Rogers. Barrie Meade went on to be an Inspector in Prosecutions Department, and left the Bermuda Police to pursue a legal career after taking a law degree. He passed away a few years ago.