Young P.C. Nick Hall

Early Years

My parents (Eric Hall and Eileen Hall nee Pearce, both from the Portsmouth area) lived in Portsmouth, and just before I was born, on 16th April 1941, they were bombed out of two rented houses (both totally destroyed), so they moved back to my mothers parents house (Captain RN WW1 and Air Raid Warden WW2) and machine gun bullets came through the window, just missing my mother there (75% of property damaged in the blitz). Therefore my father found a horse tack room in a barn near Petersfield to live in. There was no electricity, cooking and heating on Paraffin stove BUT only one bomb in the whole war on the town. Substantial raids on Portsmouth and the Royal Hospital Chelsea London on the day I was born, I was away from it all in Hitchin.

My father had an ear condition that did not allow regular service so initially he was in the Reserve Constabulary, transferring to the Home Guard on moving. Unusually, he had a large US car to move his builders to and fro, and so was made duty vehicle and driver for the Officer Commanding Petersfield Home Guard. He therefore may have had about 4 hours sleep a day. At the end of the war he lost his Sten Gun and his uniform/equipment, which was sent to equip the reformed French Army!

Nick (left) on stage in school play


I attended  St Johns De Salle Catholic College and loved English, Drama, History, Geography and R.K. I appeared in a school play as a Murderer and had other parts in Macbeth, and also Sebastian in the Tempest (a Bermuda precedent!). There was no CCF at the school so I joined the Army cadets, then tried for the SAS (TA), but failed due to blistered feet, so I transferred to the Royal Hampshire Regiment TA as a weapons training specialist.

At that time I was working in a real estate agency and that included rent collecting from tiny villages around Hampshire on a Lambretta scooter. The loss of Husbands and Sons in two World Wars was very clear from the number of widows dwelling in these elsan (transportable chemical toilets) and oil lamp tenancies at 80p a week rent (rent similar from WW1).

When I was 20 I applied for the British South African Police in Southern Rhodesia and Crown Agents for Bermuda. I got both jobs and very sensibly chose Bermuda, thereby missing a long vicious war in Africa.

Aged 21 I went to Hendon for 13 weeks, SGT Warren was the drill man and SGT Shaw for self defence, which he capably demonstrated ON ME as the tallest recruit.

Bermuda Police

I shared a dorm with Robin Henagulph at Hendon and he and I missed the autopsy and black museum as we were sent for our uniforms at Hobson’s the Tailor and Civil Defence HQ. I took the bronze medallion for life saving in our lunch breaks but never used it or Holger Niesen.

After training I flew direct to Bermuda to be greeted by Inspector John Starbuck. As with every other recruit the humidity and tree frogs chirping were an amazing initiation. Robin came out to Bermuda just before me as he was just slightly older. I was under 21 in training and then signed up before I flew out, at the age of 21 and 1 week. I was the youngest man on the Police Force as an expatriate at that time.  

We both moved into the old Army barracks opposite Police HQ at Prospect. Jet lag woke me early and I went for a walk trying to get to the sea. I got as far as Band Block!!!

Constable Nick Hall with his Triumph Tiger Cub

My first Sergeants were Ken Morris, Cannoth Roberts and Bob Curnow. Morris Thorne was the station constable and John Barnett showed me around my beat and helped me make my first arrest by the Forty Thieves Night club on Front Street. On Traffic I had George Garrod (he was promoted to Sergeant and stayed in Traffic).

Sgt Ken Morris
Sgt Cannoth Roberts
                   Sgt John Curnow                                      
Some of the people I worked with in Traffic were unusual as they only appeared for a limited time; they had specific skills which were utilized to great effect. Wentworth Christopher could remember the number of every single stolen vehicle, whereas others had to check a list, by which time the vehicle had driven off. Tony Harper, one of our two great runners, was sent by me to apprehend a runaway driver whilst I chased the driverless car speeding down the road at Spanish Point (I previously had the same experience with Mike Rickards driving on Front Street and I jumped out of our moving car to chase the driver and all I succeeded in doing was ripping my trousers.  The James Bond world and reality are two different dimensions!
P.C's Nick Hall and Bill Black in ceremonial uniform

On my initial breakfast I found it quaint that some men were wearing chrome and some that looked like buttons. It turned out Band Block with Tony Hopwood were following a policy of never shining their insignia. The other observation was that Clive Donald, ‘Shakey’ Johnson and Alf Gordon would always have incredible stories to discuss about traffic chases and adventures which gave an insight of what was to come once a Bermuda driving license was on board.

P.C. Hall meets visitors while directing traffic
in the birdcage on Front Street in Hamilton


  1. My initial duty was setting up an auction of seized goods from an arson opposite the Hog Penny (talk about ‘coals to Newcastle’).
  2. Docks were boring BUT over that period South American and Caribbean dictators were sailing into Bermuda to negotiate re-settlement and I remember a fantastic trip around Hamilton Harbour on a speedboat at 5-6am, this was just a joy ride on dock duty.
  3. I had been on the Road Safety campaign getting around Bermuda and in a lunch break in St. George’s I discovered Fort St Catherine. As a result I worked part-time for the Trade Development Board and did displays of firearms in the powder magazine at Fort St. Catherine and at Gates Fort (at that time the dockyard was still part derelict).
  4. Walking beat No 1 the Sergeant pulled up and said, “we need you”. He didn’t explain why. We went straight to Ferry Reach and a just demolished boathouse to guard a US Bomber which had crashed there. The damaged boathouse was never re-built.  (Editors note - This was a USAF Boeing RB-47H Stratojet that crashed on takeoff into the Astor Estate at Ferry Reach in which 4 crew were killed. The crash occurred on 27th October 1962)
  5. We also enjoyed the sight of the last US Navy Martin Mariner Sea Planes flying out of Naval Operations Base on anti-submarine patrols and a visit to the NASA Space Agency Island (South end of Kindley Air Force Base), which was the only place in the world to be able to take over the Cape Canaveral launch if the sight went down. They had a very accurate clock, that cost $100,000,000, which was a lot of money at that time.

BELCO Riot - 1965

Chief Inspector Nixon ordered me to draw the unit van and collect Sgt. Ernie Moniz and the riot squad at Operations and take them to the Belco Riot on the morning of 2nd February 1965. Afterwards I remained at the scene with others and searched the peaceful pickets. There was a large lunchbox behind the line wall where golf clubs etc had appeared. Their large lunchbox was searched and contained carefully wrapped sandwiches in tissue, along with machete’s and rocks etc. This completely negated and nullified allegations of Police attacking them because Ian Davies and my other colleagues carried nothing offensive whatsoever!!

The Riot Squad finally arrives outside BELCO after a number
of unarmed police officers had been injured, one of them seriously

After the 17 Police casualties were taken to KEMH, my fiancé Viv was looking after them on the Maternity Ward. She rang 2-2222 to see if I was okay and a Police voice said ‘Nick is a very careful man and I'm sure he was okay’. I often wonder who he was?

I was then transferred to Traffic and spent months in the ‘tomb’ (Ops control room) before being allowed out BUT prior to traffic driving course with George Goddard and Derek Jenkinson I was put on crime patrol, which had not existed in my time prior to its institution.  A checklist by ‘Crow’ Rae ensured that every property was checked and subsequently local knowledge soared, plus I shared the car with a great many different constables who went on to fame. For one three week period Jack Rouse and I had to check KEMH administrator’s houses once an hour for bombs, we had no ordnance training and were therefore lucky, discovering nothing during the Doctor Barbara Ball trade union dispute.

On another occasion I had to hide up and keep observations on the Police boat to see if anybody returned to drill more holes in it. The mosquitos fed well over that period!

Dave Parsons should remember that period well! As duty officer I sent him to a daylight sexual assault near the Women’s Prison where he was stabbed by the culprit, and I also accompanied him to a shop break-in where, in shorts, he wrestled on the floor with the suspect on a sea of broken shop glass. Parts of his anatomy were damaged and again Viv nursed him both times.

You can see why she worried! But she got her own back; I was in KEMH for minor op and she had the nurses bring in a trolley allegedly for an “all over thorough shave”. Like the old News of the World I made my apologies and it was difficult because I could not leave.

I had my run-ins with the then well known villains, including “Dingbat” Simmons, “Eggs” Trott, “Nana Bread” Robinson, “Buck” Burrows and “Mr. Out of Sight” with his Mohican haircut. On another occasion I arrested Robert Llewellyn ‘Daffy’ Barnard (“political”spokesman for the Court Street boys who appeared in the American magazine ‘US News and World Reports’ after the one riot I did not attend). He was charged with attempted murder and burning down Cooper’s Warehouse with its wonderful stock of Wedgewood. 

Riot Squad on parade in Traffic Department with Inspector Bob Ball
Nick Hall is 4th from left on front row 

There were four riots during my service and I was present at three of them. I remember that on  Court Street the late Marcus Packwood was standing next to me and got hit in the ankle with part of a Molotov cocktail, hence combat boots and no shorts for future encounters! At that time I can truly say how impressed I was with Pete Edney and Keith Pratt who came up with covers for the Police van windows so quickly and incidentally similar still feature in the UK now.

P.C. Nick Hall and Bermuda Regiment Soldier manning
a roadblock outside BHS during riot curfew 


John Barnett and Barry Meade joined me on some exciting forays, which need not be covered here! At the end of one riot I was recovering all expended ‘smoke’ ammo and the Colonel who I worked for at the TDB came down Court Street, and I told him how pleased we were to see our Bermuda Regiment there to help us.

As a result new uniforms etc., new pattern gasmasks, safety catches removed on our Verey pistols and angle of fire changed to prevent baton rounds etc. hitting telephone wires and ricocheting back into the riot squad, as they normally did!

On another occasion during a riot I was in charge of our minibus and the rioters tried to burn us by ramming a burning dustbin under the van by the fuel tank. All of us got stuck in and this was the one time there would be no rivalry for right marker between John Sharp, Harvey Fothergill and myself! Does anyone remember we doubled up Police cars by using cast and new (cast – the obsolete cars awaiting disposal) at the same time?

P.C. Nick Hall (front row left) on parade in front of the Cabinet Grounds


Various Notes

Life saving – Paul Field and I were on Harbour Road, Warwick in daytime during a hurricane. A man was swimming in enormous sea swells, but he made it clear ‘we must go elsewhere’. Similarly I took a seaspider-covered whino to KEMH after he nearly drowned and I was asked if I had given him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, I replied no – ‘good, he is full of TB’. I never knew in 9 years just how rife that ailment was.

Jack Rouse and I borrowed Bernie Burrell’s sailboat and in capsizing it lost the centerboard and could not right it. It was April and I would say we were well on the way to being freezing cold before rescue came.

Working on a safety boat in Ferry Reach the racing boats were not fitted with dead man’s throttles so the crew that fell overboard had to swim like mad as the boats circled, moved by the wind until they hit the rocks. More frightening though was swimming on the North Shore reef surrounded by barracuda or on South Shore being wrapped up in a Portuguese Man of War.


Early on I did extra duties (paid) such as parking etc. at weddings guarding the silver and at the RBYC (not during the Newport-Bermuda Yacht Race), but most importantly at the Bermuda Tennis Stadium guarding Cassius Clay (who was about to change his name to Mohammad Ali) because of his adoring female fans, constant banter, and air cooling by the speed of his sparring punches. I also did motor cycle escort for Hailie Selassie and the Pope.

After one escort H.E. said thanks to Inspector Robert Ball at Government House and we were instructed to return to Ops. Everyone left and as I was rear rank I started up but the throttle cable got stuck at full revs sending me directly towards a palm tree. I stood up in the saddle using every muscle in my body, along with my body weight (and some praying) and luckily I stopped 2 metres from the tree, switched off the bike and breathed.  There was no radio on the bike so a noisy trip back, slowly, on full breaks!! ‘Keith Pratt please sort, thank you!’

What a wonderful selection of stars at the 40 Thieves Nightclub. Who will ever forget Shalimar the Lebanese belly dancer.

Nick and Viv partying


Viv and I had met at a Ball at Admiralty House on her second day in Bermuda.  Viv and I got married at Saint Paul’s Church in  Paget on 15th April 1965 and travelled for the first and only time on a horse drawn carriage provided by friend Tommy Marshall’s dad.

Nick and Viv on their wedding day -  15th April 1965

EDITORS NOTE -  In September 2020, I was approached by Mr. Peter Nash whose sister-in-law had worked with Viv when they were both nurses at King Edward Hospital. He handed me a poem written by Dr. Peter Stewart who was also working at KEMH at that time and he had written the following poem to Viv and Nick 55 years ago to celebrate their wedding:-

Vivianne comes from Wigan
Which is famous for its pier,
And the fizzy, coloured water
Which the men all claim is beer.
When she left her native town
A trainee nurse was she
At the M.R.I. in Manchester
She found her destiny.
She was Sister in Theatre
To her charges was a toff
Holding up the patients bits
While the Surgeon sawed them off.
Nicholas was a lovely lad,
Pompey bred and real true blue
With mighty chest and shoulders
He's like a brick-built loo!
On Bermuda's sunny isle they met
Where Nick was on the beat
So awfully smart in shorts and shirt
And size eleven feet.
They worked as one upon the job,
Nick arrested hell-for-leather;
Each drunk or rogue that Nick bought in
Viv'ld sew them back together.
They decided on a partnership
In life as well as work
And in nineteen sixty five
Were married in the Kirk.
So best wishes to this couple
For their silver Wedding Day,
May they hand-in-hand together
Have fun along the way.

Viv and I never saw Tom Jones performing at the 40 Thieves because we fell off our motorcycle on the way to town in front of Cathy and Ian Scotland’s house, and were unable to go and see him. Ian and Cathy eventually had to move house as they were constantly helping people, including tourists, who would have accidents in front of their house. Just a short distance from their house I had the unenviable job of hosing down with a garden hose a persons blood and brains, when word came through that a lady who I knew had had an accident not 100 yards away.  I tried to reassure the bike rider, a German, that he would pull through but he died at the scene. I think in one year we had over 23 killed in road accidents in Bermuda.

Some years later I had to cut down the short order cook from a restaurant in the Walker Arcade. Tragically, he hanged himself on a tree behind the church.

Lets look on the cheerful side

-       Taxi drivers versus traffic football house.

-       Islands of “Tranquility”.

-       Alternate Rugby against RN ships.

-       Riot Drills with Nobby Clark.

-       Fancy dress parties in the caves at Admiralty and parties all over (one day Viv’s diary records 3 parties     in one day – civy, hospital and Police invitations).

-       Paul Field and I escorting the Floral Queens from the Bermudiana Hotel to Front Street for the 24th May Parade.

-       Two lads I went to school with turned up on my patrols, one was Deputy Entertainments officer on a cruise ship, and he found a female stowaway hidden in the games cupboard. The other was a drunk I had to eject from Horizons Cottage Colony.

-       I once lassoed a horse in a city car park!

Already mentioned theatre at school, which so readily helped Ron Shelly, and Dusty Hind (also from Portsmouth) in several productions of which I still have the programmes. Such productions as ‘Seagulls over Sorrento’, costumes in ‘Long, Short and the Tall’ and ‘Journeys End’ (which I have costumed many times at the National Theatre through Sabre Sales), ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’. NYPD costumes and Mike Woods' trumpet and pith helmet.
Members of the cast of Arsenic and Old Lace. John McQuaid
is wearing the NYPD uniform and the irascible Mike Woods towers
over everyone wearing his pith helmet with trumpet in hand!


Mike wanted Viv to pose for a Playboy centerfold but her upbringing and Ms Darroch (matron) and Miss Druce (deputy matron) and I would not have been pleased. Offer politely declined with fluttering of eyelids!

Holidays from Bermuda were far more interesting than conflict-ridden Africa. We went all around West Coast of US, I went around Canada and Viv went on trips around the Caribbean and South America. Paid passages in those days made sure you were reminded how beautiful the UK is. On one trip I civil arrested a drunk who broke into my parents house looking in vain for a prostitute.

My memories of the Bermuda Regiment

On arrival I had no bike so Roy Dudden (the Drum Major I think) took me from Front Street on his wonderful boat to Admiralty. I though 'wow' I want to spend lots of time here,  and in typical Army way he left me there, so I think I am one of only a few PC’s who have walked all the way from that hallowed place along the North Shore to Prospect.

Captain Swift of the Royal Anglians was there for a long time and I joined the ACF as a Sergeant Instructor helping at camps etc. I learnt two things:-

  1. The rate of marching speed of young cadets is incredibly quicker than older men slogging; and
  2. Swimming with 50 cadets or more is a foolish thing to do as they really enjoyed scragging and ducking the only PC at that time that was in range.
Shooting match at the Police Range, Prospect
Front row (l-r)  Nick Hall, Neil Cox, Wayne Perinchief, Brian Flook.
Ron Wallace is in civvies behind Wayne Perinchief.  Sgt Tim Willis in uniform


On the shooting front Les Waddell, myself and Tim Willis and his then wife Sandy, beat the USMC with their semi-auto Garand Rifles. We had bolt action rifles in the run and shoot falling plate.  They promptly picked up their guidon (military unit flag) and subsequently left Warwick ranges!

Members of the Police Shooting Team
Top row (l-r)  Tim Willis, J.C.P. Hanlon, Les Waddell
Kneeling -  Colin Jowett  and Nick Hall


Viv had worked in a number of the wards at KEMH in order to work with our 6-day shifts, but it was difficult to spend time with each other so we made the decision to return to the UK. We left Bermuda the end of 1969.

The current generation may not believe this but we were on £20 a week and that shows why the Government gave such a parsimonious pension to my friend Ian Davies.


My father asked me to return to the UK to help run a family property business, and I found that Police knowledge and resolve, court experience, and dealing with the highest and the lowest, sympathy, and a compulsive desire for fairness, were a great help. Viv and I had our son, Jeremy in 1971. He now teaches advanced windsurfing courses all around the world.

Like Father - Like Son!
Captain Nick Hall with son Jeremy aged 10

I left that business in 1987 having acquired several properties for letting and set up ‘Sabre Sales’, initially as a militaria collectors shop and subsequently adding military and police costumes for plays/theatre and TV productions. Our two biggest were ‘ A Bridge too far’, ‘The Eagle has Landed’. We also did four productions of ‘Bloody Sunday’ and ‘Dead Men Standing"

Sabre Sales premises in Portsmouth


Nick at Sabre Sales surrounded by his extensive store of military equipment and memorabilia


On a lighter note we also did many nautical, Gene Kelly type singing and dancing, shows.

One production, ‘Greeks’, next to the National Theatre, had 50 people on stage in riot gear from the shop. Another production we catered for was for the Wessex Hospice, which included old-fashioned nurses carrying ‘gesunders’ to raise £26000 (gratis service) for the hospice. Whilst all that was going on I joined the RMP TA (Royal Military Police – Territorial Army) in Southampton and in 1969 was commissioned into the Royal Corps of Transport, ending up as a Captain in 233 RCT Sqn (v) (former RASC now RLC). This was also a great time in my life and I had some great Portsmouth HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicles) drivers to lead.

Lieutenant Nick Hall attends a formal function with the men of
155 Wessex Regiment Royal Corps of Transprt
Nick is in the centre of the top row.

We had many competitions leading to Bisley etc. My pet two titles were champion and best troop cross-country driving cups on the Culmstocks hills near Taunton Somerset (UK), and the other title was the ‘officers driving instructor for motorcycles’ but no other officer ever dared apply, perhaps because it’s much warmer in a Land Rover.

This reminds me of a Police magazine photo competition in Bermuda when I entered a smashing shot of a sheepdog like Lassie picking her way through a Beaver swamp in New England. Mike Woods said wonderful photo BOY. However, nobody else bothered to enter that competition so my entry was void – what an anti climax!!

Reunion of former Bermuda Policemen and Nurses in 1990 near Bath in England
l-r Richard Hill (not a policeman!), Keith and Nadine (nee Stevens) ex-nurse at KEMH,
Jill Wheatcroft another ex-nurse at KEMH, Nick Hallwith his wife Viv
(as vivacious as ever), and an ex-KEMH nurse, Robin Henagulph,
Jo Hill (nee Fairey) - ex nurse at KEMH, and Robin’s wife Nadine
who came to Bermuda as a chiropodist.

It is quite a coincidence that Nick and Robin both trained at Hendon Police College together prior to being posted to Bermuda,  while their wives, Viv and Nadine, both originated from Wigan and both came out to Bermuda as nurses at King Edward Hospital.  Elsewhere in this article Nick has vividly described how he attended the BELCO riot on the morning of 2nd February 1965, after P.C. Ian Davies had been savagely attacked and seriously injured.  Also by coincidence,  Nurse Jo Fairey was also called to the riot that morning in an ambulance despatched to the scene to pick up a very seriously injured policeman, Ian Davies. Jo vividly recalls how the rioters tried to stop the ambulance getting to Ian Davies and also having some of the rioters rocking the ambulance trying to overturn it  while its crew was trying to treat the injured officer and transport him to Emergency.   


Many people may remember Hobson’s Tailors; I brought all their surplus stock and was told I would be rewarded with the rare 19th Century Helmets in the store cupboard. Lo and behold the cupboard was bare, as the staff had been appropriating them once a week for years! This lot included British Army colours in nets for church displays and one had a Crimean war battle honour, meaning they were well over 100 years old.

A friend of mine (not my deal) had a friend keep coming in selling him Nazi Officers daggers but they came to an end, so he was then offered all sorts of different Reich Flags for Broadcasting House, Customs, Police and Buckingham Palace etc.  It turns out we confiscated them from the German Embassy in 1939,  where they remained secluded until said builder and his mates started refurbishing it long after the War. The German Ambassador’s staff were ready to take over London before war was declared. Similarly another friend was asked to make 1,000,000 poison gas shells for Britain in 1935 as the government knew?!!

Nick in his element at Sabre Sales
Sabre Sales – items brought over the years

-       The 25,000 stock of original Canadian WW2 insignia left in Aldershot.

-       The stock of Aldershot Tattoos left from pre-war and wartime.

-       Cases of dummy Para’s from D-Day, made form hessian with tabs for fireworks.

-       Cases of leather chin straps for Pith Helmets.

-       The Portsmouth Dockyard officers uniform stock.

-       All the sealskin Rifle Caps and bandsman pouches, badges etc from BDA Rifles, KRRC, RB and Royal Green Jackets.

-       All the swords disposed of by the RN College Dartmouth Devon.

-       Sacks of string eye tassels to prevent Middle East and Far East Horses and Mules from being driven mad by insects – all sold to wife’s amazement!!

-       NO body bags, church or funeral relics!

-       Many different regimental museum, stock disposed of to help pay for things like new lighting etc which is not donated.

-       Sold uniforms for guides on HMS Belfast, Chatham dockyard and Edinburgh Castle.

-       Sold air-raid sirens to Baghdad (Gulf War) to warn of incoming missiles etc.

I retired in 2014 dispensing of all stock, retiring and selling the building.

Retirement and Hobbies

Unfortunately Viv and I now suffer from bad health, however, we enjoy travelling around the country and up to our second home in Lancashire by the Leeds-Liverpool canal where many of Viv’s friends live. I gave up the hobby of collecting Medals, Uniforms and Badges when I opened the business, so my clients (including Sergeant Ted Burton), could correspond by mail all over the world. The hobby was converted into finding items for clients, such as the Imperial War museums El-Alamein exhibition etc., and finding the correct sizes of uniforms for individuals to re-enact WW2 etc. (this was difficult as people are much larger these days than they were 75 years ago). Note the Christmas meal scene in the English Patient, as we provided the uniforms.

Nick and Viv relaxing at home
Nick with his son Jem

Now I am retired, I enjoy keeping in contact on Social Media with friends and I have built up a large number acquaintances on Facebook who are interested in matters martial, which I try in every way possible to keep calm and prevent the two sides in American politics getting too emotional. As a balancing act I have introduced other topics such as Geography, Flowers, Geology and Bermuda in order to promote diversification in a tranquil lifestyle.