Farewell to Bridport’s Police Chief

At midnight on Saturday 20th July 1935 Supt. Beck retired, after 40 years in the Dorset Constabulary, 16 of those years in the Bridport Division. Supt. Beck, who was approaching his 60th Birthday, was the longest serving member of the Constabulary at that time.

During the last few weeks of July, thanks were give to Supt. Beck at both the Bridport Borough and Division Courts, a reception was held in the borough gardens Bridport hosted by the Mayor and a photo was taken with all the police officers in the Division. The Bridport News and Western Gazette both reported on the speeches of thanks at the Courts and the reception given by the Mayor.

In later years Auntie Jo (Grandad Beck’s second wife) remembered this time with affection and pride in her husband’s achievements. As a child I can remember Auntie Jo showing me the items he was presented with, laid out on a table. After Grandad Beck’s retirement, they moved to Longfleet, Poole, where they were to spend the rest of their days together.

All the policemen of the Bridport Division, (this includes Bridport, Beaminster, Lyme Regis and surrounding villages) gathered in the Borough garden to have the picture taken to mark Supt. Beck’s retirement. 19 PC’s, 3 Sergeants, Supt. Beck and Mrs Beck.

Click on photo for more information.Supt. Beck's retirement with all police officers in Bridport Division 1935

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World War Two

Arthur Beck’s Obituary in the Western Gazette states that Grandad Beck rejoined the police within a few days of the outbreak of the second world war and served for 5 years until the end of 1944.  As the war started on September 1st 1939, this can’t be correct. The war ended on 2nd September 1945, a month before Grandad Beck’s 70 Birthday, I don’t know why he only served until 1944 assuming the Newspaper report had the correct dates.

My father remembers visiting Grandad Beck in his office in Dorchester. “During WW2 Grandfather was based at Dorchester, he took the train up each day. He was in charge of the department for spies and saboteurs.  I remember visiting him in his office at Dorchester, he showed me a hand grenade he had confiscated off someone.” Typical of a young boy remembering the grenade! My father would have been 7 years old at the start of war. Continue reading “World War Two”

Parents and Siblings

Grandad Beck died on 11 September 1947 in Poole, Dorset. From his  will, dated December 1942 I encountered a few names that I hadn’t heard of, this was an opportunity to research Grandad Beck’s parents and siblings. Grandad Beck was brought up in Buckland Newton, a small village in rural West Dorset and was the middle child of five children,  One older brother (Charles) who didn’t survive childhood, an older sister (Olive), a younger sister (Beatrice) and a younger brother (Ernest).  Interesting to see that his sister Beatrice married a police constable and their son also joined the police, eventually becoming a Chief Constable.  Grandad Beck’s younger brother joined the Metropolitan Police and later immigrated to America, I would like to find out more about Ernest and his family. Grandad Beck was the only one to remain in Dorset, near their parents. Continue reading “Parents and Siblings”

Why write about Grandad Beck?

Why write about Supt. Beck, well it all started many years ago.  I was in my early twenties working in the Monmouth Bar at the Bull Hotel.  An elderly gentleman used to come in for half-a-pint, while waiting for his wife.  We got chatting and when he learnt about my family he came out with a surprising statement. “I remember your Grandmother, lovely lady”.  My Grandmother died when my father was a small boy.  Then he said something even more surprising, “I used to see your Great Grandfather Supt. Beck driving his horse and trap between Beaminster and Bridport”. What? Who? I told him that I had an Auntie Jo Beck but never heard of Supt. Beck.  He explained to me that Auntie Jo was in fact Supt. Beck’s second wife.  “She was the families servant, after the death of your Great Grandmother, Supt. Beck married her, she was the same age as his daughter – it was the talk of the town!”

The next time Supt. Beck came to my attention was when I saw the picture taken by Dorset Constabulary for his retirement, but the idea of researching his life only came after a recent Powerstock House family reunion.  My father showed us some family photos.  One showed Supt. Beck at Beaminster Police station with a early car. As my father is the last of the grandchildren I decided now was a good time to find out more.  This blog is a record of my journey. Continue reading “Why write about Grandad Beck?”