|What happened to...||Click on name to see details|
|Robert (Bob) WILSON|
|Cadet ID: 1254|
|Association ID: 54|
I would like to preface this story by stating that I had a rather unremarkable career, but a very enjoyable one.
I joined the NSW Police Cadets on 15 November 1955 at the age of 15 years and 11 months. I had no intention of becoming a Police Cadet, as I was in 4th year at Manly Boys’ High School, with my parents hoping I would stay and obtain the Leaving Certificate and, hopefully, go to university. However, a friend asked me to accompany him to the Police Recruiting Office, as he wished to join up. I was waiting in the corridor on the first floor of the Recruiting Office when this Sergeant with a very gruff voice, who I later got to know as Sergeant Garnet Brickell (Bricky), demanded that I get on the scales. I protested, telling him that I was only here with a friend, and he replied, “I don’t care who you are with. Get on the scales now!”, which I did out of fright. Then he handed me some forms to fill in and, as I hated school, I thought, “Why not?” I filled in the forms and was subsequently accepted as a Police Cadet but unfortunately my friend missed out, as they discovered he had a murmur in his heart.
My first posting as a
cadet was at Manly Police Station and I will never forget my “induction”,
especially when I look back at being lectured on the correct induction method
of new recruits during the Inspectors’ Class. Cadet Sergeant 1st Class Jock Stewart accompanied me to Manly
that morning and upon entering the Station, he approached the Station Sergeant,
a large, round and red faced man named Bruce (Glaxo)
During my last year as a cadet, I was given a cadet’s uniform and had to direct traffic outside Artarmon and Mosman Schools, where I had a few embarrassing moments, one of which being the sixth class girls at Mosman School would delight in singing “Baby Face” as they passed each day in the school bus, and I would turn bright red. Another was the time a big black dog was waiting to cross with the school kids and when I directed them across, the dog walked up to me and, without even barking, took a large chunk out of my leg and my trousers. But the worst of all was also at Mosman one morning on a rainy day. I had grabbed my cap cover, which was made of transparent plastic, so as not to hide the Cadet’s checkered cap-band. I had never used it before and thought that the bit hanging down was to keep the rain off my face, however the rain absolutely poured down and I couldn’t see anything. I was trying to hold the flap up with one hand and direct traffic with the other when a Police cyclist came by and laughingly told me that I was an idiot and had it on back to front.
I was eventually sworn in on my 19th birthday, 24 December 1958, and was lucky enough to again get posted to Manly where I remained for three years on general duties. Whilst at Manly, I worked as a “peanutter” with various Vice Squad Sergeants, including Sergeants Ted Eaton, Fred Scholes, ‘Bumper’ Farrell, Jack Stinson, Lou Nyall, Sid Turbit and Clarrie Rochford locking up hoodlums, homosexuals, SP bettors and the like.
After doing my ‘A’ List at Collaroy Detectives, I was transferred to No 21 Division as a Trainee detective where I worked with Barry Fielding, who sadly got killed in a water skiing accident during this time, Bill McDonnell, Ray Merlin and others under great bosses in ‘Snowy’ Whiteman, ‘Doc’ Doherty, Neville Bell, Neville Grigg, Kevin McAuliffe, Alby Southern, Joe Kroehnert, Jim Petith, Les Cutler, Bob Thomas, Neil Stevens, Ross Thompson and others. Whilst at No 21 Division I went on a number of SP Betting raids to country towns and had a great time.
I was eventually transferred to North Sydney Detectives in 1964 as a proud detective, where I worked under Sergeant Bill Purcell and with detectives Arthur Neville, Jack Whitfield, Mat Carmody, Bill Marcroft, Warwick Simmons, Trevor Crawford, Bob Mair, Peter Hardiman, Jock Morris, John Thomas, Bill Ellis, Doug Bell and Policewomen Thora Michael, Monica Reilly and others.
I must have been the
only Detective ever, not being able to drive, when I first arrived at
Upon my first day back
as a police driver, Bill Purcell directed me to drive him to his home at
Castlecrag and to pick up the police vehicle at the service station opposite
the police station, where it was being serviced, and that he would meet me at
the back of the Station in ten minutes. I picked up the car and was heading south on the Pacific Highway with
the intention of taking the first turn right, but it was not to be as it was
marked “No Right Turn”. I thought, “No
worries”, I will take the next turn left and come back to the station that way,
however, I was then confronted with a sign “No Left Turn”. The next I know I am heading across the
My stay at Mosman didn’t last long as I eventually ‘struck a hurdle’, as they say. This was because of my own naivety and also trying to remain loyal to my workmates, as we had drummed into us, but it also got me caught up in their ‘blue’. Anyway, no regrets, as I think the Superintendent of Licenses, at that time Don Campbell, realized I was hard done by and accepted me on Licensing in 1969 where I remained until I retired in 1989.
However, before being transferred to Licensing, I had to take my punishment and spent nearly three years in uniform at No. 4 Division where I met some great characters such as ‘Tibby’ Lorenz and Les Monk. Most of the time there I worked in the Station with Sergeant Barry Minnis, the Station Sergeant, whom I respected a great deal.
In 1969 I was
transferred to Licensing and spent a few years relieving at various Stations
I retired as a Senior Sergeant, with which I was satisfied, so long as I could remain on licensing. Unfortunately the position of licensing supervisor was done away with and I didn’t fancy going back to general duties. I have no regrets, although financially, it wasn’t a great move, but I wouldn’t swap my retirement years for anything.
I enjoyed some
wonderful sporting moments whilst in the Cadets and the Police Force. One of the highlights was in 1962-3 playing
Rugby League for the annual Steve Duff trophy for 21 Division against the Vice
Squad. Another highlight was packing
down in the scrum at front row for Manly Police against the Vice Squad, being
opposite ‘Bumper’ Farrell, who, believe it or not, played in bare feet. I also enjoyed playing tennis in the Cadets
with Sergeant Don Rowlands in charge. In
1984, Tony Brenton and I played golf in the Police Olympics in
Another highlight was
being employed as a Security Officer on cruise ships with the sanction of the
Police Department. This enabled my wife
and me to visit
After retiring in
1989, I worked for about 3 years as a curator at the
My wife and I followed
our two sons and their wives and children to northern
All in all, I have enjoyed my time in the New South Wales Police Cadets and Police Force, as well as my retirement years, which I hope will run for a bit longer yet.