|What happened to...||Click on name to see details|
|Les de Belin|
|Cadet ID: 2610|
I was born Leslie John de Belin at Balmain, 19/5/1953.
I left High School in 1969 with the intentions of joining the NSW Police Cadets on the advice of my father, who said the Police Force had good retirement benefits.
On my first medical examination, I was rejected as I was ½" too short. I returned only 2 weeks later, and passed the height test this time. How you might ask? This time my cousin's brother-in-law was working in the Recruitment Office - my first taste of Police Culture.
I entered the NSW Police Cadet Corps on 18/5/1970, one day before my 17th birthday. My number was 2610. I soon got to know the ‘good guy’ - Sergeant Les ‘Pinky’ Thompson, and the ‘bad guy’ - Sergeant Brian Andrews, the drill instructor.
Who could forget running 4 times around the Redfern Academy in the middle of summer, in a suit, holding a bag of books over your head?
I was sworn in on 19-5-1972, but not without a slight hic-cup. A day or two before being sworn in, I was involved in a fight with the local Balmain ‘tough’, coming off a little worse for wear, but not defeated.
Sergeant Thompson gave me certain instructions as to handle the situation when being sworn in. When I walked into the Metro Super's Office (or where ever it was?), to get sworn in I could tell that my black eye and face swelling took the Officer's attention. Before he could say anything, I said "football, sir", and nothing more was mentioned about my appearance. Thanks for that advice Sergeant Thompson!
I commenced duty at Eastwood No.17 Division as Probationary Constable No.15246.
After a couple of months, I was moved to Ryde Police Station on Victoria Road, No.17 Division, where, I must admit, I learnt the roots of my Police experience, and of course, a "little bit" about the police culture – as it was.
A couple of years later I was seconded into the Court Staff, Police Prosecuting, apparently due to high(?) marks I obtained in my Constable 1/c exams. (well that’s what I’m putting it down to)
So I started off at Central Court (including the infamous Saturday morning drunks court), but ended up mostly working out of Ryde Court.
Thankfully, and apologies to those who followed that vocation, after 2 years of in the Court Staff (“John Smith, John Smith, John Smith”), I returned to Ryde on General Duties, then later to Gladesville, still No.17 Division, on General Duties.
Whilst at Gladesville and in the 1980's I joined the TRG. What a fantastic month of hard training that was, and who was training us - Sergeant Brian Andrews! However, and no matter how hard he was, we got to know him as a person who was dedicated to his work, and to his men, and someone who always enjoyed a beer at the end of a day's training.
I remained as a 17 Division as a TRG member for 2 years, during which time, I did Bathurst Races, Gaol Strikes, Truckie Strikes, etc.
From Gladesville, I went returned to Eastwood, still on General duties, then in the 1990's back to Gladesville, which now incorporated the Ryde patrol due to restructuring and doing away with Divisions.
Eventually I was then given the position of Custody Officer at Ryde Police Station. During this time, I went to Sydney 2000 Olympic Games where I worked mostly at the Tennis Venue. These were another few months of great memories but nothing I can elaborate on here. I can say though they were good bosses, good venue, and of course good O.T.
On 12 September 2002, I went off to my local GP to get a lump in my neck checked out. That night I went to work at Ryde Police Station as Custody Officer and spoke to the Duty Officer about Police Pensions and retiring. "Not me", I said, "I haven't had a sick day in 8 years". The next morning my doctor informed me that my lump was a result of (sun) cancer and that I needed urgent medical treatment.
Needless to say, I called in sick for my next shift that night and never returned to work again. Following a major operation and radiation treatment I submitted my medical discharge papers.
It was on the 8th August 2003, Sergeant Leslie John de Belin No.15246, was officially medically discharged from the NSW Police Force.
At my ‘Send-Off’ they read my Service History: Sworn in 1972 - to Eastwood, Ryde and Gladesville No.17 Division and 2 years at Court Staff “where he spent most of his time at Ryde Court.”
Discharged in 2003. I think that was one of the shortest service histories on record, but in saying that, I did the same work as other police in those 31 years, it just that I didn't have to move my the contents of my locker very far in those years.
I'm currently living in Sydney with my wife of 28 years. I have 3 children.
In retirement, I drive a community bus for the aged, frail and disabled. I've been doing that for 6 years - first two as a volunteer and the last 4 as an employee (casual).
My final wrap up on the Police Cadets/Force? A great Job. I have no regrets whatsoever in the career I chose…. and Dad, your advice all those years ago about the Police having good retirement benefits - you were spot on!