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Archive for February 20th, 2012

“The criminal is the creative artist; the detective only the critic.”
– G.K Chesterton –

My Grandfather was with Hampshire Constabulary for 30 years and today I spent a little while flicking through the equivalent of those years in his pocket books. For many of his years with the force he was a Detective Constable.  The places that he has been – and the things that across the years he has seen amounts to more than I could ever imagine in my wildest dreams.

In 1972 he was an attending detective for the Aldershot Bombings which was known as the Official IRA’s largest attack in Britain during the time of ‘The Troubles.’ The attack was a car bomb in Aldershot at the headquarters of the 16th Parachute Brigade. Seven staff were killed and 18 people were wounded. It was described as a revenge attack for Bloody Sunday. My Grandfather as an entry in his pocket book for this day and the subsequent weeks that followed whilst he spent time at the scene and at briefings in the local area. His sketches make little or no sense to me, but that they might have helped solve a crime is pretty amazing. Only one man was convicted of the attacks, the accomplices were never found.

There are burglaries and murders, house fires and rapes. The day to day thoughts and movements of a detective constable are pretty fascinating according to the little books and although My Grandfather’s handwriting is difficult to decipher I was still able to pick out places and things that I recognized.

The box in which the notebooks are pictured is now the box they were found in up in the attic. The box pictured is my Grandfather’s official scenes of crime box. The things kept inside would require the transportation of a van in these current modern times. But back in  the day the little wooden box held everything a good detective needed. In fact coincidentally my Mother and I passed a CSI van the other day and it’s quite amazing to think that Detectives in the 1970s relied on only what they could carry in a box.

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