One last tale from the PSU before we go on hols (Orf to Devon - cream teas and lashings of ginger beer etc). As previous blogs testify we were getting pretty good as a Police Support Unit and as such were the first one called for any out of force unusual incidents. We were well trained, well equipped and ready for anything. Imagine our delight when we were selected to represent Thames Valley at Prince Charles Wedding to the lovely Diana Spencer. This was major stuff not so much public order, as publicity for the Force. All best uniforms, white gloves, best boots and medals even ! Some of the younger members of the team, who had not been in the Forces often asked what those little bits of ribbon signified on our uniforms - Nice to get the whole thing out of the box, all court mounted GSM. bar and UN medals. Best Boots out of the wardrobe where they had been sitting under a yellow duster for years. Best uniforms on hangers etc we boarded special coaches at some ungodly hour - all being filmed for posterity by a TV crew. Got in to town about 0600 as all the roads were being closed off and the sniffer dog teams were out in force. We were due to eat breakfast at the Bank of America, who had offered to "put us up and feed us" - Great grub - TV crew still following us about - As usual someone had to perform. "Gonzo", as he was known to all got a real tray full of food, forgot he was wearing fully studded "Ammo" boots and did the classic man on ball bearings walk on the highly polished tiles of the restaurant - food, trays and Gonzo everywhere - all filumed in glorious technicolour - No real harm done as he hadn't put his tunic on - quick mop up and laughter all round - release of tension !! - We had been told to fill our pockets with sweets to hand to the crowd as we were going to be there for some hours without moving and we should try and make friends with them etc etc. She who must be obeyed had bought packs of boiled sweets, toffees etc which I dutifully distributed about my person trying to smooth the lumps out. One last brush down, fix medals to tunic, white gloves on and - as this was a really special event - chin strap down a la metropolitan
We have always worn the chin strap stretched round the back of the helmet - no idea why, no one ever told us !! - Fully briefed we marched down and took up our positions along Fleet Street
About twenty yards apart - facing the crowds, some of whom had camped for several nights behind the crash barriers so as to get a good view. Start handing out sweets to all and sundry. Conversations with persons from all corners of the globe ! On my small twenty yard stretch I had persons from America, the continent, the caribbean and glory be, two largish Australian ladies sitting on the biggest cold box I have every seen. "Wot's in the box girls ?" says Mog.
"Wait and see mate" says one of them. We all happily chat for the interminable hours before we get the heads up - We look down Fleet st and can see the procession winding up. Off comes the lid of the cool box "Here mate have a glass", says one of them passing me a champagne flute -
"pop" goes the cork and lo and behold champers everywhere - just time for a quick slurp - hide glass and - although we were told to face the crowd as they came past I'm sure every one had a look wonderful sight - They looked happy and the whole world appeared to be full of cheering crowds. Pity it didn't last but at the time all was well with the world. Back to the Champagne
The ladies kept getting overcome with emotion and "pop" went another cork. I drank an awful lot of champagne that day but for some reason did not get drunk. Got big wet kisses from the two lovely ladies who were in floods of tears and then quick fall in and march back to the coaches and a glorious day was had by all. Best of all was when we got back to the coaches and changed back into jeans and sweat shirts we found that the Inspector (God bless him and his wife and sprogs) had bought crates of beer for all. We had a long, slow, popped up ride back to High Wycombe at the end of one of the best PSU days of my long and undistinguished career !