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Comment: Pleb? Meet the police officer who took no nonsense from the self important

Former Police Station at Fenny Stratford

Former Police Station at Fenny Stratford

  • by John Taylor
 

AS public servants, it is really about time some political plebs knew their place. got off their bikes and stopped being abusive to police officers.

And one police officer it would not have paid to be abusive to was Edward Callaway who rose from the ranks to the position of Superintendent and, having marshalled the facts, stood no nonsense from any strata of the great unwashed, least of all those possessed of a pompous self importance.

Of a military family at Chalvey, near Slough, Edward was born on December 31, 1876 and although in 1938 he retired from a distinguished police career, he would fulfil many important roles in wartime Bletchley.

During his youth he had worked in a newspaper office but he then joined the Slough Company of the Bucks Volunteers and at the age of 18 enlisted in the Scots Guard for three years.

He joined the Bucks Constabulary in 1898 and in May was sent as a constable to Newport Pagnell, being later transferred to Whitchurch.

At St Gabriel’s Church, Pimlico, in June 1899 he married Elizabeth, the matron at the Chesham police station, and at the outbreak of the Boer War he rejoined the Scots Guards. In fact the diary that he kept of his exploits makes fascinating reading.

Afterwards he returned to a police career and was posted to Bletchley on his promotion to sergeant in 1904. Then followed various postings elsewhere, during which he was promoted to Inspector in 1913.

After 10 months at Brill he returned to Bletchely and here he would duly remain, enforcing with vigour the various rules and restrictions which prevailed during the First World War.

In fact he would bring the town a certain renown by being the first police officer in the country to raise a case under the Air Navigation Regulations.

In 1922 he was promoted to Superintendent and, serving on several police committees, was soon elected to the Police Council at the Home Office.

In fact for two years he became the chairman of the Superintendents’ Conference and took part as the police representativein the funeral procession of King George V.

In 1936 he received the MBE from Edward VIII at Buckingham Palace and with the rank of Superintendent he retired at Bletchley in May 1938.

Yet he would not be idle, for in 1939 he was elected to Bletchley Council, remaining a member throughout the war, as well as fulfilling several other roles to include those of Sectional Organiser of the Local Defence Volunteers (forerunner of the Home Guard), Chairman of the British Legion, and positions with the Bletchley Food Control Committee.

Then in the wake of a letter of June 25, 1942 from Sir Arthur Willert, Regional Information Officer, he was proposed as a Deputy Information Officer, since the Ministy of Information had now prepared a scheme to establish ‘Emergency Information Officers’.

However, it would not be until a meeting of the council on August 11 that his appointment was formally approved, shortly after which in November 1942 he was made chairman of a committee to arrange entertainment for Bletchley war workers.

At Burton on Trent, in November 1943 the wedding took place of Sister Lily Wallis and Edward’s youngest son.

He was serving aboard HMS Maidstone while as for Edward’s other sons, one was a corporal in the Military Police, another was a member of the Buckinghamshire Constabulary, another was a corporal in the RAF in Rhodesia and the eldest was employed in the Control Office at Bletchley station, having joined the railway in 1913.

Tragically, he died of pneumonia at Northampton Hospital aged 41 in 1945.

In 1944, after an illness of 13 years, Edward Callaway’s wife died, but in November 1945 at the Register Office he married Edith Sexton of the Bull Hotel, Fenny Stratford, the licence for which she had held since the death of her husband some seven years before.

Mr Callaway would then sell his house at ‘Belmont’, 143, Bletchley Road, by auction for £2,000 to Hedley Clarke and would subsequently live at the hotel unitl his death in 1950.

 

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