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WW2 - People's War

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Home Service in the Metropolitan Police War Reserve in Central London

by AlanJamesClark

Photograph of Louis Sheppard in Police uniform from his wartime identification card

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Louis Beresford Sheppard
Location of story: 
Kensington, Central London
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
06 August 2004

At the age of 29 and due to being classified as unfit for service (grade III), my Grandfather enlisted into the Metropolitan Police War Reserve in Kensington.
He Enlisted on the 2nd September 1939 as War Reserve Policeman AWR 503, the A identifying his Police Division. There were 38 Reserve Divisions in total.
During his duty with A Division, he was to be located at the following Police Stations:
Rochester Row; Gerald Road and Hyde Park.
During the early war years; Louis lived with his wife Janet and their daughter Marian at 28 Hans Place, situated just round the corner from the Harrods Building. Number 28 was damaged during and air raid in 1941 by an incendiary bomb, which destroyed many of the nearby roofs.
During the time that Louis was not on duty, he would fill his days or nights by either fire watching over Kensington and Hyde Park area of London from tall buildings that gave a clear view of the City or working at a munitions factory in Hounslow in 1942.
When talking about his service in the Police War Reserve, he always mentioned 2 stories:

1) He claimed that part of his “beat” district was the same as Mr John Reginald Christie, the infamous murderer of 10 Rillington Place who was hung in Pentonville Prison on 15th July 1953. Louis always stated that he never meet actually met Christie and the probable reason why was that Christie was a War Reserve Policeman located in Harrow Police station during the war.
2) Another story was the time that he was alerted by a civilian whilst on duty, to a man who was asking too many questions in an air raid shelter during a night raid. The man was asking the public inside the shelter enquiring questions concerning locations of military and defensive sites in the area. The man also had a very suspicious foreign accent. Louis entered the shelter to question the man about his behavior and later arrested him, for his suspicious manner. He took the man to Hyde Park Police Station for further questioning, where he was put under the watch of the station Sergeant. Louis heard nothing more about the suspect man after this, but was convinced that he had helped in the arrest of one of the many spies that had landed in England during the war. Was the man a spy?

Louis remained on unpaid police service until his resignation from the War Reserve on 31st December 1945. He later went to work at Barclays Bank in 1946, with the help of a police citation for service during the war.

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