- Contributed by
- 2nd Air Division Memorial Library
- People in story:
- Arthur Grady
- Location of story:
- Norwich, Norfolk
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 04 May 2005
This story was submitted to the People's War site by Jenny Christian of the 2nd Air Division Memorial Library on behalf of Arthur Grady and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
During the last war, boys from the senior form at St. Mark's school on Hall Road visited the Castle Museum every week for extra curricular studies. One day, after leaving the castle, I discovered that my bike had been stolen and on the way home I reported it to the Bethel Street Police Station.
In the meantime, at Thorpe Railway Station, a young lad was buying a return ticket to Gt. Yarmouth. He flashed three £1 notes with which to pay for the fare.
The somewhat alert booking clerk who served him then got on to the Yarmouth Vauxhall Station and asked to speak to the Railway Police. The very fact that the boy produced three £1 notes seemed to him somewhat unusual.
It might be as well to point out that a council labourer only earned £2.10 shillings a week, and a police inspector probably a mere £7 a week in those far off days.
But, I must press on. The train was then met at Yarmouth by the Railway Police and the youth was taken in for questioning.
The boy said he had sold his bike and was treating himself to a day out in Gt. Yarmouth. For some unknown reason the police were still suspicious and contacted Norwich to send someone round to our house.
On the night in question, I had just gone off for my music lesson when a young police constable called.
"Mrs Grady?" he said, "Um – we're making enquiries about your son Arthur. "Oh" said my mother, "He's just gone off to his music lesson".
"Just gone off to his music lesson" replied the constable, "that's very strange, because we're holding him at Gt. Yarmouth Police Station!"
"There must be some mistake" said my Mum. "Look he'll be home shortly, would you like a cup of tea?"
"Would I like a cup of tea, yes please Mam, I'm spitting feathers, if you know what I mean".
On my return the police constable asked my Mum if I was her son.
"Well I've had him for about thirteen years…….. I think I'd know if it was my lad!"
A somewhat confused constable decided he'd better return to Headquarters.
"O crikey, I forgot to tell the bobby that my gas mask was in the saddle bag of the stolen bike. I'll need a replacement". During the war it was against the law to be without a respirator at all times.
"That's it!" my mother cried, "Mystery solved, that's how the thief got your name.
With that my Mum dashed out of the house to try to catch up with the officer as he walked up the lane.
P.S. a message to the person who pinched my bike, if he's still alive, I'm seventy-seven this year and YOU OWE ME THREE QUID!
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