Lancashire’s Mounted Police Branch celebrated its 100th year with a special event at the troop’s headquarters.
It was attended by about 100 mounted officers – both past and present – along with their friends, family and others with strong links to the branch.
The day was opened with a speech by DCC Chris Weigh, followed by a video and photographic display on the history of the branch, a public order demonstration by several of the police horses, and a lunch.
A raffle also took place to raise money for the Police Horse Benevolent Fund.
The extravaganza was organised by current mounted PCs Dave Palmer-Davies and Adrian Philips.
PC Palmer-Davies has strong New Zealand connections, in that his mother is from Palmerston North. His Kiwi grandfather was a soldier, and his great uncles were Anzacs, and served at Gallipoli. PC Palmer-Davies is also the author of the book Pendle the Police Horse, and next week heads to London with his horse to police the Olympics, along with about 150 other mounted police. Palmer-Davies is being posted to the Olympic village and Wembley.
“It was a great few hours and a real privilege to host some of the legendary officers of the Mounted Branch,” PC Palmer-Davies said of the centenary on May 18.
“They will be the first to tell you that although the branch may have changed over the years, it continues to be a pillar of policing in Lancashire and something that still plays a prominent role in the Constabulary.”
Three former mounted officers who attended included Harry Munro, Fred Nelson and Mike Elliot.
Munro served in the jungles of Malaya with the British Army before initially joining the police in Scotland and subsequently, Lancashire’s mounted branch.
“I retired in 1993, but I only live around the corner from the branch so I still pop in now and then for a cup of tea and a chat,” Munro said.
“It was a wonderful event put on for us and I was so pleased to see so many familiar faces from both present day and years gone-by.
“One of my fondest memories of being an officer in Mounted was teaching my horse – Viscount – to canter with a skipping rope. He used to put quite a show on for us all!”
Fred Nelson joined mounted in 1949 following the footsteps of his father, Fred Snr who was also a police officer with the Constabulary.
“I spent thirty five years as a mounted officer and couldn’t have asked for a better job. You could say it was in my blood, my father being a police officer too, and it was something I enjoyed to the very end,” Nelson said.
“I live in Thornton-Cleveleys now and it was great to come back and see so many former colleagues. Seeing all the historical pictures and videos really brought the memories flooding back to me.”
Mike Elliot first joined the constabulary as a clerk at age 15 and then joined Mounted as a police officer. “It was a smashing event and I am very grateful to all who put the centenary event on and those who attended. I spent so much of
my life in the branch and though I retired in the 1980s, it is something that continues to be with me every day,” he said.