Appeal to trace family of West Yorkshire Police's longest serving special constable
Tom Wilson served with the City of Bradford Constabulary from 1926 to 1966
West Yorkshire Police is trying to trace the family of the force’s longest serving special constable after his diary was discovered in an archive.
Thomas ‘Tom’ Wilson joined the City of Bradford Special Constabulary in May 1926, during the General Strike.
He served throughout the Second World War and retired in December 1966. Since each year of service during the war as a special constable counted for three years, his total recorded service amounted to 52 years.
West Yorkshire Police recently discovered a diary Tom wrote recounting his experiences in the West Yorkshire Archives, and published extracts from it online.
Tom describes how, during the General Strike, he and his fellow special constables were told to guard Birkshall Gasworks in case it was attacked by a mob.
He writes: “nobody turned up and that was my share of excitement during the General Strike.”
In 1928 he applied to join the regular police force but was rejected as he was “found to be 32nd part of an inch short”.
During the Second World War, he describes having to warn households who had left a light on during the blackout, having to escort a drunk man safely home at night and being on duty during an air raid on Bradford on the night of 31 August to 1 September 1940.
He also refers to his family, saying that during evacuation at the start of the Second World war, “My own two boys, one aged eleven years and the other ten months, went with their mother to a village called Burton-in-Lonsdale, a lovely place up in the Dales.”
West Yorkshire Police are keen to hear from any members of Tom’s family. You can contact them on email@example.com.
Rosemary Collins is the features editor of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine