Penarth Dock, South Wales - 150 years - the heritage and legacy  
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Volume Four - An Era of Change, Uncertainty, Depression & War - Activity at the dock during World War II . . .

The Dock Police use of a firearm at Penarth Dock.

During WWI, the Great War, apparently only a small number of special constables were recruited in support of the Dock Police at the South Wales ports. This error of judgment was not, however, to be repeated during WWII as Viv Head's book An Illustrated History of Policing the South Wales Docks describes. [653]

Hundreds of special constables were recruited and issued with sidearms. These officers were issued with chest holders for Webley 44s or Smith & Wesson 38s together with five rounds of ammunition thus leaving one chamber empty for the hammer to rest in safety and readiness! Basic firearms training for all these new special constables was provided by an Army Sergeant. It seems that these weapons were probably drawn from their chest holders on a number of occasions to restore order but there were no recorded events of discharge of weapons in the normal course of duty.

Except, that is, at Penarth Dock! Viv recounts the story of one officer who discharged a round over the heads of a group of dock workers who determined to exit the dock by an unauthorised route. The officer, however, was disciplined for his actions whilst, I suspect, the dock workers celebrated or calmed their nerves over a pint or two in the saloon bar of one or more of the numerous public houses in the locality. I can just hear the story being recounted and somewhat exaggerated in the pubs and clubs of Penarth for a long time afterwards! Many thanks to Viv for this insight into activity at the Penarth Dock during WWII. The book is an interesting read and is well illustrated. [653]

 

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150 years of Penarth Dock History and Heritage

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