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OBITUARIES SECTION


Obituaries listed by year
2021
2020
2019
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    Statistically, this is the most popular part of the website; it's certainly the most populous.  You'll see that there is variety among even the brief obituaries here.  If you subscribe to the email circulations, you'll see that the differences are even more noticeable in the longer version.  I even get emails complaining about the paucity of information about the people who've died (which is particularly galling when the complainant isn't even a member).  The Branch has 1,750 members and I don't know even half of them.  If all it says in here is that they were a Branch Member, it's because that's all I know.  Long-standing members weren't required to give much information when they joined, for some we only have initials so we don't really know their name or age.  If I can contact the family I can get some information, but often the only available person is from the next generation and weren't born when the member joined the police so have no idea where they worked, or even which force they joined.
    That is why we continuously ask for you to submit your career profile.  For the 1,750 members I have only 38, which is barely more than 2%.  Come on!  You've probably made a will (I hope you've made a will), and doing this is no more likely to hasten your demise.  We all end up in this list, so make sure it says something about you; far more people will see this than a stone in a cemetery.  It won't take you long, because you have the information.  Send it, with a nice little photo if possible to the Branch Secretary; you'll be remembered as you want to be.
    Recent obituaries of members of other branches (and none) can be found here.

  

Recent Interesting Obituaries

Gerard Richard BURNS

He died on 14th April 2021, aged 81 years.

Formerly of Manchester


     Formerly a motor-cycle officer with C-Division of Manchester City Police, latterly a civilian employee and Section Leader of the GMP Fingerprint Department, Gerard retired early from his role as Supervising Senior Fingerprint Expert in 1993.

     Gerard joined the Police shortly after his 19th birthday on 28th August 1959. He then completed the 13-week initial training at the Police Training Centre, Bruche, and a two-week local procedure course at St. Joseph’s, Longsight, Manchester.  Three days later he was a Police Constable - operating alone on the street.

     Gerard served until January 1964 when his career was cut short by a collision with a Coca-Cola delivery lorry on a rainy afternoon in Bradford. The accident was severe, and it cost Gerard one-year’s sick leave, after which he was returned “Unfit for Duty”, and retired on Pension. The then Chief Constable, Sir John Mackay, suggested to Gerard that once he recovered from his surgery, he might take a civilian post in the Fingerprint Department, so in August 1965 Gerard returned to work in the Fingerprint Department without a single sick-day (he’d had more than enough of that!) until his retirement in 1993.

     Gerard made many good friends in his time, and had plenty of stories to tell about the cases in which he’d given expert testimony: the production ‘factory’ turning out counterfeit five-pound notes in Hulme; a heroine smuggler using an urn as his vessel; even some work in support of the team working the Yorkshire Ripper investigation in the late Seventies.

     The family's favourite story is the incident that became known as ‘The Throne’…

     H.R.H. The Princess Anne, visited the Fingerprint Department on May 30th, 1979 - part of a visit in her official capacity to open Chester House, the new Greater Manchester Police Force Headquarters. At the time Gerard was working at his desk preparing an exhibit to produce at the Crown Court.

     H.R.H. was accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant, Lord Mayor, Chairman of the Police Authority, The Chief Constable and more. Princess Anne stopped and asked Gerard what he was doing, leading to Gerard taking his time to explain in some detail! Whilst the throng stood around , H.R.H. sat on Gerard’s chair and listened enthusiastically. She thanked Gerard and continued her tour, leaving the throng well-satisfied. When the office cleared, Gerard upended his chair and wrote in large letters under the seat: H.R.H. & G.R.B. together with the date. Gerard’s seat in the office was known as The Throne from that day until its demise.

    Gerard was eventually granted early retirement on compassionate grounds in June 1993, allowing him to become full-time-carer for his Mother, Anne Burns.

     After his mother passed in 2000 Gerard discovered the Wanderlust and travelled far and wide. Gerard was one of four: his elder sister Pat and two brothers, Leo & Peter, and whilst Gerard proudly remained a bachelor until his dying day, he will be much missed by a large and loving family of nephews, nieces, grand-nephews & grand-nieces from Switzerland and Canada to Manchester and the North-East of England.





Melvyn Hague

He died on 1st January 2021, aged 87 years.

Formerly of Manchester & GMP

 

     Melvyn Hague passed his police entrance exams in 1953 and joined the Manchester City Police, initially serving on ‘A Division’ as a PC before being transferred into the CID and promoted to Detective Sergeant, posted to Moss Side.  While stationed at Moss Side, John Stalker was his junior DS.  Melvyn then served on the Regional Crime Squad and recalled arresting a suspect wanted for murder whom they had put under surveillance and nicked just over the border in Scotland.  It was then realised amongst the team that they actually at that time had no jurisdiction in Scotland, and therefore the arrest may have been unlawful.  The ‘Ways and Means Act’ came into force, whereupon the suspect was swiftly driven back into England and formally arrested. 

     During his 30 years with the Manchester City, Manchester & Salford and GMP there were a number of highlights which included setting up of the Manchester Firearms Unit.  Whilst doing so he attended a firearms course at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, USA. There he was trained to handle the Winchester pump action shotgun, becoming one of only two officers in the GMP authorised to use the Winchester shotgun on duty*. The FBI presented him with a shoulder holster, which has been passed on to his nephew together with the instruction booklets for the Winchester and a Walther PPK that Mel carried later in his career while working for Special Branch.

     He worked as a close protection officer and on one occasion was looking after Sir John Herman, at the time Chief Constable of the RUC, who was visiting England and the GMP.  He recalled while on a car ride with Mr Herman having to drive past a PC who was in a fight with a couple of local thugs who were getting the better of him.  They had had to keep going in case it was some sort of trap.  He stated it was one of hardest things he had ever had to do but as they could not stop all he could do was radio it in. 

     For the final 6 years of his police career Mel was a Detective Inspector based at Manchester Airport, from where he retired on the 1st of August 1983.

[ * I believe the second officer was long standing firearms officer and instructor, Henry Milner, who died on 12th December.]