Ask an old copper

The policeman in this picture from 1900 has been identified as Constable 66 Robert Poor.
The policeman in this picture from 1900 has been identified as Constable 66 Robert Poor.
The Purbrook team are, left to right, Jon Harvey, Elizabeth Norris and Peter Emmett

THIS WEEK IN 1975: Purbrook Park is a talking success

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If you want to identify an old Portsmouth policeman – just ask an old copper.

Eddie Wallace, a great friend of this page, came up trumps with this 1900 picture which appeared here last week.

He said the officer was Constable 66 Robert Poor who joined the Portsmouth Borough Police in 1893 and retired in 1919.

Eddie, of Revenge Close, Milton, said most of his service was spent on point duty in Edinburgh Road. When he retired he became a messenger for Lloyds Bank, Commercial Road. But he went down in Portsmouth police history for an event which happened at 4pm on April 25, 1932.

Eddie takes up the tale: ‘He was crossing Edinburgh Road in the direction of the Town Railway Station and was carrying a bag containing £23,477 to take to the GPO on the corner of Stanhope Road, accompanied by a bank clerk.

‘At the time three men were sitting in a car outside the Central Hotel on the corner of Edinburgh Road.

‘As Bob Poor drew level two of them jumped out each carrying a club. One struck Poor on the head and sent him sprawling while the other grabbed the money bag. The two robbers jumped back into their car and sped away in the direction of Queen Street.

‘Poor, who was 64, gathered himself up and jumped on the running board alongside the driver and grappled with him. He was struck another blow with a club and fell unconscious to the road.

‘The robbers were caught in London and at Winchester Assizes were sentenced to five, four and three years respectively, each to receive 15 lashes of the cat.

‘The money was never recovered but today it would be worth more than £2.5m and no doubt once the robbers finished their sentences they lived a life of luxury.’