Thursday 23 November 2023

Death of a retired Police Officer: Insp 647 Richard (Frank) Johnson

It is with deep regret that we inform you of the death of a retired Police Officer, Insp 647 Richard (Frank) Johnson, who died at Sedgefield Community Hospital on Wednesday 8th November 2023, aged 80 years.

Frank joined Durham County Constabulary on 25th January 1965.  His first posting was at Stockton, before moving to Peterlee and then detached beat at Wheatley Hill.  In 1967 he took up post at Durham Police Headquarters at Aycliffe, in the Fingerprint Department.  After 2 years Frank moved to Durham City and then Framwellgate Section (Panda Driver).

Frank’s next move was a transfer to the Serious Incident Squad (SIS), Meadowfield Base, in 1972; when the SIS was disbanded 2 years later, he transferred to the Crime Support Unit.  When promoted to Sergeant in 1977, he moved to Spennymoor.

From 1979, he remained in CID, for the remainder of his service, starting with HQ Drug Squad / 1981 CID Chester-le-Street / 1982 Regional Crime Squad (Gosforth) /1986 CID Peterlee.  In 1989 he was promoted to the rank of Inspector in CID and in 1990 he returned to Chester-le-Street.  His last posting was to Headquarters Crime Support Unit, where he remained until his retirement on 5th June 1997, after 32 years service.

Frank is survived by his wife, Helena Mary (married in 1965).  Sadly, Helena is a resident at St Margaret’s Care Home in Durham City, suffering with Dementia and Alzheimer Disease.

A funeral service is to be held at 11.30am Thursday 30 November 2023 at Durham Crematorium, South Road, Durham DH1 3TQ.

Family flowers only.

Our thoughts are with Frank’s family and friends at this sad time.

Monday 20 November 2023

Death of a retired Police Officer: PC 404 John Franks

It is with deep regret that we inform you of the death of retired Police Officer, PC 404 John Franks, who died at his West Auckland home on Saturday 11 November 2023, aged 102 years.

John joined Durham County Constabulary in 1948 and after 3 months of Initial Training at Plawsworth, was posted to Durham City.  His next posting, 3 years later was to Seaham Colliery Section.

As the result of a simple stop check of a man (pre Police Radios), whilst serving at Seaham, and reporting the check once back at the Police Station, this man was located and subsequently arrested, clearing up a large number of outstanding crimes.  Due to his involvement in this investigation, John was commended.

He was posted to Barnard Castle, Stainton Beat in 1955, which included the Army Camps at Streatlam, Barford and Humbleton.  Whilst there, John contracted Asian Flu, believed to have been from one of the soldiers, on the regiments return from Hong Kong.  Due to the serious effect this had on his health, resulted in a posting to Bishop Auckland as a Court Clerk.

John later trained as a Scientific Aids Officer (SAO), remaining at Bishop Auckland and later attended a CID Course at Coventry.

In 1973 he retired from the Police Service, after 25 years service, to pursue a career in teaching before his age would prevent this.

After training John took up employment with Ushaw Moor Comprehensive School, albeit this was only for a short period as he developed perforated ear drums, leaving him profoundly deaf.

His employment the took another turn and after further training he became an Electronics Technician with Durham University.  He finally retired at the age of 65 years.

John is survived by wife June, son Paul, daughter Meg, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

A private interment will take place, prior to a funeral service at 1.00pm Thursday 23 November 2023, at The Vineyard Church, 3 Aptec Enterprise Business Park, Darlington Road, West Auckland DL14 9PD.

Any donations in lieu of flowers to Alzheimer Research

Our thoughts are with John’s family and friends at this sad time.

Saturday 11 November 2023

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day is also known as Poppy Day.

It was first observed in 1919, however until 1945 it was called Armistice Day. Traditionally there is two minutes of silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month because that was the time (in Britain) when the armistice became effective in 1918.
Today, in the UK Remembrance Sunday is also observed on the Sunday nearest to November 11th. So, in the United Kingdom, two minutes' silence is observed on November 11 itself, and on the second Sunday of November. Remembrance Sunday, ceremonies are held at War Memorials, all over the UK and over the years it has become a day to commemorate not just the sacrifice of servicemen and women but the suffering of civilians in times of war.

Remembrance Sunday is commemorated by church services around the UK and a parade of ex-service personnel in London’s Whitehall. Wreaths of poppies are placed on war memorials from the Cenotaph, a war memorial in Whitehall, to the tiniest war memorials in villages all over Britain. Small wooden crosses are placed in Gardens of Remembrance as private acts of remembering individual losses and suffering and people pin poppies to their coat or jacket.

History states that it was the poem 'In Flanders Fields' written in 1915 by Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian Medical Officer, that captured the imagination of the British people in the dark days of trench warfare on the Western Front when so many young soldiers failed to return. Six months before the Armistice, McCrae was brought on a stretcher to a big hospital on the French coast and saw the cliffs of Dover from his room. He died that night and was buried in a cemetery above Wimereux. Before he died, he said to the doctor: "Tell them this . . . If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep." An American woman, Miss Moina Michael, wrote a moving poem in reply and bought 25 red poppies, wearing one herself as a way to keep faith with the war dead; a French woman, Madame Guerin, came up with the practical idea of making and selling artificial poppies to help ex-service men and their dependents in need.

Britain's first Poppy Day was held in 1921 and the money raised helped children in war-devastated areas. The Royal British Legion opened its own poppy factory in London in 1922 to give practical help in time of need to all who have served in the armed forces and their widows and dependents. The paper poppies that are worn today are made by ex-service personnel and are sold by representatives of the Royal British Legion, an organisation of ex-servicemen and women. Today, they make more than 35 million poppies and 65,000 wreaths for the annual poppy appeal. Poppies grew in great abundance in the shell-torn fields of Flanders during the War. Because of its abundance it became the symbol of remembrance of two world wars.

In Flanders Fields

The poem by John McCrae

In Flanders' fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders' fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders' Fields.

Death of retired Police Officer: Sergeant 1175 James (Jim) Young

It is with deep regret that we inform you of the death of retired Police Officer, Sergeant 1175 James (Jim) Young, who died at St Teresa’s Hospice, Darlington on Monday, 30 October 2023, aged 83 years.

Jim joined Durham County Constabulary on 25 April 1960 and after completing his initial training at Newby Wiske, North Yorkshire was posted to Durham City.  After a short stint at Durham, he was posted to Jarrow.  His next move was to the Mounted Branch at Stockton-on-Tees, before becoming a Residential Beat Officer at Tow Law.

A change of direction saw Jim become a Scientific Aids Officer (SOCO), later moving into CID as a Detective, both at Bishop Auckland.  He finished his time in CID at Durham City, before being promoted to uniform Sergeant with the Dog Section (B Division).  Jim later became a Dog Training Instructor at Harperley Hall, Crook.

His final posting was as Town Sergeant at Spennymoor, before being medically retired on 28 October 1987, after 27 years service.

Jim is survived by son Mick, also a retired Durham Constabulary Officer (currently working for North Yorkshire Police), grandchildren Laura, Matthew and Benjamin and great grandchildren Jack and Erin.

A private funeral service is to be arranged.

Family flowers only, donations in lieu to St Teresa’s Hospice.

Our thoughts are with Jim’s family and friends at this sad time.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Next meeting of the Durham Branch of NARPO : Monday 13th November 2023

The next meeting of the Durham Branch of NARPO will be at the 
Masonic Hall, Station Road, Chester-le-Street  DH3 3DU 
starting at 19.30 hours. on Monday 13th November 2023

If it is your intention to attend,  please contact either Stuart Ingram (Secretary) - Tel: 07989 333025  Email:, or

Ray Jones (Chairman) - Tel: 07535 261063  Email: in order that catering needs can be provided.

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