Guarding the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital Woolwich

0505After the alleged IRA bomb attack at Woolwich Police station, I was sent to beef up the defences of the QE hospital. It was a part civilian part military hospital then.

On the frontage, was a large car park adjacent to the road, and an archway into the premises at the back from the road.

After the attack on the Police Station, this area was cleared and parking there banned.

The first night on duty, they had me cleaning the blood-wagons (Ambulances).

The second night, they posted me at the entrance arch (Unarmed of course), and they’d rigged up a temporary alarm bell on the wall, with the instruction that should I press the button without genuine cause (false alarm), I would prefer to be hung, drawn, and quartered as opposed to what he would do to me! (6’5″ Staff Sergeant speaking)

Yet again, as I walked out to do me guarding, the rain started to pour down, and did so all night. I was stood back under the protruding roof as much as I could to try and avoid the belting rain.

The night brought forth no incidents, and by 0640hrs I was thinking of my breakfast – when a black Wolseley car pulled up at the kerb beyond the abandoned empty car park.

It had three occupants, and they sat for a minute or two with nothing happening, smoking a cigarette.

Then two of them well over six-foot and with stern determined looks on their faces exited the vehicle, both wearing long raincoats, and brimmed hats, pulled down over their faces!

They walked toward me.

‘Phwerp’

I could see the exhaust fumes from the car, it was still running with the driver hunched over the wheel. A quick getaway situation or what, I thought?

As they got within a few feet of me, I wanted to press the alarm, but was just as scared of the Staff Sergeant as I was of the approaching two tall visitors!

(Always been a problem of mine that, being so scared of people and things I found it hard to decide which one to be more scared of!

As the taller of the two got to within 4 foot of me, his left hand delved under his coat on his right chest.

‘Bigger phwerp’

I leant toward the alarm button, finger ready…

He withdrew his hand holding a Metropolitan Police Warrant card!

That is only time I have ever sworn at a police officer, as I inquired into why he did not announce himself earlier. (Or something similar like!)

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