Last year my Dad died and recently I have been going through some of the items that once belonged to him. This includes items relating to the time he was in the special constabulary. Based at Margate he served from the mid 1950's to the early 1980's resulting in 27 years of service. As far as I can gather he never missed a bank holiday duty on Margate seafront and he dealt with all the youth cults that descended on Margate during that era. Teddy boys, razor gangs, mods, rockers, skinheads , punks etc., he experienced the lot.
Being an ex serviceman servicing in the Royal Military Police he could handle himself and he told me many stories.I once asked him who were the toughest and hardest group he ever had to deal with and without doubt it was the 1950's Teddy Boys from London who would carry razors and when there was a fight between rival gangs there was no such thing as rules except grassing. People would be cut up bad and nobody saw a thing.
The Mods and Rockers bank holiday riots in 1964 is something that is being commemorated at the moment and I struggle to think why . A few years ago I asked my Dad about his role in the event. Well it appears that when the rivals gangs stormed Margate main sands and the sea front, families on the beach fled to Dreamland for safety. All available specials including my Dad were issued with pick axe handles and were positioned at the Dreamland entrances . Believing that rival gangs were in Dreamland other gangs tried to enter into Dreamland. However, they did not stand a chance up against ex servicemen armed with pick axe handles so Dreamland remained safe throughout the riots on that day. This left the regulars to deal with the disturbances elsewhere.
On a more local note my Dad told me his experiences dealing with the trouble in the Bali Hai , Cinque Ports , Galleon , Coxswain and the other pubs used by the London beano's . This was a time when his Police issue truncheon came in very handy.
Looking through his scrapbook it is horrendous to think that during this era that violent gangs of youths descended on Margate looking for bragging rights. Something I am sure ruined Margate's reputation as a sea side resort for generations to come.