Ronald "Taff" Williams
Posted on 10th January 2024 at 13:07
In July last year, Ron ‘Taff’ Williams celebrated his 100th birthday. As he approached 100, he began speaking with his family about his 30 years’ service with the Met and wanted to share his story with colleagues.
Ron was born and bred in Wales and after military service during the War joined the Met on 7 July 1947 with warrant number 131382. He attended Peel House, which was originally in Regency Street, Victoria. During a week’s break in probationer training Ron married his wartime sweetheart Isobel using one of his classmates as their witness.
Ron’s first posting was Richmond, but due to the lack of married officer quarters he quickly transferred to Southwark taking up the shoulder number 469M. His weekly wage which he collected from the station Inspector was just over £4.
Ron recalled how different policing was in his early years of service. The only way to get assistance was blowing your police whistle! At the beginning of your shift, you were assigned a beat and it was your responsibility to ensure no crime occurred. During night duty Ron would walk his beat with a cotton reel and put it across certain doors, periodically checking to see if anyone attempted entry.
Ron had a short posting to the ‘Bookies Squad’ set up to catch rife illegal bookmakers. One eluded the squad for a long time due to the amount of spotters he had protecting his operation. So armed with his daughter in a pram and his wife by his side, Ron walked boldly up to the Bookies floor, sent his wife away with the pram and entered the bookies flat catching him red handed. Can you imagine this happening now!
Having successfully passed his motorcycle course in 1951 Ron transferred to traffic at Lewisham. He was one of nine selected for the Motorcycle Display Team ran by Sgt Jonny Baldwin. They were invited to Amsterdam to do a display for Queen Juliana during British Week.
As the Mets most elite bikers, the team were assigned ‘Escort Duty’, which was the precursor to the Special Escort Group. They mainly escorted visiting heads of state and Ron escorted, amongst others: President J F Kennedy, The King of Bahrain, President Charles de Gaul, and President of South Africa. He was also tasked with escort duty for the Prince of Wales' investiture in 1969. Before leaving, the team visited a factory in Coventry to collect their new bikes where they put on a display for the factory board and workers.
Around 1968 Ron transferred to The Flying Squad (SO8) where he remained until retirement in 1977. There are many stories from his time on the Squad, but as a true professional, they remain between him and his team. Upon retirement Ron’s weekly wage was £25 and he left the Met with a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.
More recently, he received a certificate of appreciation for his service and birthday wishes from Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley. He thoroughly enjoyed reminiscing on his career with Sir Mark and seeing the new, New Scotland Yard! They had met some years earlier at his grandsons own Long Service Medal Ceremony where Sir Mark spotted Ron’s Flying Squad tie!
Two grandsons followed Ron's footsteps and joined the Met.
Ron remained incredibly proud of his 30-year career in the Met and was a true supporter of the police. his family hope colleagues will read his story with interest and pride. As they found his stories and the history of the profession fascinating, and an honour to hear it from him first-hand.
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