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Liverpool City Police

Brawlers

 I was on duty in Garston the mid of 1956 or 57, (Gosh it was so long ago but half ten at night ) ) when there was the usual vendetta going on between the Dingle Gang and the Garston Gang. There was a call that a fight was going on 'Under the Boggs ' which it was known as (thats under the railway bridge leading to the dock area)

I went there with two other bobbies and saw about 60 or more youths fighting in the road. We drew batons and ran in and they broke up into several groups and ran away. I ran after one group without thinking and some local gave me his bike telling me I could catch them up quicker. I went screaming along and into Banks Lane alongside the airport ( a deserted road ) and ran straight into 25 of the Dingle gang standing on the pavement. I dropped the bike and straight away realised I was the only bobby there. I just stood on the grass verge which was slightly higher than the pavement so as to look as big as possible. The leader, came forward and asked me what I was going to do. The only thing I could think of was to stay to him "if anyone moves you go down" I was terrified!!!. A passing motorist stopped and asked me if I wanted help and I said "No" but indicated with my eyes "Yes Please". He drove off and I talked to the gang telling them they were in trouble and then 2 firemen appeared at the same time as a passing bus. I then said that they were locked up and 2 ran away. I stopped the bus and told them to get on and they did so and I took them to Heald Street Police Station where the other lads who had locked up one each and the CID etc. lined the pavement while they were unloaded into a cell. I was then sent into the cell by Sgt Phil Berry the Station Sergeant and told to search them . The gang filled my helmet with flick knives and all in good humour they settled down.

Sgt Berry said that no one would believe it in court if it was only me and he wasn't a happy chappie as he had just come on for a quiet night shift and I arrive with 23 prisoners .

The following day they were in court and the leader of the gang came up and said "'You looked about 7 foot tall last night with your helmet and cape on" and asked me if I would say that they could have killed me and that they behaved and I agreed. They were all fined just £2 each for disorderly behaviour. No mention was made of the possession of flick knives

An interesting follow up is that Ringo Starr of the Beatles was in the Dingle Gang as he says in his biography that the fights were a regular thing. I often wonder if he was one of the 23 I locked up.

Anyway not even a commendation other than my Sgt. Tom Phillips ( The Moth) saying it was astounding but the general opinion was the Ch Con would not believe it.

Griff Barker
Ret. Sgt. 29"G"

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