Yesterday I was searching through some of my scrap books looking for a newspaper article about my old motorcycling mate who is having a few health problems at the moment. Eventually I located the article, dated March 28, 2003, copied same and posted it to him this morning.
As I dropped the envelope into to the Post Box I thought it would be a nice trip down memory lane to search further and see what else I could find.
Being a good record keeper and an egotist, I’ve got photographs together with newspaper and magazine clippings about my friends and myself going back to the 1940’s.
As I ploughed through early stuff I thought how boring it would be for others if they had to read about my successes in Surf Life Saving competitions, general swimming competitions and school military cadets, not to mention ploughing through the monotonus mochrome images made by my doting parents of me as a toddler in the usual compromising and embarrassing positions.
Fast forward through the clippings and photographs to April 21st, 1968.
After a quick look at the news clips and photos of the day I was reminded that April 21, 1968 was a Sunday and I was working in Sydney’s Domain Park where speakers got on soap boxes and exercised their democratic rights to rant and rave about their favourite subjects to the curious listening crowds.
My offsider and I knew that there could be fireworks in the Domain that day as members of the then Australian National Socialist Party (Nazi) Party were allegedly coming down to spruik their venom about Sydney’s Jewish community.
Sure enough, not too long after lunch time, seven members of the ANSP arrived wearing their brown shirt uniforms complete with swastika emblems.
To quote from Everybody’s Magazine of May 1, 1968,’ The crown jeered and threatened but did nothing. Then, onto the scene strutted Party Leader………….. guarded by four “stormtroopers” in full regalia of brown shirts, peaked caps, leather and swastikas. It was too much for the crowd ‘.
The article goes on to say how the mob surged forward and attacked the brown shirts as the police ran forward to break up the melee and separate the warring parties.
That was when the fun started for my mate and I. It took over thirty minutes to break up the brawling and half a dozen or so were arrested. Only two were injured and taken to hospital. I was one of them. Luckily my injuries were relatively minor although the sight in my right eye was damaged and that eye no longer registers 6/6 when tested.
Later on the offenders were all convicted of various offences. No one was sentenced to imprisonment and I was glad about that as I thought at the time there was severe provocation and the violent outcome was inevitable.
I recall that one of the individuals who assaulted me told me later that he thought I was a Nazi because of my short hair . He told me that when he saw me move towards the Nazis, a cloud of red descended across his eyes, he could only think of the holocaust and that was why he attacked me. I recall that at the time he was in an highly emotional state and I could understand his angst.
Apart from some short term facial scaring and the eye problem, the worst part of it all was that I had to get a new suit as dry cleaning couldn’t get rid of the stains and one of the pockets had been ripped off. On the positive side the organisation paid for the new one, so, I purchased a suit of better quality and cut. I thought I deserved it.
I had to laugh to myself this morning when I looked at one of the newspaper cuttings. My mother had written on it, ‘Our poor little Pie Crust’. What a terrible pet name to give a strapping young detective.
Anyway, here are some images taken on the day and a small news cutting.
Over the next few years I had my nose broken three times, had black eyes, often suffered cuts and abrasions, damaged both knees during chases on foot, lost the top of a finger on my right hand, and to quote Maxwell Smart, ‘ and loving it’.
Friends ask me,’ Would you do it all again?’ My answer, ‘Yes’. Then they invariably ask, ‘Did you shoot anybody’. Fortunately I am able to answer ‘ No’.
It was a great life, I worked for short times with the NYPD, LAPD, RCMP, New Scotland Yard, The French Surety National and was able to visit the National Police HQ in Jerusalem, and a number of policing establishments in Turkey and Syria.
Those thirty five years have passed in a flash. Many, many memories, not all of them pleasant but the good ones far outweigh the bad.
By the way, I’ve deleted my name, to protect the innocent as they say and promise not to seek out any more stories from my scrap books and memorabilia.
Hoo roo for now.