| Gary Hyldon
Edgar Wallace Hyldon, known by all as Gary, was a native of Grimsby
and came to Surrey when he joined the Coldstream Guards and enlisted at
Caterham Guards Depot. He married Jane in 1938. He was an Army weapons
instructor and saw action in North Africa with the 8th Army, Sicily, Italy
and Greece during the Second World War.
He left the Coldstream Guards after 10 years service and joined the
railway police. In February 1950 he joined the Surrey Constabulary as
PC 597. He was stationed at Caterham, Bagshot and South Godstone before
being posted to Wood Street Village as the village constable in 1958 and
lived in the Police House in Frog Grove Lane. He and Jane moved to their
own house in Bailes Lane, Normandy in 1970. He retired in 1976.
Throughout his police career he maintained his skill with firearms and
was a police marksman. He was well known and highly regarded in the shooting
world representing the force in small-arms competition.
He had special responsibility for police duty weapons and for guns that
had been seized or used in crime. He was accepted as a firearms expert,
giving evidence as such in court. A deputy chief constable once wrote,
"I am pleased to licence PC Hyldon to use any weapon, anywhere. I
cannot imagine that I would consider ever giving such licence to any other
person." Gary was very proud of that.
On retirement he worked as a messenger for a bank before being appointed
by the Surrey County Council as a 'Footpaths Inspector'. He was also on
the police list of deer shooters and was frequently called out to deal
with deer that had been hit by vehicles. Regularly seen in his deerstalker
hat with the Deer Society badge on the side, if he was not out with his
dog and his gun, he could be found, particularly at lunchtime, propping
up the bar at the Duke of Normandy, engaging in witty banter with anyone
who happened to be there.
He will be remembered as a local character, for his sense of humour
and his memory for jokes, his progressive deafness (that miraculously cleared
when he was offered a drink), and for his fairness during his career as
a village bobby.
He died in February 1998 aged 78. There is a tree planted in his memory
at the side of the cricket field in Wood Street Village, where he often
walked his dog and there are seats bearing his name in St Alban's Church,
Wood Street Village.
Jane still lives in Bailes Lane, as does her daughter and son-in-law,
granddaughter and three great grandchildren.