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#WMP Treasures - no.3 Sergeant Geoffrey Canning

September 21, 2017

 

Geoffrey Canning and his story were a huge part of me deciding to get more involved with the WMP Museum.

 

I was on secondment with HR, talking to an amazing lady called Becky Hess about doing a presentation at the next away day, when I suggested the museum should have an input.

 

'Who could do the talk?' she asked. 'I could probably do it' I replied. And the rest, as they say - was history.

 

Researching material for the talk to raise awareness of the museum's records amongst HR colleagues, we happened upon Geoffrey's record. Pure chance, picking one ledger out of 30 and opening it at a random page out of 400. And there was Geoffrey's record. We looked at all the information and then it struck us - he would have been exactly 100 years old the day of the presentation!

 

That settled it, his personal story would form part of my presentation and the wealth of information we held in his file, along with pictures early and late in his career, brought the whole topic to life and I have never looked back.

 

Geoffrey first applied to Warwickshire Police and they turned him down due to his 'untidy appearance' - their loss!

 

A former market gardener, he joined Birmingham City Police on the 21st January 1937, he was married to Kathleen in 1939 and they had a daughter - Annabel.

In 1941 he was awarded the British Empire Medal when he, along with two wardens, spent four hours freeing a man trapped in debris from a building that had suffered extensive bomb damage.

 

 

In 1942, along with many other Birmingham officers, he left the police service to join the Army. He was in the Royal Artillery for 3 years, re-joining the police in 1945.

 

He went on to be commended, highly commended and awarded monetary rewards for excellent service and good police work on a further 13 occasions.

 

Geoffrey remained with Birmingham City Police until 1967 when he retired in the rank of sergeant. He died in 1985 at the age of 70.

 

Geoffrey embodies for many what policing is all about - selflessly helping those in need and catching criminals, and he is a true example of a WMP treasure. 

 

 

 

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