Boys in blue oversaw escort for a troupe of elephants!

READING the feature about circus trains in the August RM reminded me of a time, not long after I’d joined the Birmingham City Police and stationed at Acocks Green in the early-summer of 1967.

I booked on for the ‘late shift’ (14.00) one Sunday afternoon, and although allocated a specific beat, the ‘parade’ sergeant instructed another officer and myself to get down to Tyseley Goods Depot, pronto, to provide a ‘processional escort’.

Elephants being led to the circus arena from Brighouse station. Courtesy: Steven Lord.

I had no idea why, as usually ‘royal visits’ were known in advance, and involved a lot more officers.

Article continues below...

Enjoy more Railway reading in the monthly magazine.
Click here to subscribe & save.

To my surprise it was to accompany a troupe of elephants, which had been transported for Billy Smart to appear in the circus taking place in nearby Hay Mills Recreation Ground on the Coventry Road.

I was aware of a tent having been erected earlier that week, but had no idea about animals arriving by train.

Fortunately, the weather was quite fine, and many spectators enjoyed the unusual and unique spectacle.

Article continues below...

On arrival at the park, we, were told to go to the administration caravan, and to my surprise were presented with complimentary family tickets for any performance, as gratitude for our assistance.

Clive Bennett

Read more Letters, Opinion, News and Views in the September issue of The RM – on sale now!

Article continues below...

Subscribe to The Railway Magazine Enjoy more of The Railway Magazine reading every month. Click here to subscribe.