Eynsham Hall Training Centre, Witney, Oxon.

John Halsey


I recently visited Eynsham Hall, Witney, Oxfordshire which is now a hotel.   Externally it appears the same as it did when my father did his police training there in 1950 and when I did mine in 1962 with refresher courses in 1963.  The inside is much altered but the place brought back plenty of memories.  You cannot parade on the front driveway to the tune of Colonel Bogey anymore as there are small trees in pots and a roundabout by the main entrance.

The picture should bring back memories for those who also did their training at this location.

This page was added on 03/08/2015.

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  • I was there from Feb 1980 for 12 weeks. A third of the intake didn’t stay more than 2 days! The sergeant PTI known as ‘Animal’ was spoken to by a former SAS member in my class regarding the culture that existed, which helped curb things. I think it was closed soon after. I don’t think anybody from my intake would remember it with any fondness whatsoever. Sad really.
    I was from the Suffolk Constabulary.

    By John Taylor (25/09/2023)
  • It was interesting reading Jane Halls comments dated 16/10/2019 referring to her father John Hall, Norfolk, course 1958/59. This seems certain to be the same John Hall who I was with on the same course as an Essex PC, if I remember correctly he became Chief Constable of Norfolk, I remember him as a quiet and studious man, and I still have the course photo of him. It was tough, I particularly remember two recruits leaving before the course completed saying it was tougher than the National Service they had just come from, but these years were amongst the happiest of my life, worth mentioning though it was a different job compared with today, no blue lights or sirens in those early days, and bicycles our mode of transport.

    By Melvyn Jobson (23/06/2023)
  • I was there in 1970-71 over Christmas & New Year period. Sgt Arrowsmith our class instructor – a real gent.
    I lived just down the road in Witney, 5 mins away, newly married it was difficult to ‘stay on campus’!
    The plus side was staying behind on Friday night for an extra hour or so and have all my kit sorted for Monday whilst many had several hours journey.

    By mike cassidy (11/12/2022)
  • I was a young Essex pc at the hall for 16 weeks training from october 1968. The drill sergeant was Brailsford. A top bloke. Many happy memories of my time there and still have my class photo. Now an author living in Australia. http://www.raymondmhall.com

    By Raymond Hall (23/08/2021)
  • I was at Eynsham from Nov 1967 for 3 months. I remember Eric Gale, a lovely bloke and a fitness fanatic. He was much more pleasant than John Caldwell who put you through torture! I was with Buckinghamshire Contabulary which amalgamated to Thames Valley the following year. Broke my ankle playing basketball in the 10th week but was allowed to finish the course.

    By Ron Paice (22/08/2021)
  • I remember Graham Sturley we were in the same class in 1971. Our class Sergeant was Ken Hastings – an officer and a gentleman. Anyone else out there from our class or intake please get in touch. Anyone know if Ken Hastings is still with us?

    By Paul Ablett (22/01/2021)
  • Eric Gale was my class instructor from February 1968 to May, 68. An absolute gentleman, who helped me a lot as I had just arrived from Ireland and was pretty naïve to say the least. I am so sorry to hear he passed away as a young man. I owe him a lot, and ended up as a DI in Oxford. He gave me extra tuition in the evenings as I was struggling. As I did not now what Force he was from, I was unable to trace him. I also believe without him, I would have packed in and gone back to Co. Sligo in Ireland. After my police career, the BBC offered me a job as producer/presenter on regional radio, and am at present AWAL due to the virus. My thoughts are with Eric’s family. May he rest in peace. Happy for my email address to be given to the family.

    By Henry Wymbs (24/09/2020)
  • Yes, I remember it well. I was on my initial training course number 443 in February 1969. at Ryton. This was on an evening with just a few instructors in the pool. It was said at the time that they were trying to swim under water as far as possible and one of the instructors had to be rescued from the pool.

    By Robert Shelley (28/07/2020)
  • Hi Kerry according to the Coventry Evening Telegraph of the 30th April 1969 your father died at the Ryton-on-Dunsmore training centre and not Eynsham Hall.

    They reported the Inquest as follows: Police PT `fanatic’ died from heart attack after exercising “violently” for half-an-hour, a 33-year-old police officer was swimming under water when he had a heart attack which proved fatal, it was said at a Coventry inquest A verdict of “Death due to natural causes” was recorded on Chief Inspector Eric Gale, who lived at 2, Police Houses, Station Road, Eleenhasn, near Saffron Walden, Essex, by the Coroner, Mr. J. P. Blythe. Chief Inspector Gale died in the swimming pool at the Police Training Centre, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, last ‘Thursday. He had been on a physical training instructors’ course there since April 1. He was described as a “physical training fanatic” by Sergeant Gilmour Howat, an instructor at the centre.

    As it appears that he was in fact an Essex Police Officer you might have more luck in contacting the Essex Police Museum at http://www.essex.police.uk/museum

    By Paul Watts (20/07/2020)
  • Did anyone know my dad Inspector Eric Gale he died at Eynsham police college in April 1969. Would love to hear any stories about him. He was a training officer.

    By Kerry Pinnegar (19/07/2020)
  • I joined Mid-Anglia Constabulary in February 1973 and attended Eynsham Hall from then until May. I remember feeling quite intimidated when entering the driveway and seeing a bunch of blokes with their hair mostly cut off with one sporting a very nasty looking black eye. I then met Sergeant Jones BEM and was directed to the Green Room.
    When I was in there a poor unfortunate from Essex arrived late with a droopy moustache and was greeted with, ” What do you think this is the F——g Chinese Embassy. You can get rid of that for a start.”
    I soon discovered why the blokes I had seen had such short hair. I remember on one occasion Sgt Jones informing my intake, ” Everyone here needs a haircut, except Kairns, Kairns hair is OK, everyone else will report to the Barber 7.30 Tuesday evening” Thirteen weeks later I think my hair was probably short enough after this weekly event.
    Roly Tann was the PTI and remember one training session where I think I was even sweating whilst swimming.
    I went on to complete 3 years in uniform, 14 years in the CID and a further 7 years in the TFU in what became Cambridgeshire Constabulary.
    The memories of Eynsham Hall are mainly good.

    By Stephen Trundle (31/05/2020)
  • Re Martin Mclures post. That is sad news RIP Carl Gray

    By Peter Fairhead (21/05/2020)
  • Sad to report re. the previous comment by Peter Fairhead that Carl Gray died on Saturday 25th April, 2020.

    By Martin McClure (05/05/2020)
  • Just seen this site mentioned. I note post from Carl Gray. I was in same class on course 201 and remember him well. Am still in touch with Terry BATES who was in our class.

    By Peter Fairhead (03/05/2020)
  • I was so glad to discover this page. It brings back cherished memories as I was there in 1962 with Bedfordshire Constabulary after 2yrs as a Cadet. I vividly remember Sgt. Vincent, Drill Sgt. From Isle of Ely Police also First Aid Instructor. My Class ( E102 I think) was Sgt Balls from East Suffolk. Met great class mates from Cambridge, Norfolk, Herts. and Essex, Southend on Sea. Names hard to remember. Still have Class Passing Out Portrait. Many funny stories I could share, especially marching up the driveway and ignoring the “about turn” just to hear Sgt Vincent screaming at us!!

    By Len Phelps (16/03/2020)
  • My Dad (John Hall, Norfolk- now deceased) trained at Eynsham in 1958/9 and later went back as an instructor. Does anyone know what happened to the Roll of Honour Board ?

    By Jane Hall (16/10/2019)
  • I was at Eynsham between April and July 1963, Course 201 A class, Sgt John Hedgethorn, Essex was the class instructor. Sgt Peter Lovell, Herts was the instructor for B class. Sgt Vincent, Isle of Ely was the drill Sgt and Sgt Flint, Beds was the PTI. Happy days. Anyone out there in the same class, get in touch.

    By CARL GRAY (08/10/2019)
  • I was at Eynsham mid 1963 as Essex PC 1176. Transferred to Norfolk and returned as PC 196. Class tutor was Sgt Lovewel (?) Hertfordshire. Drill Sgt Vincent from Cambs. My room-mate was PC Ryan from Oxford City. Where is he now?

    Roger Rose (PS ret’d)

    By Roger Rose (29/07/2019)
  • Well…..having read comments re Essex….small.
    I went there in Jan 1967 & being 6′ 2″ became the Right Hand Marker .
    After 2 yrs Essex, transferred to Met for 26 years, retiring 1998 on Injury Pension.
    I’m probably no longer 6′ 2″……😊

    By Mick Mothersole (28/06/2019)
  • I attended Eynsham Hall from April until July 1966 with the drill sergeant being Fred Fullwood and PTI John Mansfield from Norfolk. Went back in 1976 as instructor. My force was Cambridgeshire; had wonderful memories of both visits

    By Murray Hardy (24/02/2019)
  • I attended Eynsham Hall on course number 1/1976 from January to March. I remember 1 recruit turning up being shouted at and just drove off never to be seen again! A punishment for a minor discretion was coffee with the deputy! Great memories all too long ago!

    By Robin Hind (20/02/2019)
  • i was there February 1971 to May 1971.January drill instructor was a man named Blewitt. Many forces there and some were always being ribbed for various things.Hertfordshire for their helmets because they looked like coal shuttles. Essex Police because they tended to be minimum height, Civil Aviation Authority were know as trolly dollies and us City of London were always being ribbed for winding up and down Tower Bridge but it was a great place and atmosphere for training unless you landed a weekend duty. Cant believe its almost half a century ago – where does time go

    By Gary Thomas City of London 208c (12/01/2019)
  • I did my initial training there from February 1971 to May 1971. To Many of the forces there, the joke was always on the Essex officers. For some reason they were always being ribbed for being small, Herfordshire for their helmets looking like coal shuttles and us City of London officers always being ribbed for winding Tower Bridge up and down. The Civil Aviation Authority also sent their officers there. Nice place unless you got weekend duty there. Remember the green room, drill instructor was a man named Blewitt. Can’t believe its almost half a century ago now where does time go…..

    By Gary Thomas City of London 208c (12/01/2019)
  • I was at Eynsham in Feb 1971. Barrie Blewett was our drill sergeant. Have just seen on another post the he has passed away and his funeral was on the 21/12/2018

    By Les Smith (22/12/2018)
  • I was at Eynsham Hall from December 1968 to March 1969 before being posted to Reading (TVP). My class instructor was Fred Timms who I remember with fondness. Yes Malcolm Dalrymple was PTI and First Aid instructor, he had some wonderful aid memoirs especially when it came to slow marching and ruptured spleens!!. I left TVP in May 1973 later joining Lancashire and retiring in May 2001. Most of the TVP officers didn’t last long in the Police either moving on to other forces. I think a lad called Paul Wicken PC 2020 (AKA Duckhams was with TVP for the duration. No longer have any contact them. Lost the course photo too, would be nice to get a copy will look on the Bucks Police and Facebook.

    By John Barber (09/11/2018)
  • I joined West Midlands Police in June 1977. Having been told I was to do my training at Ryton on Dunsmore PTC, I was told at the last minute, because the intake was so large, that I would train at Eynsham Hall with 11 of my colleagues. It was daunting at first but we made a lot of friends from Thames Valley, Essex, City of London, Norfolk, Bedfordshire etc. It was a fantastic place and I enjoyed every minute of it. Thank you Eynsham Hall

    By Paul J Elwood (27/09/2018)
  • I did my basic training at Eynsham hall from November 1972 to February 1973, Sgt Colin Jones was the drill pig then, My introduction to him was being told in no uncertain terms to get my car off of his parade ground, ,easy mistake to make upon arrival first day , I left Essex and went into the Met, eventually becoming an instructor at the driving school, One day on the way back from a run we stopped in Dunstable for coffee, I was just leaving the toilet when in walked Colin Jones who by then was Inspector Jones. We excHanged a few words and I told him how well I remembered our first encounter, he laughed, That was the last time I met him, Firm but fair at Eynsham,

    By David White (22/07/2018)
  • I thought the drill sergeant was called Fred Fulford not Fuller. The brilliant PTI was Sgt. John Cardwell from the City Of London. he was one great swimmer. The deputy commandant as I recall was a guy with the surname o.f Warwick. It’s funny how names stick in the memory, I was there 1966/7 does anyone remember a recruit from Bedford Police by the name of Alan Melbourne Willey?

    By Dave West (04/07/2018)
  • I also trained here as well 1970 ?
    Sgt Fred Timms was class instructor and Sgt Malcolm Dalrymple was the PTI. Both were great men.
    Beautiful Hall and surroundings

    By Peter Lawry (ex TVP) (27/06/2018)
  • I was at Eynsham from August to November 1966 as a recruit with City of London Police. The PTI was Sergeant Cardwell of City of London Police who was a great swimmer. I remember the drill sergeant Fuller. A great character. When we were at ease he would march along the ranks telling jokes. The Commandant looking from the upstairs window was unaware!

    By Colin Howell (25/04/2018)
  • I was there in 1974 scared to death when I arrived and the drill pig Jones didn’t help but after 12 weeks I didn’t want to leave met some truly great blokes who helped me get through it wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Hope you are all still sane.

    By Robert Hollies (07/11/2017)
  • There is a Facebook page Eynsham hall, No 5 DPTC.
    Which is open to all former officers, course photographs and memories are welcome.

    By Paul Aylott (30/07/2017)
  • I attended Eynsham Hall on 2nd September 1974 as an Essex PC amongst a class representing several Forces including Hertfordshire. I recall Adrian Tapp and (I believe) Dave Collinson who happened to visit me at Harlow one evening when I was on duty (and before they were ‘hitting the town’).

    I wasn’t the most aspiring of students and also finished with the tail-enders on that cross-country run, nevertheless, I got through it all unscathed. I recall the morning parade, everyone called to attention in one long line and those who failed the weekly exam having to be ‘retarded’ (sent back one week) should they have failed the midweek re-test.

    It’s all so long ago now, but I clearly remember it all as though it was only last week and would love to speak with anyone who might want to resurrect the past.

    By Paul Kania (21/07/2017)
  • I was at Eynsham Hall, April to June 1950, with John HALSEYS Father. He had a business on the side in printing and developing photos. Sgt HOWKINS, Oxford County was the drill Sgt and Sgt BLACKWELL, Met, the PT Sgt. He represented G.B. at the 1948
    Olympics In Judo.

    By David WARDROP (20/07/2017)
  • I was at Eynsham Hall in 1972. I later joined the New Zealand Police and became a senior Detective, I graduated from Auckland University in 1993, and am now a Barrister. I remember Sergeant Jones. He was tough but an outstanding drill Sergeant. I believe that he was an acting Sergeant when I attended EH. I understand he won the BEM for bravery when he took on armed bank robbers. He came out with our course as we were about to return to our individual Police forces. He was an outstanding drill Sergeant. Some of our boys in the course just could not co-ordinate their arms and legs when they were marching. There were some very talented individuals on my course some of whom most likely made it Chief Constable. I served in the City of London Police

    By Colin Mitchell (23/05/2017)
  • I attended eynsham police college from July till October 1969 . I remember Sgt. Blewitt ,drill Sgt, I thought he was brilliant at his job, also very tough p.t.i. Sgt . Caldwell, City of London . I found training very hard but I enjoyed it , in fact I would not have missed it, Sgt. Alcraft was our training instructor, I think the main task of the instructors was to try and walk the drive to leave, but made you more determined. J. Green Essex &Southend constabulary..

    By John Green. (12/05/2017)
  • I was there February to May 1960. Course 163, I was in Beds Constabulary, Tutor was Sgt Fretton (Essex). Drill Sgt Gorham (Beds) PTI was from Bournemouth Borough.

    By John Dane (29/03/2017)
  • I see from previous comment that all but one relate to late 60s and more recent. My time there was in 1956 and whilst memories of some instructors are vague their antics are easily recalled. My thoughts hark to the Friday x country run followed by fish and chips with treacle suet pudding and later permission to smoke was signalled from the top table. The afternoons that followed were a struggle to stay fully awake. My chief offence was to visit a nurse in nearby Freeland Hospital, cycling under cover of dark and often mist across land owned by the Masons (hp sauce fame I believe) I was never caught!

    By Denis Herring (09/03/2017)
  • Was anyone there in March 1977? A group of us will be visiting the Hotel in March 2017 to celebrate 40 years. Drill Pig was Sgt. Barker BEM (British Empire Medal).

    By Alan Gay (01/03/2017)
  • Privalidged to have attended this centre April 1972 on the same course as above mentioned Ian Dowse and his colleagues from Herts. I was from Cambs and although it was one of the toughest 13 weeks of my service looking back thoroughly enjoyed it. Sgt Jones also our drill Sgt.

    By kevin feek (27/01/2017)
  • I was there in 1964 having served two years as a cadet in Hertfordshire and then went on to serve as a PC and DC in Hemel Hempstead, uniform Sergeant and then DS in Watford leaving the force in 1972 to go into business in S Wales. Some great memories of it all!

    By adrioan jones (24/01/2017)
  • I did my basic police training course at Eynsham Hall between January & March 1976. My class sergeants were Pete LEWIS (Thames Valley) & David DENHAM-SMITH (Norfolk) Happy Days. Wonderful memories.

    By Bob STRONG (03/01/2017)
  • Further to my recent posting I should have pointed out that My Brother attended Eynsham as an East Suffolk Officer and I was Suffolk Constabulary.

    By Clive Pope (02/08/2016)
  • My brother and I both did our initial training at Eynsham his in the mid sixties and Mine in 1970. Revisiting on 1st August 2016. I clearly remember Jock Anderson who was on senior course when I had just begun my junior course. During my intermediate course Sergeant Blewitt caught me taking a short cut across the front grass area in my left hand drive Morris 1000 as I rushed to make my way home on a Friday afternoon, the punishment was I had the following weekend leave cancelled. The echo of Sergeant Blewitt standing at the main door shouting out his commands and of course Sergeant Blewitt’s first Aid training using the ‘resuscitation Annie’ dummy a true comedy act. Blewitt was the epitome of a Sgt Major! I understand from the staff at the Hall Barry Blewitt himself recently visited.

    By Clive Pope (02/08/2016)
  • I was training at Eynsham Hall for three months between November 1964 and January 1965. Sgt Fuller was the drill sergeant and Sgt Ellery & Wright were our tutors. I then was posted to Watford Central for two years after which I realised that the Police Service wasn’t for me. I remember being involved in the Harry Roberts search when he was apprehended at Bishops Stortford.

    By Roger Malivoire (20/06/2016)
  • I did my initial training here in 1970 (Herts). Sgt. Barry Blewitt of Beds & Luton was our drill instructor and a great bloke. Jock Anderson (City of London) was our class leader and, being an ex drum major of a Scottish regiment (Argyl & Sutherlands ?) we marched on at our final parade with Jock playing the pipes which was a terrific moment.

    By Michael Murphy (21/04/2016)
  • I was here from September until December 1971 (Hertfordshire Constabulary) and I remember Sgt. Jones very well.

    By Graham Sturley (03/04/2016)
  • I was at Eynsham June-Aug 1958. The USAF should have done a fly past at our passing out parade and turned up an hour late after dispersal. British Summer Time was the excuse apparently.

    By Ivan judd (23/02/2016)
  • how can i get in touch with John Halsey

    By Brian Overton (18/02/2016)
  • Update on a Colin Jones from Bedfordshire Police who retired as an Inspector and died in 2015 Published in the The Argus on 18 February 15 C. A. JONES The death occurred on Sunday 8th February of retired Police Inspector Colin Jones, Dunstable at the age of 76 years. Colin was a frequent visitor to Pembrokeshire and holidayed in Narberth. His wife Julie(nee Evans) was from Narberth. He joined the Welsh Guards as a boy Soldier, serving 7 years. He then joined the Bedfordshire Police Force and rose to the rank of Inspector. He leaves behind his wife Julie, daughter Wendy, grandson Solly. Also a brother Neil Jones who resides in Haverfordwest and a sister Rene from Luton. The funeral will take place at Parc Gwyn Crematorium at 1pm February 27th. Funeral arrangements by Mr Glyn Thomas and Son, Freystrop, Haverfordwest Tel: 01437 890571

    By Al Jones (08/02/2016)
  • I was there in 1976, and all the ‘Drill Pigs’ were cut from the same cloth. As a retired Beds Officer, I too remember Sgt Jones!

    By BOB LEASK (31/01/2016)

    By Les BARKER (21/01/2016)
  • I was there from Feb to May 1968 when most of the recruits were ex servicemen. There was a great PTI who could swim like a fish.

    By alfred simmons (08/01/2016)
  • I was at Eynsham Hall in 1972 and John is quite correct.

    By Ian Dowse (05/01/2016)
  • Bucks. Police have an inernet site with a large number of class photos trough the years. I found my 1959 class picture.

    By Bob Rodney (22/10/2015)
  • I was there from May to August 1973 having joined Mid- Anglia Police. I remember Colin Jones, the drill pig from Beds and Luton, a thoroughly unpleasant little man. I believe he had the MBE for something.

    By Tony van der Spiegel (09/10/2015)
  • I think Eynsham’s official title was Number 5 Police District Training Centre. It took police officers from most of the Home Counties and the City of London.

    By John Halsey (28/08/2015)