Norman's story

norman1.jpgRetired policeman Norman Oliver has recalled the day he arrived first on the scene after the Great Train Robbery. 
 
Dog handler Norman, who was working in Aylesbury at the time, was sent off to assist with an incident on the railways on the morning of 8th August 1963 only to later find out it was the scene of the biggest robbery ever. He was later involved in a number of raids to try and find the perpetrators.
 
The 81-year-old, who lives at Bluebell Gardens, a retirement housing scheme, revealed his story as part of Thanks for the Memories.
 
The campaign is being run by us to coincide with the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Awareness Week (May 15 to 21) to highlight the best memories from the lives of residents and raise awareness of dementia in the process.
 
Recalling the day Norman said: “I didn’t have a clue what I was going to, I was woken up and told to assist with an incident on the railways.
 
“When I got there a few people milling around but I was the first policeman on the scene. You could see and hear the train as you approached and then officers and the chief constable started to arrive. I overheard him say they thought up to £2million could have been stolen. 
 
“They wanted me to see if the dog could pick up any trails. He did but they led back to the trains so didn’t tell us anything.
 
“After that I was involved in a number of raids. Leatherslade Farm, where they found the hideout and the evidence which eventually led to most of them being convicted, was next on our team’s list but we were exhausted and took a break so another team searched it.
 
Norman 1.jpg“I think memories are incredibly important. I count myself very lucky that I don’t have dementia but I know people that do and it is very important we do what we can to raise awareness.” 
 
Norman was involved in the investigation until the Metropolitan Police took it over.
 
He served with the police for 28 years.
 
On another occasion during his career he was asked to patrol Chequers, the country retreat of the Prime Minister, only to be accosted by one President Eisenhower’s security guards. 
 
“I had no idea who was there,” Norman continued.
 
“I was just asked to patrol Chequers and it turned out Eisenhower was visiting and he had his security team with him!"