Paul Presents | Calling WPC Crockford with Ruth D’ Allessandro

Ruth D’Alessandro is the author of Calling WPC Crockford, a recently published memoir of her amazing pioneering mother, Gwen Crockford. Gwen was one of the Berkshire Constabulary’s first women police officers in the 1950s and went on to become its first woman detective in 1957. Here, Ruth talks to Paul about how and why she wrote her mother’s story; the incredible variety of work a 1950s-woman police officer would have done: extracting a human skeleton from the woods, finding a missing child, investigating thefts, chasing escaped circus animals, and unravelling a dark secret at the heart of an impoverished family; and how policing has changed over the last 70 years.

Calling WPC Crockford is a nostalgic, tender, and honest account of post-war British society, and also a love letter to Wokingham, where WPC Gwen Crockford grew up and served, out of Wokingham’s distinctive police station. Gwen was a bright, determined woman navigating a man’s world, doing her very best for her community in that fascinating, and often-overlooked period of social history when Britain emerged from the darkness of wartime and post-war austerity into the light of a social revolution. Anyone who loves Call the Midwife will also love this book.

Ruth D’Alessandro 09 March 2022

“A brilliant read, full of amusing stories and a real account of social history of a female police officer in the 1950’s, in what was a man’s world” Jan Allen

Calling WPC Crockford
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