I've written before about my late husband who wrote on here under the name Davedax, in these days of superheroes and "ex special forces guys" courtesy of ridiculous Hollywood films, I was actually married to a largely unsung super hero, he was a part time police officer in the Royal Ulster Constabulary, which after the shameful Good Friday peace agreement became known as the police service of northern Ireland, please note the deliberate omission of capital letters!
I have actually had police officers knocking on my door to check that Dave is really dead, with a view to possible prosecution if he was not!
Prosecution for protecting people while sneering killers went free and even took up ministerial positions in the government, when he joined the RUC in 1969 he was in a largely unknown outfit called CSU's, covert surveillance units, there were sixty four of them but when they were disbanded in 1987 there were 13 left, four suicides and 47 killed in the name of the British crown!
This isn't about the conflict in Northern Ireland, nor about the ridiculous hatred between catholics and protestants there, just for the record, I am a catholic and Dave was a protestant!
It's not even about the bogus NORAID fundraisers in America who collected in the bars from so called Irishmen who'd never even seen the skies above Ireland, no it's just about my love for a special and very, very brave man who would laugh like hell if he was told he was brave!
I think it's fair to say that Dave had an unhappy childhood, his mother and two sisters are still alive so I don't intend to delve too deeply into it, suffice to say though that when at the age of seven, the family left Ireland to come here to England, they arrived on Good Friday at his grandmother's house where his sister, (he had only one sister at that time) was given three Easter eggs whilst David was given none!
That, to a seven year old must have hurt more than the many beatings he had as a child, from there things got worse when he broke nearly every light switch in the house, but remember that he'd only ever seen an electric light in the Belfast shops!
I know it sounds implausible but I will swear it's true, he'd never seen a flush toilet before either and promptly earned another thrashing for breaking the one in his grandma's house!
The old lady was quite well off and she had a television, which again he'd never seen before and he often used to tell me how he lay on the floor trying to look up the skirts of the women on the screen.
He left school at fifteen and went to work as an apprentice baker, which he loved and to the day he died he loved baking bread or cooking wonderful curries, he had me and the lady next door in fits of the giggles as he cavorted about in our kitchen, a glass of vodka and coke in one hand whilst preparing the spices for yet another curry.
As a youth, he had an interest in cycling and on an impulse, he persuaded his boss at the bakery to allow him six months off work so that he could cycle round the whole length of the coastline of mainland Britain, not only did his boss agree, he also paid him six months wages in advance!
It actually took him ten months but as he explained, he discovered girls half way round and thought that they were far more fun than getting a sore backside from cycling,
(Not bad for a fifteen year old boy, the girl he gave his virginity to was actually a young married woman)
He met his first wife Brenda at the bakery when he returned quite the little hero and they married the following year, both were just sixteen.
She and I had met several times over the years and we got on very well, she is 58 the same age as Dave was when he was killed and we wept together at his funeral.
They had a daughter, then lost a baby through cot death and then a son, but the boy was only eighteen months old when Brenda walked out on them all and went back to a former boy friend.
Some nights when we were talking quietly in our garden, he told me about how he was desperate and flew over to Ireland to see his favourite uncle, the uncle offered to adopt his son as he and his wife had been trying for ten years to have a child.
I know it sounds a bit heartless, but remember he was still only eighteen and there was no way on earth that he was ever going to lose both his children so he agreed to the uncles request and right up to his death, his uncle honoured the agreement he had with Dave to let him see his son.
In the meantime, Dave took his daughter back to England where he was greeted by a court officer who handed him a court order ordering him to surrender both his children to an English court.
So off he went on his travels with little Kathleen by his side, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Portugal were all home to our adventurers whilst Dave worked casually and illegally just to keep him and Kathleen out of the jurisdiction of the courts.
He had another uncle in the Royal Air Force, who was based at R.A.F. Aldergrove near Belfast, this uncle offered to look after Kathleen until Dave could face the music back in England, he was in the last year of his service with the R.A.F. and made the same promise to Dave that his brother had, so Dave handed Kathleen over and tearfully returned to face the English court.
He was given four weeks to bring both children back to England or face prison, so he grinned at the Judge and asked in the way that only he could, if he could have the top bunk when he went to prison!
He did a month inside and then was released when his ex-wife dropped her claim to the kids, however when he returned to Ireland, he was told by the uncle who had his son, that his brother was planning to live in Australia with Dave's daughter at the end of his service and had actually began adoption proceedings!
What does our hero do?
He cons his way into the base, goes into the sergeant's mess where his uncle is sitting drinking with his mates, says "Hello" and smashes a beer bottle over his uncle's head!
Although there are a few differences between the legal systems of England and Northern Ireland, one basic rule they both have is that "Thou shalt not batter your uncle over the head with a beer bottle, a full beer bottle, especially when he is a member of Her Majesty's armed forces"
Three months later and our wild colonial boy is out of prison and re-united with his daughter, who had been looked after by the other (good) uncle.
They return to England where Dave is visited by a police officer as he sat in the dingy little bedsit he'd rented for them both, but this was no ordinary police officer, he was in the Royal Ulster Constabulary which had no jurisdiction in England.
His immediate boss, a chief superintendent in Belfast had actually been drinking in the Sergeant's mess when Dave had belted his uncle and had been thoroughly impressed by the way he fought as four military policemen had tried to arrest him.
"We want you to come over and join up" the officer told Dave who burst out laughing,
"You must be bloody joking" says our hero, "I've got a police record now, they wouldn't have me"
But they would and they did, they were setting up several new units over in the province where civil unrest was growing daily in the build up to August 1969 when British troops first went into the province to protect the catholic population.
I'm not going to go into the details of his service over there except to say that in Dave's own words, "I must have been the worst bloody copper they'd ever had there"
I doubt it, but I never did find out what it was that made him scream out in his dreams, nor did he ever tell me what made him wake up crying sometimes, or still sleeping, get out of bed and go to the wardrobe where he kept his pistol.
As an ex Northern Irish police officer, he was allowed to be armed, (as were Northern Irish prison officers) which made the local police very nervous as guns are pretty well banned completely in England, I'll illustrate it by this little tale his ex boss told me from when Dave worked as a taxi driver.
He picked up two scum bags one night who directed him to a deserted part of the town and told him to pull over, as he did so he felt a knife at his neck,
"Give me your fucking money" one youth said, "Or I'll fucking stab you"
Dave turned round with a Walther 9mm in his hand and said with his customary laugh,
"Will that be before I shoot you or after?"
Not only did he not get robbed, he took their money too and made them take their clothes off, all of them before driving off laughing like a maniac!
.... There is more of this story ...