Held at pistol
point and taken before the Judges
It was a dark dismal evening in March. I was driving down
country roads on the outskirts of Manchester looking for the
Judges Lodgings. I saw a friendly light some distance ahead and
as I turned up a long drive towards it, I felt certain that I
had reached my destination.
My headlights picked out the large shape of a policeman. He
was waving a torch up and down and signalling for me to at OP.
I lowered the car window - "Is this the Judges Lodgings?"
"Who are you ?" was the policeman's curt
reply. He leaned forward to look into my car, the rain dripped
from his helmet on to my jacket - there was a distinct chill
in the air; here I was hoping he might offer to carry my cine
equipment into the house.
I explained that I was a friend of Sir Harold Parkinson and
that I had come to join Sir Harold and his friends at dinner
and later to show some of my films. Suddenly, the constable pulled
open the car door and pointed a revolver a me.
"You may be whom you claim to be, but I would be obliged
if you would step this way," the policeman insisted.
I did not like the way he was nervously holding the revolver.
He did not ask me to raise my hands, but I almost instinctively
We walked towards a door and entered a brightly lit kitchen.
The policeman still held his revolver, but when the butler arrived,
the revolver was returned to its holster. The kitchen staff watched
the proceedings from a distance, they looked as bewildered as
I felt. It was only when I mentioned the High Sheriff that, to
my relief, the butler confirmed that Mr Hanna was expected and
that the High Sheriff and his guests were waiting for me in the
The policeman made some sort of apology and quickly returned
to his sentry-box.
On entering the lounge I was met by Lady Omerod. I had been
well briefed by Sir Harold on the etiquette of a guest about
to meet representatives of the King. When he presented me to
His Majesty's Judges, I bowed my head, my handshake at waist
height, neither limp nor overpowering, and said "My Lord"
I met Judge Omerod, Judge Walmsley and Judge Parker and greeted
them in the correct manner.
The evening was most pleasant but I felt more comfortable
when showing my films. I was still feeling a little shaken from
my encounter with the policeman. The kitchen staff joined the
audience when the films were being shown and the general atmosphere,
after the meal, was more relaxed. The films were .ell received
and as midnight approached, I quietly mentioned to Sir Harold
that I had to be at school before 9 a.m.
The butler and the policeman helped me with my heavy equipment
and packed it carefully into the car. The policeman was still
apologetic and seemed concerned as to what my reaction had been
to his reception, especially as in the drama of my arrival, I
had left my car headlights on. The car battery was flat !
A push down the drive, the engine roared into life - and the
car leapt forward; as I looked through the rear mirror of my
car I saw the policeman picking himself up off his knees. I arrived
home safely to snatch a few hours sleep before reporting back