Gerald Irving Richardson GC

Name: Gerald Irving Richardson

Conflict: Peacetime

Gazetted: November 14, 1972

Service: Civilian

Gerald Irving Richardson GC

Medal group

Place/date of birth: Blackpool, Lancashire/November 2, 1932

Rank when awarded GC (and later highest rank): Civilian

Date of bravery: August 23, 1971

London Gazette citation:

A joint citation, including the award of the George Cross to Constable Carl Walker, Lancashire Constabulary.

Gerald Irving Richardson (Deceased), Superintendent, Lancashire Constabulary

Following an armed robbery at a jewellers in BIackpool, Constable Walker, having been directed to the scene by radio, arrived to see the bandits running towards a Triumph Estate car. All the men succeeded in getting into the car and a shotgun was pointed through the window at P.C. Walker; the car was then driven away followed by the Constable. A chase at high speeds then ensued; at several stages Constable Walker lost contact briefly with the Triumph but came upon it stationary in a blind alley. All the occupants were out of the car; the Constable remained in his Panda car which he parked at right angles to the alley, thus blocking the exit. The men then climbed back into the Triumph which was reversed at a fast speed down the alley into the side of the Panda car. As the car drove away from the alley Constable Hampson arrived on the scene in his Panda car. He saw Constable Walker sitting in his car, in a shocked condition, and he followed the Triumph. The bandit’s car was driven in a fast and dangerous manner through various streets and Constable Hampson during the whole of this chase remained five to ten yards behind the Triumph relaying his position to Blackpool Central by personal radio. The Triumph suddenly screeched to a halt and Constable Hampson pulled up about five or six yards behind it. One of the gunmen ran back to the Panda car and shot the Constable through the passenger door window of the Panda car. The Constable, who was badly wounded in the chest, fell from the car into the roadway but managed to raise himself, reached his radio transmitter and gave his position to Control Room. A number of police cars were now in the area and Constable Walker, who had resumed the pursuit in his damaged Panda car saw the Triumph, and positioned his Panda at a junction to block its route. As he did so Constable Jackson in a Panda car, and Constable Hillis in a C.I.D. car, drove either side of his Panda, trapping the Triumph between them. Constable Jackson collided with the offside of the Triumph and Constable Hillis with the front nearside. All the gunmen climbed out of the Triumph. Constable Jackson was thrown across the front seat of his Panda car by the force of the collision and the driver of the Triumph threatened him and then ran towards an alley to the next street. Constable Hillis got out of his police car and saw the five men who were then retreating from the crashed car. The officer ran towards them and the driver of the Triumph pointed a pistol at him and fired two or three shots from a distance of about six feet, but did not hit him. Constable Hillis raised his arm in front of his face and when at this stage one of the robbers broke away, he ran after him and caught him after a violent struggle.

In the meantime, another police car had arrived at the scene with Inspector Gray, Inspector Redpath and Superintendent Richardson. Inspector Redpath got out of the car and then the officers saw three of the gunmen, running towards an alley. Inspector Redpath ran after them. Inspector Gray with Superintendent Richardson drove into the next road in an effort to head them off. The three men were by now running along the alley, followed by Constables Walker and Jackson and when Constable Walker was about ten yards from the bandits the driver of the Triumph turned and fired a shot at him. The officer carried on running towards him, and when the man reached the end of the alley he turned to face the Constable and fired a second time; at a distance of about six feet he fired a third time and hit him in the groin. The man pointed the gun at Constable Walker again, looked at the officer who was clutching his injured leg, then turned away towards a Ford Transit delivery van which was parked outside a butcher’s shop. The man jumped into the driving seat of the butcher’s van, and two of the men ran to the back of the van and jumped in just as Inspector Gray and Superintendent Richardson arrived on the scene in their police car; the butcher’s van moved off rapidly. Constable Jackson got into the police car with Superintendent Richardson and Inspector Gray, who then drove off in pursuit of the butcher’s van which attempted to turn into an alley, collided with a garden wall and stopped. The police car stopped behind the van and Inspector Gray went to the rear of the van, attempting to keep the doors closed and trap the men inside. Superintendent Richardson and Constable Jackson ran to the front passenger door and saw that the front of the van was empty, the driver having clambered out and run to the rear of the van. The Superintendent and the Constable then went to the rear of the van just as the doors burst open and the men appeared and jumped out; two of the men ran off down the alley. Superintendent Richardson and Inspector Gray tried to talk the driver into surrendering his gun; but he continued to threaten the officers, turned round and ran off. The Police Officers ran after him, Superintendent Richardson leading, followed by Inspector Gray. A few yards into the alley Superintendent Richardson caught hold of the gunman. The man turned, thrust his gun into the Superintendent’s stomach and fired. Before Inspector Gray could reach them the man fired a second time as Superintendent Richardson was falling to the ground. The man then escaped in a stolen van. Superintendent Richardson was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital where he died later the same morning.

The other two bandits were seen by Sergeant Mackay and Constable Hanley, who had just arrived in the area in a C.I.D. car. These officers, still in their car, entered the pursuit and caught up with the two fugitives, one of whom levelled his pistol at Sergeant Mackay’s head as the C.I.D. car drew alongside him. The Sergeant swung the driver’s door open and it struck the man, knocking him off balance. The police car stalled and Constable Hanley, who was getting out of the passenger door, stumbled and fell. Both men ran off with Constable Hanley and other officers chasing them on foot. Sergeant Mackay re-started the police car and drove after them, he quickly overtook the men and they turned round; one, who was only about six feet from the front of the car, levelled the revolver at Sergeant Mackay and pulled the trigger, but the gun did not fire. The Sergeant drove the car directly at the two men knocking them off balance, he knocked them off their feet several times by driving at them, he then got out of the police car and ran towards one of the men. During the chase through the alleys the men had run almost all the way back to the butcher’s shop where Constable Walker had been shot. Inspector Redpath, who was still outside the butcher’s shop, saw them emerge from the end of the alley, running directly towards him. Sergeant Mackay was immediately behind one of them and closing on him. The Inspector saw that he was carrying a revolver but he stood his ground waiting for him to come closer. The Sergeant then crash-tackled the man and brought him to the ground with his arms sprawled out in front of him, immediately in front of Inspector Redpath, who kicked the gun out of his hand. Constable Hanley, who was chasing the other man, knocked him down and arrested him. Throughout the pursuit which followed the robbery, all the police officers concerned were aware that they faced the threat of death or serious injury, but gave no thought to their own safety in their efforts to effect the arrest of armed and dangerous criminals.

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Other decorations: N/A

Place/date of death: Blackpool, Lancashire/August 23, 1971

Grave/memorials: Headstone, Layton Cemetery, Blackpool; name on National Police Roll of Honour, Police Memorial, London; plaques at Lancashire Police HQ, Hutton, near Preston, Lancashire and Blackpool Grammar School; Superintendent Gerald Richardson Memorial Youth Trust

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased privately, 2019

Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum