As we shine a light on the life histories of our residents – the team and residents at Ivydene, our nursing home in Ivybridge, are fascinated by the experiences of fellow resident Terry Rowe.
Gangster twins Ronnie and Reggie Kray were notorious in East London during the 1950s and 1960s for their organised crime.
At the time Terry was part of the Metropolitan Police, working in the team investigating The Krays. He recalls: “The Kray twins ran several protection rackets and were feared by many.” This included local businesses because of the violence that was associated with their activities.
One night in 1966, Terry was on foot patrol alone when a message came across the radio about a shooting at the Blind Beggar pub. He was the first officer inside, discovering a member of a rival gang to The Krays had been shot dead by Ronnie.
With Terry back on the investigating team, Ronnie Kray was brought to justice and was sentenced to life in prison.
The river police was next for Terry
In 1968, Terry transferred to the Thames Division, policing the river and waterways, where he remained for the rest of his career.
During the making of the 1976 film Branagan, he was on the crew of safety boats on standby when John Wayne’s character drove at speed over a partially-opened Tower Bridge.
Terry remembers: “Later that day, John Wayne walked into the police station, asking to see the officers involved and queried ‘is there a bar open we can go to’ – I recall having quite an afternoon…..!”
After retiring from the police in 1993, Terry spent his time running the local Scout troop, as well as dinghy sailing.
After being diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2021, he moved into Ivydene Residential and Nursing Home in Ivybridge, which is close to his wife Bridget and their son Kevin. He loves reminiscing about his time in the police force with the team and especially with fellow resident, former police officer Robert.
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