Firearms officer who protected Margaret Thatcher after Brighton bombing releases his memoirs

Mervyn Edwards, a former Banbury man, with his book about being a Thames Valley Police firearms officer. NNL-180611-131640009
Mervyn Edwards, a former Banbury man, with his book about being a Thames Valley Police firearms officer. NNL-180611-131640009

A former firearms officer who had to protect Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has released his memoirs.

Mervyn Edwards, who was born and bred in Banbury joined Thames Valley Police after being a bus driver for five years for Midland Red.

His first posting with TVP took him away from the area and he spent 15 years in three different ranks as specialist firearms officer.

Walking the Beat to Nirvana, details his experiences of protecting Margaret Thatcher when she returned to Chequers following the Brighton hotel bombing in 1984, an IRA assassination attempt.

Mervyn said extra armed officers had been placed on shift following the attack.

He said: “At one point in the day we got a call from the house saying the prime minister was coming into the grounds. She came out and spoke to me and said she realised we had a job to do to look after her, but she would appreciate some space if possible. Chequers is a wonderful place, fabulous grounds to walk around and she just wanted some space after the tragic few days she’d had.

“There is a public footpath that goes through the middle, which is horrendous from a security point of view. She said, ‘What if I go with a dog?’ and she pointed to the dog and its handler nearby. I told her that would be okay and with that she said, ‘Come on then’ and I don’t know if she was talking to the dog handler or the dog.”

The book includes a photograph of Mervyn’s team posing with Margaret Thatcher on Christmas Day 1985 when the PM visited the officers at their post. The officers had just finished their Christmas dinner.

He said: “The officer who had been doing all the cooking and serving still had on his Union Flag pinafore and the PM insisted he keep it on for the photo.”

He was also involved in an operation which would have culminated in the detention of the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin who was planning to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference in the UK. Amin never left Ugandan airspace.

The book will be available from Waterstones or from mervynedwards@
btinternet.com.