Black GIs at the Salvation Army temple in St Thomas Exeter, Christmas 1944Maurice Hawker was born in St Thomas in 1934, and still lives in Exeter. He remembers the second world war, especially the Black GIs stationed near his home in Union St, and the Blitz.

Maurice and his wife Ruth are in the Salvation Army – we are very grateful to them for finding our only photo so far of Black GIs in Exeter (right).

Maurice went on to join the police, and from 1963 to 1966 he was the Aliens officer for Exeter City Police, responsible for registering and keeping track of all the ‘aliens’ (people from outside the Commonwealth) in Exeter.

Ghee Bowman & Crystal Carter interviewed them at the Global Centre on 4th November 2013. Listen to the extracts by clicking on the orange play button. Read the full transcript.

Extract 1

Maurice talks about growing up in St Thomas during the war, Black American soldiers, and the Salvation Army.

Extract 2

More memories of GIs, their uniforms and the local girls.

Extract 3

The air raid shelter in Union St.

Extract 4

The Blitz on St Thomas: Maurice’s father was a special constable, based near the river.

Extract 5

Maurice remembers evacuees Douglas and Brian Leonard from London.

Extract 6

Memories of being the Exeter Police Aliens officer from 1963 to 1966.