Tributes paid to former Richmond police chief inspector

Ronald Cussons with wife Betty.

A former North Yorkshire Police Chief Inspector for Richmond has passed away aged 95.

Born in Helmsley the youngest of eight, Ronald Cussons experienced tragedy when his father died when he was ten.

He left school at 15 to join Pearsons solicitors in Helmsley as a clerk and later volunteered for military service in 1944 when he was 18.

He wanted to join RAF flight crew but was rejected for his eyesight.

Mr Cussons joined the 1st battalion of the Royal Ulster Rifles which was part of the of the 6th Airborne Division.

He was trained for glider landing operations and wore the maroon beret and the Pegasus badge.

He fought in the largest airborne operation in history, Operation Varsity on March 24, 1945. This operation established a bridgehead across the Rhine into Germany.

Over 1,300 gliders were deployed to land amongst German forces across the Rhine. His entire battalion of 810 troops landed by glider of which 12 per cent were killed in action plus many others wounded.

He then fought to occupy northern Germany, a distance of 350 miles mostly on foot.

His battalion met up with Russian troops at Wismar on the Baltic Coast where he spent VE day in May 1945. He was then due to be sent to fight in the Far East. This never happened due to the surrender of Japan, much to his delight.

He then spent the rest of his army service keeping the peace in Palestine.

He left the army in 1948 and returned to Pearsons as a trainee solicitor. After marrying wife Betty he decided to join the North Riding Police.

He started his police service as PC489 patrolling the streets of Whitby.

They then moved to Northallerton. In 1958, he was given the job of Middleham beat bobby which he did for seven years.

Son Stephen said this was his father’s favourite posting.

Ronald Cussons with son Stephen.

“He had to patrol the Middleham and Coverdale area only having a bicycle as transport, often returning frozen to the bone. Eventually he was given an underpowered BMW motorbike, initially without any protective clothing.

“He was promoted to Sergeant in 1965 when we moved to Strensall near York. He liked his role then of prosecuting offenders in the local court which the police did in those days.”

He was later promoted to Inspector at Redcar in 1967. Only two years later after a posting in Northallerton, he was promoted to Chief Inspector at Richmond in 1969. He stayed at Richmond for the rest of his service.

He retired age 55 in 1981 after 30 years police service. Stephen said his father’s life goals then were to have an enjoyable retirement with his wife, draw his pension longer than he served and to live to 90.

Sadly, he only achieved two of these goals since tragically Betty died suddenly at age 54 in 1983 only two years after he retired.

Stephen said his father walked at least five miles every day, only ate fresh home cooked food and swore by porridge for breakfast.

He started weight training at the age of 70. Until this summer he was able to walk without a stick and was still driving. He was fiercely independent and sought no help with housework, gardening and other chores.

Stephen said: “He experienced great achievements and tragedies in his long life but always displayed fortitude, independence, cheerfulness and a caring manner to all.

“He was a devoted father and husband, an incredible role model to me and provided endless encouragement to succeed.”

Mr Cussons said his father loved exploring the North Yorkshire countryside.

“I fondly remember our many Dales tours and hills we climbed. He was still able to walk to the top of hills like Roseberry Topping at 82.

“He was mentally alert right to the end, helped by doing a daily crossword puzzle and keeping up with current affairs.

“He spent most afternoons using his computer to browse the newspapers and liked the mental challenge of computer games especially shooting games.

“He was very happy in his retirement living in Richmond where he was well known in the town. People would often chat to him in the street.

“We were very close. He will leave a huge hole in my life which I will struggle to fill. He will be missed by all who knew him.”




  1. As I have lived in Middleham for many years I remember P.C. Customs when he was a local beat Bobby at Middleham back in the 1960s.
    I was a school lad then and had an old bike I had made up from parts and had no lights fitted. On dark winters nights we could here him coming on his Francis Barnett small Villiers engine 2 stroke motorbike so we could hide out of site as we had no lights, but one night we were out with no lights and out from the dark came our local Bobby and had a sharp word with us and told us to walk home with the bikes, so we all had to fit lights.
    Yes he was a very good local Bobby that kept things in order and was always there for any advice. We could do with some of this type of local Bobby today that would know his local patch and the people in the villagers etc.

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