Bournemouth must have felt like the centre of the universe on Saturday, 16 November 1963. Not only were The Beatles in town and riding the crest of the first wave of Beatlemania, but Father Christmas chose that day to arrive at his town centre Grotto and the mighty Cherries had a home tie in the FA Cup at Dean Court. Clive Garland was a 19-year-old police constable at the time and right in the thick of it, as he remembers here...
I joined Bournemouth Borough Police in 1961 as a cadet and was sent to the training school in Folkestone in autumn 1963, returning to Bournemouth as a Police Constable in early November 1963.
All police leave was cancelled on 16 November as not only were The Beatles back in Bournemouth, but there was the annual Father Christmas parade, Bournemouth had a home tie in the FA Cup at Dean Court and the RAC rally was due to finish in town as well.
I was just back from 13 weeks of training and wasn't on the duty roster so the sergeant in the parade room at Madeira Road [police station] asked me where I wanted to go and I told him I wanted to be with The Beatles. I'd had a taste of it back in August at the Gaumont when I was being escorted round by PCs as a cadet officer before my training.
So he sent me off to the traffic office with Sergeant Nick (Noddy) Carter and Inspector Young and The Beatles were already there playing with a Scalextric set that had been sent up by [the department store] Beales. They spent the time joking and gibbing with us lot - of course, Scouse was like a new language to us Southerners!
Then about 4 o'clock they brought the Black Maria van round as that was the only vehicle we had with blacked out windows, to take them over to the Winter Gardens. There was a bit of talk about how we were going to do it as they'd heard there were thousands of fans packed around the stage door.
So they got in the back of the van and there must have been 14 or 16 of us got in after them. The instructions were to get them to the front door of the Winter Gardens. So we pulled up in front then we all leapt out, linked arms and they ran in through the front doors and straight into the theatre.
Our job then was to sit in the rows of seats while the musicians and roadies went through the soundcheck. During the shows - the first house was at 6.30, the second at 8.30 - we were told to stand off to one side and if the crowd surged towards the stage to come and stand between the fans and the stage. Well, of course as soon asThe Beatles came on the girls stood up and we lined up in front of the stage. The fans went wild. The jelly babies poured down on us, it was mayhem - bloody hilarious in one way, absolutely terrifying in another.
There were girls fainting all around, St John's Ambulance worked hard that night! The girls were pushing up against us all evening - I was only 19 at the time and I'd definitely made the right choice of duties!
We'd never seen anything like it. Even at football - and you got 20,000 in Dean Court for a Bournemouth match back then - we only had eight officers on duty inside the ground in those days.
I never saw the going of them from the Winter Gardens. The Beatles were off stage and out the door before anyone knew it really. I think we got out of the Winter Gardens at about 11.30 that night and had to walk back to Madeira Road to clock off at midnight, after a 12 hour shift.
It was a hell of a day - great fun and I've been a Beatles fan ever since.
:: Both photos used courtesy of the Bournemouth Daily Echo and appear, with more than 200 others in Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth, which can be ordered at a special price from here.