In this enjoyable autobiography, David Seeney looks back on a remarkably eventful life involving service of many different kinds.
It took him from a childhood on the Isle of Wight in the early years of World War Two, to service in the household of Lord Beaverbrook (Max Aitken, owner of the Daily Express and wartime Minister for Aircraft Production) as a teenage footman, to service the RAF as a Lancaster Flight Engineer in the last year of the Second World War and to a long postwar career as a Police officer, retiring with the rank of Detective Superintendent of the Kent Police Special Branch.
And if that wasn't enough, in retirement he and his wife created an award-winning two-acre garden that was open to the public for many years and was featured on tv and in gardening magazines.
David Seeney was brought up on the Isle of Wight where, as a child, his education was interrupted by the start of the Second World War. He decided to attempt to educate himself to a sufficient standard to enable him to join the RAF and fly for his country and with this in mind he opted to leave home to work in an occupation which would afford him plenty of free time to pursue his aims.
Aged 15, he went to work as a footman for Lord Beaverbrook at Cherkley Court in Surrey, Max Aitken’s country residence, where, due to Aitken's role as Minister for Aircraft Production, he witnessed the comings and goings of many leading figures of the day, including the Prime Minister Winston Churchill, during the early years of the Second World War. In 1943 he was accepted as aircrew by the RAF Selection Board and served from May 1944 until July 1947, becoming a Flight Engineer on Lancaster aircraft.
On leaving the RAF he entered the Kent police force and, in the course of his work, became involved in a number of interesting local cases, both as a uniformed ‘bobby on the beat’ and later as a CID officer. He worked for a time at Chartwell, home of Sir Winston Churchill, whom he came to know well.
In 1962 the Kent County Constabulary set up a Special Branch unit, which David Seeney ran until his retirement in 1980. His duties included overseeing counter-intelligence operations against the activities of foreign governments and groups whose interests ran counter to those of the United Kingdom, including the Soviet Union and the IRA. He was also responsible for the safety and security of a wide variety of VIPs, including members of the Royal family, Prime Ministers Harold Wilson, Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher, and many other dignitaries whenever they visited the county of Kent.
After his retirement, he and his wife Mavis created a garden at their home near Maidstone in Kent, which was open to the public for a number of years and featured on television, in gardening magazines and newspapers.
David’s recollections give a fascinating insight into the various stages of his working life and the many interesting people he came into contact with in the course of his many years in ‘service’ of one kind or another.
Told in a matter-of-fact style, without ornament or exaggeration, it is the true story of a remarkable life.