Sidmouth’s first CID officer dies at 84

Happiest years as CID officer for Dick were spent in Sidmouth

THE first CID officer to serve from Sidmouth Police Station, who died last Tuesday, admitted the happiest years of his life were spent in the town.

Richard (Dick) Islwyn Evans, whose funeral takes place today (Friday) at Sidmouth Parish Church at 11am, was a non-singing, non-rugby playing Welshman.

Dick, 84, will be remembered as a very competitive golfer, who enjoyed the company of many friends at Sidmouth Golf Club, Sidmouth Conservative Club and The Volunteer Inn, as well as his colleagues at the police station.

Born in Clydach near Swansea in 1926, Dick’s school days were disrupted by the many moves his father made as a police office serving in Glamorgan.

By the time he was 12 he had attended five different schools.

He was apprenticed to South Wales Electricity Board after leaving school, and called up to the South Wales Borderers in 1944, eventually joining the Parachute Regiment, serving in Palestine until his de-mob in 1948.

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He returned to SWEB and married his childhood sweetheart Eira in 1951. Their daughter Si�n was born in 1957 and son Gareth was born in 1959.

His police career started in Tiverton in 1956.

Eira, a former Sidmouth teacher, said: “He came to Sidmouth as Detective Constable in 1963, having previously served in Exmouth CID and as a uniformed officer in Buckland Brewer near Bideford.

“He did everything here, investigating a murder in Branscombe and the Genette Tate disappearance. He was the first CID man appointed here. The top floor of the police station was made into a flat for us.”

She said Dick conducted his interviews in the evening, leaving time during the day to enjoy his golf.

He became vice-captain of the golf club and was a chairman of the greens committee.

Friend and golfer Graham Hook, a former Sidmouth hotelier, said: “I played a lot of golf with Dick over 30 years. We had some very good days with Devon Easterbrook…we played all over the county.”

Dick retired from Devon & Cornwall Constabulary in 1981. In October 2005 he lost a leg. His health began to fail, and he eventually lost his sight.

“He was so grateful to the friends who helped him in so many ways,” said Eira.

Drivers at Twyford House took him shopping each Thursday and Dick enjoyed the fortnightly club for the blind at Sidford.

“He loved music and he would bear everything with great courage,” she added.