Qualicum Beach veteran reflects on UK military police service

Photo by Kevin Forsyth
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Graham Lenton has lived in Qualicum Beach for the last five years, but his military and police career took him to diverse places across the world.

He served with the UK military police for 10 years from 1960-1970. Lenton’s first international deployment was with the Royal Air Force Police to Cyprus in 1962.

“I went to Cyprus on a troop ship. We was in through gales and such, but then there in summertime it’s beautiful — lovely warm weather. Beautiful beaches. You go there and go up to Mount Troodos, which was 6,403 feet up,” Lenton said. “Here you are in the Mediterranean — you’ve got snow on the mountain.”

Lenton said he found Cyprus and its people were very enjoyable. He returned to England in 1964 and transferred to the Royal Military Police. His service then took him as far away as Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and Borneo, “just some insurgents there, so nothing too bad,” Lenton said of the latter.

He remembered being on a flight from Singapore to Hong Kong and hearing the captain say “If you look out you’ll see the coastline of North Vietnam.” Lenton looked out the other side of the plane and saw two U.S. Navy F-4 Phantom jets.

“So we are between [the Americans] and the coastline of North Vietnam. I didn’t like that idea too much,” he said.

Lenton retired from the military in 1970 and served as a civil police officer in Sussex before moving to Calgary in 1980, where he spent 22 years with the Calgary Police.

He said he did not find the transition from the UK to Canadian police difficult because Canadian law is based on UK law.

“Treat everybody how you would like to be treated and if that happens then everybody will be fine,” he said.

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