Pc Joe Mullins retires from the Docks



Was picked for special duty at stations when royal visitors arrived

Pc Mullins

“One of Southampton’s best-known docks policemen, Pc Albert Edwin (Joe) Mullins, has just retired from the British Transport Commission Police after 45 years’ service.

He joined the railway police service in July 1910, and since August 1912, has been on duty in Southampton.

Pc Mullins is a familiar figure who will be missed in Southampton Docks not only on the entrance gates, where docks police are continuously on duty, but among the warehouses and sheds where he was often on patrol.



He was born in Wimbledon, where his father, the late Alderman Edwin James Mullins, was a railway signalman for 52 years. Alderman Mullins was Mayor of Wimbledon from 1937- 8, and for his services was made a Freeman of the Borough.

Two years after starting duty in Southampton Docks. World War I began. Because of the shortage of police, Pc Mullins remained on duty at Southampton.

Between the two wars he spent many years travelling about the Southern Region on special duty. His tasks included being on duty at railway platforms all over the area when royal visitors were expected. They included such race meeting stations as Epsom, Ascot and Goodwood and he was frequently in the Isle of Wight.



When he joined the Railway Police the conditions were 12 hours’ duty a day, one day off every three weeks, and three days holiday a year. Top rate of pay was then 26s a week.

“It wasn’t always easy then” he explained. “If overtime were offered, people were not always keen to do it after working for 12 hours a day, but people managed and were able to bring up families”.

He can recall many of the large liners, now no longer in existence, which used to visit Southampton Docks when he first went on duty. At that time, Ocean Dock, where the Ocean Terminal now stands was just being completed. It was known first of all as White Star Dock.

Pc Mullins, whose home is in Loane Road, Sholing intends to stay in Southampton.”


Pc Mullins’ Gallery:

(Click on each photo to enlarge)

With thanks to the Southampton Sotonians and Friends Facebook Group.
With contributions from William Burns and Jeff Mullins (Joe’s Grandson).
And BTPHG members David Caplehorn and Ian Oliver.