Well-repected police officer who tackled infamous cases

PUBLISHED: 10:25 27 May 2015 | UPDATED: 10:26 27 May 2015

Dick and Doreen Bass - with some of Dick's trademark floral buttonholes

Dick and Doreen Bass - with some of Dick's trademark floral buttonholes


He was known and loved as ‘Mr Rose of Reedham’ but he was also a skilled and accomplished police officer who worked on some of the notorious and heartbreaking Norfolk murders and mysteries.

Former Norwich policeman Dick Bass, who has died aged 93.Former Norwich policeman Dick Bass, who has died aged 93.

His name was Dick Bass, a former detective inspector, a man respected by those who broke the law and loved by so many other people, who has died aged 93.

He was a skilled scenes-of-crimes officer who worked on cases which included the disappearance of April Fabb in 1969, the discovery of the headless body at Cockley Cley, the murder of Susan Long, the Norwich Union clerk whose body was discovered at Aylsham in 1970, and the Heidi Redding murder at Downham Market.

The former head of Norfolk CID Maurice Morson, said: “Dick was a legendary scenes-of-crime officer over very many years and his genial personality and infinite charm endeared him to all who came in contact with him, both inside and outside the police force.

“He took the time to guide and advise many young officers and was never short of a pertinent observation or a humorous quip,” he added.

“Sporting his regular flower button-hole and with kindly and appropriate words he could diffuse tragedy and despair with his own special brand of counselling and sympathy. We have lost a man not just appreciated but revered, not just a colleague but a friend,” said Maurice.

Dick had retired from the Norfolk Constabulary in 1980 after almost 30 years of exemplary service. In retirement he became known as ‘Mr Rose’ of Reedham as he sported a rose in his button-hole. He always had time and a smile for all those who had the privilege of meeting him.

Born at Taverham Hall when it was a nursing home in the 1920s his parents, Ada and Richard, lived at Ringland and his father, who worked for the council, was also a Baptist lay preacher.

Young Dick went to the village school and then to City of Norwich School before going to work at Jarrold in the chemistry department where he became an expert in photography.

When the Second World War broke out Dick joined the RAF. He ended up serving a dozen years travelling around the world. He spent some time as a wireless operator/gunner on flying boats in the Indian Ocean, reaching the rank of flight lieutenant.

He met the love of his love, Doreen, in The Walk in Norwich at the end of the war and they were married on Boxing Day 1945 at St Barnabas’ Church, Norwich. They settled in the city and a few years later Dick left the RAF to join the police force.

Dick served with the much-loved and highly regarded Norwich City force. He was at the forefront of tackling crime but never discovered who pinched his chicken which he kept at the old Hellesdon railway station at Christmas of 1955!

He reached the rank of sergeant but in 1958 his career changed course and he became a detective specialising in scenes of crime and was one of the best in the business.

When the city force ceased to exist ten years later he transferred to the Norfolk Constabulary working on many of the most serious cases and it was his evidence which often brought criminals to book.

Dick retired in 1980 as detective inspector and he and Doreen, who died a few years ago, moved to Reedham where they played a leading role in village life.

He was involved in many groups and organisations and was President of the Royal British Legion branch and was also an active member of the Norwich City Police Association and the Norfolk branch of the National Association of Retired Police Officers.

He was also famous for his legendary home brew which, it was said, could blow your socks off, and for growing and wearing his roses.

Former colleague the late Basil Kybird, told me a few years ago: “He was a wonderful caring man as a police officer, husband, father, grandfather and a friend of many. A true gentleman.”

Dick leaves two daughters, Susan and Jane, and four grandchildren, Matthew, Katie, Kelly and Benjamin.

-A memorial service will take place at Reedham Church on Sunday May 31 at 3pm and the funeral will be at St Faith’s Crematorium on Tuesday June 2 at 4.15. All are welcome. Button-holes can be worn.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press