A FEW weeks ago, we ran a feature on these pages about York policeman Brian Holland. Among the photographs supplied for the feature by Brian's son Kevin was one showing another policeman, PC Arthur Helps, standing on guard duty outside the Mansion House in 1948 during a visit by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

Arthur Helps? What a great name for a policeman, one reader commented on Facebook.

A great name indeed. So good, in fact, that there was more than one generation of York policeman to carry the name.

PC Helps' daughter Chris Robinson (née Helps, of course) has been in touch with more photos of her father - and also of her Great Grandfather, also Arthur Helps, who was a Minster Policeman before and after the First World War.

There were actually three successive generations of men with the name Arthur Helps, Chris says: her great-grandfather, the Minster Policeman; his son, also Arthur, who worked on the railways; and Arthur Junior's son, another Arthur, who became PC Helps, Chris's dad.

We actually wrote about Arthur Helps the Minster Policeman in a Yesterday Once More feature in The Press in 2007. His grandson Les Helps supplied us with a series of photographs and memories of his grandfather. That Arthur Helps served in the army during the First World War, and later used to sport an impressive army moustache, which Les remembered watching him twirl at his house in Orchard Street.

He kept a diary during his time with the Minster Police, from which we were able to quote. One entry, for July 11, 1918, described a week of night shifts. Imagine that: on duty alone all night in the Minster...

"During my week on night duty each night I came on I found the hose unrolled ready for use and rolled them up each morning and left all clear when I went off duty and handed the keys over to PC Barker at 7am," Mr Helps wrote, clearly unperturbed by his night duties. "The windows in the Zouche Chapel are out of order and I had to climb up to close them as you cannot pull them down with the pole."

This Arthur Helps appears to have had three sons, judging by a photograph of them taken at a Territorial Army Camp in Redcar in about 1932. One was also Arthur. He went to work on the railways - and he named his son Arthur in turn. It was this Arthur - Christine's father - who became PC Helps.

He too served in the Army during the war - the Second World War, this time. He spent time with both the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and with the Black Watch, and he retained his military bearing all his life, Chris says. "His back was ramrod straight until the day he died!"

He was a policeman in York from 1947 until 1977 - possibly inspired by the example of his grandfather, the minster policeman. He liked the disciplined life of the army, Chris remembers, and after the war it had been suggested he could stay on as an NCO. But he wanted a family - and didn't believe it would be fair to drag them all over the world. The police seemed a natural alternative.

Hence that photograph of him standing, with impeccable military uprightness, outside the Mansion House during the Royal Visit in 1948.

He remained a PC most of his career, becoming an Acting Sergeant only shortly before he retired. But he was a policeman who inspired awe and respect in those he dealt with, remembers Chris, who lives in Strensall.

While he may have been stern in demeanour, he was always scrupulously fair in the way he dealt with people, Chris says. "He always used to say that the secret to good policing was in public relations." That included an instinctive understanding of when to make something official, and when not to. "There was a young man in the 1950s who my dad caught scrumping apples." The policeman gave the lad a severe talking to - but never reported it or told the boy's father. "Twenty-five years later, that young man still remembered my dad," Chris says.

To Chris, of course, he wasn't the stern policeman at all: he was just her father. "And he was the best dad in the world!"

Stephen Lewis