Tales from the Crypt
Back street abortionists, sly groggers and late night illegal nightclub operators.
All flourished during the early years of World War II as off-duty American troops based in and around Auckland descended on the city in search of sex and booze.
Police used covert tactics to try and counter the associated problems and also enlisted members of the newly formed plain-clothed women's division to help.
The work was dangerous and a big step-up from the clerical duties some of them had been previously lumped with by male bosses who were uncomfortable with the feminine additions to their ranks.
But it did earn them a healthy respect with colleagues and members of the public - paving the way for future generations of women seeking careers in frontline policing.
Cadet soldier Edmund Hartneady's sense of humour earned him a laugh or two on parade at Kingsland in 1922 but ultimately landed him in court.
The 18-year-old was lined up with other members of his company when he made a comment at the expense of his commanding officer.
He might have been showing off in front of his dad Frank who was seated on the porch of their house in Second Aveand watching the lineup just a few metres away.
But his quip - a cheeky offer to take command - resulted in loud laughter among his mates and ended with his arrest under the Defence Act 1909 on a charge of interrupting a parade.
Edmund appeared in court on March 22 where his good conduct record, along with a sincere expression of regret, saw him let off with a warning from the magistrate and an order to pay court costs.
A boy's tomfoolery turned horribly tragic on August 29, 1943 when young Ronald Hannken died under the wheels of a train in New Lynn.
The Mt Albert Grammar School pupil was perched on the handlebars of a bicycle ridden by his mate Claude McLeod when it was hit on a level crossing at Portage Rd.
The boys had borrowed the bike from another youth after spending a portion of their day at the Titirangi Golf Course.
They were heading towards great North Rd when they spotted the Maungaturoto-Auckland train coming their way and stopped to let it pass.
Claude, 14, misjudged his takeoff a few seconds later after failing to realise that more carriages were still on their way through.
The death of John Wrightson Burns on January 16, 1932, quickly turned into a double tragedy that no one anticipated.
John was just 27 when he succumbed to illness in Auckland Hospital and his demise was widely mourned.
The young accountant was survived by his Temuka-based parents James and Maggie along with at least three siblings.
All were heartbroken.
But it was his fiancee, a young school teacher named Gwendolyn Dunckley, who took the news the hardest.
It was a sad end to a promising career Fourteen-year-old apprentice jockey William McGonagle drowned while swimming with mates in the Kauaeranga River in Thames on February 24, 1924.
The young Ponsonby resident was in town to compete at a race meet when a quick dip between training sessions went horribly wrong.
With him were two other riders named Alphonsus Maguire and Nelson Byers.
William spent some time bathing in the shallows before venturing out into more challenging depths.
The water was lapping around his neck by the time the current started to push him further midstream.
Blog terms and conditions
You're welcome to post in the comments section of our blogs. Please keep comments under 400 words. When submitting a comment, you agree to be bound by our terms and conditions.