R. Dist. Comp Raymond Norman Dinning

R. Dist. Companion Raymond Norman DINNING – 87 years.

Born 29th MARCH 1934        Died 13th OCTOBER 2021.

Many of us are aware of R Dist Comp Ray as a Freemason.

He was a Past Asst. Provincial Grand Master in the Craft,

Past 2nd Provincial Grand Principal in the Holy Royal Arch Chapter.

Past Provincial Grand Master in the Masonic Order of Athelstan.

Past Provincial Grand Supreme Ruler in the Order of the Secret Monitor.

Past Grand Chancellor in the Ancient and Masonic Order of the Scarlet Cord.

He also held Senior Grand Rank in other Masonic Orders of which he was a member.

I think we can all agree, that Very Dist. Comp. Ray, had quite a distinguished career in Freemasonry, but what did he achieve outside of Freemasonry in his working and private life?

On 24th July, 1950, he joined Durham County Constabulary, as a Police Cadet, stationed at  Chester-le-Street Divisional Office, until 22nd August 1952, when he was ‘called up’ for National Service where he served in the Royal Air Force Police, better known as a ‘Snowdrop’.

After completion of his two years’ military service he returned to the Durham Force, where he commenced his initial Training and Probationary service on 4th December 1954 and  completed on 4th December 1956. Twenty days later on 24th December 1956, he was ‘posted’ to Chester-le-Street CID and appointed a Detective Constable. (The youngest appointed Detective Officer in the Force at that time).                                               


I was a Durham County Constabulary Police Cadet, serving at Consett, then Stanley Police Stations from 1954 until 1956. During this time I had no knowledge of a Police Officer named Raymond Norman Dinning. I was ‘called up’ for military service in the Royal Military Police in 1956 and following my de-mob in 1958 was appointed a Police Constable with Durham County Constabulary.

Following Initial Police Training at the Police Training School, I was ‘posted’ as a Probationary Constable to Chester-le-Street Police Divisional Office as a Town Beat Constable that year. It was then that I first met Detective Constable Ray Dinning, who was to become a work colleague and a very good friend until his unexpected ‘passing’ on 13th October 2021.

Also serving as a Police Officer at Chester-le-Street at that time was a Policewoman No. 48 Margaret Rose Dawson, who in 1961, R. Dist. Companion Ray married. They set up the marital home in Chester-le-Street. They had two children, Steven then Tracey. Sadly Margaret died in April 2017.

Ray was promoted to Detective Sergeant on 25th March, 1963 and ‘posted’ to HQ CID and formed and developed a new Department, which was to become known as the Criminal Intelligence Department, with a Regional operational responsibility for the Northern Force areas; these being Durham, Northumberland, Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, East Yorkshire, York City and Hull City.                                           

The formation and inauguration of the Regional Crime Squads throughout the UK took place on 1st April 1965 and on that date,

Ray was posted to the Darlington Branch Office of the No. 2 Regional Crime Squad as Detective Sergeant. The Crime Intelligence Department which he had founded, merged at the same time as a Unit within the No. 2 Regional Crime Squad Headquarters Administration. During this time, he was involved with the Scotland Yard Murder Rooms and was subsequently trained by those Officers in their systems of Murder Investigations and Administrations. Having gained the necessary expertise, he was appointed and designated as the No. 2 Regional Squad Murder Room Administrator with a responsibility to administer, when requested, all murder investigations within the Region.

On 25th May, 1970, he was promoted to Detective Inspector,  and ‘posted’ to Gateshead Divisional CID, remaining there for two years. During this period he wrote the Durham Manual and trained officers within the Force in the setting up and running Major Investigation Administration Systems. This being the forerunner to what ultimately became nationally known as “The Holmes System”, developing together with and using Computer Technology.

On 23rd January 1972 he was promoted to Detective Chief Inspector and seconded to No. 2 Regional Crime Squad as Officer Commanding the Mid Durham Branch.  He remained in this post for nearly 4 years and on 19th July 1976 he returned to Durham Force and was ‘posted’ to develop and take command of the Discipline and Complaints Department at Police Headquarters, Aykley Heads, Durham.                                                                                                                                                                    

On 1st January 1977, he was promoted Superintendent and remained as Commander of the Department, until 27th February 1980, when he returned to the Criminal Investigation Department, as Detective Superintendent and Deputy Departmental Head of the Force CID.                                                         

On 11th November 1981, he was again seconded to No. 2 Regional Crime Squad, with the rank of Detective Chief Superintendent as the Regional Commander of the Squad, with Branch Offices in Newcastle upon Tyne, Durham, York and Teeside.

He returned to the Durham Force on 20th August 1984 and took on the post of Divisional Commander of Chester-le-Street Division.

On 19th January 1985, he was ‘posted’ to Police Headquarters, Aykley Heads, on appointment as Temporary Assistant Chief Constable (Ops). Unfortunately, this appointment, due to an administrative error, contrary to Police Regulations and relative to Police Service in other Forces, when appointing Chief Constables, their Deputies and Assistants, the Officer who Ray was replacing, could not be appointed to a higher rank, which meant he had to be re-instated and Ray had to revert to his Divisional Commander role.  He retired from Police Service in June 1989.

Dist. Comp. Ray, is also known and credited with introducing and developing the E-mail system at the Offices of Provincial Grand Lodge at Sunderland.

In his private life he was also a member of the Magical Circle.

He was an accomplished wood turner, and had his own  turning lathe in his garage.                                                     

He played musical instruments; the Cornet, trumpet, clarinet, guitar and his speciality, the spoons.

Ray is survived by his son Steven and his wife Jennifer, his daughter Tracey and her partner Jo, his grandchildren Kirstie and Andrew and his great grandson, Archie, who was born on Wednesday 10th November 2021.

Ray was a born leader, a wise counsellor, a great friend. A man who in life, was highly respected and who died, deeply regretted.

Written by Dist Comp Thomas W. Urwin IV PGStB