Since the earliest days of the New South Wales Police Force there has been deaths of those who chose to serve starting way back in 1803, with the death of Constable Joseph Luker of the Sydney Foot Police his death was the first recorded death of a member of the Police in Australia. While patrolling on foot at night in Back Row East, Sydney Town (now Phillip Street Sydney), the Constable was attacked and killed. His body was found the following morning with the guard of his cutlass embedded in his skull. Four offenders later faced court, where three were acquitted (including two fellow Constables) and one was sentenced to death (later commuted when three attempts to hang him failed).
However, the first death of a member of the new Police Force formed in 1862 occurred when Constable William Havilland was accidentally shot at Orange whilst returning from Eugowra Rocks, where he had been guarding the gold escort which had earlier been bailed up by bushrangers.
Because of the problems with bushrangers Special Constables John Carroll, Patrick Kennagh, Eneas McDonnell and John Phegan were secretly sworn in as part of a covert operation to capture bushrangers who had shot and killed Constable Miles O’Grady at Nerrigundah in 1866. The four Special Constables were ambushed at night at Jinden (near Braidwood) and killed. Their deaths represent the largest loss of Police lives in a single incident of this type in Australia. Later that year, the Campbell Commission of Inquiry into the State of Crime in the Braidwood District was established. This was the first Royal Commission type inquiry into the NSW Police.
In 1945, the Force also saw the death of Constable Eric Bailey who was shot at Blaney. Constable Bailey was posthumously promoted to the rank of Sergeant Third Class and awarded the George Cross – remaining the only Australian Police officer to be awarded the then highest award for civilian bravery under the Imperial Honours then in force.
In 1963 Constable First Class Cyril Howe was shot and killed at Oaklands after his pistol jammed. He was able to write his attacker’s name in his official notebook before his death. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Sergeant Third Class and awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for Gallantry. His death lead to the adoption of the Smith & Wesson .38 calibre revolver as the standard Police sidearm in NSW.
Senior Constables Peter Addison and Robert Spears were shot and killed at Crescent Head in 1995. As a result of these deaths, the Glock self-loading pistol was adopted as the standard sidearm for Police. Bullet resistant vests were also generally made available to operational Police.
These are just a few examples of those who have died in the line of duty, as mentioned in earlier posts the New South Wales Police Force have an honour roll of those who have paid the ultimate sacrificed in the execution of their duty.
This official NSW Police Honour Roll records the name, rank, date and a precis of each death which has been accepted as duty-related by the various Commissioners (and Inspectors General) of Police of the day.
Also included on the Honour Roll is the first recorded death on duty of a serving member of any Australian Police jurisdiction.
Unfortunately due to the nature of policing, this Honour Roll will never be complete
The complete list of officers can be found here:
I counted the names and there were 245 on the roll
May they rest in peace – lest we forget.