Claude William Alexander BOVARD
New South Wales Police Force
Regd. # ?
Rank: Constable 1st Class
Stations: Mudgee, Gilgandra, Dubbo, Wellington, Grenfell, Bathurst x 2, Forbes ( for 7 – 8 months )
Service: From ? ? 1897? to 29 September 1915 = 18 years Service
Died on: Friday 1 October 1915
Cause: Suicide by firearm
Inquest held: Saturday 2 October 1915
Funeral date: ?
Funeral location: ?
Buried at: ? in Sydney alongside of his 3 brothers & mother
Forbes Court House location
Leader ( Orange, NSW ) Monday 4 October 1915 page 1 of 6
POLICE CONSTABLE’S SUICIDE.
First class Constable Claude William Bovard, who was convicted at Forbes and fined last week for robbing a prisoner of £1, ended his life on the steps of the Forbes court house on Friday last by putting a bullet from a revolver through his brain.
Bovard was stationed at Grenfell prior to going to Forbes, and came of one of the most respectable families on the Richmond River. His death will be a great shock to his mother, brothers and sisters, who reside at Lismore. His first station after leaving the depot in Sydney was Mudgee; from there he was drafted to Gilgandra, thense to Dubbo, Wellington, Grenfell and Forbes. He was comparatively a young man, and, being of a sensitive nature, no doubt the degradation to which he had fallen was too much for him to face, and he sought relief by committing felo de se.
The Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 5 October 1915 page 6 of 14
AN EX-CONSTABLE’S SUICIDE.
Claude William Alexander Bovard, an ex-member of the Police Force, shot himself dead with a revolver on the verandah of the Forbes Courthouse on Friday afternoon. At the coroners inquiry on Saturday morning a verdict of suicide was returned. Deceased was 42 years of age, and a native of Berrima. He had been 15 years in the force.
National Advocate ( Bathurst ) Thursday 7 October 1915 page 4 of 6
Forbes Policeman’s Suicide
TOOK HIS DISMISSAL TO HEART ” I AM AN HONEST MAN ” INQUEST ON EX-CONSTABLE BOVARD.
A coronial inquiry was held at Forbes concerning the death of ex-Constable Claud Alexander Bovard (42), who killed himself with a revolver on Friday last. Bovard had been convicted of having robbed a prisoner of £1, and was dismissed from the force, but always strongly maintained his innocence. He conceived a great dislike for Constable Fuller, who gave evidence against him. and declared to the Clerk of Petty Sessions (Mr. Wickham), just before he shot himself, that Fuller would walk over his blood. He then shot himself on the Court House verandah with Fuller’s revolver.
Bovard had been in the police force for 18 years and had been twice stationed at Bathurst. He went from Bathurst to Forbes seven or eight months ago.
He claimed to be well connected and said he was a cousin by marriage to Sir George Reid, and he also claimed relationship with Mr. McCourt, an ex-Speaker in New South Wales Parliament, and Superintendent Sutherland, of the Police Department.
Dr. Edward McDonnell declared that the bullet wound through Bovard’s head was apparently self inflicted.
Inspector Whitfield stated that Bovard was under the influence of liquor on the day of the occurrence. He came into witness’ office and said : ” I am an honest man and I never took that pound. ” Bovard shook hands and said he was leaving Forbes. Bovard had seemed to take his dismissal very much to heart and resorted to drink.
Aubrey S. Wickham, C.P.S., described Bovard’ s good-bye visit. Bovard asked him to tell the P.M. that he was not guilty, and added that Fuller would walk over his blood. Bovard then went outside and the fatal shot rang out immediately.
Sergeant Garstang said that early on the Friday afternoon Bovard asked him what time Fuller came on duty. Witness replied, ” Six o’clock, ” and Bovard said, ” Ah, that will do me. ” Half an hour afterwards Bovard was dead. Witness searched the body and found a three penny bit and a penny piece and some odds and ends. Bovard had no property except a tin trunk and some clothes.
Constable Fuller said the service revolver produced was his. He left it in his bed at the Police Barracks on Friday morning. Bovard had no right to be in possession of it. He had not seen Bovard during the few days prior to his death.
John William Seyers stated that when Bovard said good-bye to him he was crying and witness thought he was going to the war. Bovard said; ” Oh, my God, they swore lies against me here. ” Three minutes afterwards he heard a shot.
The Coroner returned a verdict of suicide.
The Dubbo Liberal & Macquarie Advocate
Friday 8 October 1915 page 4 of 8
CONSTABLE BOVARD’S DEATH.
A coronial inquiry was hold at Forbes concerning the death of ex-Constable Claud Alexander Bovard (42), who killed himself with a revolver on Friday last.
Bovard had been convicted of having robbed a prisoner of £1, and was dismissed from the force, but always strongly maintained his innocence.
He conceived a great dislike for Constable Fuller, who gave evidence against him, and declared to the Clerk of Petty Sessions ( Mr. Wickham, just before he shot himself, that Fuller would walk over his blood. He then shot himself on the Court House verandah with Fuller’s revolver.
Bovard had been in the police force 15 years, and had been stationed at Dubbo. He claimed to be well connected, and he was a cousin by marriage to Sir George Reid, and he also claimed relationship with Mr. McCourt, an ex-Speaker in the N.S.W. Parliament, and Superintendent Sutherland, of the Police Department.
Forbes Advocate Tuesday 1 October 1918 page 3 of 4
In everlasting memory of our darling son and brother, Claude Bovard.
Inserted by his mother, brothers and sisters.
Had ye not mine honor at the stake
And bated it with all the unmuzzled thoughts
That tyranous heart can think.
Forbes Advocate Tuesday 30 September 1919 page 2 of 4
BOVARD: In memory of my beloved
son Claude Bovard, who lost his life at Forbes, 1st October 1915.
Inserted by his mother, brothers, and sisters.
Northern Star ( Lismore ) Monday 28 January 1924 page 4 of 8
LATE MRS. BOVARD
The death of Mrs. L. Bovard, of ” Lome House,” Glebe Point, which took place recently, removed another link with the early days of the Berrima and the Richmond River districts. Mrs. Bovard spent most of her life in those districts, where she and her late husband were held in high esteem by a large circle of friends.
Their long residence upon the Richmond River was spent at Goonellabah, upon the farm now owned by Mr. J. James, and afterwards in Lismore, where they reared a large family, the members of which were worthy of their revered parents.
One son, Mr. Cecil Bovard, served his time on the “Northern Star,” and afterwards entered the service of the Postmaster-General in Sydney, where his brother Percy held a high position. The sad death of another son, Senior-Constable Claude Bovard at Dubbo, was followed by the deaths from pneumonia and influenza, of the two sons in the Postal Department, within a space of three or four years. From this crushing blow Mrs. Bovard never recovered, and it has brought about her early death.
After the loss of her husband Mrs. Bovard removed with her family to Sydney.
The surviving members are one son, Sergeant Hedley Bovard, of the Maryborough (Qld.), police force, and three married daughters.
News ( Adelaide, S.A. ) Friday 30 December 1927 page 11 of 14
TRIANGLE OF DEATH
Police Figure in Murders
SHOT THROUGH WINDOW
When Constable Ford murdered Mrs. Laws and then shot himself at Leichhardt, Sydney, he completed a tragic triangle of death.
He was the third constable who has served at Grenfell, to die by violence.
Constables Claud Bovard and George J. Duncan were the other two.
More than ten years ago Ford and Bovard served together at Grenfell, and Duncan was stationed there soon after they left.
Bovard committed suicide by blowing out his brains three days after he left the police force.
Duncan was murdered by two men, both of whom were later hanged.
Six lives, which have ended unnaturally, were thus linked together.
The three were physically fine men. Constable Duncan was transferred to Tottenham when trouble was brewing in the district. Falling foul of two men, he was murdered one night in his office. The police station was a hut with two rooms. Duncan was sitting at his desk with his back to the window, typing. The blind was up, but the window was closed. Creeping to the window, the two men could see Duncan clearly in the flood of light from an oil lamp. They drew their revolvers and from the darkness fired two shots through the glass into Duncan’s back, killing him instantly. Later they were arrested, convicted, and hanged in Bathurst Gaol.
In New South Wales, since January 25, 12 murders have been committed, which is twice the number that have taken place in Victoria over the same period. With three exceptions, all have taken place in Sydney, and three have been committed in Ashfield.
Four murders have not yet been solved and jealousy and domestic unhappiness have been the cause in most of the remaining cases.
The Braidwood Review & District Advocate
Tuesday 3 January 1928 page 4 of 8
When Constable Ford murdered Mrs. Laws and then shot himself at Leichhardt recently, he completed a tragic triangle of death. He was the third constable who has served at Grenfell to die by violence.
Northern Star ( Lismore ) Thursday 26 January 1928 page 12 of 12
DEATH OF SERGEANT BOVARD
Mr. N. C. Hewitt writes:— Old residents of Lismore will regret to learn of the death of Sergeant Hedley Bovard, of the Queensland Police Force, who was for over twenty years a resident of Lismore. His death took place at the Mater Misericordiae private hospital, South Brisbane, on January 14th at the early age of 46 years.
The late Senior Sergeant Bovard was a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Bovard, for many years resident in Ewing Square, Lismore.
Coming to the district when quite a small boy the family for some years were engaged in farming at Goonellabah on the farm now owned by Mr. Alf. James. This was in the latter “eighties.” He was educated at the Goonellabah public school. When the family removed to Lismore, if I mistake not, he entered the employ either of Mr. W. D. Lamotte or of Mr. C. Balzer, who had livery stables in Molesworth-street near the Freemasons’ Hotel.
In 1905 he joined the Queensland police and was for some years stationed in North Queensland in different centres and in difficult situations, afterwards being in charge at Bundaberg and Maryborough. Later he was acting-inspector at Chillagoe, but the climate forced him to apply for a change to the south. Then he was placed in charge at South Brisbane, Hamilton and various other Brisbane stations. His men under him held him in the highest regard.
As one remarked to the writer “If Bo. could not do you a good turn he would never do you a bad one.”
Quite recently Sergeant Bovard developed heart trouble and at the end of September he had to go into hospital. His two sisters, Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Pitt, went up from Sydney and he appeared to make a wonderful recovery. He decided to retire on a pension well earned for service in the climatically unfavourable North.
Early this year the heart trouble returned with dramatic suddenness and his sisters, including Miss Ethel Bovard, were summoned from Sydney when alarming symptoms manifested themselves. His condition rapidly became worse and he passed away peacefully as stated.
His death came as a shock to his comrades as well as to his sisters. The remains were taken to Sydney for interment beside those of his mother and three brothers and were accorded a State servant’s funeral, attended by all the available members of the force.
Sergeant Bovard‘s death is a particularly sad one. By his passing the last surviving male member of the Bovard family passes away without leaving a descendant to carry on a name that was honoured in Lismore a quarter of century ago.
Fifteen years ago the family included four strapping sons – young men of fine physique of whose lives one could have taken a lease.
The first break came when Senior Constable Claude Bovard of Wellington Police Force died under pathetic circumstances. Then during the pandemic Cecil (who served his apprenticeship with the Northern Star) of the G.P.O. staff died from influenza, shortly to be followed by his elder brother Percy of the same department, from pneumonia.
Percy was one of the first, if not actually the first telephonist in Lismore.
The shock of losing her three sons was too much for the grief-stricken mother who shortly afterwards was called to her rest. Now the sole surviving son in the prime of life has been carried to that bourne whence no traveller returns.
The deceased gentleman was a devout member of the Church of England. To the bereaved sisters the sympathy of all who remember the family will go out.
This is the third death within six months of sergeants of police in Queensland who hailed from the Richmond River — Sergt. King, Sergt. D’Arcy McDonough and Sergt. Bovard — and it can be written of each that he was a credit to the sons of the Richmond River district who in peace or war have won new fame and glory.
His working life as a policeman:
Wellington Times ( NSW ) Thursday 14 January 1904 page 3 of 8
ACCUSED COMMITTED FOR TRIAL.
The Coroner (Mr. R. Porter) held an inquest at the Court House on Monday touching the death of one (supposed) Edward Carson, who died at the Wellington Hospital on Saturday night from injuries received, it was alleged, in a disturbance at Winters’ Hotel at about 6.30 p.m. on Saturday.
The following jury was empanelled — Messrs. R. Read (foreman), R. Tait, F. Kennard, J. Walker, J. W. Marshall, L. N. Hyeronimus, J. T. Mallon, J. B. Wynne, W. J. Robinson, F. W. Everett, and A. Deveson.
Sergeant Steele conducted the case on behalf of the police.
After the jury had viewed the body, the following evidence was adduced : —
Constable Claude Bovard, sworn, deposed: In consequence of a message which came to the police station on Saturday evening about 6.30 went to Tattersalls Hotel kept by J. Winters ; made some inquiries from Mr. and Mrs. Winters and then went into a yard at the rear of the hotel ; saw William Henry Davis, now present in custody, behind a water tank in the yard ; said to him ” I want you to come with me ” ; he replied ” All right, Constable ” ; Davis and I proceeded along to the intersection of Lee and Gisborne-streets ; Davis said, ” What are you arresting me for ” ; replied ” Am arresting you on suspicion of inflicting grevious bodily harm on a man whose name is unknown to me ” ; he asked, ” Is the man dead ” ; replied ” No, not yet ” ; he said, ” You know you b—– c—– but you won’t tell me. ” Coaxed Davis along a bit further down the street, and he became very violent and resisted ; obtained assistance and brought him to the look up ; then returned with Constable Byrne to Winters’ Hotel there saw the deceased, subject of this inquiry, who was lying on a couch in the parlor of the hotel ; viewed the body today at the hospital with the jury ; deceased was lying on his back ; he was unconscious and breathing very heavily ; procured a conveyance and took him to the hospital ; went back and saw deceased lying dead about 1 o’clock on Sunday morning ; there were no marks and no blood about the body ; produce papers ( A.W.U. ticket and shed references ) – handed to me by Sergeant Steele and was informed that they were found on the body of deceased ; also produce a watch and one gold ring handed to me by Sergeant Steele ; the nine pence in cash and other small articles were handed to me by the Matron at the hospital ; was informed they were found on deceased ; saw Davis now before the Court in the lock-up about 7 o’clock last night in the presence of Constables Byrne and O’Reilly ; asked him his name ; he replied Henry Davis ; said ” I now charge you with feloniously and maliciously slaying and murdering one Edward Carson, at Wellington on the 9th January, 1904 ” ; then said ” You are not compelled to make any reply to the charge, but whatever you may say will be taken down in writing and used either for or against you at your trial ” ; in reply to the charge he said, ” Is that the man I hit at Winters’ Hotel ” ; I said ” Yes “; he asked ” Is there anything wrong with him ” ; I replied ” Yes, he is dead ” ; he replied ” I only hit him one blow with my fist and he fell into the gutter ” ; Constable Byrne then said ” Was he a stranger to you ” ; he replied ” Yes, I have never seen him before.”
John Henry Luke, sworn, deposed: Am 18 years of age and live with my parents at Wellington ; left home at 6 o’clock on Saturday evening and went to Winters’ Hotel ; saw William Henry Davis, now in custody, there ; there was a row ; saw a man leaning against a post ; now know him as Edward Carson ; post is the one used for hanging horses up to at the edge of the footpath ; Davis struck the man under the jaw ; the man fell backwards on the kerb stone ; the back of the man’s head struck the kerb stone ; was standing about a yard and a half away ; was leaning on the other end of the rail ; the man lay there ; some men picked him up and put him on the seat under the verandah ; never heard the man say anything to Davis ; he was not quarrelling with Davis or anyone else ; he was standing quietly leaning against the post ; he made no attempt to defend himself ; the blow was struck suddenly with the shut fist without any warning ; saw the body of deceased this morning at the hospital ; identify the body as that of the man Davis struck.
To the jury : Davis was standing by the post ; there was no one with Davis, and there was no altercation of any kind.
To Davis : Did not see a big man between you and deceased ; saw a few men standing around you ; heard no conversation, but some words were passed between you and deceased which I did not hear ; you were under the influence of drink.
To the jury ; Deceased was quiet in bis demeanor ; Davis seemed excited ; heard Davis speak to Carson, but did not hear Carson speak.
George Buckley, sworn, deposed : Am a laborer at present residing at Wellington ; was at Winters’ hotel on Saturday evening last about 6 o’clock ; saw William Henry Davis now before the court ; saw another man named Carson, whose body I saw at the hospital yesterday afternoon ; there was a row on with Davis and another man ; do not know the other man ; deceased was standing against the post to which horses are tied ; deceased was not saying a word to anyone ; was about five yards from deceased ; saw Davis strike deceased with his right fist about the jaw ; deceased fell back from the post, the back of his head striking the kerb stone ; two other men and myself picked deceased up and placed him on a seat on the verandah ; deceased was unconscious ; Mr. Winters wet deceased’s lips with rum ; about half an hour afterwards deceased was carried inside and laid on a stretcher ; deceased never spoke; never saw deceased before ; myself and another man then informed the police ; in the meantime Davis was brought to the police station.
To Davis : When I picked up deceased he was not bleeding ; saw you strike deceased ; deceased did not give you any cause ; was not there in the morning ; went to Winters’ about 5 o’clock; did not see any thing else occur ; saw you and another man having a row.
George Curwan Rickes, sworn, deposed : Am a laborer residing at Wellington ; was standing at Cox’s corner opposite Winters’ Hotel about 7 o’clock ; the man rowing with Davis was a little dark man ; saw deceased standing against a post ; he was struck ; recognise Davis as the man who dealt the blow ; saw accused fall ; saw deceased had a nasty fall and went across ; saw Davis start to walk up the street ; had a clear view of deceased, but there were other men standing between me and Davis.
To a juryman : Deceased was standing quietly at the post.
James Wright Winters, hotel keeper, sworn, deposed : Saw a dead body at the hospital ; saw the deceased at my hotel on Saturday ; have since heard his name was Carson ; Davis was also there ; was at the tea table at about 6 p.m. or a little after, when I heard there was a wrangling on in front ; came through the bar and out into the front of the place ; saw two or three men carrying the deceased from the horse rail onto the seat on the verandah ; had a look at him and tried to rouse him up ; poured some water on his forehead and on his wrist ; moistened his lips with brandy ; some time after that deceased was carried into a little sitting-room and put on a couch ; went in and saw deceased ; he did not seem to be any better than when he was on the verandah : then sent for the doctor : before the doctor arrived the police came down and removed him to the hospital ; saw Davis when I came out of the bar ; he went away from the place and came back a little while after ; saw deceased about half an hour before he was carried in ; he was then sober, but had two or three small brandy gaffs ; he appeared in perfect health ; had no conversation after with Davis ; sent a messenger to the police before this had happened, in consequence of a disturbance with Davis and a man called Darkin.
To the jury : Davis wanted to quarrel with Carson ; deceased wanted to fight with Davis in the morning for money ; Davis was the cause of the quarrel ; Davis was walking through the place bumping up against everybody, and bumped against Carson and then wanted to fight ; Carson was not the aggressor in any way ; did not hear Carson call Davis any bad names ; Carson was at my hotel off and on through the day and was very quiet.
Adjourned till 2.10 p.m.
Christopher Hewitt Siggons, sworn, deposed : Have seen the dead body of Edward Carson, the subject of this inquiry ; deceased had been staying at my place ; he came there on Thursday morning between 9 and 10 o’clock ; he had a bicycle, and engaged a room ; saw him last about 5.30 on Saturday afternoon ; he was still staying at my place ; he left my place and went in the direction of Winters’ Hotel ; he was quite sober and apparently in good health ; never saw him before Thursday morning ; heard some one call him Ted ; did not know his name ; he appeared to be 25 years of age ; said he had come from Dubbo ; paid his way as he went along ; saw some silver with him ; saw no quantity of money with him.
To the jury : Deceased was as quiet a young fellow as had ever stayed at my place ; he might have been away from my place during the day.
Charles Hunter Graham, sworn, deposed : Am a legally qualified medical practitioner, residing at Wellington ; received a call on Saturday night last between 9 and 10 o’clock; saw a patient named Edward Carson ; examined him, and found him suffering from concussion of the brain ; examined him for any external wounds or injuries, but found none ; he died about 2.20 the same night ; he remained unconscious all the time he was in the hospital ; on the following day made a post mortem examination with the assistance of Dr. Linton ; the body was that of a man about 5ft 11in in height, well nourished ; there were no external signs of violence sufficient to account for death ; there was one small contused wound on the centre of the back, and a bruise on the back of the head ; after opening the body found all the organs normally healthy with the exception of the right lung, it having a slight form of pleurisy; nothing to account for death ; on examination of the head there were considerable swelling and concentration of blood in the tissues on the right side on the back of the head ; on removing the skull, on the interior of the skull on the brain on the right side there was a considerable amount of recent blood clot ; on further examination there was a small v shaped fracture at the thinnest part of the skull, about ¾in above the right ear ; this caused death ; deceased must have fallen with very great violence ; from a blow from a man’s fist, falling back on the kerbing would be sufficient to cause the fracture ; he must have fallen on the right side.
To the jury : do not think the fracture of the skull could be made by a blow from a man’s fist; there were no marks on the face; it would be quite possible to render a man unconscious from a blow.
Joseph Phillip Ward, sworn, deposed : Am 16 years of age and reside with my parents at Wellington ; was at Winters’ Hotel on Saturday night last between 6 and 7 ; saw William Edward Davis there on the footpath and several other people ; saw Davis walk over and hit Carson with his fist ; Carson fell with the back of his head on the kerbstone ; he was picked up and and carried in.
Ernest Alfred Fulton, sworn, deposed : Am a storekeeper residing in Wellington ; have seen the dead body of deceased, subject of this inquiry ; previous to that saw him alive on Wednesday and Thursday morning ; was talking to him on Thursday morning ; knew him at Kiama ; he was working there for a butcher ; am not sure whether his name is Carson or Callaghan ; could almost swear knew the man as Callaghan ; told me he had been working out back on a station, and came from Dubbo ; deceased was looking for work.
William Henry Davis declined to give evidence. VERDICT.
The jury returned the following verdict after a retirement of 40 minutes :- We find that the said Edward Carson died from concussion of the brain caused by a fall from a blow delivered by William Henry Davis on the 9th January, 1904, at Winters’ Hotel, Lee-street, Wellington. We further find the said William Henry Davis guilty of murder.
The accused, William Henry Davis, was committed to stand his trial at the Circuit Court to be holden at Dubbo on the 13th April, 1904.