Harold William STURGISS
( late of Emu Plains )
New South Wales Police Force
Regd #. 1943
Uniform # I690
Rank: Constable 1st Class
Stations: George St North Police Station, Granville, Penrith ( since 11 December 1928 ) – Death
Service: From 29 October 1924 to 2 February 1939 = 14+ years Service
Awards: No Find on It’s An Honour
Born: ? ? 1902 in Tarago in the Goulburn District
Died on: Thursday 2 February 1939
Cause: Motor Vehicle Accident – Police motor cycle rider
Location: High Street, Penrith approaching ( Victoria Bridge ) Nepean River bridge
Funeral date: Friday 3 February 1939
Funeral location: C of E portion of Penrith general cemetery
Buried at: Plot 14, Row AB, Anglican 1 Section ( unmarked grave ),
Cox Ave, Kingswood
The unmarked grave of Harold is the dirt to the left of the well kept grave in the foreground
On the afternoon of 2 February, 1939, Constable Sturgiss was riding a police motorcycle outfit along High Street, Penrith. As he was negotiating a bend approaching the bridge over the Nepean River, the wheel of the sidecar struck the kerbing of the roadway. The cycle veered across the roadway and collided with a truck travelling in the opposite direction. Constable Sturgiss was thrown heavily to the roadway, sustaining severe injuries. He died in hospital a short time later.
The West Australian dated 3 February, 1939 contained the following brief paragraph relating to the constable’s death.
CONSTABLE’S FATAL INJURIES. SYDNEY, Feb. 2 –
Constable Harold William Sturgiss (37) died in the Nepean District Hospital today from injuries he received when his police motor cycle collided with a motor lorry on the eastern end of the bridge over the Nepean River at Penrith.
The constable was born in 1902 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 29 October, 1924. At the time of his death he was stationed at Penrith.
NSW Birth, Deaths & Marriages
Birth: 12276/1902 to David J & Margaret E STURGISS
The Sydney Morning Herald Friday 3 February 1939 p 9 of 26
STURGISS.- The Relatives and Friends of Mrs.
H. W. STURGISS and FAMILY, of Emu Plains, are invited to attend the Funeral of her dearly beloved HUSBAND and their dear FATHER, Harold William Sturgiss; to leave his late residence, Emu Plains, This Day, at 3.30 p.m.. for the Church of England Cemetery, Kingswood.
T. J. ANDREWS, A.F.D.A..
23-25 Enmore Road, Newtown.
Nepean Times ( Penrith ) Thursday 9 February 1929 p 1 of 8
Fatality at River Bridge
DEATH OF CONSTABLE STURGISS
As briefly mentioned in the second edition of last issue, Constable Harold William Sturgiss (36), of Penrith Police Force, died in Nepean District Hospital last Thursday afternoon from injuries received shortly before when a motor cycle and sidecar he was riding got out of control at the eastern end of the Victoria Bridge, over the Nepean River, and ran into a motor lorry. The accident happened shortly after 1 p.m., when the constable was returning to his home at Emu Plains.
Approaching the bridge the constable was travelling on his correct side of the roadway, when the wheel of the sidecar struck the kerbing along the footpath. The wheel, it seemed, travelled hard on to the kerb and then suddenly swung across the roadway to the right hand side, striking the off front corner of a heavy motor truck carrying five tons of sand and travelling east.
Apparently the constable’s chest came in contact with the off corner of the lorry and then slid along the side, striking the off rear wheel. This threw him off the machine on to the roadway.
The district coroner, Mr E. F. Rule, held an inquiry into the fatality at Penrith Court House yesterday.
Sergeant Sheridan stated that approaching the bridge from the eastern end there was a very sharp curve to the left, and eyewitnesses stated that as the motor cycle was being driven around the curve the wheel of the sidecar struck the kerbing on the left hand side going west, and then suddenly the cycle swung to the left with the sidecar up in the air. Deceased appeared to make every effort to right the cycle, but failed to do so, with the result that it struck the motor truck with great force.
The Ambulance was soon on the scene and he was taken to Penrith Hospital.
Deceased was regarded as a very careful motor cycle rider, stated the Sergeant, and had been riding departmental bikes for ten years. The bike used on this occasion was in good repair, added the Sergeant.
Cedric Russell Neville, contractor, residing at Merrylands, stated that he was at present employed carting gravely sand, and blue stone from the Emu Plains Gravel Coy’s. works to the Water Board’s construction works at Eastern Creek. At the eastern end of the river bridge his lorry was doing about 10 – 15 miles an hour. The motor cycle ridden by the constable came round the bend on its correct side. Witness was on his correct side. The sidecar wheel bumped the kerb, and the car immediately jumped into the air. Then the cycle swerved across to witness’s lorry, striking the off rear wheel. Witness stopped immediately Some lady in the vicinity immediately rang for the Ambulance.
Dr. Barrow, who examined deceased at the Hospital, stated that his injuries were a fractured right arm, a double fracture of the right forearm, extensive fractures to the ribs on the right side of the back, pelvis bone fracture, and extensive shock. The cause of death was shock and visceral
The coroner extended sympathy to the bereaved widow, and stated that deceased’s record as a police officer was of the highest, and it was a tragedy that the career of a man so young should be cut off in this way.
A verdict of accidental death was returned.
The late Constable Sturgiss was born at Tarrago 36 years ago and was the son of Mr and Mrs D. Sturgiss, of that town. Deceased joined the New South Wales police force in Sydney on 29th October, 1924. He was attached to George Street North and Granville stations before coming to Penrith on 11th December, 1928, and had carried on duties here as a motor cyclist of the force. He had been residing at Emu Plains since 18th March, 1929.
Constable Sturgiss was a very efficient officer of the force and both in his official and private capacity enjoyed the esteem of many who knew him. He was obliging, courteous, and conscientious, and his tragic passing is a great sorrow to many friends.
He is survived by Mrs Sturgiss, a son (Ramond) and daughter (Norma).
The funeral, on Friday afternoon, was one of the most largely attended in Penrith for some time, the force and the civilian population being well represented. It was Impressive evidence of the esteem in which the deceased was held as an officer and as a citizen.
The cortege left deceased’s residence at Emu Plains at 3.30 p.m., escorted by four police motor cyclists, who acted as pall-bearers.
At Riley Street the procession was joined by the Police Band and a contingent of police of Penrith and surrounding stations, as well as some from the city.
Inspector Cannell, of Parramatta, represented the Commissioner of Police.
The Police Band and police unit escorted the cortege as far as the police station, after which the members proceeded to the cemetery by cars.
The interment was in the C. of E. portion of Penrith general cemetery, the service being conducted by the Rector. Rev. R. S. Capple.
Numerous wreaths were forwarded including wreaths from Penrith and Parramatta police and the Police Officer’s Association, Sydney.
It was an official funeral and the casket was draped with a Union Jack.
The P.A.F.S. and L.O.L. Orders were largely represented, deceased being secretary of the local lodges in each ease.