Police Deaths in NSW – 1788 to 1996 (4)
In Remembrance of those Police Officers who gave their life
1 May, 1872.
On 1 May, 1872 the Sergeant was returning to Cowra from Bathurst Court. En route, he was told that two offenders wanted for robbery, George Gray and William Bristow, were at Daniel Horan’s dwelling (hut) at Binnie Creek, 12 miles from Cowra. The Sergeant rode over to investigate, and as he approached the door of the hut, the two offenders emerged and shot him. William Bristow was George Grays’ nephew. The Sergeant was born in 1839 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 5 January, 1863. At the time of his death, he was stationed at Cowra.
|BLAIN, John Vance
20 June, 1877
The Constable died in Sydney on 20 June, 1877 under unknown circumstances. His headstone, at Sydney’s Rookwood Cemetery, reads “A record of his brave conduct for arresting and bringing to justice a notorious burglar at whose hands he received such savage injuries as to ultimately cause his death”. The Constable was born in 1850. At the time of his death he was stationed in the Metropolitan District.
|ARMYTAGE, George Robert COSTIGAN, Michael
11 September, 1877.
Constable George Armytage, Constable Michael Costigan and Sub Inspector Keegan were all shot during an affray at the Royal Hotel, Bourke, by a barman at the hotel, Samuel Getting. As a result, both constables were killed, and the Sub Inspector seriously wounded. The offender committed suicide by drowning immediately after the incident.Constable Costigan was born in 1853 and joined the New South Wales Police Force in the early 1870s. At the time of his death, he was stationed at Bourke.
Constable Armytage was born in 1855 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 4 May, 1877. At the time of his death, he was stationed at Bourke.
20 September, 1878
On 18 September, 1878, Sergeant Wallings, Senior Constable William Souter and Constable John Walsh, were searching for a gang of bushrangers when they set up a bush camp near the Wonbobie Inn, Marthaguy Creek (near Warren). The following day at 6am, the three Police rode to the inn where they suspected they might find the bushrangers. Constables Souter and Walsh remained on guard outside while Sergeant Wallings approached the inn. Meanwhile, Constable Souter saw a man about 50 metres away carrying a rifle. He rode over to him and was told he would be shot if he came any closer. Souter called to the other Police who rode down to him. Sergeant Wallings then advanced on the man and pointed his revolver at him. Sergeant Wallings then fired a warning shot and told the man to surrender, however the man replied that he himself would fire if the Police came any closer. Senior Sergeant Wallings then advanced on the man and pointed his revolver at him. The man then turned suddenly and dropped to one knee. As he did so, he fired at the Sergeant, hitting him in the chest. In the confusion the offender ran a short distance away and took cover from the Police. A short gun battle took place, however, the offender, being far better armed with a rifle, compared to the Police revolvers, managed to escape. The two Constables then directed their attention to assisting the wounded Sergeant. The wound suffered by Sergeant Wallings proved to be severe, and he unfortunately passed away. The Sergeant was born in 1838 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 15 July, 1855. At the time of his death, he was stationed at Dubbo.
| WEBB-BOWEN, Edward Mostyn
23 November, 1879.
In November, 1879 a gang of young bushrangers led by Andrew Scott (Captain Moonlight) attacked MacDonald’s farm at Wantabadgery, holding the occupants captive for two days and nights. Eventually one of the captives, Alexander MacDonald, escaped, rode to Wagga Wagga and alerted the Police. A party of Mounted Police were quickly dispatched to the area and a gun battle ensured. During a lull in the shooting, while the Police retired to await reinforcements, the gang managed to escape. They rode to nearby McGlede’s Farm where they again took siege in the farmhouse from the increasing numbers of Police who attended from as far away as Gundagai and Adelong. Again a shootout ensued between the two sides. One young offender, Gus Wernicke, moved into the yard in an attempt to shoot Police horses and was quickly shot to death. In a further exchange of fire another bushranger, James Nesbitt, was also shot and killed by Senior Constable Webb-Bowen. During this last exchange, Webb-Bowen was fatally shot in the throat.The Senior Constable was born in 1851 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 11 March, 1875. At the time of his death, he was stationed at Gundagai.
Constable 1st Class
12 March, 1885.
Early in the morning of 12 March, 1885 two prisoners in the lockup at Coonamble overpowered an attendant by the name of White who had gone into their cell to clean it. He was knocked to the floor and his revolver taken from him. Hearing the scuffle, Constable Mitchell arose from his bed and ran to the cells. One of the prisoners, a man called Angel, warned the Constable not to come into the cell, however Mitchell ignored this and lunged at the prisoner. As he did so he was shot in the chest. He died the following day. Both prisoners, Angle and Thurston, made good their escape, however both were later shot to death by Police.The Constable was born in 1855 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 27 September, 1878. At the time of his death, he was stationed at Coonamble.
Constable 1st Class
13 August, 1885.
On the evening of the 13 August, 1885 the Constable challenged a group of drunken Kempsey Park laborers near the bridge over the Cooks River at Canterbury. This group were returning to camp following a day on the grog in the city, and had been causing a disturbance. One of the men, named Birch, then became involved in a scuffle with the Constable, and while this was going on another of the group struck the unfortunate Constable Hird on the head several times with an axe. The Constable was killed instantly.The Constable was born in 1852 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 5 July, 1882. At the time of his death, he was stationed at Canterbury.
| SUTHERLAND, David
3 June, 1889.
In the early hours of 3 June, 1889 the Constable was patrolling Macleay Street, Potts Point, when he saw a man enter the yard of a house and walk to the rear of the dwelling. The Constable detained the man a short time later as he left the premises, and spoke to him regarding his actions. When the man attempted to leave, the Constable took hold of him and again asked what he was doing. The offender told the Constable to let him go or he would shoot him. A struggle ensued, and when both men lost their balance, the offender shot the Constable, inflicting a fatal wound. As they were on the ground, the offender again fired at the Constable who drew his baton and struck his attacker. Constable Sutherland was then able to take the revolver from the offender, however as he was quickly losing his strength due to his wounds, the offender quickly retrived the weapon and escaped. He was very quickly arrested by other Police. Constable Sutherland died later that day. The death of Constable Sutherland was certainly one factor which led to the general arming of Sydney Police in 1894. Country area and mounted police had always been armed.The Constable was born in 1863 and joined the New South Wales Police Force on 11 October, 1887. At the time of his death, he was stationed at Darlinghurst.