William John LORD
( late of Miranda )
New South Wales Police Force
Regd. # 7671
Joined the NSW Police Force via NSW Police Cadet system on 2 June 1952
Cadet # 1011
Stations: ?, No. 4 Division from 15 December 1953, Traffic Branch – Sydney
Service: From 2 June 1952 to 23 December 1958 = 6+ years Service
Born: ? ? 1934
Died on: 23 December 1958
Cause: Injuries received from a Motor Vehicle Pursuit collision
Event location: Cnr Alison Rd & Wansey Rd, Randwick
Funeral date: ?
Funeral location: ?
Grave location: Woronora Cemetery, Sutherland
Roman Catholic Section, 3B
About 5pm on 23 December, 1958 Constable Lord was riding a Police Public Safety Bureau motor cycle in Alison Road, Randwick, when he became involved in the pursuit of a speeding motor cycle. At the intersection of Wansey Road another vehicle began to turn in front of the oncoming police cycle. Seeing the police cycle approaching the driver of the vehicle took evasive action, however a collision occurred and Constable Lord was thrown from his cycle and onto another car. Although admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital he died a short time later.
The constable was born in 1934 and joined the New South Wales Police Force as a cadet on 2 June, 1952. He was sworn in on 5 December, 1953. At the time of his death he was attached to the Traffic Branch, Sydney.
Death: 589/2959 Father: Keith Silvester Mother: Dorothy May
November 6, 2004
Alone in his patrol car, Chris Thornton had the police siren flashing as he chased a white sedan through Woy Woy.
Thornton, 35, a highway patrolman, had been in the force for 15 years. He was, his mother says, “the best driver I have ever seen”.
The reason for the chase that night in April 2002 is unknown. Both cars were seen travelling at high speed. Thornton was about 50 metres behind.
Meanwhile, Leonard Rowley, 56, an unlicensed driver, was driving to his local KFC to pick up dinner. He saw the first car flash past and judged – wrongly – that he had time to turn out in front of the patrol car. Thornton tried to avoid Rowley’s car but clipped the back, veered onto the wrong side of the road and hit a power pole.
Thornton died on the spot, which is marked by a permanent stainless-steel cross. Rowley later received a suspended two-year sentence.
“His life from the age of 12 was about helping people,” says Thornton’s mother, Freada Thornton. “He was in the surf club and he was there to rescue people and then he went into the force and he was doing the same thing.” His father, Barry Thornton, says: “He loved life. He had been in Gosford for 15 years and was so popular with the community there.”
Police pursuits are, says Barry, a necessary evil: “If they don’t catch the criminals there will be more deaths on the roads. The ones that they’re in pursuit of are the idiots that have done the wrong thing to start with.”
But pursuits have come at a cost to the NSW Police Department. Fifteen officers have died as a result of high-speed chases, beginning with the death of Constable George Boore in 1937.
Details provided by the NSW Police Association show a steady stream of fatalities involving cars and motorcycles. The full list of casualties is as follows:
April 2, 1937: Constable George Boore;
June 2, 1954: Constable Cecil Sewell;
November 14, 1958: Constable Brian Boaden;
December 23, 1958: Constable William Lord;
October 14, 1961: Constable James Kinnane;
September 7, 1963: Constable Colin Robb;
December 2, 1976: Constable Terry Moncur;
January 3, 1985: Constable Wayne Rixon;
July 25, 1985: Detective-Constable Steven Tier;
October 20, 1987: Constable Themelis Macarounas;
August 24, 1988: Constable Peter Carter;
June 13, 1989: Constable Peter Figtree;
June 14, 1989: Senior Constable Glenn Rampling;
January 14, 2001: Senior Constable James Affleck;
April 13, 2002: Senior Constable Christopher Thornton.