We actively research all those Police Officers (includes Watchmen, Parish Constables etc) who have lost their lives whilst on or in the line of duty throughout history. This often overlaps into general Police history, whilst this is not our primary function we do have an appreciation of it and our researchers are generally very interested in Police history.
If you are researching an officer who is recorded in the UK Police Roll of Honour (please click here to check) or believe the officer should be (please provide an explanation) we have extensive archives, although not entirely complete, and will be happy to assist.
If you are researching a relative who was a Police Officer we may be able to assist but if they have not died on or in the line of duty there would be a cost for this undertaking, all our researchers are volunteers and the fees would cover the cost of accessing various archive materials. Please contact us to discuss.
Research into those men and women recorded in the UK Police Roll of Honour is ongoing and we constantly seek to enhance our knowledge and improve our archive. One such example is the case of Head Constable Owen Ward, one of our researchers sought to expand our information to ensure that for the 100th anniversary of his death we had a much fuller understanding of his death and indeed who he was.
On the 10th October 1918 Head Constable Owen Ward, Royal Irish Constabulary, was off to London for official Constabulary business and he boarded the Royal Mail Ship Leinster at Carlisle Pier, Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire), Co. Dublin. The ship was bound for Holyhead, Anglesey which was a regular shipping route and vital to move troops, people, supplies and even the post between Ireland and Wales for onwards movement.
RMS Leinster set sail shortly after 9 am despite warnings from some Royal Navy warships that the Irish Sea had been particularly rough due to poor weather near Anglesey. Roughly an hour into the voyage some of the passengers up on deck saw a torpedo heading for the Leinster’s port side but it missed, passing in front of the ship.
The Leinster had been targeted by German submarine UB-123, not to simply give up the Leinster was again targeted and a second torpedo struck the port side of Leinster and destroyed the ship's onboard postal sorting room, 21 of the 22 Dublin Post Office workers lost their lives in the blast. As there were, relatively, few casualties the Captain decided to turn the ship about and began slowly sailing back to Kingstown whilst launching lifeboats.
A third torpedo was fired and struck the starboard side now the Leinster had turned, the damage was catastrophic and the Leinster began to rapidly sink. The damage the third torpedo caused and the sinking led to the loss of over 500 lives, only 1 month and 1 day before Armistice.
Head Constable Ward was one of those to lose his life when the RMS Leinster sank. Head Constable Ward was 38 years of age, he was survived by his wife of 11 years, Rosina and their four children. Having joined the Royal Irish Constabulary on the 1st September 1899 Head Constable Ward had seen service throughout Ireland with postings to Co. Donegal, Co. Londonderry, Belfast, Co. Sligo, Co. Galway and Co. Clare.
The submarine responsible, UB-123, struck a mine on the 19th October 1918 and went down near Orkney. All 36 crew lost their lives.