John William Kew



11 July 1900






Police Constable



West Riding of Yorkshire Constabulary



Homicide - Shot

Duty Status


On Duty

Roll of Honour Citation

Died the day after he was shot twice at close range as he tried to disarm two men.

Died in Rotherham Hospital the day after he was shot twice at close range as he tried to disarm two men.


John Kew joined the West Riding Constabulary only a month before his 24th birthday on the 5th February, 1895. He was born in Langton, near Horncastle in Lincolnshire and had been working as a farm labourer before joining the Constabulary.


Appointed as PC 680, he was posted to the Upper Osgoldcross division. Just over a year later, he was transferred again, this time to the Rotherham Division.


The Backhouse Brothers lived on Kew’s patch in Swinton, Rotherham. On the 10th July, 1900 reports say the brothers were using a revolver to threaten people in Rotherham.


PC Kew came to the Backhouse residence at 11:30pm and stated he was entitled to search them. At this point Charles Backhouse pulled out a revolver and shot PC Kew. Reports state that, though wounded, Kew attempted to wrestle the revolver from Charles Backhouse. At this point his brother took the revolver and, apparently uttering “Here’s another one for you!”, shot PC Kew again. Sergeant Danby arrived with other officers having been summoned by onlookers and PC Kew told Sergeant Danby what had happened.


PC Kew was rushed to Rotherham Hospital by the colliery ambulance but died from his injuries the following day.


PC Kew’s personnel notes state that he ‘Died at 2:10pm on the 11th July 1900 the effects of being shot by a revolver at Swinton at 11:30pm on the 10th by two men.’