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Issue No. 395 September 2015

Sacrifices remembered

Police staff who died from accidental injury or illness as a direct result of their duties will be remembered at Police’s Remembrance Day this month for the first time.

A project to consider appropriate recognition for staff - other than the 29 slain on duty whose names are inscribed on the memorial wall at the Royal New Zealand Police College (RNZPC) - has so far identified 38 people.

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae with Commissioner Mike Bush and Police Executive members at last year’s national Remembrance Day ceremony.
Photo: Gareth Davies, RNZPC

“It’s been our wish for some time to also formally remember other employees who died as a direct result of their police duties,” says Commissioner Mike Bush. “Their contribution is part of our history and they need to be formally recognised.”

The Recognition Project was established in 2013 to identify employees whose loss may not have been previously recognised nationally.

The panel studied 705 cases and has so far identified 38 who meet the criteria: they were police employees, on duty and executing their duty, and died from injury or illness arising.

They include victims of vehicle crashes, drownings, accidents and disease. They range from the avoidable – such as typhoid caused by poor conditions at police premises – to the heroic, for example Constable Denis Mahoney, killed by an explosion after re-entering a blazing building.

The earliest case is that of Senior Constable Henry Porter, who drowned at Port Chalmers in 1887; the most recent is that of Pam Brien, who died in the Christchurch earthquake in February 2011.

The list includes officers lost when the police launch Lady Elizabeth II capsized in Wellington Harbour in 1986 and when the Eagle helicopter collided with an aircraft over Auckland in 1993.

Some relatives of the 38 so far identified have been invited to attend Remembrance Day services on 29 September. The national service at the RNZPC will be live-streamed on the New Zealand Police national Facebook page from 11am.

The research, led by Police Museum Director Rowan Carroll, former Inspector Mike Hill and Sergeant Braydon Lenihan, with support from contracted researcher Dr Elizabeth Plumridge, continues.

Who they are:


Constable Adam BEGG (1926), Auckland – hit by train
Constable Neils BERNTSEN (1941), Whanganui - drowned
Administrator Pamela BRIEN (2011), Christchurch earthquake
Constable George BROOKING (1896), Waihi – blood poisoning
Constable Richard BYRNE (1940), Napier – diving accident
Constable James COTTER (1890), Auckland - typhoid
Constable Andrew CUMMINGS (1946), Auckland – vehicle crash
Constable Norman DAVIS (1939), Auckland - fall from tram
Constable John ELSTONE (1936), Auckland – motorcycle crash
Sergeant Lindsay (Lou) GRANT (1993), Auckland – Eagle helicopter crash
Detective Anthony HARROD (1990), Taranaki – fall from helicopter
Constable Henry HENDERSON (1932), Christchurch – knocked off cycle
Constable Peter HERITAGE (1983) – vehicle crash
Constable Glenn HUGHES (1986), Wellington – Lady Elizabeth sinking
Detective Travis HUGHES (2005), nr Queenstown – plane crash
Constable Alan LIDDELL (1976), Grey River - drowned
Constable Denis MAHONEY (1914) Upper Hutt – explosion
Constable Luke McDONNELL (1901), Auckland – illness
Sergeant Archibald McPHEE (1910), Auckland – food poisoning
Constable Michael MITCHELL (1898), Auckland – typhus
Sergeant Florence O’DONOVAN (1897), Napier – drowning
Constable Patrick O’GORMAN (1935), Auckland – hit by taxi
Constable Cornelius O’SHEA (1887), Auckland – illness
Senior Technician Glenn PHILLIPS (2000), Waikato – helicopter crash
Senior Constable Henry PORTER (1887), Port Chalmers - drowning
Constable James ROBINSON (1891), Westport – accidental head injury
Constable Gregory ROWE (1978), Wellington – drowning
Constable Alastair SAMPSON (1993), Auckland – Eagle helicopter crash
Constable James SHIELDS (1933), Huntly – car hit by train
Constable Hercules SPENCE (1919), Auckland – heart failure after assisting arrest
Constable Alfred STEPHENSON (1897), Napier – drowning
Detective Sergeant Robin THOMPSON (1973), Manawatu Gorge – vehicle crash
Constable Graeme Stuart WACKROW (1984), nr Dannevirke – vehicle crash
Senior Sergeant Philip William WARD (1986), Wellington – Lady Elizabeth sinking
Constable Thomas WARD (1896), Lyttelton – fall from train
Constable William John WATT (1939), near Waimate – vehicle crash
Constable Charles WILLIAMS (1935), Waikato River – drowning
Constable Philip WIPATENE (2004), Taranaki – vehicle crash

See next page for some of the stories behind the names.


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