Liverpool City Police

Kings Police Medal

by peter dellius Ret.

Kings Police Medal (Gallantry)

On the 23rd January 1909, two heavily armed Lettish (Latvian) immigrants staged an armed robbery at a Rubber Factory in London and set in motion a protracted almost “Keystone Cops” chase around London in what later became known as the Tottenham Outrage. The two men in the course of their attempted escape murdered Police Constable William Tyler and 10 year old Ralph Joscelyne. The offenders later committed suicide rather than be taken alive.

The above incident was believed to be the catalyst required to bring into being some kind of Royal reward for Police Bravery other than to rely upon civilian awards which did not cater for criminal acts. On the 7th of July 1909 The Royal Warrant was signed by King Edward the VII and the Kings Police Medal was instituted. The first 3 recipients were Metropolitan Police Constables, Cater, Dixon and Eagles who had been involved in the above chase.

The Kings Police medal can be awarded for Gallant or Distinguished Conduct. This article is concerned only with Medals awarded for Gallantry and with regard to the Liverpool City Police.

It did not take long after the institution of the Kings Police Medal for the City of Liverpool to feature in an award. However, the recipient was not an officer of the Liverpool City Police, but any account of the Kings Police Medal with regard to Liverpool would not be complete without inclusion of Constable Philips.

Constable Joseph Philips - Birmingham City Police

The Liverpool Transport Strike of 1911 was a very violent confrontational time for the Liverpool City Police and assistance was sought from the Birmingham City Police; a contingent arrived in the City with Superintendent Boulton.

On the 13th August of that year riots took place on Lime Street and St Georges Plateau. Superintendent Boulton with 20 men was detailed to clear Lime Street. He did so on two occasions, whilst his men were withdrawing Superintendent Boulton loitered to watch the crowd but was struck by a heavy missile, his leg was broken and he fell to the ground and was viciously attacked, the only officer to notice was Constable Philips who ran back and stood astride his felled leader and with a baton attempted to fend off the rioters. He was severely beaten with bricks, iron bars, bottles and knives but was instrumental in saving his Superintendents life. His head was slashed wide open and he was near collapse when other officers arrived to the rescue.

It was not until 1917 that a Liverpool Officer was rewarded with a Kings Police Medal. However, the gallant deed for which it was awarded did not take place on the Streets of Liverpool City but in Lancashire.

Chief Inspector George Albert Oakes - “H” Division (Fire Brigade) Liverpool Police

On the 1st October 1917, a disastrous fire took place at an ordinance factory at Morcambe, despite 1500 persons being employed there the only fatalities were among the firefighters, numerous Fire Brigades were called in to assist, including the Liverpool City Police Brigade. For his Gallant conduct in fighting the fire Chief Inspector Oakes was awarded the Kings Police Medal.

Constable Thomas Brown

On the 5th June 1919, during the dreadful Race Riots of that year, Constable Brown attempted to arrest a man armed with a revolver, the man struggled violently and shot the officer in the neck. Constable Brown survived but was in hospital for several months.

Constable James Fox

On the 5th June 1919, during the Race Riots, Constable Fox was on duty near Great George Square, when he heard shouting nearby and upon entering Gt George Street he saw several men attacking two old men, he drew his baton and waded in to the rescue. The males were armed with knives and razors; the officer was stabbed and slashed in a frenzied attack. He was in hospital for two months.

Constable James Benstead 
On the night of 25th April 1922, the river was very angry and a storm was raging when the officer entered the River at the Pier Head and rescued a 17 year old girl from drowning.

Constable John Harold Clarke

On the 13th October 1926, an armed robber shot a bank clerk and escaped with cash, he was seen running by the Constable who gave chase despite being shot at several times. The robber then stopped and as the officer was not deterred from giving chase, shot him in the upper body. Upon the officer falling to the ground the offender made good his escape.

Constable William Henry Smith

Late at night on the 1st June 1927, the Constable rescued a male from drowning in the River Mersey at Georges Landing Stage.

Detective Sergeant William Guthrie Mattinson

On the 27th September 1927, the officer was in the area of Copperas Hill in consequence of being tasked to arrest a male wanted for the murder of Essex Police Constable Gutteridge earlier in the year. The Sergeant knew the man to be armed and dangerous but on seeing him in the street attempted to arrest him. The man drew a pistol pulled the trigger, the weapon jammed and he was arrested and after a trial at the Old Bailey was hanged.

Constable Arthur James Skellern

For the Rescue of a female from drowning in the River Mersey late on the evening of 6th March 1934 at the Goods Stage, Pier Head. Also awarded the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society Marine Medal.

Constable Walter Gittings

At 1.25am on 8th August 1935, the officer saw a man leap into the Leeds Liverpool Canal in an act of suicide. The Officer attempted a gallant rescue but to no avail and the mans body was later recovered.

Constable John Tiernan, “A” Division

At 11pm on Saturday 16th November 1935, Constable Tiernan dived into the Salthouse Dock and rescued a violent suicidal female.

Constable 250 “E” Robert Arthur Sebborn

During the Afternoon of 14th August 1937, the officer at great peril removed a young boy from the live rail track on the railway line near Longmoor Lane. Despite the officers attempt to save the child he was dead on arrival at hospital.

Constable Thomas Smith Harrison

On the afternoon of 25th March 1939, rescued a violent suicidal male from drowning in the river Mersey at the Pier Head landing stage.

Constable Francis Edward Dodd

On 31st March 1939, for the Gallant removal of an IRA bomb which had been placed in a shop. It was later rendered safe. Several other devices exploded in the City that night.

Constable George Dodd

At 4.50 in the morning of 22 June 1939, the officer heard screams in Burnley Street, Liverpool 6. He made to the scene and found a dwelling house well alight. The Constable entered and rescued two females and two babes in arms.

Constable Thomas Arthur Benn
Constable Leslie Walter Lacey

At 3.15am on morning of 29th March 1941 the two motorcycle officers attended a well alighted fire at a dwelling house where several people were trapped by the blaze.
The Constable forced entry and rescued a Mr. Cambell and 3 children; they were assisted from the house by Constable Lacey whilst Constable Benn went in search of Mrs. Cambell and two other children who were still inside the dwelling. All four perished in the flames. Constable Benn’s medal was awarded posthumously.

Constable Francis Henry Jones
Constable James Ratcliffe

On the evening of the 17th March 1947, a man was shot inside the Seaman’s Club, Upper Stanhope Street. The officers were informed the male offender had made off but was still armed. A search was made and the male was located in Percy Street, he warned the officers that he would shoot them if they approached him. The Constables rushed him and he shot at them several times but was overpowered and after a violent struggle was arrested.

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