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Dedication to police officer

Created on 08/12/2011 @ 09:25

 A police officer who died of a heart attack after being involved in a ‘violent arrest’ has been recognised for his efforts over 100 years after he died.

As highlighted by mynewtown earlier this year, PC William Davies, 43, died on 16th November 1903 and was buried at St Nicholas Church, Montgomery. But with his gravestone falling into a state of decay, little was known about the officer or his family, except that his death was recorded in the National Police Officers Roll of Honour.

The Roll of Honour stated he “died as a result of heart failure accelerated by a violent struggle during an arrest.” Although a man named Thomas Davies was arrested and taken to court following the incident, insufficient evidence led to him being acquitted. An inquest had previously recorded a verdict of manslaughter.

Now, 108 years after his death and a plea for information about him which resulted in worldwide responses, Dyfed Powys Police has recognised the PC Davies with a ceremony at his grave in Montgomery and the re-dedication of a new headstone.

The newly refurbished headstone was restored to its former glory and unveiled at a recent ceremony which included Chief Constable Ian Arundale, Lady Mayoress Cerys Thomas, and Michael and David Davies, great grandsons of the deceased policeman. The service was conducted by the Rev Mike Powell, himself a former police officer with the City of London Police.

Mr Arundale stated the importance of commemorating past sacrifices and traditions and their relevance to those entering the Police Service today – and expressed his appreciation to all those attending.

He added: “Police Officers who are killed in the line of duty merit a special gratitude for paying the ultimate price, thereby ensuring the safety of members of their community.
“This level of dedication from a serving officer should be continually recognised so that further generations in the community can acknowledge the courage and commitment demonstrated by Police Officers such as the late PC William Davies.”
A Presentation File was given to Michael Davies (Great-Grandson) who accepted with thanks on behalf of the family.


PC William Davies’ story timeline:






·       There was little known of the actual circumstances surrounding PC Davies’ death other than what was recorded in the National Police Officers Roll of Honour which stated he ‘died as result of heart failure accelerated by a violent struggle during an arrest’.
·       Dyfed-Powys Police initiated a request to trace descendants of PC Davies through the local news media. This generated a surprising number of responses, not only from local people, but also from across the world – and most remarkably from one of PC Davies’ descendants, Mr Michael Davies who is his great-grandson.
·       Further investigations of various sources were developed, including local historians Ann and John Welton, Dawn Gill in the Powys Archive, National Library of Wales and The National Archive in Richmond, Surrey.
·       Originally, it was thought that PC Davies died after attempting to arrest sheep rustlers in Montgomery. The Montgomery County Times dated 21 November 1903 revealed the true facts behind PC Davies’ early death. He did in fact have an altercation with a local Inn-Keeper, also named Davies but not a relative.
·       He had arrested Thomas Davies after a violent struggle but later that night suffered a heart attack and died. The resulting Inquest returned a verdict of manslaughter and Thomas Davies was accordingly charged. In January 1904 he appeared in the Montgomeryshire Assizes but on the direction of the Judge, Sir Walter Phillimore, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. This was apparently due to the evidence of the pathologist who stated that William was in a poor state of health and could have died at any time.
·       PC Davies was buried in Montgomery after a grand funeral attended by many local residents and dignitaries.