Police officers stood together today in solidarity and remembrance to honour the service and sacrifice of officers who have fallen in the line of duty.
At National Police Remembrance Day services held around the country, officers paused to commemorate and pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting their community.
“Today is a sombre and important day for all police jurisdictions across Australia,” said Tasmanian Commissioner Darren Hine.
“As we come together and light a candle in memory of each of our fallen officers we remember the sacrifices they paid for their community.”
As part of the Wall to Wall Ride for Remembrance earlier this month, two historical bereavements were added to the Tasmania Police Memorial Baton scroll.
Constable William John Williamson aged 31, Beauty Point
According to a newspaper report on 27th December 1889, Constable William Williamson failed to return from Beaconsfield where he was attending to a task which required him to ensure instructions issued by the Board of Health, in relation to diphtheria patients, was being adhered to (Launceston Examiner 27 Dec. 1889). Constable Williamson had to travel by boat to get to these patients; he left early on Monday 23rd December in a police boat. After he failed to return within a couple of days, a search party was organised on Christmas morning. They found the missing police boat but no sign of Constable Williamson. His coat was found in the boat and his shirt on the rigging; the paddles and rudder were missing. This led to the assumption he attempted to swim to shore.
Constable (Edward) John Woodward aged 27, Bridport
According to newspaper reports in the Launceston Examiner on August 26th and the Tasmanian Newspaper on Saturday 30th August, 1879, Constable Woodward was crossing a very low lying bridge over the Great Forester River on the evening of 20th August 1879 when his horse slipped and they both fell into the water. Due to high tides and extensive rainfalls the bridge was prone to be covered in water making it dangerous and difficult to cross; the evening Constable Woodward crossed the bridge it was under water. The newspaper reports surmise Constable Woodward "...misjudged [the bridge's] position and ridden into the river on the left hand, or lower side of the bridge. His body was found in the middle of the river, six or seven yards below the bridge."
“As officers we serve and protect our community in often challenging and dangerous situations, and today we are reminded how an ordinary day can turn into a tragic one.”
“We wear the traditional blue and white chequerboard ribbon as a symbol of support, not only for those that have fallen, but for those that stand beside us today serving and protecting our community.”
“The dedication and commitment of our officers is commendable and I encourage each and every one of them to not only take care of others, but to also take care of themselves.”