Hamilton Police Association

Honour Roll

In the history of the Hamilton Police Service, 7 Officers have lost their lives in the line of duty.  Their fellow officers and the citizens of Hamilton will always remember them as devoted Police Officers who made the ultimate sacrifice for the protection of their community.

Constable James Barron

Serving with the Hamilton Police
Age: 48 / 5 Children
Tuesday October 27, 1903

Constable Barron was responding to a whistle for help from the J. Bidwell Mills residence on Catharine Street North in Hamilton at about 0100 hours in the early morning of October 26, 1903. Mrs. Mills and her son were home alone and called for help upon hearing noises in the backyard. Constable Barron went into the backyard to check and two men, possibly three, attacked him. He was shot at three times, two missing and the third striking him below the heart. Although badly wounded he summoned assistance by blowing his whistle. He died the following day. Although several theories were discussed it was resolved that he had disturbed a break and enter in progress.

Postscript:

The murder of Constable Barron was never solved. Hamilton policemen at the turn of the century were unarmed. Most didn’t even have a dark lantern to light their way on the night shift. Those were reserved for officers working the beats in the downtown core but were so antiquated most refused to carry them because they smelled and leaked on their uniforms. As a result of his death, the Police Commissioners who for twenty (20) years had held out against arming the force, changed their minds and allowed officers on night shifts to carry firearms.

County Constable Albert C. Springstead

Serving with the Wentworth County
Age: 65 / 4 children
Saturday November 29, 1919

On November 29, 1919, Cst. Springstead was assigned the duty of keeping deathwatch on a condemned murderer in the Wentworth County Jail, in Hamilton. The prisoner was allowed in the corridor outside his cell, for exercise, with Cst. Springstead who was alone. The prisoner jumped Cst. Springstead, choking him from behind until he was unconscious, beating and kicking the defenseless officer, until he was dead.

Postscript

Cst. Springstead was 65 years of age, married with four children, and had been a police officer with the County for 35 years.

Constable Reginald Pryer

Serving with the Hamilton Police
Age: n/a
Sunday September 11, 1921

On September 11, 1921, Constable Reg Pryer, a motorcycle officer, was responding to a noise complaint in the vicinity of King Street East and Holton Avenue. As he approached on King Street near Sanford Avenue, a pedestrian began to cross unexpectedly. Pryer blew his horn and swerved to miss the man but a collision was unavoidable. The motorcycle struck the pedestrian and then skidded into the curb, throwing Pryer head first into a telegraph pole. The pedestrian suffered minor injuries. Pryer was critically injured with a fractured skull and died three hours later at the General Hospital. A passing Roman Catholic priest gave him the last rites at the scene.