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.


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.


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.

Constable Fredrick Raynes

Serving with the Hamilton Police
Age: 32
Saturday November 21, 1925

On November 21, 1925, Police Constable Fredrick Raynes was proceeding east on King Street on his police motorcycle. He was responding to notify a family that their son had been arrested in Guelph.

Upon encountering slow traffic on King Street, he attempted to stop his vehicle. His motorcycle’s side-car struck a car stopped ahead. He was hurled out of his seat into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Constable Raynes sustained serious head injuries and died later that evening.

Detective William Clark

Serving with the Hamilton Police
Age: 36 / 2 Children
Thursday June 27, 1929

At 5:00 pm. June 27, Charles R. Long an Aldershot farmer, carried out a daring robbery of the Ontario Savings Branch at 316 Ottawa Street. Armed with a shotgun, Long led police and citizens on a foot chase to 242 Rosslyn Avenue North where he darted into the basement of a house. Following closely behind was Constable Nesbitt and two citizens, Thomas Halcrow and Jonny Monk. Unable to see, Constable Nesbitt struck a match and found himself face to face with Long. A struggle ensued and Nesbitt was forced to retreat from the house after a stunning blow on the side of the head with the butt of the shotgun.

Several other officers including Acting Detective Clark arrived at the scene and surrounded the house. Tear gas and bottles of asphyxiating chemicals obtained from a nearby funeral home, were hurled into the basement. When Long failed to come out Detectives Bleakley and Clark donned gas masks and went in after him. Gunfire immediately erupted and ended with the deaths of Detective Clark and Charles Long.

Constable David R. Gregory

Serving with the Hamilton Police
Age: 26 / 2 Children
Wednesday August 29, 1962

Constable Gregory was investigating a citizen’ s complaint of a suspect on the street who was carrying a shotgun wrapped in newspaper. George Brewster, a former policeman, was driving on James Street when he caught sight of Bruce Griffett. He picked up Constable Gregory and drove him to Hughson and Augusta Streets where they waited. When Griffett came down Hughson Street, Gregory approached him with his gun holstered. Griffett turned and shot and killed Gregory with a 16 gauge shotgun. Brewster, removed the officer’s gun from its holster, shot, and wounded the suspect. The suspect then took the shotgun he was carrying and shot and killed himself.


In 1959 Bruce Griffett, the suspect, was diagnosed as insane. He was a potentially dangerous schizophrenic. Only his mother’s reluctance stopped him from being institutionalized at that time. Twenty four hours prior to his death he had bludgeoned to death his mother and a neighbour who came to her assistance.

Acting Sergeant John (Cam) McMurrich

Serving with the Hamilton Police
Age: 34 / 4 Children
Sunday December 22, 1968

A house occupied by known, active criminals was under observation by Acting Sergeant McMurrich and other officers. During the early hours of December 22, 1968, 15 to 20 persons left the residence and approached the officer in a threatening manner. The officer fired several warning shots but was overpowered, beaten and shot to death with his own gun.


Five (5) persons were charged with murder; 4 were convicted of manslaughter: James Major – 14 years; Jon McClure – 14 years; Murray Feist – 8 years; Douglas Maracle – 7 years. One (1) convicted of assaulting a peace officer: John McEwan was sentenced to 6 months.