Police Force roll of honour boards

Police Force roll of honour boards

Unlike public servants and staff of the Post and Telegraph and Railways departments, members of the Police Force who served in the First World War were not honoured in lists in official publications. Those who wanted to enlist had to resign from the Police Force so were no longer officially employees. Members of the force felt differently, and in 1919 men from both the Otago and Canterbury police districts constructed roll of honour boards for local members who had served.

The board unveiled in Dunedin was a surrogate national one as the 47 men whose names were listed on it had been stationed around the country, not just in Otago. The large timber board unveiled at Dunedin Police Station in October 1919 featured a carved figure of Britannia at the centre, with the names of the men on either side. Twelve of the 47 had died in service:

Within a month the Canterbury district had taken up a suggestion made at the Dunedin unveiling that other districts follow Otago’s ‘good example’ [1] and put together its own roll of honour board. Unlike the Otago board, Canterbury’s board, which was mounted in oak and unveiled at Christchurch Police Station in December 1919, only named men with a specific association to the district:

  • James Edwards
  • Jessie Edgar
  • Daniel Moriarty
  • Henry Curtis
  • William Hendry [elsewhere spelt Hendrey]
  • E.W. Straffon
  • E.F. O’Brien
  • C.C. Dunford
  • J.J. Sparks

It is not known what became of either of these boards.

[1] Otago Daily Times, 1 November 1919, p. 7 (PapersPast)

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Annette Smithers

Posted: 19 Nov 2023

Honour Boards are on display in foyer At Dunedin Central Police Station.