THE bravery of a police officer – described as a “forgotten hero” – will be remembered in a ceremony to mark his grave with a headstone 120 years after his murder.
Late on November 12 1893, PC James Gordon, 26, and a colleague, Constable Whalley, disturbed three men who had broken into the yard of Foster’s Navigation Boiler Works in Atlas Street, Fingerpost attempting to steal hens.
As they attempted to arrest the criminals PC Gordon was hit across the head with an iron bar, receiving serious injuries.
With the help of other officers the three men were all detained. Having received first aid, he was sent home and told to report back on duty the following morning.
However, PC Gordon died from his injuries and his body was discovered in bed by a housemate.
Steve Lloyd, from the Police Roll of Honour Trust, said: “Although PC Gordon’s name and sacrifice is well recorded by The Police Roll of Honour Trust I am sad to say that this brave young officer has lain in an unmarked grave since his death.
“Indeed this would have been the case had it not been for research undertaken on our site and by members of the Friends of St Helens Cemetery.”
He paid particular tribute to the work of Brenda Neary who is a former police officer and member of the Friends.
Mr Lloyd continued: “As this is the 120th anniversary of PC Gordon’s death the Police Roll of Honour Trust believe it is both right and fitting that we mark the service and sacrifice of this local forgotten hero.
“To that end the trust has commissioned a specially engraved headstone which will be erected at his unmarked grave. As an organisation we have never had a murdered police officer in an unmarked grave before.”
On Wednesday, November 13, a host of dignitaries will attend a special ceremony in memory of the young policeman including the Assistant Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Ian Pilling, the Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy and the Chairman of Merseyside Police Federation, Peter Singleton.
Mounted police officers will lead the official party to the old section of the cemetery off Abbey Road before a bugler plays the last post and reveille.
Merseyside Police will also form a guard of honour.
John Russell from the National Association of Retired Police Officers, who will also be represented at the event said: “Brenda deserves a lot of praise her research. There are six police officers in the cemetery who died on duty, but they are in recognised graves. It’s just this one that hadn’t.”
Steve Lloyd said that members of the public wishing to pay their respects are welcome to attend.