Members killed in the Line of Duty

Constable Jeremiah Dunn

On October 22, 1861 at approximately 11:00 p.m. Constable Dunn was on patrol at the town of Harbor Grace in the company of three other police officers. They encountered two men who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. The men were advised to go home. The men refused and the police officers decided to take them into custody. They succeeded in taking one of the men into custody. The officer in charge sensed further trouble and summoned reinforcements. They proceeded to make the second arrest. By this time a large crowd had assembled and were hurling stones at the police officers. Several of the police officers were struck. Constable Dunn was hit on the head by a stone, which was thrown by one of the men. He died on October 27, 1861 as a result of the injury that was inflicted. A coroner’s Jury was convened and it was concluded that Constable Dunn’s death was murder. No person was ever convicted in relation to this crime.

Sergeant Thomas Fennessey

The report of the Inspector of Constabulary for the Year Ending 31st December 1884 was submitted and appears in the Journal of the Newfoundland House of Assembly 1885. Inspector General Carty reports that “It is with great regret that I have to refer to the death of Sergeant Thomas Fennessey, who was accidentally smothered in the snow while going on his rounds in Betts Cove, on 27th January, 1884.”

Constable Francis P. Stamp

Francis Stamp was born January 14th, 1904 at St. John’s and joined the Newfoundland Constabulary February 16th, 1925. Stamp was an excellent Newfoundland Boxer (was Light Heavyweight Champion of Newfoundland in 1929). On August 27, 1930 he resigned from the police force to go to Boston to fight professionally and boxed there for 2 years. He returned to the Newfoundland Constabulary from Boston August 22nd, 1932 and served in police force as an excellent Patrol Officer from 1932 until his untimely death in 1954.

On May 27th, 1954 at 1:35am, while on night shift, Stamp died from a severe heart attack in the old police station on Water Street in the arms of Cst. Bill Daley. Stamp and Cst. Bert Tucker had just arrested two American Servicemen for assault on New Gower Street. One of the Servicemen ran from the scene and Stamp and Tucker took chase. Undoubtedly the chase contributed to Stamp’s death. He was 50 years of age at time of death and a very well respected and liked police officer.

Constable Samuel Jeffers

Cst. Samuel Jeffers, at the age of 26 on September 18, 1957, was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident while on duty at Rawlin’s Cross in St. John’s. Cst. Jeffers, who never recovered from the head injuries he sustained, spent the next 43 years at the Waterford Hospital, dying there on September 4, 2000.

Constable William Moss

On the threshold of his career as a police officer, Constable William Moss died as a consequence of a violent, physical clash at Badger on March 10, 1959 between police officers (both Royal  Canadian Mounted Police and Newfoundland Constabulary) and loggers during the International Woodworkers of America loggers’ strike.

That night tempers flared, harsh words exchanged and in the ensuing melee Constable Moss was struck on the head with a piece of pulpwood. He was taken to a hospital in Grand Falls where he died two days later from his injuries. A logger was arrested and charged with the murder of Constable Moss but was eventually acquitted by a 12-man jury in the Newfoundland Supreme Court.

The men who were on strike believed that they were exercising their rights in a free and democratic society, while the police officers were using standard and accepted tactics of the day to carry out proper orders given to them by their lawful superiors.

Constable Moss is the first member of the Newfoundland Constabulary to have died from injuries sustained in the course of duty since Confederation.

On May 12,1971 Vida Hounsell of Glovertown, mother of the late Constable Moss, unveiled a commemorative plaque in his honor during special ceremonies at the old Newfoundland Constabulary headquarters at Fort Townshend.

On July 31, 2013, the people of Badger unveiled the Badger Monument (Located at the corner of River Road and Beothuck Street, Badger). The Badger Monument is a fitting and permanent tribute to represent two significant events: First, to Honour the memory of Constable William Moss, a member of the Newfoundland Constabulary (as the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary was then known), who died in the line of duty. Secondly, to note a major turning-point in the history of labour relations in Newfoundland and Labrador.

(Source: The Newfoundland and Labrador Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Site)