Wheatbelt police remembrance service honours Northam hero killed in action

The officers from the Wheatbelt Police district have commemorated the dedication of a historical Northam policing figure as part of last month's National Police Remembrance Day.

The annual day, held on September 29, remembers officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

This year's ceremony, hosted by Wheatbelt District superintendent Tony Colfer, saw the Western Australia Police Star Medal was awarded posthumously to the family of Detective Carl Roe.

Detective Carl Roe, born in Northam in 1912 joined the WA Police at 24 and served in Perth, Katanning and Claremont.

On the evening of October, 21 1946, Detectives Carl Roe and Jerry Parker went to a flat in Bay View Terrace, Claremont and interviewed a man and a woman.

The man was 26-year-old Sydney Hammond, a car painter, and his wife 18-year-old Cecilia Hammond.

Sydney Hammond was arrested for breaking and entering and stealing offences.

Hammond was placed in the back of the police car and taken to a nearby garage where property matching that recently stolen was discovered.

Hammond, concerned about his wife, who had no money, requested to be taken to her.

The detectives agreed and returned to the flat with Hammond.

Later, Hammond's wife left their flat, concealing a 0.22 palm pistol, on the pretext of staying at her mother's house.

After she had driven off the detectives questioned Hammond further and went to a second garage, where they found more stolen property.

Mrs Hammond arrived at the garage and asked for assistance to start the car, which she said she had stalled.

Detective Roe took the Hammond's back to the car.

Roe searched the boot of the car whilst Hammond got it started.

Hammond hugged his wife goodbye and reached into her pocket grabbing the pistol.

Detective Roe and Hammond returned to the police vehicle and both sat in the rear seat.

Hammond concealed the gun in the palm of his hand, jammed the muzzle into the small of Detective Roe's back and fired three shots in quick succession.

The first bullet severed the main artery leading from his heart and the second bullet pierced through Roe's right shoe and seared his right big toe.

A former Guildford Grammar School athlete and footballer, 34-year-old Roe swung at Hammond in the confines of the rear of the car as a third shot was fired.

This bullet ploughed into the seat upholstery.

Whilst the police car was moving, Hammond leapt out of the door and ran away with the pistol still clutched in his hand.

Though badly bleeding internally and unarmed, Roe flung himself out of the car and ran after the fleeing Hammond.

When Hammond saw Detective Roe coming at him and making ground, he fired two more shots at Roe, at point blank range.

One of the bullets hit Roe in the right side of his chest and the other in his left temple.

Roe fell face down on the street.

Detective Carl Roe was cremated with full police honours at Karrakatta Cemetery.

It was the first time that the chief of every police force in the Commonwealth had been together at a police funeral and it was the first time that the new Scotland Yard had members of its strength present.

It was estimated that 500 people gathered at the cemetery to pay their respects.

Superintendent Colfer presented the WA Police Star Medal Detective Roe's grand daughter Dr Julienne Roe.

Distinguished guests included Nationals WA leader Mia Davies and Northam Shire president Chris Antonio.

The Wheatbelt District management team, police officers from across the district and representatives of the WA Police Union were also in attendance.