Policeman killed by a runaway horse

1928, 22 October: PC 248 William Thomas Herrett aged thirty three was run down when stopping a runaway horse and dustcart in Bagshot where he was stationed and lived with his wife and son. PC Herrett was coming off duty as the children were leaving school.

A dustman dropped a bin, which caused a horse to bolt. PC Herrett threw his bicycle down and grabbed the reigns of the horse in an attempt to stop it but lost his footing on the wet road and was run over by the cart. He was taken to Windsor Hospital by horse and cart where he died of his injuries.

He had served in the Grenadier Guards during the First World War when he was gassed. As a result of his actions he was awarded the King's Police Medal for bravery and Carnegie Heroes Trust Certificate posthumously.

Constable's Sad End: Run over in an attempt to stop Runaway Horse

The death occurred in tragic circumstances in Windsor hospital on Monday evening of PC William Thomas Herrett, formerly the village constable at Elstead. Constable Herrett received the injuries from which he subsequently died in a gallant attempt to stop a runaway horse at Bagshot earlier in the day.

The horse, attached to a dustcart, took fright at the noise caused by something falling from the cart, and dashed down the main street, where a number of children were at play. Constable Herrett, in attempting to stop the runaway, slipped and fell in the track of the cart, one of the wheels of which passed over his body. He was removed immediately to Windsor Hospital, where he died at 6 o'clock.

Police Constable Herrett was born in Babs Mead, Farnham, thirty three years ago, and was educated at West Street School. On leaving school he was employed by the Farnham Dairy Company and afterwards by Messrs. W. Kingham and Sons. Upon the outbreak of hostilities in 1914 he enlisted in the Grenadier Guards, and served throughout the war.

After his demobilisation, he joined the Surrey Constabulary. Up to two years ago he was stationed at Elstead. While in that village he married Miss M. H. Perry the daughter of the late Mr Perry and Mrs Perry, of "Merriewood", Peat Common, and almost immediately afterwards was posted to Bagshot where he had been ever since.

During the two years that he was at Elstead Constable Herrett interested himself in the social activities of the village and was very popular and highly respected. He will be remembered for his work in connection with the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes for he was responsible for the foundation of the Loyal Elstead Lodge, and did all that was in his power to make it a "live" and flourishing assembly. His work for Buffaloism was not confined to Elstead, for he paid a leading part in the activities of the Order throughout the county of Surrey.

His untimely death came as a great shock to a host of his friends in Elstead, and also in Farnham. His mother lived for a period in Castle View, Farnham. By his death the Police Force has lost a tried and valued servant, and one whose memory will be honoured by all who knew him. He leaves a widow and one child in bereavement.

At an inquest held at Windsor on Wednesday afternoon the Coroner returned a verdict of death from shock and haemorrhage as a result of being knocked down and run over by a dust cart belonging to the Windlesham Urban District Council while attempting to stop the horse, which had run away owing to the "negligence of the said Council in not keeping the said horse under proper control". The funeral takes place this Friday.

Bagshot Policeman Killed: Dragged 50 yards By Runaway Horse:
Yesterday's Funeral at Elstead

PC Thomas Herret.

PC Thomas Herret.

In an attempt to stop a runaway horse at Bagshot on Monday afternoon. PC William Thomas Herrett who lived at 6 Church Road, Bagshot, was knocked down and carried fifty yards along the road beneath the dust cart to witch the animal was attached. He was so severely injured that he died in Windsor Hospital the same evening.

The circumstances of the fatality were investigated at an inquest at Windsor on Wednesday, when the jury returned a verdict of civil negligence against Windlesham Urban District Council, the owners of the horse and cart.

PC Herrett was in the High Street at the time of the accident, and having finished his period of duty, was about to go home to tea. When taken from beneath the cart he was found to be suffering from terrible head and internal injuries.

After attention by Dr A. T. Crutwell the Bagshot ambulance took him to Windsor Hospital where he passed away at about six o'clock. Mrs Herrett arrived at the hospital just after husband died.

The Funeral

Captain M. L. Sant, Chief Constable, and over 120 officers and men of the Surrey Constabulary attended the funeral at Elstead yesterday (Friday) afternoon.

All the divisions in the county were represented and among the officers were Superintendents W.R. Lucas, (Farnham), A. Dawes (Chertsey), Inspectors Gray (Egham), Evans (Woking) Dibley (Hersham) Pickard (Farnham) and Rendell (Caterham).

There were also present large a number of special constables from Bagshot and other districts, a contingent of men from the Hants Constabulary, and members of the Bagshot Division of the St John Ambulance Brigade.

The bearers from the Bagshot section of the Chertsey Division were Sergeant Holloway, PCs Bright, Newman, O'Donnell, Tarrott, and Wood. Mrs Holloway, wife of Sergeant Holloway represented the wives of officers and men of the Bagshot Division.

Windlesham Urban Council were represented by Mr. H. W. Penford, a member and Mr Cyril Gray, surveyor. Two Guardsmen represented the Grenadier Guards.

The police and representatives of other bodies lined the pathway to the church, and the service was conducted by the Venerable J. G. S. Syme (rector).

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