Accidental shot kills policeman

1890 – Police sergeant Richard Troy, 33,  may have shot himself during a raid on an Aboriginal camp in remote north-western Australia.

York cemetery. Image Sharyn Moodie 2020

It was June 16, 100 miles east of the Kimberley town of Wyndham, when Troy and fellow policemen charged the camp. They were trying to catch men thought to have been cutting telegraph wire.

The camp inhabitants fled, but Troy was shot in his leg as his horse lunged forward.

There was conjecture about whether he had shot himself or whether another officer’s gun had caused the wound. It doesn’t really matter – the end result was that he took five long days to die, despite a doctor’s attention.

He was put under the red, rocky ground in the wilds of the Kimberley, but it was not to be his final resting place.

News of his death reached his family in York, 3000 kilometres south, via a telegram to Richard’s brother Patrick, also a policeman, at Derby.

This is what it read:

“Your brother was accidentally shot by one of the constables whilst rushing a native camp in the early morning of June 16th, over 100 miles from Wyndham.
Everything appears to have been done that was possible, a trap was sent for, also the doctor, who attended him before he died, and who states that he could not possibly have recovered.’’

Patrick set off to organize his brother’s unburial, and then accompanied his body to York.

It wasn’t until November 21 – five months later, that the brothers arrived by train at the York railway station.

The funeral was held the next day, with a procession of more than 100 people, including many police officers.

Sources: Clack, A and Rae, J, 2006, York Cemetery Historical Walk Trail, published by the The York Historical Society Inc.

The Daily News, Thursday 17 July 1890, p3

York cemetery, WA

Published by Sharyn Moodie

Travelling around Australia for work, I've found so many amazing headstones. But what is more amazing is the stories behind some of these deaths, and the way newspapers of the day reported them.

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