A brother and sister came to yesterday’s National Police Remembrance Day ceremony to remember their dad who was killed in the line of duty 50 years ago.
Three generations of Clarence Roy Pirie’s family came together in All Saints’ Cathedral to honour the police officer who was shot and killed by two escapees at Capertee on October 13, 1960.
At the time her father was killed MaryAnne Ford was just three years old – her brother Ron Pirie was seven. There were two more siblings Francine who was not yet two and John who was five. After the police officer’s death, their mum was left to raise the young family alone. Although MaryAnne remembers little of her dad she still treasures the plastic ‘policeman plod’ doll that he gave her before he died. It is something concrete to remember him by.
“The day I got married I left my bouquet on his grave,” she said.
Ron said although he has blocked out a lot of his memories of that sad time there are things that he does remember – like being put in the wooden slab lock up when he was naughty.
Although yesterday’s national remembrance day was to remember all police who lost their lives, for Clarence Pirie’s family it was very personal.
Apart from MaryAnne and Ron, Clarence’s granddaughters Ruth Ford and Kellyanne Howarth were at the special ceremony along with his three-month-old great grandson Jaydon.
They said the ceremony was both moving and beautiful.
“It was hard, but it was good,” Ron said with tears in his eyes.
He paused then and shook his head. “You know it never goes away.”