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Rushden Echo & Argus, 31st March 1939, transcribed by Kay Collins
Mr. Walter E. Powell, of Higham Ferrers

For thirteen years the borough’s police constable and for twelve years a member of the Town Council, Mr. Walter Evans Powell, of 30, College-street, Higham Ferrers, died at his home early on Thursday morning after an illness lasting four years. He will be remembered in the district as the officer who forty years ago ended an epidemic of attempted train-wrecking in the Wellingborough area by obtaining evidence convicting the criminal and claiming the £100 reward.
PC Walter Evans Powell
PC Walter Evans Powell

Mr. Powell became seriously ill two days ago. He was 65 years of age.

It was while he was stationed at Wellingborough after joining the County Constabulary in 1893 that P.C. Powell by smart detective work obtained the conviction of the soldier who had been responsible for a number of mysterious attempts to wreck trains in the district following the accidental train smash at Wellingborough—when the Manchester express was derailed in 1898. During the constant vigil over the railway lines at the time, when he was acting sergeant over a stretch near Wellingborough, he also arrested two men on the line, and these were given a month each for trespassing. He was highly complimented for his excellent work. P.C. Powell received the £100 offered as a reward. This he shared with the then inspector of the Wellingborough force. The soldier received penal servitude for life and P.C. Powell was highly commended by the Bench.

P.C. Powell was stationed at Higham Ferrers for the last thirteen years of his service and during the last war carried out the ceremonial duties of Mayor’s Sergeant in the absence on service of Mr. F. G. Felce. While at Higham he recovered forty drowned persons from the river.

On his retirement from the Police Force in December 1920, Mr. Powell was presented at the Borough Sessions with a wallet containing £22 and an illuminated address signed by Ald. T. Patenall (Mayor), Ald. Owen Parker, C.B.E., J.P., Ald. E. H. Horrell (Seputy Mayor), and Mr. W. Hirst Simpson, C.C. (clerk to the justices) in recognition of his serves to Higham Ferrers. Presenting the wallet and address, the Mayor paid a tribute to “the quite, tactful way and genial nature” of the constable and his thoughtfulness for young offenders. Ex-Supt. H. D. Macleod also paid a tribute.

Gravestone in Higham Ferrers Cemetery
On his retirement Mr. Powell held more records than any other constable in the force. He had the star and stripe of the Merit Badge.

In November of the same year Mr. Powell topped the poll in the municipal elections of the borough, standing as independent, “Working Man’s Friend” candidate. He received 538 votes in this, his first election fight, against 393 given to his nearest opponent.

Mr. Powell was a councillor for 12 years until 1933 and was returned four times. He showed a great interest in work for the Northampton General Hospital and was a keen worker for the Market Day organisation.

Three of Mr. Powell’s four sons are members of police forces. His wife survives, and there are four daughters. The children are P.C.s Walter Powell, Desborough, Hector Powell, Sprowston, and Major Powell, Hunstanton, Mr. Rowland Powell, Mrs. E. Hankins, Wellingborough, and the Misses G., M., and Q. Powell (daughters).

The burial will take place on Monday afternoon after a service at the Parish Church, of which Mr. Powell was formerly a member. The Rev. P. Kirk, Vicar, will conduct the service.

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