Constable 1st Class

Roy DOYLE

YEAR OF DEATH

1956

JURISDICTION

Queensland

DETAILS OF DEATH

In March 1956 flooding caused an emergency in Mackay as the Pioneer River burst its banks. At 3.00pm on the 31 March 1956 the immediate danger has passed but police and lifesavers continued to standby. Shortly after 3.30pm a new Australian who had been drinking waded into the flooded river and commenced to swim out where the current was still running strongly. The man was soon in great difficulties and when the police noticed his plight they immediately obtained a row boat to go and assist him. Unfortunately the police officers themselves were soon in difficulties as one of the boats oars broke. Constable Doyle saw this and noticed they could not reach the man. Doyle waded out to a retaining wall that comprised of broken blocks of concrete. He climbed on to the concrete wall and dived into the water unfortunately striking his head on a submerged block of concrete which caused massive head injuries. Doyle was seen lying face down in the water and was immediately assisted and conveyed to hospital. Other police brought the swimmer safely back to the river bank. Doyle was operated on that evening but his condition quickly deteriorated and he subsequently died at 1.40pm the following day. A post-mortem revealed a fractured skull. The gallant actions of Constable Roy Doyle were rewarded as he became the first Queensland Police Officer who gave his life in the line of duty to be awarded the Queens Medal for Gallantry. He is buried in the old Mackay cemetery.

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National Police Memorial Australia

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