Tribute paid at graveside ceremony

Tribute paid at graveside ceremony

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens led the official party and laid a wreath at a graveside ceremony at the Millicent Cemetery on Friday morning to honour the late Mounted Constable George Manhood.

Born in Millicent, George joined the SA Police in 1927 at the age of 21.

He was a popular and dedicated police officer but his career was cut short.

He died of natural causes at the age of 37 in 1943 while in charge of the Summertown Police Station in the Adelaide Hills.

The career policeman had contracted diphtheria and passed away in the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

He left behind a widow and their two young daughters Shirley and Josephine.

His remains were brought back for burial in the Manhood family plot.

Owing to weathering, a community tribute on the grave in marble to Mounted Constable Manhood had to be replaced after 80 years and these costs were borne by the South Australian Police Association.

Mounted Constable Manhood was held in very high esteem by the residents of the Summertown district during his five years there.

They also paid for a granite memorial obelisk and it was unveiled by the Premier of South Australia Tom (later Sir Thomas) Playford.

The obelisk is believed to be the only one of its type ever created in SA for a serving police officer.

Each year on April 28, SA Police marks the anniversary of the foundation of the force in 1838 with commemorative events across the state.

Members of the SA Police Historical Society including retired deputy commissioner John White and retired chief inspector Bill Prior provided support for Friday’s ceremony along with South East Family History Group president Noel Boyle.

The ceremony was attended by over a dozen members of the wider Manhood family.

The most senior and closest living relative was 88-year-old Dick Watts, of Millicent.

His late mother Carrie Watts was a sister to George Manhood and so Dick is his nephew.

Shirley died some years ago while Josephine lives in Adelaide but was unable to return to Millicent for this occasion owing to her age.

Another direct link to 1943 was provided by the presence of Millicent resident Michael Bleby.

The funeral service for George Manhood was conducted by his late father, the Reverend John Bleby.

He was the Millicent Anglican parish priest between 1940 and 1944.

Other official guests among the 100-strong gathering included former Wattle Range Mayor Peter Gandolfi, South East police Superintendent Campbell Hill and Wattle Range Council Deputy Mayor Councillor Peter Dunnicliff.

A number of SA Police Historical Society members wore period uniforms including Mr Prior, Steve Westmacott and Bob Boscence.

Mr Westmacott also brought his horse Cody to the ceremony.

Prayers and blessings were offered by SE police chaplain and Uniting Church minister the Reverend Doctor Murray Earl.

“Requiescence” was played by bugler Todd Martin, of the SA Police Band.

Later in the day, Commissioner Stevens unveiled a commemorative plaque at the restored former stables at the Millicent police station.

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