Inspector William Donaldson 1807-1855
– 'The First Surrey County Police Officer to be killed while on duty'
Henry F Pelham

Cover of Shottermill part 1

UK RRP: £12.99

Availability: From the author, or outlets local to Haslemere


Front cover: Crest of Surrey Police

Paperback - 126 pages, illustrated in colour
Henry F Pelham, 16 Queens Road, Horley, Surrey RH6 7AH
Email: henry.pelham 'at'
February 2020

Foreword . Contents . About the Author

Foreword – by Reverend Canon David Wilbraham MBE, National Police Chaplain

The primary duty of Policing is to protect life and property, preserve the peace, and prevent and detect criminal offences. It is a unique role that demands much of those on the frontline, a duty that is sustained by the commitment, dedication and bravery of all who hold the 'Office of Constable' to serve our nation and its people – without fear or favour and at whatever the cost. Officers serve with a willingness, should the need arise, to put themselves in the place of danger and harm to protect and serve others.

The Police Roll of Honour records the names of around 5,000 officers who, since the first recorded death on duty of an Unknown Constable in 1680, have died on duty or as a result of duty, paying the ultimate price of serving their community and our country.

The death of Inspector Donaldson, killed in Haslemere, Surrey, on 29th July 1855 is one such record. He was the first Police Officer serving in Surrey Constabulary to be killed in the line of duty.

This book tells the unique story of how one ordinary member of the public became the holder of the 'Office of Constable', serving with distinction and at the cost of his life. The history of William Donaldson, his family, his police career, his tragic, untimely death and aftermath of that are set before us. We acknowledge his commitment and sacrifice, are mindful of the courage and bravery he displayed, and ensure his loss is not forgotten. Remembering the past, we recognise and are thankful that from the early days of policing, across the years and in our own generation, ordinary men and women take that same Oath and commit to maintain peace and keep our communities safe – sadly, like William Donaldson, many have paid the ultimate price.

This book is a work for the past, the present and the future. For the past it acknowledges that someone's life mattered and they are honoured for what they gave. For the present it reminds officers and the public of the courage, commitment, resolve and sacrifice of police officers to serve their calling day by day, sometimes with a costly loyalty. For the future such accounts can inspire other men and women to put themselves forward to serve others – whatever the cost.

It is a vehicle to take us beyond ourselves and to acknowledge the timeless commitment and loss of those who have given all to protect the Queen's Peace, and to raise the high the demands faced by officers each and every day.

Table of contents

Chapter One - A Son of Tullibody, 1807-1835
Chapter Two - Metropolitan Police Force, 1835-1838
Chapter Three - Dorking Town Police Force, 1838-1851
Chapter Four - Surrey Constabulary, 1851-1855
Chapter Five - Haslemere, July 1855
Chapter Six - Shock and Disbelief
Chapter Seven - The Inquest & Magistrates Court
Chapter Eight - Public Subscription
Chapter Nine - Trial at Kingston Crown Court
Chapter Ten - The Convict Ships 'Clara' & 'Agra'
Chapter Eleven - A Red Letter Day
Chapter Twelve - In Memory of Inspector William Donaldson
Chapter Thirteen - What Happened to:—
Chapter Fourteen - The Donaldson Children
Life Timeline for William Donaldson 1807-1855
William and Janet's Children
Donaldson Direct Family Line

About the Author

Henry Frank Pelham was born in 1942 and grew up in Surrey, married for 55 years to Jean with two grown-up children, Lesley-Anne and Stephen and one granddaughter Danielle. In his youth he became a Queen’s scout, in 1957 took an electrical engineering apprenticeship, in 1966 joined British Caledonian Airways as an aircraft/ground power electrician, and in 1978 joined Houchin Aerospace as a field service engineer, which took him to many countries throughout the world, installing, commissioning and repairing aircraft ground power equipment, both civil and military, retiring in 2008.

In 2010 he and his wife ‘discovered’ Inspector Donaldson. In 2011 they attended their first memorial at Haslemere, and in 2015 started writing William’s biography. As a result of all the research into William’s life they have come to know him probably better than anyone else and not a day passes without his name being mentioned.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to share information on the topics covered by this book. See address details on Home Page