Trio of Bromley police officers remembered for their heroism

PUBLISHED: 17:27 06 October 2010

Left to right: PC John McCallum, PC Owen Ashwin, and PC Ivan King

Left to right: PC John McCallum, PC Owen Ashwin, and PC Ivan King


The heroics of three police officers and a member of the public has been remembered 60 years after they foiled a break-in at a village shop.

The George Medal

An exhibit at Bromley police station was unveiled by borough commander Charles Griggs this week telling the story of the armed robbery at the Temple’s Stores, Stock Hill, Biggin Hill.

The display features a George Medal given to PC Owen Ashwin, of East Drive, Orpington, who was shot in the throat during the robbery, and letters from Buckingham Palace paying tribute to the men.

Along with colleagues PC John McCallum, PC Ian King and Thomas Temple - the owner of the stores, they were all presented with the medal and a £20 cheque by King George VI at Buckingham Palace in October 1951.

Mr Griggs said: “I am proud to be able to recognise the heroic efforts of these three courageous former Bromley officers and Thomas Temple.

“Luckily, injuries such as those sustained by PC Ashwin are rare but what is consistent is that police officers will run towards danger, not away from it”.

On September 28, 1950, PCs Ashwin, King and McCallum were called to the Temple stores after reports of a break-in. Mr Temple went inside with PC Ashwin and saw two men in the shop’s office. Both robbers ran out, followed by PC Ashwin and Mr Temple. As he reached the side of the shop, PC Ashwin saw the second man, David Cooney, who was unarmed coming towards him. A struggle took place, when McGuire, who was at the top of the staircase about three yards away, turned and fired at PC Ashwin, wounding him in the throat. After firing two more shots McGuire then ran downstairs pursued by Mr Temple, before plunging through a plate glass window into the street.

Cooney was eventually overpowered by Mr Temple, who forced him into the corner of a room until help arrived. McGuire, who was still holding a gun, was chased by both PC McCallum and PC King, who caught up and overpowered him.

PC Ashwin was taken to hospital where he remained for three months before making a full recovery.

William McGuire, of Bethnal Green was sentenced to 14 years in prison. David Cooney, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to three years imprisonment for his part in the break- in.

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