On 27 August 1913 Joseph Watt was on duty in Romford High Street when he saw a runaway horse drawing a four wheeled van coming towards him. The horse had been startled by a motorbus while it was having a nosebag, and one man had already been injured in trying to stop the terrified animal. As the horse drew level, he managed to grab its mane, running beside it while he tried to bring it to a halt.
Sadly he caught his foot on the pavement and fell beneath the van wheels. He died later from his injuries.
Gallant Essex Policeman
Stopped runaway but lost his life
Between six and seven o'clock on the evening of August 27, Police Constable Watt who had only just gone on duty, saw a horse attached to a cart dash past him in Hish street, Romford. The animal has has its bit removed for the purpose of feeding, and becoming frightened, slipped its bridle and ran away. Watt, without hesitation, went to the off side and caught hold of the horse's mane, but after running about 100 yards he caught his foot in the kerb and was thrown violently to the ground, both wheels passing over him.
He was taken to the hospital in an unconscious condition, and it was found that he had a fractured skull, in addition to other injuries, which proved fatal. The deceased was only 32 years of age, and much sympathy is felt for his widow and little girl in their loss.
Watt joined the Essex Constabulary on April 2nd 1906, and went to Southend, being transferred to Romford on October 1, 1908. For some time past he had carried out plain clothes duty, and was respected both by his colleagues and the public.
Benefit Fund Opened
At a meeting in connection with the fund which is being raised on behalf of the widow and child it was was reported that the response to the appeal to residents in the district has been very gratifying and that already the fund amounted to £114 5s. 1d., including subscriptions promised.
Sir Fortescue Flannery, M.P. for the Maldon Division, wrote: "Such acts do honour to the Forse to which he belonged, and the county of Essex should unite to make such provision as may be possible for the bereaved family."
(Block kindly lent by the "East Anglian Daily Times," Ipswich.)