Remembering our fallen: PC William Sim, PC Herman De Leur and PC Herbert Pegrum
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Three Southend police officers – PC William Sim (pictured above), PC Herman De Leur and PC Herbert Pegrum – were conscripted into the army on the same day in December 1939.
Tragically, none of them survived the Second World War.
William Munro Sim was born in Sandhaven on 11 May 1915. He served with the Scots Guards from the age of 19 before joining Southend Borough Constabulary on 17 November 1938. He was described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, fair-haired with blue-grey eyes and a fresh complexion.
He married Minnie Hayward on 12 October 1939. On 1 December, he was recalled to the Scots Guards.
William was based at the Tower of London and assisting the Auxiliary Fire Service when he was killed on 19 September 1940. An anti-aircraft shell splinter pierced his heart as he ran down Newgate Street in London.
He was 25 and had a five-month-old son called Gordon.
He is buried in Plot R. Grave 12206 at the Sutton Road Cemetery in Southend on 25 September 1940. Eighteen of his former police colleagues were among the mourners.
Herbert Edward Charles Pegrum was born on 24 May 1907 at Tilbury in Essex. Better known as Bert, he served in Egypt with the Royal Horse Artillery from October 1925 until January 1931.
Bert is then thought to have worked as a labourer before joining the force in Southend on June 23, 1932. He had married Edith in January that year and the couple went on to have two sons, Bernard and Ronald. Ronald later became a police officer.
Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington lays a wreath on Remembrance Day at Essex Police Headquarters
Bert was posted to Westcliff in October 1932 before returning to Southend just short of four years later.
He was mobilised to the army on 1 December 1939 and transferred to the Corps of Military Police ten days later. He served as Corporal 1058350 and remained in the role until his death from lymphatic leukaemia, at the West Middlesex Hospital in Isleworth on 6 May 1941.
He is commemorated on Panel 21, Column 2 at the Brookwood Memorial in Surrey.
Hermanus Bertram De Leur was born in Strood, Kent, on 4 October 1914 and educated in Colchester.
He served with the Grenadier Guards from 24 August 1934 to 23 August 1938. A week after leaving the army he joined the Southend County Borough Constabulary.
Herman married his partner Eva at St Andrew’s Church in Westcliff-on-Sea on 12 October 1939, during his training. On 30 November 1939, he was stationed at Westcliff but the following day he was recalled to the army.
While serving as Sergeant 2614295 with the 11th Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, A.A.C, he is believed to have been killed on or shortly after 20 September 1944 during the Battle of Arnhem, part of Operation Market Garden.
He was 29 years old. He died just weeks before his daughter Pauline’s fourth birthday.
Herman is buried at the Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery in The Netherlands.