Brave River Policeman William PEGLER

According to the 1881 census William PEGLER, Inspector of Police was aged 30, born around 1850, at Ebley, Gloucester, living with wife Elizabeth aged 27, and son Edward aged 4, and daughter Esther aged 11mths, at 6 Court, 3 Dawber St, Everton. A humble abode for an Inspector of Police, by 1884 he was residing at, 6 Knowsley Grove, Dawber St. During his time with the River Police he put his own life at risk saving many lives [approx 16] and was awarded many medals and awards for his bravery. He rose up the ranks and by 1881 he was promoted to Police Inspector after 1884 he was demoted to Police-sergeant, probably due to the fact that he was involved in the notorious Blackstone St murder, of a Spanish sailor, resulting in the culprits, Michael M'LEAN being hanged at Kirkdale, and Patrick DUGGAN to serving penal servitude for life. William PEGLER with held vital evidence from the coroner and magistrates and only at the trial at the Assizes gave information that he had found a knife on the body of the murdered sailor. See:- below

1884 wasn't a good year for the PEGLER'S, Mrs PEGLER had a serious accident when alighting a tram car.

He later seems to have been promoted again back to Inspector [around 1887], and continued to save life.

By 1891, for reasons unknown, William PEGLER has left the police force and the Liverpool area and in 1891, is living in Faulkner St, Barton, Gloucester, with his wife and children [born Liverpool] his occupation is down as "Retired Master Mariner", he is still in the same street and area in 1901, now a widow, with children Esther 20, and Victor 13, his occupation, carpenter. ???????

Cheshire Observer, Nov 1st 1884

An Saturday afternoon a serious accident occurred to Mrs PEGLER the wife of Inspector PEGLER of the city police force, who resides at 6 Knowsley Grove, Dawber St. The lady was a passenger by the Green Lane tramcar leaving Lime St at 3.15pm, at the junction of Kilshaw St and West Derby Rd the car was stopped for her, as she was about to alight the driver, it is alleged allowed the horses to go on, with the consequence she was thrown into the roadway. Mrs PEGLER got hold of the rail and was dragged a considerable distance, sustaining severe arm injuries and shock.


His work

Liverpool Mercury, Sept 20th, 1875

Liverpool Police Court, Sept 18th, before Mr J. PATTERSON

Bringing gunpowder into dock

Captain MANSON was summoned for taking a quantity of gunpowder into the Waterloo Dock in the ship Lord Clive. Mr PINFIELD deputy solicitor to the Dock Board, prosecuted, River Police-officer 10, stated that he went on board the vessel on the 15th and in reply to a question the mate said there was no gunpowder on board. Shortly afterwards he saw a quantity of gunpowder thrown into the dock from the vessel. A fine of 20s and costs was imposed.

Liverpool Mercury, Dec 25th 1875

Serious charges against the mate of a ship

Yesterday James COLLINS, 2nd mate of the British ship, Princess Alexandra, was taken into custody by the Liverpool police on a charge of having caused the death of the boatswain John CHRISTIAN. It is stated that about the 20th July whilst the vessel was on a voyage from Havre to Callao, the prisoner became enraged at something the boatswain said to him, and thereupon struck CHRISTIAN with a handspike and knocked him down. CHRISTIAN was so severely injured that he died a short time afterwards. When the vessel landed at Callao COLLINS was arrested, and by the direction of the British Consul at that port sent to this country by the Pacific Steam Navigation Company's steamship Iberia. Yesterday by the arrival of the prisoner to this port by the Iberia, he was taken to the detective office by River-police Constable No 10, PEGLER and locked up on the charge.

Liverpool Mercury, April 19th, 1876

Liverpool Police Court, April 18th, before Mr RAFFLES

Refusing to go to sea

James M'GOWAN, William GLYNN and William WALSH were charged with refusing to go to sea in the steamship European for Bombay, Mr PEARCE prosecuted. The prisoners were on Monday mustered on deck with the remainder of the crew, but when told to go to work they refused to do so. They were given in charge to River Police-officer 10, to whom they said in answer to the charge, that they would not go to the ship, as they had been "humbugged about" Each of them had received £3-10s advance. M'GOWAN, now told him that the boatswain had told him that the ship was not fit to go to sea, and that he would not go in her. It appeared that the boatswain and the rest of the crew did go to sea in the vessel the same night. GLYNN complained he could not get a civil word from the officers. WALSH said he was at work on board until 10pm on Saturday and had to turn to very early the next morning. The three said the mate had told them he did not want them on board the ship. Each given 6 weeks gaol.

Liverpool Mercury, Dec 2nd 1876

Liverpool Police Court, December 1st, before Mr PICTON

Breach of the gunpowder regulations

Captain NELSON, master of the steamer King Richard, was summoned for taking 10lbs of gunpowder on board his vessel into the Huskisson Dock, contrary to the dock regulations. Mr PINFIELD solicitor to the dock board prosecuted. It was stated on Tuesday morning last Constable PEGLER of the river police, found some of the crew of the vessel in the act of throwing the gunpowder into the dock through the scupper hole - fined £5 and costs.

Liverpool Mercury, Mar 26th 1878

Liverpool Police Court, Mar 25th, before Hyslop MAXWELL and Thomas HOLDER

Soliciting seamen

Thomas PERRY was fined 10s and costs, John MAGUIRE, 20s and costs, and Charles OAKES 10s and costs, for boarding vessels without the leave of the officer in charge and soliciting men to go to lodging houses. These charges were brought by Officer PEGLER of the river police

Liverpool Mercury, Nov 22nd 1879

Liverpool Police Court, November 21st, before Mr J. H. WILSON and Mr BELCHER

A dangerous practise

Captain HOPKINS of the brig Jane Goodyear was summoned under the bylaws of the dock board for having on board his vessel a large quantity of lucifer matches, there being at the time several tons of gunpowder in the hold. The case was proved by Coxswain KERMORE and Police-constable 10, PEGLER, who said on the 17th May last they boarded the vessel Jane Goodyear in the Sloyne and found on board a ton and a quarter of gunpowder. In the sailor's quarters were seven dozen boxes of non-safety matches, and they had disobeyed these injunctions without his knowledge. Mr WILSON admitted it was exceedingly hard that masters of vessels should be summoned for offences committed by others and suggested that notices should be posted in conspicuous part of ships, warning sailors that they were liable to be fined if they took other than safety-matches on board. Fined 20s and costs.

Liverpool Mercury, Mar 5th, 1880

Liverpool Police Court, Mar 4th, before Mr RAFFLES

A discontented crew

12 seamen were placed in the dock on a charge of refusing to go to sea in the ship Anglo American, bound for Calcutta. River Police-constable 10 said he received the men into custody that morning when they stated in reply to the charge, that the chief officer of the vessel had threatened to beat them with a capstan bar, they also complained of overwork and insufficient food. The Captain of the ship said that the men that morning had declined to go to sea, stating they would not work night and day. The crew had knocked off at 4.30 pm the previous day and did not return until 8am that morning, with the exception of a few minutes at the ebb and flow tide, when it was necessary to brace the yards. This was the first time he had heard of a complaint as to the quality of the food and if they had complained to him he would have inquired in to it.

The prisoners now said they would go to sea in the vessel if a new chief officer was appointed. The present mate had used improper and threatening language to them. The overlooker, stated that the mate had worked with him and was an excellent officer and other witnesses said they had not heard the chief officer use any violent language to the men. The captain stated that six other seamen belonging to the crew had been committed for a month on a similar offence, and one of the crew had afterwards remarked that the rest would also have "backed out" had they known that the punishment would be so light. 10 of the prisoners able seamen, had received an advance of £2-5s each and the other two ordinary seamen 30s each. Mr RAFFLES said he could not see anything in the conduct of the mate to justify him saying that he ought not to go in the ship. He was sorry to sentence the men to imprisonment but as they declined to go to sea he was obliged to commit those of the prisoners who had received an advance of £2-5s to gaol for 4 weeks, and the other two for 3 weeks.

Liverpool Mercury, Mar 13th, 1880

Liverpool Police Court, Mar 12th, before Mr George HOLT and C. J. CORBALLY

Recklessness on gunpowder ships

Richard COTTER a pilot, was summoned by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board for a contravention of their regulations as to vessels laden with gunpowder, Mr W. H. PINFIELD appeared for the complainants. River Police-constable 10, stated on the 9th last, as the brig Elbe was proceeding down the river, outward bound for Bonny, with 25 tons of gunpowder as part of her cargo, he, while on the landing-stage, saw the defendant on deck smoking a pipe of tobacco. Other constables manned a boat and followed the vessel, overtaking her at New Brighton. When witness got on board and accused the defendant of smoking, the latter said, as if in surprise, "Me smoking!" Police-constable 10's statement was corroborated by other witnesses. COTTER now denied the charge and asked for an adjournment as the witnesses he should have liked to call had gone in the Elbe to Africa. Mr PINFIELD pointed out it would be 6 mths before they might return. The magistrate refused to grant an adjournment and remarking that a person in the position of the defendant ought to have known better than acting in the way he had done fined him £5 and costs. Captain WHITE was ordered to pay a fine of 40s and costs for using matches other than safety ones on board the vessel Halca, while over 4 tons of gunpowder formed part of the cargo.

Liverpool Mercury, Nov 10th, 1880

Liverpool Police Court, Nov 9th, before Mr RAFFLES

A dangerous thief

James WIGNALL, alias THOMPSON was charged with stealing four fowls and two ducks on the morning of Friday last. Prisoner who is a ticket-of-leave man and has been three times convicted of felony, was observed by Inspector PEGLER on the top of a wall near 16 Shakespeare St, and on finding out he was being watched made off, the Inspector following. Several times he faced the Inspector and dealt him several blows over his head, knocking off his helmet and raising lumps on his head, stunning him for a few seconds. After a hot chase the Inspector managed to strike the prisoner a blow which felled him, after which two police-constables came up and he was conveyed to the bridewell. Prisoner was committed to the sessions on the charges of stealing and assaulting the police.

May 19th 1883

Suicide on the eve of marriage

Some excitement was caused in the neighbourhood of Aubrey St, Everton on Saturday by the suicide under peculiarly distressing circumstances of Hugh DAVIES, who occupied apartments in the house of Mrs Catherine VAUGHAN, 78 Aubrey St. About 8am the unfortunate man was found dead with a scarf placed tightly around his neck. He had fixed it to the bedpost, and having made a loop he dragged himself downwards with such force as to become strangled. An alarm was at once given and Dr GILBERT of Queen's Rd was called in but found life was extinct. Inspector PEGLER who happened to be passing at the time entered the house and made the necessary investigations on the part of the police. It transpired that Mr DAVIES was to have been married on Thursday, and all the arrangements were made for the wedding. In the pocket of his coat was a letter written on the previous evening to his fiance, a young lady living in Capenhurst, and in it he reproaches himself for having given way at times to intemperance and so brought disgrace upon himself and her. He concluded by stating that death is preferable to his present state, when he finds himself overwhelmed with distress. On the envelope of the letter he had pencilled the following note :- "I cannot keep up any longer. My guilty conscience crushes me. Farewell my dearest Martha. Good-bye. Yours till death, Hughie" The lady who had been apprised of the sad news by telegraph arrived on Sunday, and it is needless to state that she was greatly shocked by the tragedy. The deceased was 39 years of age, and occupied a position in the Royal Liver Friendly Society. It is said that he is well connected, and that his friends reside in Llanrwst, North Wales.

William PEGLER'S involvment in the Blackstone Street murder, 1884

Blackstone Street Murder 1884

Liverpool Mercury, Jan 12th 1887

Inspector PEGLER, attended Liverpool County Court, when Constable Robert IRVINE 493, claimed damages from Edward DWYER, stevedore assault and false imprisonment. DWYER came up to the Collingwood Dock Police Station and preferred a charge against IRVINE for stealing figs. He told Inspector PEGLER he saw IRVINE cut open the bag, eat some figs and put some in his pocket. Inspector PEGLER arrested IRVINE and took him to Rose Hill police station where the matter was brought before Superintendent STEADMAN. IRVINE denied taking the figs. STEADMAN then directed PEGLER to the chief police station so that the charge might be further investigated. There the defendant repeated the charge in the presence of Inspector BORTHWICK. Constable IRVINE insisted on being searched and voluntarily turned out his pockets, all they contained was his tea-can and gloves. Constable IRVINE was not detained, as the defendant had no evidence to support the charge. A verdict was given for the plaintiff, with damages of £5 and costs.

Liverpool Mercury, Aug 11th 1887

Inspector PEGLER about 7am on Tuesday morning was on his way home, noticed a rough looking man carrying something behind his clothing [the previous night there had been 10 house burglaries in St Domingo-grove] the Inspector challenged him, and the thief drew out a dagger. A struggle broke out, the Inspector's stick was broken, both men fell to the ground, the Inspector obtained the mastery of his opponent, who when the dagger was knocked out of his hand pulled out a table knife Ultimately the thief was lodged in the Bridewell, part of the missing property belonging to the houses in St Domingo-grove were found in his possession. He was brought before the magistrates and remanded


His awards for saving life testimonial

Liverpool Mercury, May 8th, 1878

Bravery of a Policeman

On Saturday at the Prince's Landing-stage the troopship Assistance came alongside shortly before 11 0'clock for the purpose of disembarking a company of the 5th Dragoon Guards and army reserve men. After the vessel had been made fast a girl aged 5, the daughter of a Dragoon officer was standing by her mother's side on the upper deck, when suddenly she fell over the rail into the river, between the stage and the ship, a distance of 16 to 18ft. The screams of the mother attracted the attention of River Police-constable No 10, William PEGLER, who immediately took off his coat and dived into the water to the rescue. There was a strong flood tide at the time, and the officer plunged in a little distance beyond where the child fell, knowing the current would carry it along rapidly. After a short swim he succeeded in reaching the child, then swam back with the child to the stage chains, which he held until assistance arrived, and the child was taken out of his arms. A Lieutenant of the Assistance Mr E. B. TINDING, also jumped into the river and rendered the constable some aid after he had recovered the little girl. The child seemed non the worse for her immersion, but PEGLER was exhausted by his exertions. At one period both the rescued and the rescuer were in great peril of being crushed between the vessel and the stage, and had it not been for the crowd breaking over the chains and shoving the ship off from the stage man and child would have been killed. The scene caused great excitement amongst the soldiers, and the mother of the child fainted away. The constable was warmly cheered by the onlookers for his gallant conduct and a collection was made at once on his behalf. He has distinguished himself on many previous occasions, and the present is the eighth life he has been instrumental in saving.

Liverpool Mercury, May 9th, 1878

Gallant rescues from drowning at the Landing-stage

Last evening at 6pm a seaman named Edward HAMILTON, residing at 145 Perthland St, aged about 22, whilst under the influence of drink, fell from the Liverpool Landing-stage into the river. He commenced to swim, but in a few minutes about 20yds from the stage, threw up his arms and called out for help. River Police-officer William PEGLER immediately jumped into the water and grasped the man who struggled with him violently. The officer, however, maintained his hold of HAMILTON, by the back of his neck, and swam to the edge of the stage, both men were rescued from their perilous position by some other members of the river police force. PEGLER has now rescued 9 persons from drowning, only on Saturday last he rescued the child of a soldier's wife, who had accidentally dropped the infant, which she held in her arms, over the side of the troopship Assistance.

Liverpool Mercury, Saturday, June 1, 1878

Silver medal to River PC10, William PEGLER for having gallantly jumped into the river to save a child who had fallen overboard from HMS Assistance, alongside the Prince's Stage on the 6th inst. Also a silver bar for having jumped from the Prince's Stage into the river on the 9th ult and rescued a man who had fallen overboard and in great danger as he could not swim. This is the 3rd award for PEGLER

Liverpool Mercury, August 24th, 1878

Presentation to a River Policeman

A presentation was made yesterday at the yard of the Central fire police station, to River-police Constable PEGLER, who has distinguished himself on several occasions by saving life. There were present Mr Alderman J. G. LIVINGSTON, Mr Alderman HUBBACK, Mr Councillor C. T. BOWRING, Mr Chief Superintendent SIBBALD and others. The presentation consisted of the silver medal and clasp of the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society and £2 in recognition of Mr PEGLER having jumped into the river and rescued a child which had fallen from her Majesty's ship Assistance, and also for having jumped into the river on the 9th inst, and rescued a man from drowning. The bronze medal of the Royal Humane Society was also presented to Mr PEGLER for the same rescues. Mr Alderman LIVINGSTON, in making the presentation remarked that, that was the tenth occasion in which Mr PEGLER had received recognition for saving life.

Liverpool Mercury, October 6th, 1879

Before Mr Clarke Aspinall

A middle aged man, John JONES, was charged with having attempted to commit suicide by jumping into the Canning Dock on Thursday. River Police-constable PEGLER saw the occurrence and pluckily jumped into the dock, and with the assistance of a rigger named M'ANDIE, rescued the prisoner, who now explained his conduct by stating he was in poverty and unable to obtain work. His worship ordered the prisoner to be removed to the workhouse.

Liverpool Mercury, Saturday, November 1, 1879

A silver clasp and 20s to River PC10, William PEGLER for having gallantly jumped into the Canning Basin and assisted to rescue a man who had attempted to commit suicide on the 2nd Oct. [this is his 3rd rescue]

Liverpool Mercury, May 27th, 1880

Narrow escape from drowning at the George's Stage

At 7.15pm yesterday, just as the Seacombe ferryboat, Water Lily, was about to leave the George's Landing-stage for Seacombe a man named Thomas EVANS, of 24 Gladstone Rd, Seacombe, attempted to jump on board and missed his footing, he fell into the river. Another man John HICKENS who was in his company, considering his position was one of peril, jumped in to render assistance. The result was that both men were in danger of losing their lives, and a lifebuoy was thrown to them by a stage man named Samuel M'CLELLAN. The two men succeeded in grasping the lifebuoy, and afterwards held on to the life chains hanging to the stage rubber, till river-policeman 10 PEGLER brought a ladder and got them both out of the water. They were found to be suffering only from the immersion, and proceeded to Seacombe by the next boat.

Liverpool Mercury, June 7th, 1880

Gallant Rescue at the Landing-stage

Yesterday afternoon at twenty past three, John CLARK, aged 14, residing in Hale St, Liverpool, fell into the river from the Prince's Stage, near No 4 bridge. A man named Thomas STANCLIFF, who resides in Radcliffe St, tried to save CLARK with a boathook, but the ebb tide being strong at the time, the lad was carried away, and STANCLIFF himself fell into the river. Not being able to swim he kept himself afloat by holding on to the mooring rope of a tug boat, and in the meantime River Police-constable 10, William PEGLER [who has frequently saved lives in the river and has the Royal Humane Society, medal and clasps] plunged in and with great difficulty saved the boy by swimming with him to the stage. He afterwards made for the man STANCLIFF and brought him out also. The boy was attended to at the receiving house, Prince's Dock, and after some time was taken home. STANCLIFF only suffered from the inconvenience of wet clothing, and proceeded homeward.

Liverpool Mercury, June 9th, 1880

Reward for saving life

At the weekly meeting of the watch committee at the Town Hall, yesterday, Mr S. B. GULEN presiding, Mr LEWIS moved and Mr M'DOUGALL seconded that a reward of £10 should be given to River Police-constable No 10, PEGLER who has received on previous occasions the medal and clasps of the Royal Humane Society for his gallantry in saving the life of John CLARK, residing in Hale St, the lad who fell into the river on Sunday from the Prince's-stage and was rescued by PEGLER. The motion was unanimously agreed to.

Liverpool Mercury, Saturday, June 26, 1880

A silver clasp and £4 to River PC10, William PEGLER for having gallantly jumped into the river and rescued a boy who had fallen from the lower deck of the Prince's Stage on the 6th inst, during an ebb tide and rough sea. Thomas SLATER, a printer, had previously attempted a rescue by reaching towards the boy and overbalanced and fell into the river, saving himself by laying hold of a mooring rope attached to one of the river gigs. PEGLER swam out and reached SLATER'S collar pulling him in to the Landing-stage, This is the 8th rescue for which PEGLER has been awarded by the committee besides awards and other rescues before he entered the force.

Liverpool Mercury, June 10th, 1882

Compliment to a Police Inspector

Yesterday afternoon a very pleasing event took place in the yard of the Fire Police Station, Hatton Garden, the occasion being the presentation of an illuminated address and a purse of money to Inspector PEGLER of the city police, in recognition of his bravery and diligence in the discharge of his duty. The subscribers to the testimonial are chiefly residents in Everton, where the Inspector has for some time been on duty, and they were represented by Messers J. CONNOR, S. CRAWFORD, W. GARDENER, J. SPENCER, R. SHERIDAN, SCHMIDT, and others. There were also present Messers Councillor CROSS [who presided] Alderman SHALLCROSS, Councillor William RADCLIFFE, Mr Adam SIBBALD [chief superintendent] Mr HANCOX [divisional superintendent], Mr Superintendent STEADMAN and a number of inspectors and men of the force. Dr CROSS in making the presentation as senior member of the Watch Committee present, spoke in high terms of the services rendered by Inspector PEGLER of which the presentation was a recognition. He mentioned that the Inspector had gallantly saved 15 persons from drowning, had apprehended many burglars and other thieves, and had been 32 times rewarded for meritous service. The Inspector suitably acknowledged the presentation.

Liverpool Mercury, September 20th, 1886

Rescue by a Liverpool Police-sergeant

Shortly after midnight on Friday, as Captain WILLIAMS of the sloop Stagg of Anglesey, was endeavouring to get on board his vessel, which was lying on the north side of the Wellington Dock, outside the steamship Glenmore, he fell between this vessel and the steamer Zadue. An alarm was raised and Sergeant PEGLER, who has been instrumental in saving many lives, jumped into the dock and succeeded in saving the drowning man, who was hauled out by a rope and removed by horse ambulance to the Northern Hospital. It was found that in boarding the vessel by means of a stage, a plank became displaced and Sergeant PEGLER injured two of his fingers. Despite this injury he had run to the place where the man was seen to disappear in the water and boldly jumped in.

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