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FROM the VAULT – CoP Thomas William Harold

Well respected Commissioner Thomas William Harold commenced his police service as a Probationary in the Queensland Police Form on 1st May 1924, and was sworn in as a Constable on 16th June 1924.  His first posting was at Roma Street Police Station to perform clerical duties.  Constable Harold had come with experience, originally serving in his home country of New Zealand as a police officer between 1921 and 1923.  On the 21st January 1930 he was appointed a Detective at the Crime Investigation Branch (CIB), Brisbane.

Meritorious police work performed in Townsville, a few years later in 1933, resulted in Detective Constable Harold bringing to justice a master criminal in the area.  He was also responsible for the conviction of an offender responsible for stealing over £1000 in gold from Mount Coolon Gold Mines, and in appreciation of his services he was paid a reward by Lloyds of London.

Commissioner of Police, Thomas William Harold, 1957. Image No. PM2300 courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum.

Commissioner of Police, Thomas William Harold, 1957.
Image No. PM2300 courtesy of the Queensland Police Museum.

The promotion to Detective lead the cluey young police officer to positions with several state-wide CI Branches and a requirement to perform special duties. Whilst at Townsville in 1934 he was detailed for duty in Melbourne in connection with the visit to Australia of His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, and he accompanied the Royal Party during their tour of New South Wales and Queensland.  Promoted through the ranks over the next decade, the now Inspector Harold secured an opportunity to study the latest police methods at Scotland Yard in 1949.  This provided further links to the United Kingdom, and included attendance at the National Safety Congress in London.  Inspector Harold also attended the United Nations Convention on Road Transport and Traffic in Geneva.

Commissioner Harold had provided the shortest service in the top position, just 8 months, due to ongoing illness.  Reporter Ron Richards of the ‘Sunday Truth’ newspaper wrote a brilliant piece, published on November 26, 1961, upon the resignation of Commissioner Harold regarding an 11 year old Queensland victim of crime in April 1941.  Due to dogged pursuit by Harold and his police partner Detective Sergeant 2/c William Cronau, a suspect was apprehended 1000 miles away and shortly after charged with rape;

‘The new cook on the big sheep property at Ningin [sic] in Western New South Wales, brushed the flour from his hands, then looked up aghast as the two detectives from Brisbane walked in through the fly-screened doors. “How did you find me so quickly? I only got here yesterday,” the cook muttered disgustedly.  “Cripes, you blokes must be good.”
These two “blokes” WERE good.  One was Tom Harold, recognised throughout Australia as one of the nation’s top sleuths in the best Scotland Yard traditions… Mr Harold trailed the man involved down to Sydney, then by painstaking checking of Labor Exchange files they found that a man with the same initials had been sent as cook to the Ningin property.’ 

Newspaper clip from The Warwick Daily News, Monday 28th April 1941, courtesy of Trove via the National Library of Australia.

Newspaper clip from The Warwick Daily News, Monday 28th April 1941, courtesy of Trove via the National Library of Australia.

Thomas Harold’s funeral was well attended, and the highly regarded police officer provided one final service by willing his body to the Queensland University science laboratory for medical research.

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This information has been supplied by the Queensland Police Museum from the best resources available.  The article was written by Museum Assistant Georgia Grier.  The Police Museum is open 9am to 4pm Monday to Thursday and 10am to 3pm on the last Sunday of the month (Feb-Nov) and is located on the Ground Floor of Police Headquarters at 200 Roma Street, Brisbane. Contact: E: [email protected]

“FROM the VAULT – CoP Thomas William Harold” by the Queensland Police Service is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (BY) 2.5 Australia Licence. Permissions may be available beyond the scope of this licence. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/au/legalcode

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