Having first joined the Hertfordshire Constabulary in 1908, William Stanley Gatehouse served with the Army during WW1 before returning to his police duties after the War. On the morning of Friday 17th July 1925, when aged 39 years old, he was tragically killed on duty when he was run over by a Ford motor lorry on Baldock Road, Royston.
The inquest into his death was subsequently held at Royston Police Station. During which the driver of the vehicle, Mr Sheridan Fairhead explained that he had been transporting a heavy load of furniture from Coltishall to Chesham. Whilst at Royston, he had spotted Pc Gatehouse on Baldock Road and asked him for directions. Having helped Fairhead navigate his map, Gatehouse had asked for a lift up the road and said he was happy to stand on the running board, on the outside of the lorry. As the lorry made its way up the street, Gatehouse lost his footing, fell onto the road and the lorry’s back wheel passed over him. Realising what had happened, Fairhead immediately stopped and sent a runner to the Police Station to fetch help. Sergeant Megaughey was the first to arrive on the scene, where he found the badly injured officer laying in the road, semi-conscious. Gatehouse had suffered a multitude of internal injuries but managed to say “It’s all right sergeant, the driver is not to blame. I will tell you about it later”. He then died in hospital a few hours later.
The coroner concluded that Sheridan Fairhead was not at fault and placed on record the driver’s sincere expression of sympathy to Gatehouse’s relatives and colleagues. The fallen officer was buried in Enfield during a funeral attended by a large contingent of Hertfordshire police officers and former army colleagues. The last post sounded as he was carefully laid to rest. He was survived by a widow and two children. His name and memory will be forever remembered, thanks to the Hertfordshire Constabulary’s and the National Police rolls of honour.