This weekend saw the island right a wrong by honouring the memory and service of PC Denis Hamer, who died while on duty during the MGP in 1976.
Constable Hamer moved to the island in 1975 with his wife Rosemary, having transferred from Lancashire police.
On Saturday, over 45 years since his untimely death on September 7 1976, his family, the island’s Constabulary, former colleagues and the Lieutenant Governor came together to mark his life and unveil a plaque near where he died at Union Mills Methodist Chapel.
Rosemary, who hadn’t been on the island since leaving shortly after his death, said people at home in Lancashire were ‘amazed’ that PC Hamer’s death hadn’t been marked in this way before. She added it had been ‘lovely’ to see people gather to honour him.
‘He was larger than life,’ Rosemary said. ‘He had a good sense of humour and just an old round nice chap, somebody who got on with everybody.
‘He’d been in the Lancs police first and I used to come over for family holidays and then we visited and had said wouldn’t it be nice if he worked over here and he was very keen and applied. When he got an interview, we both came out in the March and moved over in the September.’
Reflecting on the shock she experienced when being told of PC Hamer’s death, Rosemary said: ‘I always remember that morning as my parents were coming over and Denis was going on duty and he said to me “I’ll see you tonight”, those were his last words to me. It was at lunchtime, I used to work at an architects on Athol Street, and one of the policemen came to tell me that he’d died and you just go into shock and can’t take it onboard really.
‘After the funeral my dad and I came back to sort out the house and I moved back with my family and I’ve never been back since, before today. I vowed I wouldn’t come back again so I was debating whether to come, but I thought, for Denis I wanted to.’
Despite the tragic circumstances which led to Rosemary leaving the island, she said she does have ‘a lot of affection for the island’ and has many fond memories of her time visiting and living here with Denis.