RUC medal heroes hailed in ex-detective’s book

Former RUC detective Roy Black with his 500-page book that was written after 'around 25 years research'
Former RUC detective Roy Black with his 500-page book that was written after 'around 25 years research'

The bravery of men and women in the Royal Ulster Constabulary has been recorded in a new book.

The 500-page book – ‘Honours and Medals Awarded To The Royal Ulster Constabulary GC 1922-2001’ – was written after “around 25 years research” by former RUC detective Roy Black and is published by the RUC GC (George Cross) Foundation.

Mr Black’s definitive work on the RUC GC, which he says “was a labour of love that turned into a book”, details many of the awards given to RUC officers, in some cases providing a background on why the award was made.

The 62-year-old, who retired at the time of the Patten severance scheme, hopes the book will appeal to the serious medal collector, members of the wider policing family in Ulster and to the large body of individuals outside of Northern Ireland who maintain an interest in policing.

“This book is a tribute to the ordinary men and women who had the privilege to wear the green uniform, a uniform which inspired them daily to perform acts of great courage and suffer privations in the course of their duty, far and beyond that expected in any normal society,” said Mr Black.

“Their memory must not be permitted to be sullied by political propaganda, exploited for expediency by opportunists – political or otherwise – or ignored and forgotten as were their forefathers in the RIC.”

Mr Black said among the stories he documents in the book is one about RUC District Inspector Michael Murphy who was originally a RIC officer who later joined the RUC and came up through the ranks.

“After he retired and was living in north Belfast, his family home was broken into and his precious family medals stolen,” he said.

“This happened 25 years ago, but a few years ago the stolen medals appeared on a medal dealer’s list.

“After the PSNI were told and the Murphy family contacted, they decided to hand the medals over to the George Cross museum.

“I also document the story of an officer who received a George Medal for saving people during the blitz in Belfast.

“And more recently Michael Todd, who received the Queen’s Police Medal for gallantry posthumously after he was murdered in 1984 by the INLA when he was out on an arrest operation.

“I started to work in Woodbourne RUC station a few years after Michael was murdered and when I arrived he was still warmly spoken of because he had been so popular and so young when he was killed.”

‘Honours and Medals’, priced at £20, can be obtained from the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC Foundation, 65 Knock Road, Belfast, BT5 6LE, tel: 028 90700116.