LPS recognizes 2 previously unknown on
Jun 16, 2023
Exactly 90 years after their deaths, Lethbridge police formally recognized the sacrifices of Sgt. Joseph Blocksidge and Const. Joseph Farrell over the weekend.
“It’s a day today to commemorate something we’d forgotten about for many years,” Regimental Sgt. Maj. Shawn Davis said.
The two officers were in a car driven by Farrell along with two other passengers near Fort Macleod, Alta. on Aug. 27, 1933, when they went off the road.
The vehicle hit the end of a wooden box culvert, then hit a telephone pole, killing Farrell instantly while Blocksidge died on the scene shortly after. The other two passengers were injured, but survived the crash.
The on-duty deaths remained unknown to Lethbridge police until earlier this year, when Davis was conducting research for a veterans project and found newspaper articles about the crash.
“The further I got into is, I realized they were definitely on-duty when that happened and we wanted to commemorate and honour those members,” Davis said.
As he continued his research, Davis tracked down Sgt. Blocksidge’s grandson, Brad, who was presented with an LPS flag by Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh at Sunday’s ceremony – an honour reserved for retired or fallen officers.
“Fortunately, I was able to make it down here and I’m certainly glad I did because meeting Shawn and seeing the importance of my grandfather to the Lethbridge Police Service was very impressive and important to me,” Blocksidge said.
The discovery is also a learning experience for Blocksidge, who’s finding out more about his family’s past.
“I didn’t know very much about my grandfather so I was grateful to Shawn (for) what he put together in terms of information,” Blocksidge said.
The elder Blocksidge was born in Greenwich, England and served in India with the Royal Horse Artillery, before coming to Canada in 1923 where he was hired as a police officer. Const. Farrell was also born in England before coming to Canada in 1910. He joined the Canadian Military as a nurse in 1914, before leaving under demobilization in 1919. Farrell became a police officer in 1931.
Both men are buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Lethbridge.
The two officers will be added to the service’s memorial wall and plans are underway to install a memorial plaque at the crash site.
Meanwhile, LPS is still looking for a living relative of Farrell to fully commemorate the contribution of both officers, nine decades after their service was cut short.
“Welcome them back into the Lethbridge Police family and honouring their grandfather for the sacrifice that he gave,” Davis said about finding the Farrell’s.
LPS is asking any Farrell family members to contact the service.