Updated: Nov 11
Today, on the 77th anniversary of one of the worst nights of bombing during the 2nd World War, we recognise one of our fallen officers after his son and family have kindly shared some memories and photographs.
PC Kenneth Rollins joined the Coventry City Police in 1930 and met his future wife Kathleen whilst on points duty in Coventry. They married in 1934 and their son John was born in 1935. John was 5, nearly 6, when his Dad was killed on duty during the Coventry Blitz. Ken was just 30 years old.
John remembers his Dad going out to work on the day of the air raids. The next thing he recalls is his grandfather (who had also been a police officer) leaning over the back gate the following morning and saying Kenneth has gone.
A number of Ken's personal possessions were found on his body, including a watch, torch, some coins and a penknife. You can see the charred marks of the hands of the watch, permanently marking the time Kenneth was killed. John is also in possession of his father's wedding ring, which still bears the damage of the fire - his mum wanted it left exactly as it was when her husband was last wearing it.
Ken was with his best friend Ted Bloomfield, whose wife documented the terrible details of the night of the Blitz. The bomb that killed Ken whilst he was valiantly going to help save people from the debris of Much Park Street flung Ted against the wall of the Council House and threw Ken over the wall of a local shop, where his friends were unable to save him from the fire. This gives a brief insight into the horrors of war that were experienced by so many across the UK during the War, but particularly in Coventry, Birmingham and London.
Kathleen remained involved with the police after her husband's death - maintaining a position as an executive on the local NARPO (National Association of Retired Police Officers) Committee as a war widow.
Ken's helmet that he was wearing during the bombing raid has been preserved and is on display in the Coventry Police Museum in the basement of Coventry Central Police Station.
West Midlands Police will never forget the many officers of the current force and its predecessors who died whilst carrying out their police duty and are keen to hear from any family members of fallen officers who can share further details to enhance the records held by the force.
Ken's son John is pictured below along with his son Clive and his daughter Jane.
Lest We Forget