Prince Charles' Tribute to RUC Dead
3rd September 2003
Joan Baggley's husband and teenage daughter were both gunned down while serving with the Royal Ulster Constabulary in the 1970s. Yesterday, the 72-year-old Londonderry woman met Prince Charles as he officially opened the RUC George Cross memorial garden at the PSNI's Knock headquarters.
Joan's husband, Constable William Baggley, was shot dead in Dungiven Road, Londonderry, aged 42, on January 29, 1974. His death spurred his eldest daughter, Linda, to join the force to carry on his work. But, in a cruel twist of fate, just two years later, she was shot on 23 May 1976 then died from her wounds on the 2 June 1976, the 19-year-old constable was shot in the neck in Chapel Road, just yards away from where her father died.
The news of the tragedies was broken to mother-of-three Mrs Baggley by now retired Coleraine District Commander Cecil Morrison - who joined her at yesterday's garden opening. Mrs Joan Baggley said: "It was very hard to lose both of them, and today has been a very special but sad day. "I spoke to the Prince and he wanted to know if my other daughter and son had gone into the police, but I told him no. Then he asked me how well the RUC had treated us, and I said superbly." Relatives and colleagues of police officers killed in the line of duty wept during the service as a lone piper, Detective Constable Colin McClelland, played The Lament, Flowers of the Forest, on the bagpipes.
As he unveiled the plaque the Prince of Wales said: "There are so many tales of extraordinary heroism and of courage in the course of duty. "I have been so greatly moved having talked to some of the widows, parents and next of kin as I walked through the special memorial garden. "My heart continues to go out to all those bereaved families whose lives have been totally shattered during those troubled times."