Shropshire Star

The forgotten hero from Shropshire who tackled armed fugitive

Hail a Shropshire hero – and today, so many years later, a largely forgotten hero.

Police Constable Bob Roberts with Taxel.

But at the time the events for which Constable Bob Roberts received the George Medal made national headlines.

Constable Roberts, a police dog handler stationed at Knockin, was one of four officers who received the GM, one of the highest awards for bravery, for their parts in tackling an armed man in the Machynlleth area of Mid Wales in August 1961.

Heroes all. Receiving the George Medal at Buckingham Palace, from left: Constable Robert Carswell, of Liverpool City Police, Constable Thomas Davies of Mid Wales Constabulary, Constable Arthur Rowlands, Gwynedd Constabulary, Caernarvon, and Constable Robert Roberts, Shropshire Constabulary.

At the subsequent trial the judge, Mr Justice Hinchcliffe, commended them for their "fearless and conspicuous courage."

There was a tragic price. One of the officers, Constable Arthur Rowlands, was shot in the face at close range and was blinded for life.

Constable Roberts had a narrow escape when the fugitive opened fire at him from three yards range.

"I heard the shots going through the leaves of the bushes over my head," he said. He called off his police dog Taxel as he feared it was about to be shot.

The drama had begun in the early hours of August 2 when Constable Rowlands spotted a man acting suspiciously in the vicinity of the Dyfi Bridge, just north of Machynlleth. The suspect ran off but was confronted by the officer.