Sergeant - Badge #16
Cobalt - May 30, 1923
Prior to beginning is career in policing, John Urquhart of Rossshire in Scotland, served in France in the 2nd Battalion, the Seaforth Highlanders. When the war ended he secured passage on the SS Victorian and immigrated to Canada. In August 1920, he began his career with the OPP. At first the thirty-one year old John Urquhart was posted in Cobalt and later moved northerly to police the town of Englehart.
In October 1922, John Urquhart did his most commendable work by leading the first relief party through still-burning bush that devastated the village of Charlton. When at the end of the year the Commissioner selected ten constables to be promoted to new rank of Sergeant, Urquhart was among that number.
On May 30, 1923, Commissioner Williams arrived to personally direct a manhunt for an escaped assailant, and was aided by thirty-one officers from across the province. Sergeant Urquhart was a part of the team and as the police converged on the Family home of the assailant, Sergeant Urquhart knocked on the door and yelled “Police!” A single shot rang out and the officer, who had only been married for eighteen months, was dead with a bullet through the heart.
Two officers were killed before this suspect was captured and was killed during one of many attempts to apprehend him.
The tragedy resulting from the Rogers manhunt forcefully brought to the Government’s attention the fact that the dependents of police officers killed in the line of duty should receive a suitable pension. The family of a brother officer cared for Annie Urquhart, pregnant with the couple’s only child, until the matter was resolved. She was given a lump sum and chose to return to her native Scotland.