Colonel Oriel St. Arnaud Duke ‘sacked’ over support for Chief Fire Officer
Was it Fair? Was it Just?
I retired from the Dorset Police in the UK in 2006. Their website can be found at http://www.dorset.police.uk. Although this website might seem quite impressive, it should be remembered that the force has an equally impressive budget with which to invest in its website!
I am resident in the UK, although I am lucky enough to visit the beautiful island of Barbados once or twice a year.
I am and researching my family history, and in particular my Great Uncle, who was named Colonel Oriel St A Duke and who was Commissioner of Police in Barbados from about 1939 – 1947.
Are there any people still alive who remember him or who have heard stories about him?
I know that he was ‘retired’ following a major fire in Bridgetown. I have heard that the reason for his forced retirement was because he supported the Chief Fire Officer who had been subject to criticism by the Colonial Secretary.
Following his retirement, he worked at Harrisons in Bridgetown.
His nickname was ‘Konks’, he was member of the Yacht Club and one point joined the Black Gentleman’s Tennis Association.
Any information would be very much appreciated.
BFP Editor replies:
Hello Mr. Warren,
We saw you left your request as a comment on our article Royal Barbados Police Force Website and we decided to feature the story of your Great Uncle “Konks”. Perhaps some of our readers can assist.
At BFP we love to dig around on the internet and see what we can find about our past. I wonder if your Great Uncle “Konks” was hard done by in relation to his forced retirement? Was he a principled man who stood up to be counted, was he a victim of circumstance, or was it one piece of bad judgment at the end of a distinguished career?
They say that history is written by the victors, but the internet is changing the victors’ monopoly of history. Always fun, isn’t it?
Hopefully some of our readers can assist with stories from Colonel Duke’s time.
Here are some odds and sods we found on the net. You probably know about them already, but one never knows…
We found an entry (pdf download here) for your Great Uncle in the “SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 1 JANUARY, 1932.”
Oriel St. Arnaud Duke, Esq., M.M., Inspector of Police, Dominica, Leeward Islands.
along with two other Barbados notes, including the Superintendent of the Leper Asylum…
Lieutenant-Colonel Oscar Charles Heidenstam, Inspector-General of Police and Commandant of Local Forces, Barbados.
Hubert Augustus Davis, Esq., lately Superintendent, Leper Asylum, Barbados.
We found an entry online with some photos that you might already know about at http://carrollfamily.accessgenealogy.com/barbados.html
Col.Duke MM MBE 1898-1975
Oriel St. Arnaud Duke was the second son of Mansergh Pace and Emily DUKE. He was known by the family as “Konks”.
During the First World War he volunteered (although he was too young) and was a Lance Corporal in 10 Battalion Royal Fusiliers when he was awarded the M.M. & BAR. He ended the war as a sergeant.
He returned to the West Indies and joined the police in the Leeward Islands. The M.B.E. was presented by the Administration of Dominica 1st January 1932 for quelling a riot. At this time Konks was Inspector of Police Dominica, Leeward Islands. He was posted to Barbados in 1939 and as the commandant of local forces during WWII. He was retired in 1948/49 following an inquiry into a major fire in Bridgetown. Konks supported the Fire Officer against the allegations made by the Colonial Secretary (ie no 2 on the island). He then worked in a department store (Harrison’s) in Bridgetown until the 1950s (1955).