PC Frederick Doran (1897-1941)

composite image of 2 photographs of a policeman

Portrait of Fred Doran in his uniform on the left and on his beat in Liverpool on the right

Frederick Doran, one of three children, was born in Tipperary, Ireland in 1897. His brother came to England as a doctor and after a spell in the army Frederick followed him to England to join the Liverpool police force.

His niece, Mrs Hennessey, remembers Fred as being a "darling man" always happy to play with her and her brother and having a wicked sense of humour, a real leg puller;

"I know that he was always in the middle of the fun, where ever the fun was."

The family saw Fred for the last time on the evening that he was killed, 9 May 1941. It was unusual for him to come to their house so late, but he turned up on his bike as he was worried what his sister and her family would do if they were ever to be bombed. It was agreed that if anything happened to either of the families they would go and stay with the other.

"That's all I wanted to know, as long as we have got that sorted out I am happy."

He said goodbye and went on duty in the city centre.

That night there was a heavy German air raid and Fred was involved with keeping the fire fighters and public out of danger. He was in the act of moving people out of a dangerous area when he was caught beneath a falling building at the corner of Whitechapel and Sir Thomas Street.

His wife and family were told of his disappearance the next day but it was only later that it was confirmed that his body had been found. Mrs Hennessey and her father had walked past the bombsite that very next morning on their way to work, unaware that he was missing.

Mrs Hennessey recalls that his funeral was well attended;

"they came from far and wide, all the people round here knew Fred so well, he was such a nice gentle character, and what happened to him was such a terrible shock, so terribly sad."

They waited all day to see the funeral pass, with the coffin on a gun carriage. The procession had been delayed from the morning when it was reported that the body had been lost. It did not take place until late in the afternoon.

Many years later the steel helmet he was wearing was found at a car boot sale and given to the Liverpool Police Museum. His family had no idea how this came about, but presumed that someone must have picked it up of the street and kept it.

PC Doran's helmet was on display in the Spirit of the Blitz exhibition at Merseyside Maritime Museum in 2004.

Person standing on a pile of rubble in the remains of a building

Bomb-damaged buildings on the corner of Whitechapel and Sir Thomas Street where PC Doran was killed