WPC 128-423

THE DEATH OF BERTHA GLEGHORN

Days after D-Day, Bertha Gleghorn became the first ser ving policewoman to die in the line of duty as the Germans unleashed a terrifying new weapon

LEFT: WPC 128-423 Bertha Gleghorn
METROPOLITAN POLICE AUTHORITY/MARY EVANS

JANE HALL TELLS BERTHA’S STORY, AND EXAMINES THE HISTORY OF THE WARTIME WPCS

It is almost certain that if she wasn’t awakened by the roar of hundreds of engines as dawn approached on June 6, 1944, WPC Bertha Massey Gleghorn would have been on her beat. Together with the millions living and working in southern England, she would have stopped, looked skyward, and watched massed formations of Allied aircraft thunder by, to wonder if the ‘day’ had finally arrived.

That day was D-Day, the longanticipated cross-Channel invasion. Early confirmation that the effort to reclaim northwest Europe was underway would come courtesy of the BBC’s 8am bulletin, read by Frederick Allen. Listeners were informed that the Supreme Allied Headquarters had “issued an urgent warning to inhabitants of the enemy-occupied countries living near the coast,” as a “new phase in the Allied Air offensive had begun.”

Want to read more?

This is a premium article and requires an active subscription.

Existing subscriber? Sign in now

No subscription?

Pick one of our introductory offers