For more than 60 years, Senior Constable Frank Mills’s body has lain in Blackheath Cemetery. But his gravestone failed to recognise that the former Mt Victoria policeman was killed in the line of duty.
It was at a police remembrance day service that Sergeant Allanah Mason learned that Constable Mills was buried at Blackheath. When she went to find his grave — which was erected by the residents of Mt Victoria and Blackheath grateful for his “service to the community” — she found there was no mention that he had been a police officer, nor that he had been working when he died.
So she searched for his descendants to see if they were happy that a plaque be placed on the grave. Constable Mills’s nephew, Bruce Cunningham, was delighted that his uncle’s work should be recognised.
At a ceremony in the cemetery last week, Superintendent Darryl Jobson, head of Blue Mountains Local Area Command, read a valedictory to the man who spent 21 years as a police officer.
Supt Jobson said Constable Mills had spent the last seven years of his life in the Upper Mountains, including five as officer in charge at Mt Victoria. On one occasion he had been praised by the District Coroner for his work in “the hard and hazardous job” of recovering a body at Govetts Leap.
On the evening of December 5, 1951, Supt Jobson said, Constable Mills was riding his police motorbike from Mt Victoria to Blackheath when he noticed a car travelling without lights. He stopped the car and while he was speaking to the driver and passenger, the three of them were hit by a passing vehicle.
All three were injured but Constable Mills, aged just 46, died the following day at Katoomba Hospital.
“We are here to commemorate his service as a police officer who laid down his life in the execution of his duty,” Supt Jobson said.
“Today we make it known to all that may visit this site that the person laid to rest back in 1951 was a distinguished and dedicated police officer who made the ultimate sacrifice serving the community of NSW.”
The plaque reads: “Senior Constable Frank A. Mills, killed in the line of duty on 6th December, 1951. Rest easy brother, you are not forgotten.”