Francis Hare Papers (no. 34): Frank Bell to Hare
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Paper no.34, 21 July 1880
TEXT: Melbourne July 21st 1880 / / F Hare Esqre Superintendent of Police / / Sir / I hope you will pardon the liberty I take in writing to you privately, to ask you a favour. I wish you would kindly recommend me to the Kelly reward Board as you were the Officer in charge at the most important time and had a better chance of knowing the danger I had to contend with. I wish to explain in the first place, a great deal depended on my judgement as far as the Railway was concerned, when we met with the accident at Craigieburn – The Engine was disabled and had I have acted up to the rules of the Department I should have sent the disabled Engine back to Melbourne, as I took the sole responsibility of sending the Train on, as I know how important the Train was and the slightest delay might have proved fatal to our cause. / Had I have sent the Train back it would have caused a delay of four hours and taking the time into consideration it would have brought the Train into Glenrowan at daylight and we might not have had the success we had. / If anything had happened the Train through me sending it on I should have been dismissed and perhaps imprisoned for taking so great a responsibility on myself.
Also you know the orders you gave me were punctually attended to and all the work of the station depended on me. / I did my work while the bullets were flying round me at the risk of losing my life as I expected to be shot every minute, as the Work had to be done right in front of Jones Hotel where there was the greatest risk as I had to carry my Bullseye Lamp which made me a good Target to fire at. I had to risk all that as I would not signal the Trains without the lantern. I think taking all the above facts which you know to be true in consideration I think I am entitled to some of the reward. As to my previous character in the Department I beg to state I have Two Testimonials of good conduct and efficiency from Sir George Bowen and Sir Wiliam Jervois and also have been presented with a Gold Medal. / I hope you will excuse me for troubling you with this long letter but as I have a large family to keep Eight children Wife and Self on my small salary a portion of the reward would be very acceptable. / Hoping you will use your Kind influence on my behalf as I have no other means of bringing this matter before the Board. Hoping you are progressing favourably with your wounded harm [sic] and in good health and spirits. / I am Sir, Your most obedient Servant / Frank Bell / Guard of the 10 PM special / 28th June 1880 /
OTHER TEXT: Application from Frank Bell guard of railway at the taking of Kellys at Glenrowan. /
This is part of the digitized version of the Francis Hare Correspondence held in the University of Melbourne Archives. It consists of 54 letters and documents, of which this is one, from 1859-87 and received by or relating to Superintendent Francis Hare, one of the members of the Victoria police force involved in the pursuit and capture of the Kelly Gang. The collection complements Hare’s published memoir, The Last of the Bushrangers (London, 1892) and includes letters by some of the key figures of the Kelly story including the Police Commissioner Frederick Standish, Superintendents Charles Hope Nicolson and John Sadleir, Detective M Ward and John Sherritt, as well as items by Hare himself.
KeywordsKelly, Ned, 1855-1880; Bushrangers -- Victoria; Law enforcement -- Victoria
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