Major George Vernon Dudley DSO, MC

Dudley's medals are now in the museum of the Northern Territories Police having been donated to the Territory by his widow in 1959 and consist of the DSO, MC, 1914-15 Star, named to him as 2/Lieut in the RFA, War medal and Victory medal named to him as an Actg Major, RFA,the latter with an oak-leaf. The 1939-45 War Medal and the Australian Service Medal.

For more on George, see his book, Patrol Indefinite (Adelaide: Rigby Ltd, 1963).There is a chapter on him in this book which is the history of the Northern Territories Police

1884 Oct 28. born Oxford, son of a solicitor George Dennis D Dudley

1891 census at 36 & 38, Gratton Road, Hammersmith

1901census at 94, (Overstrand Mansions), Prince Of Wales Road, Battersea

1902 Dec 2. At age 18, he enlisted in the British South Africa Police in Rhodesia (service no 424) . His two brothers were also serving in the bBritish S A Police.  The British South Africa Police possessed seven-pounder muzzle loading artillery pieces and he was, for a short time, a member of the force’s artillery. Dudley was promoted to Sergeant at the age of 21. As a Sergeant, Dudley was a drill instructor, with responsibilities for teaching recruits drill, riding, musketry and some instructional lectures. Brigadier W. Bodle, said that Dudley was a capable drill instructor and was tactful in the performance of his duties. Bodle considered Dudley to be of exemplary character.  

In about 1905 he was in the vicinity of the Zambesi River when various events, including sculling races, were held to celebrate the opening of the Victoria Falls Bridge. One of his duties, with some other troopers was to clear the stretch of the river of hippopotami, and the use of BSAP resources for such slaughter was not to his liking. He was said to be an animal lover and did not enjoy killing animals of any kind. On another occasion he was further disillusioned, when during the visit of the Governor General of South Africa, seven hundred buck were allegedly slaughtered in a few days for the pleasure of the visiting delegation. He alleges that Police horse-drawn guns were used in the slaughter.

He served as officer in charge of the Selukwe Sub-District,

1910 Jan 14 . He left the BSAP. He resigned from the British South Africa Police due to ill health, believed to be malaria and blackwater fever. Dudley recovered quickly and spent the next year working in gold mines on the Rand in South Africa for a year.

1911 Dec 29 He moved to Canada and joined the NWMP. Initially he served at Red Deer, then at Rocky Mountain House. He suffered a recurring bout of malaria whilst at Rocky Mountain House.

While in the Force he received extra pay while acting as a drill instructor. Otherwise his service appeared to be normal

1913, he was transferred to Calgary, where he worked as a teamster and later as a drill instructor. He never made sergeant with the NWMP, and purchased his discharge in June 1914, saying that he wished to return home to his parents in South Africa.

1914 Jun 30 Effectively left RCMP. Went back to UK on leave

1914 Aug 1 He arrived in England leave when, hearing the rumblings of pending war, he enlisted in the Honourable Artillery Company, although still in the RCMP. Obviously this caused some trouble but it was straightened out.

1915 Aug 18. Royal Regt of Artillery. 2nd Lt to be Lt G V Dudley

1916 Marries Gladys Mabel Lightfoot in Glasgow. She died in 1961. They had two children - Angela Joan Dudley (b1918) and Arthur Harvey Dudley (b1919)

1918 Jan 1. MC Gazetted to T./Capt. George Vernon Dudley, R.G A

1919 May He completed his wartime service in Germany with the Army of Occupation, resigning his commission as a major

1919 Jun 5. DSO Gazetted. T./Capt. (A./Maj.) George Vernon Dudley, M.C., 185th Sge. Bty., R.G.A. "For distimguished service in connection with military operations in France and Flanders"

1920 Jan 12. He joined the RIC according to Patrol Indefinite, in March in his words.

1920 Jul 19. Joins RIC as a Defence of Barracks Sgt

1920 Aug 31. Joined ADRIC with service no 457. And appointed 1DI. His arrival was by "Form 3 at Depot" which indicates that he was already serving in RIC.

1920 Sep 19. In command of a party of ADRIC men (30 Sergeants) One of them gave evidence at the enquiry WJ Duffy

1920 Sep 28 The Burning of Trim.certainly places Dudley in Trim during the day. He appears to have been in command of a group of Auxiliaries and appears that they left Trim about 20.00 and that the Black and Tans who carried out the burning arrived at 02.45 am.

From an article based on local newspaper reports. "The Burning of Trim Barracks and the Sack of Trim "By Noel French iwritten in 2019

F C O’Reilly met a man in the uniform of a District Inspector of the Police, Major Dudley, and said “This is a terrible thing.” The officer replied “I assure you Sir, it is disgraceful; no one is more sorry that I am that anyone should have been shot; they had not orders to fire.” Griffin was picked up and taken to hospital. Another young man, James Kelly, was in the act of mounting his bicycle when he was shot in the leg. Aged 25 and living at Fosterstown about a mile outside the town, Kelly described how eight lorries from the direction of Navan arrived at the Fair Green and as the last lorry passed he mounted his bicycle to head in the opposite direction. He had not gone more than twenty yards when he heard a shot and fell off his bicycle. He was taken in to the home of Nurse Sherry and from there to hospital. Kelly had just returned home from working in Clifden, Co. Galway as a hotel boots.

Fr. Caffrey and Fr. Murphy, Catholic curates, arrived at the scene of the shooting while Mr. O’Reilly and Major Dudley were speaking. They all asked what could be done to ensure no further bloodshed would take place and the curates undertook to guarantee that the people of the town would remain absolutely quiet. Major Dudley replied “If a guarantee is given that the people remain indoors and that no further attack will take place, I will assure you that the men under my control here will do nothing to terrorise or frighten anyone.” The guarantee was given and the two priests along with Fr. Walshe from Maynooth, Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. J.J. Reilly, chairman of the Trim Urban Council went around the town urging people to remain within their homes. As they went around the town they met a man in a policeman’s uniform who said he was searching for petrol. This caused concern so the men went back to Major Dudley who told them he was taking away his men. The local I.R.A. men on hearing of the guarantee re-considered and decided that the pre-arranged plans for the guarding of their supporter’s' houses need not now be carried out.

The police observed the barracks until the roof fell in. They then walked about the streets in groups without molestation and took tea and refreshments locally. Several young men were searched but no arrest was made. The curate, Fr. Caffrey, went out in the town advising people to go home and stay inside. Fr. Murphy C.C. called to the Lalor home and told Mrs. Lalor that everything was alright and everyone was safe. The three Lalor brothers came out and passed their mother and the priest. Mrs. Lalor asked where they were going and said “Don’t go up against the priest.” Joe replied “Well, mother, we’re not going to be here so you can see us shot before your eyes.”

About 6.30 a deputation of leading citizens and Mr. Foley D.I. R.I.C. met Major Dudley who asked for a guarantee that every person would be off the street after dark. Major Dudley having been given a guarantee said the people had no need to fear anything from the military. The troops withdrew about 8.00 p.m. and left the town and returned to Navan. Residents were afraid and the whole town was deserted before nightfall.

At about 2.45 a.m. people were startled to hear the noise of heavy lorries and the voices of cheering boisterous men. About 200 Auxiliaries and Black and Tans from Gormanston arrived and stopped briefly at the burning barracks and then there was sustained gunfire and deafening explosions on the three main streets of the town – Castle Street, Market Street and High Street. Market Street rang to the sound of machine gunfire.

1920 Oct 2. Attends a funeral in London

1920 Oct 14 First Company Commander of E Company in Sligo.

1920 Nov 19 Transfers to Permanent Cadet in RIC. Lt Col S F Forbes Sharp took over command

1920 Nov 20 Croke Park Shootings. He was in command of the Black & Tans at Croke Park

1920 Nov 24 On raid that arrested Harry Burke (Irish Brigade)

There is a story in Patrol Indefinite that recounts that he arrested Michael O'Leary V.C., but I cannot substantiate that

1921 Sep 27. Royal Regt of Artillery The following relinquish their commissions on termination of service. Temp Capt and granted rank of Major. G V Dudley

1921. Dudley surfaces again in late 1921 at Magherafelt, between Belfast and Londonderry, where he allegedly embezzled £300 of expenses, due to other policemen. As a result he skipped the country to Glasgow where his wife and family were living. He was arrested and taken back to Dublin in the Spring of 1922. The result of his trial is unknown.

1922 Jan 5 Posted deserted

1922 Jan 24. Dismissed by the Chief of Police

1922. The Colonial Sugar Refining Company in Fiji briefly employed him and he was working for them in Fiji towards the end of the year

1922 Aug Arrives in Australia

1923 Jan 10. He was in Fiji and he wrote to the Department of Home Affairs, Melbourne, wanting to know if there were any vacancies in the N.T. Police Force

1923 .He moved to Melbourne with the Australian General Electric Company and  served as a special constable during the Melbourne police strike.

1924 Mar 1.  A year after arriving in Australia he applied for appointment as Commissioner of the Northern Territory Police.  The Minister, Senator George Pearce, personally accepted Dudley for appointment to the vacant position. So he arrived in the Northern Territory at age 38.

1924 May 29 His wife and two children leave UK on SS Baradine. They were still living in Scotland when Dudley arrived in Darwin and finally joined him in August 1924. They travel 3rd class Mrs Dudley found their accommodation in Darwin was depressing. After some months a new house was built for the family at Myilly Point some 2 and a half miles away which had mosquitto proof verandas

1924 - 1927 Major George Vernon Dudley. Commissioner of Northern Territory Police. Dudley was extremely well qualified, having served in three overseas police forces for a total of 12 years and having served during the First World War. Despite his obvious qualifications, he could not settle into one position or even in one country. He did have a vision for the police force. He set out to improve its operational efficiency and give it a sense of purpose and effectiveness in the organisation.  However he had certain personal problems - drink and debts -and this was to bring about his demise.

In the first few months in NT, Dudley travelled across the whole Territory from Darwin to Alice Springs and the Victoria River to Camooweal in Queensland. He was the first senior police officer to undertake such journey’s by car. Station inspections were  difficult, roads were poor, but he was a hands on manager.

However his bosses started to see flaws in his character. The Administrator, Frederick Urquhart, first brought Dudley’s personal life into question in the Northern Territory. Urquhart was a former Commissioner of Police in Queensland and would have had a good understanding of the conduct expected of a senior officer. In 1925, when considering the payment of an increment to Dudley, Urquhart wrote: I am not able to make a favourable recommendation this year in his case.  It is not that the Police work is not fairly well being carried out in the Territory but I am dissatisfied with this officer’s want of discretion in regard to visiting hotels and occasional indulgences in liquor which have given rise to remarks, and of course do not provide a good example for his men.  I therefore do not recommend the granting of the increment this year.

A year later Dudley was told that his position was to be terminated  due to the division of the Northern Territory into two territories. At the same time, the Administrator, R.H. Weddell, advised the Secretary of the Department of Home and Territories that Dudley had run up local debts.  Weddell noted that Dudley ‘was of drunken habits and, on occasions, engaged in drinking bouts with his subordinates… Dudley’s debtors forwarded by a solicitor acting of behalf of four prominent citizens showing that Dudley owed  £320 1s 6p to the four men , who included two licensees.  He was drinking beyond his financial means. Dudley’s character and reliance on alcohol clearly made him unsuitable for the position he held. The fact that his wife was living in Scotland whilst he was in Fiji and during the early part of his sojourn in Australia is suggestive of some marital problems. 

1927 Dec 31. Dudley's employment was terminated in Northern Territory

His unsettled life continued after he left the Northern Territory.  He served in the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and a Constable in Victoria Police.  He was a court attendant at both the High Court of Australia and Supreme Court of New South Wales and a commissionaire at the Rural Bank of New South Wales.

1939 Nov 23. Enlisted in Australian Army at Cremorne, NSW. Warrant Officer Class 1 George Vernon Dudley, N61023 Australian Army, born 21 October 1892. Next of Kin Gladys Dudley. Posted HQEC. He went into the Provost Corps but only for a short while before entering the Royal Australian Air Force as a drill instructor.

During this time he became involved with escorting parties of Empire Air Training Scheme men overseas, and on one occasion he led a RAAF parade through the streets of New York, with the rank of Squadron Leader at the age of 60

Then he served as Squadron Leader in the RAAF. After the RAAF he served as an attendant in the High Court of Australia and then as an attendant in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. George after leaving the RAAF apparently had no other employment but kept active with Veteran’s Organizations

1949 Aug 1. Died Sydney, NSW aged 64. According to an Ancestry tree, he was crushed between the dockside and a ferry reversing in Neutral Bay, Sydney - however I cannot find a record of that in Australian papers, but the date is correct. Buried in the Northern Suburbs Crematorium and Memorial Gardens in North Ryde, NSW, Australia. The Australian Electoral Roll shows him in 1949 as a Bank Officer living in Neutral Bay