Patrolman Cornelius F. Regan

Patrolman Cornelius F. Regan

Boston Police Department, Massachusetts

End of Watch Thursday, January 13, 1898

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Cornelius F. Regan

Patrolman Cornelius Regan passed away after contracting spinal meningitis after rescuing a drowning man from the Charles River early on Christmas morning.

He was on patrol near the old Charlestown Bridge at 2:15 am when he heard a man shouting. He ran to the center of the bridge, where he observed a man struggling in the icy river 20 feet below.

After taking off his belt, Patrolman Regan climbed down a bridge pylon to the water. He was able to pull the man to the bridge using his belt, at which point he discovered the man was too drunk to assist himself in any way. Despite getting soaked with the ice-cold water, Patrolman Regan was able to secure a boat which brought them both to shore.

Patrolman Regan began feeling ill the following day. His condition worsened and it was determined that he contracted spinal meningitis as a result of his exposure to the cold. He passed away on January 13th, 1898.

Patrolman Regan had served with the Boston Police Department for four years in Division 13, Headquarters, Division 5, and was assigned to Division 1 when he passed. He was survived by his wife and five children.


  • Age 34
  • Tour 13 years, 11 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Duty related illness
  • Incident Date Saturday, December 25, 1897

water rescue

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Patrolman Regan, it has been 126 years since you were taken from us. New England law enforcement has continued to thrive, learn and become safer due to the traditions and sacrifices you, your family, and many others have made for us. Thank you for your 4 years of law enforcement service.

Chief (Ret) Steven Marshall
Georges Mills, NH

January 14, 2024

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