Captain John M. Cash

Captain John M. Cash

Palm Beach Police Department, Florida

End of Watch Sunday, October 31, 1926

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John M. Cash

Captain John Cash drowned after attempting several rescues at the beach next to Royal Palm Way.

A strong undertow had resulted in the drowning of three other swimmers that day. Captain Cash had already performed two rescues before he, too, drowned as a result of the undertow.

Captain Cash had served with the Palm Beach Police Department for four years.


  • Age 48
  • Tour 4 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Drowned

water rescue

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From the Associated Press wire service, October 31, 1926: "Three Men Die in Rescuing Woman From Surf at Florida Beach. Four men are known to have been drowned off the Palm Beach coast today, victims of strong undertow along an unpatrolled beach and one or two others are though to have perished. Three of the men were drowned while going to the rescue of Miss Jessie Coons, the daughter of one of the victims. John Cash, 40, of the Palm Beach police force, was drowned trying to rescue Coons after helping his daughter to her safety, and Alex Decker, 50, perished in the attempt to aid Coons." Palm Beach had an all volunteer, informal lifeguard service at the time known as Cowboys of the Sea, led by Gus Jordahn, who attempted to resuscitate Captain Cash. Captain Cash's death and the others led to the formation of the Palm Beach Beach Patrol, a professional lifeguard service, now known as Palm Beach Ocean Rescue. I did not know Captain John Cash but I was fortunate to look through a box of old records held by the Historical Society of Palm Beach County and find an newspaper story about his death. Captain Cash's sacrifice was a lost memory in Palm Beach and has since been recognized in all of the appropriate places including a bronze plaque in front of the Palm Beach Police Department headquarters with a list of Palm Beach Police officers who gave their lives in heroic acts, a list that we all hope and pray does not have any additional names added.

Michael Reiter, Chief of Police (Ret.)
Palm Beach Police Department

March 14, 2024

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