A former police officer who was shot in the face while chasing two dangerous rapists and murderers across the Lower Hunter has died, aged 82.
Former Cessnock man, John “Bill” Millward, most recently of Harrington, lost his three-year battle with cancer last month.
Mr Millward was best known in the region for his involvement in the chase of two wanted murderers, Kevin Crump and Allan Baker in 1973.
The Senior Constable was on duty for the highway patrol when he was called out to a chase of two people who police originally believed were wanted for break and enter and car thefts.
But they later discovered the pair were on the run for the horrificrape, torture and murder of housewife Virginia Morse and murder of travelling worker Ian Lamb.
Mr Millward and a colleague pursued the vehicle from Stanford Merthyr to Maitland before several shots were fired at the police car.
One of the bullets hit Mr Millward in the centre of his forehead, an injury he miraculously survived. Crump and Baker were caught the same day in a massive manhunt after fleeing into bushland at Woodville.
Mr Millward spent four days in hospital and was back at work in 12. For his dedication and commitment to the police force he received The Queen’s Commendation Award for Brave Conduct.
Prior to his time in the force, Mr Millward served his National Service Duty in The Royal Australian Air Force in Queanbeyan.
In his teen years he also worked as a miner at Pelton Colliery – a career he would eventually return to when he retired from the police force after 18 years, 14 of which were served at Maitland Police Station.
While working at the mine the second time, he was involved in a head on car accident with a drunken driver. The driver was killed instantly but once again Mr Millward somehow survived.
In 1998, Mr Millward and his wife Marlene retired to Harrington, where he spent many days fishing at sea – a strong passion of his.
He also enjoyed many hunting trips, along with golf and spending time with family.
He enjoyed the outdoor life, had a big passion for sport especially cricket and football and really loved dogs, having had many different breeds during his time in the Hunter, but loving them all equally.
Mr Millward is survived by Marlene; son Lesley and his wife Kathleen; daughter Rhonda and her husband Mark; granddaughter Lisa and her children Jake, Bradley and Ash-Lee; granddaughter Jodie and her daughters Lyla and Chloe; granddaughter Melissa; grandson Christopher, his new baby son Henry, partner Jayde and her daughter Katie.