William Seed AM

b. ?  d. 22/01/1895 Gibraltar. 

DATE OF AM ACTION: 17/03/1891 Gibraltar.

William Seed was appointed Chief Officer of the Gibraltar Police in 1883. He held the position for 12 years until his death on 22nd January 1895. By the end of his tenure, the office of Chief of Police for Gibraltar carried compensation between £400-£500 per annum. William was formerly a subaltern in the Princess Victoria’s Royal Irish Fusiliers. He was also connected with the Police Departments of Mauritius and Fiji. In 1884 he made changes to the rank structure within the Gibraltar Police with Inspectors divided into 1st and 2nd Class. By then, there were six Sergeants and twenty-two Constables. In 1891, following the wreck of the “Utopia” off the coast of Gibraltar he was awarded the Albert Medal of the Second Class, the Silver Medal of the Royal Humane Society and he received the thanks of the Italian Government.



On the occasion of the sinking of the British steam ship ” Utopia,” through collision, off Gibraltar, on the 17th March, 1891, when 551 lives were lost, a number of boats were put out by the vessels of the Channel Squadron to the assistance of the shipwrecked persons. The launch of Her Majesty’s ship “Immortalite,” while engaged in the work of rescue, fouled her screw, became uncontrollable, and was beaten on to the shore near the breakwater, where she eventually became a total wreck. Two of her crew were drowned, two others swam safely ashore, and the remainder, with eight emigrants from the ” Utopia,” were rescued in an exhausted condition by officers and men of the Port Department and of the King’s Royal Rifles. Among the rescuers, WILLIAM SEED, Chief of Police, and Corporal WILLIAM McQUE, of the Rifles, particularly distinguished themselves. Although the night was intensely dark, with a strong gale blowing and a strong current and heavy sea dashing on the breakwater (which is a low line of jagged rocks, giving no foothold outside the wall of the fortifications), they plunged into the waves with ropes, and, although washed back on the rocks, renewed their attempt until they succeeded in reaching the launch, which was eighty yards off” shore, when the rescue was effected.