Rural Action, Community Engagement

Navan Murder Mystery Officially Commemorated

Prescott-Russell Trail rest area in named after Harold H.

Councillor Stephen Blais is pleased to have City Council support the Cumberland Township Historical Society’s efforts to name a Prescott - Russell Trail rest stop after OPP Constable Harold H. Dent.

Constable Dent was murdered by a foreign national while on official duty June 20,1940 at the Navan Train Station after he confronted a reportedly suspicious stranger. World War II had been underway for ten months at the time and all citizens were required to carry a national identity card.

“The village of Navan has a rich history and the culmination of this commemorative naming effort recognizes an important and tragic chapter in it,” says Councillor Blais. “This was a major event at the time and some residents still remember it like it was yesterday,” adds Blais.

The rest area is located near the site of the old Navan Train Station where the Prescott-Russell Trail intersects Smith Road.

“The Cumberland Township Historical Society’s does excellent work in the preservation of the historical legacy and heritage of rural Cumberland,” says Blais. “This remains the only murder ever to take place in Navan and I fully support honouring a brave officer who lost his life in the call of duty, ” adds Blais.

Acting Sergeant J.A. Stringer was able to pursue the suspect and after being fired upon he shot and killed the assailant.

On June 20, 2015 the Cumberland Township Historical Society will be hosting an official naming dedication and inviting the son of Constable Harold Dent, Murray Dent, who was only three weeks old when this event occurred 75 years ago.

“On June 20th 1940, Navan was headline news. June 20th 2015, Navan is back in the news but this time, for a celebration of duty,” says Gilles Chartrand, member of the Cumberland Township Historical Society and proponent of this Commemorative Naming.

Constable Dent spent all of his life and career in eastern Ontario. He was born in Rockland on March 2, 1903 and was appointed to the OPP on November 30, 1930 while remaining a leading community figure. He served on the public school board and became a manager of the United Church.

During just under ten year of service with the OPP, Dent received four commendations for efforts in two break & enters, thefts, a murder-conspiracy, and an armed robbery.

Copyright © 2018 Stephen Blais