Jerome Caminada  1844-1914

Jerome Caminada

On 10 March 1914, just five days before his 70th birthday, Jerome Caminada died at his home in Moss Side. He had been suffering from diabetes for some years and had never fully recovered from the injuries sustained in a terrible coach accident in North Wales three years earlier.

A Requiem Mass was held for the famous detective at the Church of the Holy Name, where he had worshipped with his family. Jerome had married his wife, Amelia, there almost 35 years earlier and all their five children had been baptised in the church. His funeral was attended by his family, close friends and many of the city’s dignitaries, including the Lord Mayor. The judiciary was represented, as well as the many organisations to which Caminada had belonged. His former colleagues also came to pay their respects, including ex-Detective Inspector Peter Wilson, who had worked with Caminada for 19 years. The principal mourners filled five carriages.

Church of the Holy Name

Church of the Holy Name

Jerome Caminada’s eulogy was given by his friend and colleague, Judge Edward Abbot Parry, who served the Manchester County Court from 1894 to 1911. He described Caminada as ‘a great character’ and ‘a good citizen’, praising his sterling qualities, unorthodox methods and great leadership: ‘He was a man of resource, energy, and initiative, and he never stultified himself by a petty adherence to office regulations. He was the Garibaldi of detectives.’

Judge Parry also recalled Jerome Caminada’s kindness and compassion: ‘What I want to remind my fellow-citizens, now he is gone, is that in all the miserable work he had to do, and he did so ably, he was always a human being with a kind heart. He never lost his faith in human nature, though he know more about moral diseases than most bishops.’

Judge Parry

On a more personal note, he recalled a terrible experience that he had shared with his friend. In 1898 Judge Parry was presiding over a trial when a disgruntled court bailiff, who had had his licence revoked, shot the magistrate three times in the face and neck. As soon as Detective Caminada heard news, he rushed over to the courtroom and cared for the judge, before arresting the perpetrator. Judge Parry recounted how, after the incident, Caminada investigated other ‘half-mad folk’ who sent him death threats and one particular occasion revealed the detective’s ‘slow sense of humour’. Reporting to the judge after an interview, Caminada said, ‘It’s no good, judge. I’ve been with the fellow an hour or two and I can’t knock any reason into him. He’s got the wrong end of the stick, and as I keep telling him: it’s not you he wants to shoot at all – it’s the registrar.’

Judge Parry concluded his eulogy with a moving statement: ‘One does not readily forget a man who has been near you and done you kindness in the hour of trouble. All of us in Manchester knew Jerome Caminada’s worth as a detective; not everyone knew his honesty, faith, and kindness. May he rest in peace.’

Jerome Caminada was laid to rest in the family grave in Southern Cemetery, alongside his mother and his three infant children.

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