Served: 5¼ years
February 1, 1943 to June 19, 1948
John was born September 12, 1917 to John (a sawyer) and Irene (Wallace) Hughes of Eastern Avenue. He attended 11 years of schooling and entered the workforce as a butcher. By 1940, he was still working as a meat cutter and living with his wife can children at 2613 Dennis Street.
On February 1, 1943, John joined the Cincinnati Police Division as a Police Recruit. On March 16, 1943 he was assigned to District 6 (3855 Eastern Avenue). He was promoted to Patrolman on May 1, 1943 and issued Badge 366. On June 16, 1943 he was rotated to District 4 (754 W. 5th Street).
About 1½ years into his career, on November 13, 1944, he became one of more than 160 Cincinnati officers to enter the military during World War II. He fought in the 21st Infantry Regiment in the 24th Infantry Division of the United States Army. The regiment fought in the Battle of Mindanao during April 1945. On April 30, the regiment attacked to clear the Libby Airdrome, then attacked north from Mintal along Route 1-D and another road on May 17th. They captured Tugbok on May 21 against fierce Japanese resistance. On May 31, 1945 the regiment attacked north from Lamogan, captured Wangan on June 9, advanced on Calinan, and was withdrawn from combat on June 19th. During this campaign the regiment inflicted at least 2,000 casualties on Japanese troops. In October 1945, the regiment, along with the rest of the 24th Division, arrived in Japan for occupation duties. After about 1¼ years, Private 1st Class Hughes was sent home and honorably discharged February 11, 1946.
When he returned from the war, Patrolman Hughes was reissued Badge 366 and reassigned to District 4. Barely a year later, he was transferred to the Highway Safety Bureau and assigned to motorcycle patrol.
By mid-1948, Patrolman Hughes and his family of five were living at 51 Corry Street.
On June 19, 1948, at 10:05 a.m., Patrolman Hughes, pursued a speeder around a curve on Kellogg Avenue. As he leaned to negotiate the centrifugal force in the curve, his footrest struck the pavement and he lost control of the motorcycle. At 5701 Kellogg Avenue, near the California Waterworks Plant, he crashed head-on into a Bradley Taxicab driven by Raymond Hay (43). Patrolman Hughes was tossed airborne and landed some twenty feet from the point of impact. He was transported to General Hospital and declared dead on arrival from a fractured skull and crushed pelvis.
Mr. Hay also suffered a possible fractured skull, plus arm and head injuries. The other five cab occupants were uninjured.
The speeder escaped and was never identified.
Patrolman Hughes was survived by his wife of ten years, Virginia (Speaks) Hughes, and children, David Hughes, John W. “Jack” Hughes, Jr., and Charlotte Ann Hughes. His funeral was held at Busse & Borgman funeral home and from there he was buried on June 22, 1948 in Spring Grove Cemetery. Six fellow motorcycle officers served as pall bearers; including Patrolman Andrew Boehnlein, at whose recent wedding Patrolman Hughes had served as best man.
If you know of any information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding this officer or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Memorial@Police-Museum.org.
© This narrative was further researched and revised on June 4, 2019 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society Vice President. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum.