Price, Hugh McKee (No. A/22283)

Price, Hugh McKee

Served as Price, Hugh Blackwood (known as Hugh)

Sergeant

No. A/22283, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps

Murdered on Saturday 18 August 1945 (aged 45)

Buried:

Windsor (Grove) Cemetery, Ontario, Canada (Section 14 Grave 13)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Canadian Virtual War Memorial (Internet)

Canadian Second World War Book of Remembrance (page 556)

BIOGRAPHY

Hugh McKee Price was born on 16 December 1899 in Lisbarnett and he was baptised in First Comber Presbyterian Church.  Only the forename Hugh was recorded at civil registration of his birth; the forenames Hugh McKee were recorded at his baptism.  Hugh was the third son of William James and Sarah Ann Price (nee McKee) who lived in Ashview House, Lisbarnett, Comber.  William James Price was a farmer and he and Sarah Ann McKee were married on 28 April 1893 in Killinchy Presbyterian Church.  They had at least nine children:

John (born 27 March 1894 in Ballymartin)

Samuel (born 2 September 1895 in Lisbarnett)

Mary Elizabeth (born 6 November 1896 in Lisbarnett)

Hugh McKee (born 16 December 1899 in Lisbarnett)

William James (born 7 August 1901 in Lisbarnett)

Sarah Agnes Winifred (born 17 August 1903 in Lisbarnett)

Emily Flora Minnis (born 21 March 1906 in Lisbarnett)

Mabel Isabella (born 23 November 1910 in Lisbarnett)

Maggie Clawson (born 4 August 1912 in Lisbarnett)

During the First World War Hugh’s eldest brother, Private John Price (No. 18638) served in ‘B’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles and then in the 108th Machine Gun Company (Infantry), 36th (Ulster) Division (No. 17765).  He was killed in action on 10 June 1916.

Hugh McKee Price worked as a farm labourer and on 13 March 1926 (aged 26) he moved to Canada.  He travelled aboard the Canadian Pacific Steamship Montnairn from Belfast to St. John, New Brunswick and from there he went to Winnipeg.  In the 1930s he moved to Windsor, Ontario where he lived in Pitt Street West.  There he described himself as a psychologist and, dressed in turban and oriental clothes, he performed an astrology act in restaurants and bars.  Using the stage name Professor Cosmo, he had a crystal ball which he used to tell fortunes, and he also wrote an astrology column for a local newspaper.

During the Second World War Hugh McKee Price served as Hugh Blackwood Price, first with the Essex Scottish Regiment of the Canadian Army and then with the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps.  The war in Europe ended and on 7 August 1945 Hugh Price returned to Windsor, Ontario where he rented a room on Church Street and took a job hefting barrels in a cold storage warehouse.  On Friday 17 August 1945 he came home from work as usual and his landlady saw him going out again at 8.30 pm.  In the early hours of 18 August 1945 his body was found on waste ground.  He had been murdered.

Sergeant Price died of multiple stab wounds and much was written at the time about his death.  Since then, at least two books have been written.

In his book entitled The Slasher Killings Patrick Brode describes a series of murders in Windsor during July and August 1945 and one of the victims was Sergeant Hugh Blackwood Price.

In his book entitled Cold North Killers:  Canadian Serial Murder Lee Mellor addresses the same subject.

Sergeant Hugh Blackwood Price was buried on 21 August 1945 in Windsor Grove Cemetery and there is a personal inscription on his headstone:

EVER REMEMBERED BY HIS LOVING MOTHER, BROTHER AND SISTERS.  LISBARNETT, N.I.

Sergeant Hugh Blackwood Price is commemorated on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial (Internet) and on Page 556 in the Canadian Second World War Book of Remembrance.  Sergeant Price was unmarried and in his service papers he cited as his next of kin his sister Mrs Elizabeth P. Donnan of Brownlow Street, Comber.