Alexandria Police Foundation

Profiles of Courage

Private Whitfield W. Lipscombe, 1930

Private Whitfield W. Lipscombe

Whitfield W. Lipscombe was born in Virginia on May 9, 1908. The son of a railroad worker, he grew up in Lynchburg where he lived with his sister, aunt, uncle and cousins. As a teen, he worked as a store clerk and in a shoe repair shop. He later moved to Alexandria where he lived with his father at the Scottish Rite Club on North Alfred Street. On August 2, 1929, he became an Alexandria police officer.

On the afternoon of September 4, 1930, Private Lipscombe was at the fire station in Potomac (present-day Del Ray), when an alarm sounded. The firefighters were called to a car and brush fire along Four Mile Run. When they set off in a new engine truck, Private Lipscombe jumped on the back to assist with directing traffic at the fire scene.

Engine No. 2 traveled north on the Washington-Richmond Highway (now U.S. Route 1) and was just approaching Four Mile Run when a truck cut in front. The firefighter driving the apparatus swerved to avoid a collision but the large fire truck overturned, wrecking in a ditch.

Private Lipscombe was struck by the hose and thrown from the fire truck, suffering a broken neck and fractured skull. He was transported to Alexandria Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival around 2:30 p.m. Three firefighters on the truck were also injured, but all survived. The truck that cut in front of the fire engine was not identified.

Private Lipscombe, age 22, was survived by his parents Harry and Nellie, three sisters and one brother. He is buried at Spring Hill Cemetery in Lynchburg.

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