OFFICER WILLIAM T. RUMBLE - EOW: 10-29-1947
On October 28, 1947 around 4:45 a.m., Officer William Rumble was on-duty and on an assignment as a uniformed investigator assigned to the SPD detective division. He was driving south on 5th Ave., and his police car had entered the intersection at 5th Ave and Pine St. Another vehicle travelling eastbound failed to yield the right of way to the officer. It hit Rumble’s police car. The officer’s car was put into a spin, and he was ejected onto the pavement where he was run over by the wheels of the police car. Both vehicles ended up on the sidewalk in front of the Best’s Apparel Store at the southeast corner of the intersection. The other car smashed a large display window, and the officer’s car came to a stop next to the building. Officer Rumble was found unconscious under the front bumper of his police car. He was rushed to Harborview County Hospital in critical condition with multiple injuries. He was later transferred to Swedish Hospital where he died during the evening hours of October 29, 1947. William Rumble was survived by his pregnant widow, Ailene, and two daughters, Maureen and Judith. On May 1, 1948, Ailene Rumble gave birth to William T. Rumble, Jr.
The driver of the other vehicle was Mary V. Arndt. She was charged, tried, and convicted for Negligent Driving. Her sentence was 20 days in jail, suspended, a $150 fine, and the surrendering of her driver’s license for six months.
Officer William Thomas Rumble was born in Vancouver, BC, on March 30, 1914. His family came to the United States in 1916. William became a naturalized citizen on March 19, 1937, and he married Ailene Ostram on July 15, 1939. He worked as a pressman in Seattle for eleven years before being commissioned as a Seattle police officer on December 13, 1941, just six days after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the start of WW II. It was only after the start of WW II that the Department began issuing serial numbers and identification cards. Officer Rumble worked as a patrolman, jailer, and detective before being assigned as a uniformed investigator in June 1947. At the time of his death, the family lived at 3327 W. 70th St.
In January 1998, Chief of Police Norm Stamper nominated forty-nine Seattle police officers for the Washington Law Enforcement Medal of Honor. The officers had been killed in the line of duty between 1881 and 1976. Nine of those nominations were rejected. Officer William Rumble’s nomination was one of those nine. In 2009, he was re-nominated, and was awarded the Medal of Honor. On October 29, 2009, the 62nd anniversary of his death, Officer William T. Rumble’s Medal of Honor was presented to his daughter, Maureen, during a ceremony at Seattle Police Headquarters.