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King George V Coronation (Scottish Police) Medal 1911 History

 

The authorisation for:

 

 

"the supply of a Special Coronation Medal to the Scottish Police, St Andrew's Ambulance Corps and Park Keepers (Holyrood Park)"

 

 

dated 23 February 1912, is in the records of the Royal Mint,  and can be seen in The National Archives (TNA) at Kew. London.

 

There is a hand written note on the document that states:

 

 

"List of names to be returned."

 

 

Life would have been so much easier for collectors had they not ‘returned' those lists.

 

Distribution of the medal was to be much less than in 1903. The exact distribution can be seen in the documents quoted below.

 

These records of the Royal Mint and the Scottish Office in Whitehall can be found at The National Archives at Kew.

King George V Coronation (Scottish Police) Medal 1911 (Obverse)

Who was entitled to be awarded the medal

The list of conditions were approved by His Majesty the King and contain the following.

 

 

"The Medal and Ribbon to be the same as approved for issue to police forces in England and the inscription on the reverse of the Medal being "Scottish Police - Coronation 1911".

 

The Medal to be issued to the following categories:

 

1.    To every police officer of whatever grade who was actually on duty at any place visited by The King and the Queen on the occasion of Their Majesties visit to Edinburgh, July 17th to July 21st, both dates inclusive

 

2.    To selected recipients from each County and Burgh Police Force in Scotland in the proportion of one medal for every twenty or fraction of twenty members of the authorised police establishment, with two medals a minimum in cases where the strength of the police force is less than 40. The members of the "additional police" privately employed and paid to be excluded from the computation.

 

3.    To the members of the St Andrew’s Ambulance Corps who were actually on duty with the police on the occasion of the Royal Visit to Edinburgh.

4.    To the Park Keepers of Holyrood. 

 

5.    To his Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary for Scotland.

 

Representations have been made to the Secretary for Scotland in favour of the inclusion of the High Constables of Edinburgh in the distribution, but Lord Pentland does not advise that the request be complied with.

 

9th November 1911" 

 

King George V Coronation (Scottish Police) Medal 1911 (Reverse)

On 8 February 1912, Sir James M Dodds, of the Scottish Office wrote to Sir Frederick Ponsonby, KCVO, CB as follows:

 

"Dear Sir Frederick Ponsonby,

 

Referring to my letter to you of 13th November, 1911, we have now completed our lists of Police Officers and others to whom the Police Coronation Medal should be awarded in accordance with the King's instructions. The numbers are as follows:

 

Police Forces 1464

St Andrew's Ambulance Corps 310

Park Keepers at Holyrood 11

H.M. Inspector of Constabulary 1

 

Total 1,786

 

If you will give instructions to the Mint for the preparation of the medals we can, if you wish, arrange direct with the many little points of detail that may arise.

 

Yours very truly,

(Signed) James M. Dodds

 

 

 

The correspondence at the Scottish office includes the following.

 

Receipt dated 16 May 1912 for eleven Royal Park Coronation Medals.

 

 

 

 

Receipt dated 22 May 1912 for three hundred and ten medals for the St Andrew's Ambulance Association.

 

 

 

 

Receipt dated 22 June 1912 for eight hundred and fifty Scottish Police Medals as follows:

 

Inspector of Constabulary 1

City of Edinburgh 598

Burgh of Leith 113

Midlothian 58

East Lothian 26

West Lothian 42

Peebles 12

 

 

 

 

Receipt dated 28 June 1912 for six hundred and fifteen Scottish Police medals as follows:

 

City of Glasgow Police 306

County and Burgh 309 

 

 

 

According to ‘The Scotsman’ newspaper edition of Friday 13 September 1912,

 

 

“Coronation Medals for Glasgow Police

 

Presentation of the special Coronation medals to 306 members of the Glasgow Police who were in duty at Edinburgh during the Royal Visit of last year, was made yesterday in the quadrangle of the City Chambers by Lord Provost (Sir Daniel M) Stevenson (Bt).

 

In addition, 81 medals for long and meritorious service were presented. The Lord Provost said he considered it a pleasure and a privilege to present the medals for long and meritorious service, and also the special Coronation medals.

 

He was sure the recipients would wear the medals worthily.

 

Chief Constable (James) Stevenson thanked the Lord Provost for making the presentations.”

 

 

This explains the 387 names on the list of Glasgow officers that appeared in the Police Review & Parade Gossip edition of 11 October 1912.

 

Despite what some reference books state as 'fact', the records of the Royal Mint prove that no more than 1,786 Scottish Police Coronation medals were struck and only 1,465 of those were awarded to Police Officers, the bulk of whom served in Edinburgh City Police and the City of Glasgow Police. 

 

310 went to the St Andrew's Ambulance Association on duty in Edinburgh and Glasgow and 11 went to the Park Keepers at Holyrood Park, Edinburgh.  

Other Scottish Office correspondence

An interesting letter from the Scottish Office dated 15 July 1912 concerns a request to the Royal Mint for a medal to be re-engraved.

 

Due to a transcription error, Inspector James Alexander of Forres Police Station had his medal engraved "Inspector J.A Forres". 

 

The cost of re-engraving was to be included in the account to be rendered.

 

In a letter dated 22 July 1912 from the Burgh Police Office, Paisley, the Chief Constable William Duncan complained that "the swivel of his medal had broken off at the first time of wearing" and requested that it be repaired.

 

It was a very quick turnaround because in a letter from Paisley Burgh Police Office dated 26 July 1912, the Chief Constable writes to the Master of the Royal Mint to thank him for the return of his medal.

The Total Bill for the 1,465 Scottish Police Medals

In a letter from the Chief Clerk of the Royal Mint on behalf of the Master of the Royal Mint to the Scottish Office dated 9th August 1912, he requests that a cheque for the amount due, two hundred and eighty three pounds, eight shillings and three pence be sent in due course.

 

£283.8/3d for 1,786 medals including the manufacture, ribbon and engraving (plus one re-engraving)!

 

What did your last 1911 Scottish Police medal cost?

 

Who were awarded the 1,465 Medals?

The vexed question of which officers were awarded the King George V Coronation (Scottish Police) Medal is a continuing puzzle that several people have tried to solve including Tony Wilkinson, Steve Grainger and the late John Green. I have been assisted in this task by them all and I am grateful to them for all their help and advice.

 

I had access to the 'Police Review and Parade Gossip' newspapers for the years 1911 and 1912. I searched for and recorded every entry concerning the issue of the medal to Scottish Police forces and the table below is the result.

I used the formula in the Scottish Office correspondence to calculate the numbers for each force.  The officers who were on duty at a Royal Event during the visit between 17 and 21 July 1911 were entitled to a medal.

That accounted for Edinburgh City Police, Leith Burgh Police, East Lothian Constabulary, West Lothian Constabulary, Mid Lothian Constabulary, Peebles County Constabulary and the City of Glasgow Police.

The next category were those who were awarded a medal using the numbers in the force to calculate an allocation, the minimum for a force under forty men was two medals. The comparison between the projected allocation and the actual medals listed as awarded in the Police Review and Parade Gossip is the same in many cases.

I can find no listing in the paper for any medals awarded to the forces of Kinross-shire, Dunbartonshire or Wigtownshire. It would be highly unusual for them to be missed out

Kinross-shire, although operating as a separate force, was administered by the Chief Constable of Fife and Kinross, James Tennant Gordon, until May 1930, so the fact that Fife seemed to get more than they were due might be because the Kinross medals were allocated via there. C.C. Gordon's KPM is inscribed to "Jas. T. Gordon Ch. Const. Fife & Kinross Constab."

 

During the same period, Colonel Alexander Borthwick was Chief Constable of East Lothian, Mid Lothian, West Lothian and Peebles Constabularies although the forces operated separately until amalgamation as Lothians and Peebles Constabulary in 1950. He was awarded his medal in the Peebles Constabulary list.

 

In arriving at the medal totals for each force, I have used the figures in Royal Mint receipts that list the named forces and the numbers engraved to each. For the rest, I have taken the figures from the published lists in the Police Review and Parade Gossip which are in no sense, complete. In fact, PC John Cape of City of Glasgow Police is listed as 'PC John Cope'. PC Robert Denovan of Partick Burgh Police is listed as 'PC Robert Donavan'. It is likely that there are many more discrepancies.

I only recently became aware of the medal issued to the Secretary of the High Constables of Edinburgh. I am sure there are other facts regarding these medals still to be discovered. This example is an exceptionally rare medal since the High Constables of Edinburgh were quite specifically excluded in the regulations.

 

I often see it written that if a 1911 medal is not on a list it must be an Edinburgh medal. That is just not the case. Look at the Medal Roll below and you will see there are still names from Mid Lothian and other forces missing.

The list of forces below is a first effort at making sense of the allocation. I do not claim in any way that it is 100% accurate, it is a best guess based on contemporary sources.

 

It is my long-term aim to publish an accurate Medal Roll for the medal on this website. For the present, the Medal Roll below is the best I can do. 

 

I have been tremendously assisted in the compilation of this Roll by the efforts of Tony Wilkinson and for that, I am eternally grateful.

 

Any information on King George V Coronation (Scottish Police) Medals that you can give me will be appreciated and acknowledged. It will certainly assist me to complete a more accurate Roll.

Please feel free to contact me on enquiries@scottishpolicemedals.co.uk to correct any errors or to contribute new information.

 

Estimated allocation of medals using Police Review & Parade Gossip 1912 issues

Estimated allocation of medals:

 

Using Police Review & Parade Gossip (PR & PG) 1912 issues & receipts from the Royal Mint for medal manufacture and engraving:


 

Force

Estimated strength in 1911

Number of medals due using Scottish Office Regulations

Number of medals mentioned in

PR & PG in 1912

Remarks

 

 

 

 

 

County Forces

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aberdeenshire

104

6

6

 

Argyll County

23

2

3

 

Ayrshire

154

8

8

 

Banffshire

25

2

2

 

Berwickshire

38

2

2

 

Buteshire

12

2

2

 

Caithness-shire

23

2

2

 

Clackmannanshire

14

2

3

 

Dunbartonshire

86

5

 

No trace in PR & PG

Dumfries-shire

43

3

3

 

East Lothian

38

2

28

On duty Edinburgh17-21 July

Elgin County

30

2

2

 

Fife County

106

5

9

Possibly includes total for Kinross-shire

Forfarshire

99

3

5

 

Inverness-shire

65

4

3

 

Kinross-shire

7

2

 

No trace in

PR & PG. Administered by CC Fife until May 1931 then by Perthshire

Kincardineshire

21

2

2

 

Kirkcudbrightshire

29

2

2

 

Lanarkshire

277

14

17

 

Mid Lothian

84

5

58

On duty Edinburgh17-21 July

Nairnshire

10

2

2

 

Peebles County

13

2

13

On duty Edinburgh17-21 July

Perthshire

79

4

5

 

Renfrewshire

98

5

7

 

Ross & Cromarty

50

3

2

 

Roxburgh County

40

2

3

 

Selkirkshire

15

2

2

 

Stirling County

95

5

6

 

Sutherland-shire

18

2

3

 

West Lothian

57

3

48

On duty Edinburgh17-21 July

Wigtownshire

24

2

 

No trace in PR & PG

 

 

 

 

 

Total for County Forces

 

 

(248)

 

 

 

 

 

 

City & Burgh Forces

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aberdeen

150

8

11

 

Airdrie

20

2

4

 

Alloa

10

2

2

 

Arbroath

18

2

5

 

Ayr

30

2

2

 

Brechin

8

2

2

 

Broughty Ferry

11

2

2

 

Coatbridge

33

2

3

 

Dumbarton

21

2

2

 

Dumfries

12

2

2

 

Dundee

191

10

11

 

Dunfermline

17

2

2

 

Edinburgh

598

27

598

Entire force awarded medal

Forfar

9

2

2

 

Galashiels

13

2

2

 

Glasgow

1360

68

387

306 On duty for Royal Visit to Edinburgh in July.

 

81 awarded for long & meritorious service.

Govan

90

5

7

 

Greenock

112

6

5

 

Hamilton

32

2

3

 

Hawick

15

2

2

 

Inverness Burgh

21

2

2

 

Johnstone

10

2

2

 

Kilmarnock

30

2

2

 

Kirkcaldy

27

2

2

 

Leith Burgh

117

6

117

On duty Edinburgh17-21 July

Montrose

12

2

2

 

Paisley

85

5

10

 

Partick

68

4

5

 

Perth

40

2

3

 

Renfrew

10

2

5

 

Rothesay

10

2

2

 

Stirling Burgh

17

2

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total City & Burgh Forces

 

 

(1208)

 

 

 

 

 

 

HMI for Scotland

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confirmed existing medal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secretary to the High Constables of Edinburgh

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total engraved by Royal Mint

 

 

 

1465

 

 

 

 

 

Total recorded in PR & PG in 1912 and Royal Mint Records.

 

 

1458

 

 

 

 

 

 

Difference

 

 

-7

Accounted for by missing

5 medals for Dunbartonshire & 2 medals for Wigtownshire

 

 

Medal Roll - King George V Coronation (Scottish Police) Medal 1911

 

 

This Medal Roll was compiled using the names listed in issues of the Police Review and Parade Gossip throughout 1912. I also used Divisional photographs of Edinburgh City Police to identify those officers wearing the medal.

 

I was greatly assisted by the research carried out over the years by Tony Wilkinson and who very kindly, let me use his work.

 

The Medal Roll is incomplete. Almost 400 Edinburgh City Police officers are missing as are many from Mid Lothian and West Lothian. There are no names at all from Kinross-shire or or Wigtownshire and only one, Chief Constable Angus Cameron from Dunbartonshire..

 

The Roll below is divided in to sections because of the size of the document. Two sections of the Roll for Edinburgh City Police entries are blank at present. However, when I started this project, there were no names for Edinburgh City Police.

 

If you have any un-identified Scottish 1903 and 1911 medals, please get in touch and I will try to identify them for the Roll. 

 

To see the Scottish Police 1911 Medal Roll, please click here.

 


To navigate around the site, please click on the links below.

 

 

To return to the Home Page, please click here.

 

To return to Scottish County Police Forces, please click here.

 

To return to Scottish City and Burgh Police Forces, please click here.

 

To return to Edinburgh City Police, please click here.

 

To return to City of Glasgow Police, please click here.

 

To return to the Edinburgh City Police Gallery, click here.

 

To return to the Forces that became Lothian and Borders Police Gallery, please click here.

 

To see the Scottish Police 1911 Medal Roll, Please click here.

 

To return to the 1903 medal, please click here.

 

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