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Elginshire Constabulary 1844 -1930 (Morayshire Constabulary from 1890)

PC William Barron KPM - Elginshire Constabulary                                           The 'Rothes Shooting' 1905'

PS William Barron KPM - Elginshire Constabulary

Introduction

Some of you will know that I often receive enquiries from relatives of former Scottish Police officers, some of whom are featured on the site and some whose family think they should be. I am always happy to assist where I can.

 

I became aware of the subject of this article via such an enquiry from a fellow PICA member, Neil Barron McAuley, ex-Detective with Scottish North Eastern Counties Constabulary (SNECC) and Grampian Police and whose grandfather, PS William Barron KPM of Elginshire Constabulary, was among the first Scottish Police officers to receive the award for Conspicuous Gallantry in November, 1909.[i]

 

Neil asked me to establish whether his grandfather had been the first to receive the KPM. He also sent me an extremely detailed report on the circumstances of ‘The Rothes Shooting’ and pictures of PS Barron, his KPM, a fob and Albert, presented to him by the citizens of Rothes on his transfer away and the bullet that passed through his body and ended up in the house next door.

 

I was fascinated by the story of the then PC Barron’s bravery and devotion to duty and with Neil’s permission, have edited his text and included further research on the investiture of the first thirty six recipients of the decoration. What follows is a story of police heroism from throughout the United Kingdom.

 

[i] The London Gazette, Tuesday 9 November, 1909, Page 8244.

PS William Barron's KPM, the Albert & fob presented to him in 1907 on leaving Rothes and the .303 bullet with which he was shot in 1905.

The Characters involved: John Stewart Craigie

John Stewart Craigie was born in 1877 in Rothes in the County of Elgin (now known as Morayshire).[i]

 

On 12 January, 1898, he married Mary Jane Munro in the Parish of Huntly [ii] in the County of Aberdeen. By the Census of Scotland, 1901, he and Mary had two sons and his occupation was ‘Grocer and Spirit Merchant’.

 

John Stewart Craigie was also a prominent member of the local Volunteer Company, the Elginshire Rifles.

 

In the Census of 1901,[iii]  James Stewart Craigie was living at 57 High Street, Rothes. Also living there that night were the following:

 

Name & Age

Occupation

Place & County of Birth

James S. Craigie, (23)

Grocer & Spirit Merchant

Rothes. Elginshire

Mary J. Craigie, (24)

Grocer’s Wife

Enzie, Banffshire

John S. Craigie, (2)

 

Rothes. Elginshire

James A. Craigie, (8 months)

 

Rothes. Elginshire

 

In the same year, David Reid, his wife Mary and their child, were living next door to James Stewart Craigie at 55 High Street, Rothes. [iv]

 

Name & Age

Occupation

Place & County of Birth

David Reid, (43)

Grocer, General Merchant

Rothes. Elginshire

Mary Reid, (37)

Merchant’s Wife

Bower, Caithness

Bella Reid, (10)

Scholar

Rothes, Elginshire

 

As a result of contravening the Licensing Acts, in May, 1902, James Stewart Craigie lost his Licence to sell Liquor and his business collapsed.

 

One of the offences for which Craigie was reported was when he supplied a girl of ten years of age with a pint of beer in an unsealed container.  Off-sale regulations stipulated that beers, porter and spirits had to be sold in corked and sealed vessels. However, beer was delivered in casks and it was cheaper by the jug. Because of this, children were often sent to the Licensed Grocers with a jug for beer.

 

The offence having come to light, would have been reported for prosecution and would have been one of the factors used by the police in objecting to his continuing to hold an ‘Off-Sales’ licence.

Over the ‘New Year’ of 1901-1902, Craigie had sent one of the local police officers, Police Constable (PC) William Barron of Elginshire Constabulary, a bottle of whisky. This, the Constable had promptly returned, it being an offence under the Police Discipline Code to receive a Gratuity and also under the Licensing Acts, of ‘Supplying a Constable with liquor’. The ‘gift’ of the whisky was mentioned at the Licensing Court [v] when Craigie lost his licence. It may have caused resentment or bad feeling towards PC Barron on Craigie’s part.

 

In a small town like Rothes (indeed, as in many others in the United Kingdom), it was not unusual for the proprietors of Licensed Premises to hand in ‘a bottle’ to the local police station over the festive season as a ‘thank you’ for their services throughout the past year. It was certainly unusual to refuse such a gift and it may have been that PC Barron was ‘teetotal’ (however rare that may have been in those days), or quite simply, he may not have held Craigie in high regard. Whatever the reason, the return of the bottle in such a manner was probably regarded as a considerable insult. Craigie’s perceived ‘insult’ if it was true, had a devastating effect three years later.

 

After the loss of his ‘Off-Sales’ licence, Craigie’s grocery business failed and he found work as an insurance salesman but by 1905, he was unemployed and drinking heavily although he was by now, a Serjeant in the Elginshire Rifles (Volunteers).

 

[i] Register of Births, Rothes, County of Elgin, 1877, Page5, Entry No. 44.

[ii] Register of Marriages, Huntly, County of Aberdeen, 1898, 202/2 Entry No.2.

[iii] Census of Scotland, 1901, Rothes, Elginshire, 141/8/14. Page 14.

[iv] Census of Scotland, 1901, Rothes, Elginshire, 141/8/14. Page 14.

[v] The Evening Telegraph and Post, Saturday, 27 May, 1905.

The Characters involved: PC William Barron

William Barron was born in Inverness in 1868, [i] the son of William Barron, a Farm Servant and Margaret Fraser or Barron. [ii]

 

The earliest he could have joined Paisley Burgh Police was when he was 18 years old in 1886. In any case, in the Census of Scotland, 1891, living in lodgings at 11 Barclay Street, Paisley along with three other Constables was “William Barron, (23)” a “Police Constable” born in “Inverness, Inverness-shire”, a speaker of “Gaelic & English”. [iii]

 

He must have transferred to Elginshire Constabulary between 1891 and 1894 because when he married Mary Jane MacDonald, (20), a Grieve’s daughter of Morayston, Petty, in the Parish of Petty in Inverness-shire in that year, he was a 26 year old Police Constable of Archiestown, Knockando in Elginshire. [iv] The strength of the Elginshire Constabulary in 1901 was 30 officers. [v]

 

William’s parents were listed as William Barron, a Ploughman and his mother, Margaret Fraser or Barron. Mary’s parents were Donald Macdonald, a Grieve and Anne Mackintosh or Macdonald.

(A ‘Grieve’ is a Farm Manager or Supervisor.)

 

In the Census of 1901, PC William Barron was in the Police Station at West End, Knockando. Also there that night were the following: [vi]

 

Name & Age

Occupation

Place & County of Birth

William Barron, (32)

Police Constable (First Class)

Inverness, Inverness-shire

Mary Jane Barron, (27)

 

Kiltarlity, Inverness-shire

William Barron,(3)

 

Duffus, Elginshire

Anna J. Barron, (10 months)

 

Knockando, Elginshire

Archibald Morrison, (42)

General Labourer (Prisoner in Custody)

Jamestown, Dumbartonshire

 

By 1905, at the time of the ‘Rothes Shooting’, PC Barron was living with his family at Rothes Police station. He must have been transferred from Knockando to Rothes shortly after 1901 to have been involved with Craigie in 1902 - 1903?

 

[i] Register of Births, Inverness, County of Inverness, 1868, 098/210, Page 70, Entry No.210.

[ii] Register of Marriages, Inverness, County of Inverness, 1868, 098/44. Page 22. Entry No. 44.

[iii] Census of Scotland, 1891, High Church, Paisley, 573/8/9. Page 9.

[iv] Register of Marriages, Petty, County of Inverness, 1894, 106/4 Page, 2, Entry No. 4.

[v] Police Review and Parade Gossip, 13 July, 1900, Page 333.

[vi] Census of Scotland, 1901, Knockando, Elginshire, 139/6/8, Page 8.

The ‘Rothes Shooting’, Friday, 26 May, 1905

Friday, 26 May, 1905, Rothes Drill Hall

 

During the forenoon of Friday, 26 May, 1905, James Stewart Craigie, a well-respected Serjeant in the Elginshire Rifles (Volunteers) had begun drinking. Later that day, at 7.00 pm, he attended the ‘Adjutant’s Parade’ at Rothes Drill Hall. About 9.00 pm, he returned home to 57 High Street, Rothes in  possession of a Lee Enfield .303 Army issue rifle and ball ammunition which he placed in his bedroom, fell out with his wife and left to go drinking again, returning about 10.30 pm.[i]

 

At some point later that evening, a domestic dispute between Craigie and his wife Mary occurred. Craigie’s wife objected to his plan to have a friend stay the night in their already overcrowded house. This led to a disturbance that concerned their near neighbours. [ii]

 

Later that night, Police Constables Barron and Robertson were on duty in uniform on the bridge over the Rothes Burn at the south side of the town when they were informed by a member of the public that a disturbance was taking place at the home of James Craigie at 57 High Street, Rothes.

 

57 High Street, Rothes, Friday 26 May, 1905

The officers immediately attended the scene. At number 57, they spoke to Mrs Craigie who informed them that her husband had been drinking and that he had been the originator of the earlier disturbance but that he had now quietened down, gone to bed and she did not wish to lodge a complaint against him. She did not mention the rifle to the officers at this point.[iii]

 

Thinking the matter resolved, the two constables resumed patrol. They had not gone far when they were overtaken by Mrs Craigie who stated to PC Barron that her husband “had a gun”.  PC Barron asked Mrs Craigie “if she still felt threatened and if her husband had threatened to shoot her?” Her reply was “No, he is going to shoot you”.

 

The two Constables immediately made their way back to the house. While PC Robertson (a probationary Constable) waited at the front door, PC Barron made his way into the house and was immediately confronted by Craigie about 14’ in front of him. Craigie was holding the Lee Enfield .303 in a position ready to fire and aiming it directly at PC Barron.

Craigie then shouted “If you come one step further, I will shoot you.”  Before PC Barron could react, Craigie fired the rifle aimed directly at him.

 

The bullet struck PC Barron on the top of his left shoulder, passed through his left lung and egressed his body between the third and fourth ribs.  The bullet then passed through a wall three inches thick into number 55 next door occupied by Mr and Mrs Reid, grazed the slipper worn by Mrs Reid who was seated at the time, then lodged in or under the floor. The bullet was later recovered and used in evidence. [iv]

 

PC Barron slumped to the floor very seriously wounded. PC Robertson and David Reid (the husband of the woman so narrowly missed by the bullet which passed through PC Barron), entered the Craigie’s home and found PC Barron lying just inside the front door.

 

[i] Edinburgh Evening News, Wednesday, 9 August, 1905.

[ii] The Evening Telegraph and Post, Saturday, 27 May, 1905.

[iii] Edinburgh Evening News, Wednesday, 9 August, 1905.

[iv] The Evening Telegraph and Post, Saturday, 27 May, 1905.

Rothes Police Station, Friday 26 May, 1905

PC Barron’s daughter (Neil McAuley’s mother), stated that her mother told her the two men “Assisted Barron to his feet and walked him home.” to Rothes Police station.

 

According to the local newspapers, PC Barron was attended to by a local Doctor called Allardyce and a District Nurse who “Responded with alacrity to a summons to attend and did everything in their power for the sufferer.” Neil’s grandmother, (PC Barron’s wife) took a different view; she said that “the good doctor had arrived in a drunken state and after a cursory glance at the wounded man, announced to all and sundry, including PC Barron who was conscious, “This man is dying, I’ll note his Dying Deposition.”  

 

Such a Dying Deposition would have been of great importance in a murder trial and the person noting it, a major witness for the Crown with the attendant press coverage. Mrs Barron’s reaction was to eject the Doctor from her house.

 

The Initial Investigation into the Rothes Shooting

Again, according to newspaper reports, Mrs Barron sent a man for the Chief Constable and:

“A trap was soon on its way to Elgin for the purpose of warning Chief Constable Mair of the tragic occurrence and that gentleman, accompanied by Doctor Watson, Superintendent D. Cameron and Constable J. T. Wells, proceeded to Rothes and, early though it was, at once commenced to investigate the matter.” [i]

 

Craigie seems to have been forgotten about in the efforts to treat PC Barron for the serious gunshot wound but he was arrested later that day without trouble.

 

The newspapers reported that a crowd had gathered outside 57 High Street when Craigie appeared, this time without the rifle.  According to the witnesses, he was still intoxicated, but was coaxed to present himself at Rothes Police station and ask after the state of PC Barron’s injuries.

On his arrival at the Police Station after Chief Constable Mair and the other officers, he was immediately arrested, searched and locked up in a cell.

 

He was detained there until Saturday 27 May, 1905 when he was removed to Elgin.

 

[i] The Evening Telegraph and Post, Saturday, 27 May, 1905.

Letter to PC Barron from Chief Constable John Baigrie Mair in July, 1905

PC Barron’s Medical Care

It has to be remembered that this shooting was in the days before radios, the National Health Service, Air Ambulances and Trauma Care teams.

 

According to Neil’s grandmother:

“The ladies of the village assisted by washing bed-linen and bandages which were laid out to dry on the common bleach green. The local Laird, the Laird of Grant, instructed his ghillies to go up into the hills and bring back ice in the baskets on the garrons” (small Highland ponies – see picture below).

 

The ice was used to pack around William Barron who was suffering from raging fevers.

 

It is not known if Doctor Allardyce was ever allowed back into the house when sober but someone decided that in order to save PC Barron’s life, specialist medical help was required.

 

Neil’s mother believes that when this became known in the village, the good people of the town raised a sum of money by public subscription and it was used to hire an eminent Surgeon, Alexander Ogston, Regius Professor of Surgery from Aberdeen. [i] He arrived in a ‘coach and four’ causing quite a stir in the village, the inhabitants of which, came out to watch his arrival. [ii]

 

It is believed that the ‘treatment’ was administered by Professor Ogston on a strong table in the kitchen of the police house while PC Barron was restrained by several burly volunteers including the local blacksmith. Delivered without the benefit of anaesthetic, the pain can only be guessed at but the treatment was effective. Doctor Ogston recovered several pieces of blue serge tunic that had been pulled into the wound by the velocity of the bullet, no doubt, removing the source of continued infection at the same time. On leaving Forres, he declared that:

 

 “He was pleased with the injured man’s condition and that he is progressing satisfactorily”. [iii]

 

(Professor Ogston had served with the Army in the Sudan and Egypt and treated casualties of the second Boer War and was highly proficient in dealing with gunshot wounds. He was later influential in the creation of the Royal Army Medical Corps and Knighted for his services). [iv]

 

In his Annual Report for 1905 – 1906, Chief Constable Mair stated that the Attempted Murder of William Barron by James Craigie was the most serious offence to occur in the County during that period. PC Barron was off work for six months and the Chief was obliged to hire a Temporary Constable to cover part of the absence. He was able to report that William Barron had made a full recovery and eventually returned to duty in Rothes, although not at his full strength. [v]

 

[i] The Aberdeen Daily Journal, 31 May, 1905.

[ii] The Aberdeen Daily Journal, Wednesday, 31 May, 1905.

[iii] The Aberdeen Daily Journal, Wednesday, 31 May, 1905.

[iv] http://www.abdn.ac.uk/library/roll-of-honour/highlights/alexander-ogston/

[v] The Aberdeen Daily Journal, Tuesday, 13 February, 1906.

The Legal Process – James Stewart Craigie

Sheriff Court Elgin, Saturday 3 June, 1905

Craigie appeared from custody at Elgin Sheriff Court on Saturday 3 June, 1905 before Honorary Sheriff Substitute Dunlop. After examination, Craigie was remanded in custody in Elgin. He was remanded to Inverness prison on Thursday 8 June, 1905, fourteen days after the shooting. A circuit Court was fixed to be held at Inverness on 3 August, 1905. [i]

 

The Aberdeen Daily Journal of 7 June, 1905 carried a report stating under the banner of:

“The Rothes Shooting Case” that “Constable William Barron, the victim of the shooting outrage at Rothes on 26th ult., is steadily improving, and there is considerable hope that he may recover, although he cannot yet be regarded as out of danger. Craigie, the assailant, is in prison in Elgin. He has lost a good deal of the assurance he showed at first, and appears to realise his position. No steps can be taken towards his trial until Barron’s fate is known.” [ii]

 

High Court Inverness, Pleading Diet, Monday 24 July, 1905

On Monday 24 July, 1905, Craigie appeared before Sheriff Substitute J. G. Grant at a Pleading Diet in the High Court in Inverness. He was charged as follows:

 

“Having on 26th May, within his dwelling house at 57 High Street, Rothes, discharged a rifle loaded with a ball cartridge at William Barron, Police Constable, while engaged in the execution of his duty, to the serious injury of his person and danger of his life and also did previously evince malice against said William Barron.”

 

Mr J. D. Wallace appearing for James Stewart Craigie indicated that his client pleaded guilty to assaulting Police Constable Barron in the execution of his duty by discharging a rifle loaded with ball cartridge and wounding him in the chest to the danger of his life.

 

Mr James Anderson for the Crown said he accepted the plea whereupon the Sheriff remitted Craigie to the High Court of Justiciary (in Edinburgh) for sentence. [iii]

 

It was reported that Craigie was weeping when being led down to the cells. That might have been guilt, it may also have been relief that he had been allowed to plead guilty to Police Assault rather than Attempted Murder?

 

The High Court of Justiciary, Edinburgh, Wednesday 9 August, 1905

James Stewart Craigie appeared before Lord Kyllachy on Wednesday 9 August, 1905.

Mr Younger, Advocate Depute, said he thought:

 

“The police had acted with great discretion and courage in connection with this case and had given no occasion for the assault”.

 

He could not accept the defence’s assertion that there was anything accidental in the shooting.

 

Lord Kyllachy said the prisoner had pleaded guilty to a very serious crime:

 

“It was not a case of the reckless discharge of firearms, but of assault, which necessarily involved the intention to injure.”

 

He had listened to all that had been said so well by the accused’s counsel, that the act was not deliberate, but that in discharging the rifle in an excess of blind fury, the accused might not have been quite alive to the necessary consequences of his blind act.

 

His Lordship was anxious, having regard to the previous good character and in the hope that this melancholy affair might induce him to give up the habit of drinking and the evil passions that drink produced, to limit the sentence to penal servitude for three years. [iv]

 

[i] Dundee Courier, Tuesday, 18 July, 1905

[ii] The Aberdeen Daily Journal, Wednesday 7 June, 1905.

[iii] Dundee Courier, Tuesday, 25 July, 1905

[iv] Edinburgh Evening News, Wednesday, 9 August, 1905.

Events after the Trial

Albert gold watch chain and Inscribed Fob

PC William Barron was promoted to Sergeant and transferred away from Rothes on 27 August, 1907. The local population had a collection and presented him with an ‘Albert’ gold watch chain and fob inscribed to “Constable William Barron on leaving Rothes, September, 1907”. (See picture below).

The 'Albert' & Fob from the people of Rothes and the .303 bullet with which PC Barron was shot in 1905.

The King’s Police Medal 

Originally instituted by Royal Warrant of King Edward VII on 7 July, 1909, the King’s Police Medal was intended to reward “courage and devotion to duty”  in the police and fire services of the United Kingdom (UK) and overseas dominions. [i]

 

Sir Edward Henry K.C.V.O, C.S.I., Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis, had lobbied hard for such an award for police in response to the ‘Tottenham Outrage’ of Saturday 23 January, 1909 during which PC William Tyler, (31) (See picture below) and 10 year old Ralph Joscyelyne were murdered, seven police officers and 17 civilians were seriously wounded by two Russian Anarchists, Paul Hefeld and Jacob Lapidus. PC Tyler was married but he had no children. [ii]

 

No fewer than 3000 police officers attended the joint funeral and it was estimated 500,000 people lined the 2.5 mile route from PC Tyler’s home in Arnold Road, Tottenham and Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington.

 

After the funeral, a collection was made for PC Tyler’s widow, Emily Burfield or Tyler and Mr Gladstone, The Prime Minister, personally donated £10 and arranged for a further donation of £100 from the Royal Bounty Fund.

 

The King also expressed his sympathy in the following words:

 

 “The Commissioner is commanded to convey to the police officers engaged in the tragedy at Tottenham the King’s high appreciation of their gallant conduct. His Majesty also directs that the expression of his sincere sympathy may be communicated to the widow and family of Police Constable Tyler, killed while courageously doing his duty.”

 

[i] The Scotsman, Monday, 4 July, 1910.

[ii] The Yorkshire Evening Post, Monday, 25 January, 1909.

PC William Tyler, Metropolitan Police
PC Tyler's widow, Emily Burfield or Tyler

Sir Edward Henry’s lobbying succeeded as King Edward VII instituted the medal in July, 1909 but before the first distribution, he died on 6 May, 1910. When the first award ceremony took place on Saturday 30 June, 1910, it was King George V who carried out the investitures of the King’s Police Medal at Marlborough House near St James’s Palace in London. [i]

 

It was originally intended that the annual distribution was not to exceed 120 medals, of which, forty were to be allocated to the British Isles, fifty for the Empire of India and thirty to the other Dominions beyond the seas. Police forces and Fire Brigades nominated suitably qualified officers and the names of thirty six UK police and fire service officers were published in The London Gazette of Tuesday, November, 9, 1909. From reading the citations, it is clear that many forces took the opportunity to reward officers for historical acts of ‘conspicuous gallantry’ and it seems clear that Chief Constable John B. Mair of Elginshire Constabulary did so in nominating PS William Barron for the award in 1909.

 

The King’s Police Medal – His Majesty’s Royal Warrant

The Royal warrant of 7 July, 1909 set out the eligibility criteria for who might be awarded the King’s Police Medal: [ii]

  • Conspicuous gallantry in saving life and property, or in preventing crime or arresting criminals; the risks incurred to be estimated with due regard to the obligations and duties of the officer concerned.
  • A specially distinguished record in administrative or detective service.
  • Success in organising Police Forces or Fire Brigades or departments, or in maintaining their organisation under special difficulties.
  • Special services in dealing with serious outbreaks of crime or disorder or of fire.
  • Valuable political and secret services.
  • Special services to Royalty and heads of States.
  • Prolonged service, but only when distinguished with exceptional ability and merit.

It is worth comparing the eligibility criteria with the actual citations read out at the first investiture on Saturday, 30 June, 1910.

 

The King’s Police Medal - First distribution of the new Decoration

According to a comprehensive report in The Scotsman newspaper of Monday, 4 July, 1910, headed “First Distribution of the New Decoration – Five Scottish Recipients”, the first investiture took place in the drawing-room of Marlborough House in the Mall. King George V “wore the undress uniform of a Field Marshall” and was attended by, among others, the Home secretary, Mr Churchill and Mr R. F. Reynard of the Home Office (Registrar of the Order).

 

The recipients (in the order in which they appeared in The London Gazette),

 

“…filed past where the King stood, each making the necessary pause and saluting both before and after being decorated. The Home Secretary, who stood beside His Majesty, read out a brief record of the special service for which each man was decorated.  Mr Reynard, who also stood near, handed the medals to the King, who pinned one on to the left breast of each recipient. In a conversational way, the King said a few words of congratulation or commendation, but there was no speech-making.”

“The medal is of silver and is effective in design... On the rim of each medal is engraved the recipient’s name, and the regulations provide that any crime or disgraceful conduct may prevent him from retaining it, in which case, the name is to be erased.”

“Following is the order in which His Majesty bestowed the awards, together with the summary read by the Home Secretary of the grounds upon which the grant was made:-“ [iii]

 

(Table showing order First KPM were presented on 30 June, 1910)[iv]

 

Name & Rank

Citation

England & Wales

1

“London - Sir Edward R. Henry K.C.V.O, C.S.I., Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.”

“Awarded for a specially distinguished record of police administration in India, Johannesburg and London; success in organising the Metropolitan Police; and, in particular, notable success in establishing the system of finger-print identification; for special services in dealing with serious outbreaks of public disorder; for secret and political services; and for special services to Royalty.”

2

“Lancashire - Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Martin Moorsom M.V.O., Late Chief Constable of Lancashire.”

“Awarded for long service, marked by exceptional ability and merit, with a distinguished record of administrative service and of special services to Royalty.”

3

“Denbighshire - Major John Thomas Leadbetter, Chief Constable of Denbighshire.

“Awarded for long service, distinguished by exceptional ability and merit; for special services in dealing with colliery disturbances and tithe riots; and for special services to Royalty.”

4

“Essex - Captain Edward Maclean Showers, Chief Constable of Essex.”

“Awarded for a long and specially-distinguished record of administrative service, marked by success in dealing with serious crimes, and, in particular, with several difficult murder cases.”

5

“Birmingham - Mr Charles Haughton Rafter, Chief Constable Birmingham Police.”

“Awarded for a specially-distinguished record of administrative service; success in organising his police force; and for special services in dealing with widespread outbreaks of public disorder.”

6

“Swansea - Captain Isaac Colquhoun, Chief Constable, Swansea Police.”

“Awarded for long service, distinguished by exceptional ability and merit, and marked by success in organising his force.”

7

“Surrey - Mr Howard John Page, Superintendent and Deputy Chief Constable of Surrey Constabulary.”

“Awarded for long service, distinguished by exceptional ability and merit, and by success in organisation and administration as Deputy Chief Constable.”

8

“Yorks. (North Riding) - Mr John Wright, Superintendent and Deputy Chief Constable, North Riding of Yorkshire Constabulary.”

“Awarded for over 40 years’ service, distinguished by exceptional ability and merit, and particularly by the display of tact and judgement while in charge as Superintendent of one of the most populous districts of the North Riding.”

9

“London - Mr Thomas Moore, Superintendent, Metropolitan Police”

“Awarded for prolonged service, distinguished by special ability and merit, and success in organisation as head of the Executive Branch of the Metropolitan Police.”

10

“Hull - Mr James Booth, Superintendent, Hull Police.”

“Awarded for long service in the police force, distinguished by exceptional ability and merit, and by an unblemished record, and also for long service in the Fire Brigade, which he has maintained in the highest state of efficiency.”

11

“Newport (Mon) - Mr William Brookes, Superintendent, Newport (Monmouthshire) Police

“Awarded for over 40 year’ service, distinguished by exceptional ability and merit, by the display of tact and prudence with which he has discharged his duties, by valuable assistance in philanthropic work, and by gallantry in saving life by fire and drowning.”

12

“London - Mr Frederick Porter Wensley, Detective Inspector, Metropolitan Police.

“Awarded for his specially-distinguished record in detective service among the criminals of the East End.”

13

“Great Yarmouth - Mr Walter Moore, Inspector, Great Yarmouth Police.”

“Awarded for conspicuous gallantry in affecting the arrest of an armed criminal who had already caused the death of one police officer and seriously injured a civilian and two women.”

14

“Yorkshire (West Riding) - Mr Benjamin Moore Gregg, late Chief Clerk and Superintendent, West Riding of Yorkshire Constabulary.”

“Awarded for long service, distinguished by exceptional ability and merit, and by an unblemished record, and for special success in instructing officers in their duty.”

15

“Portsmouth - Mr William Edward Matthews, Detective Inspector, Portsmouth Police.”

“Awarded for specially-distinguished record in detective service, and in particular, for valuable services in conjunction with the robbery on H.M.S. Indomitable.” [v]

16

“London - Mr John William Cater, Sergeant, Metropolitan Police.”

“Awarded for conspicuous gallantry in the pursuit and attempted arrest of, at the risk to their lives, of a desperate foreign criminal armed with a revolver.” (This officer was a PC involved in the ‘Tottenham Outrage’, 1909).

17

“London - Mr Charles Dixon, Sergeant, Metropolitan Police.”

“Awarded for conspicuous gallantry in the pursuit and attempted arrest of, at the risk to their lives, of a desperate foreign criminal armed with a revolver.” (This officer was a PC involved in the ‘Tottenham Outrage’, 1909).

18

“Mr Charles Eagles, Sergeant, Metropolitan Police.”

“Awarded for conspicuous gallantry in the pursuit and attempted arrest of, at the risk to their lives, of a desperate foreign criminal armed with a revolver.” (This officer was a PC involved in the ‘Tottenham Outrage’, 1909).

19

“London - Mr William Lambert, Constable, Metropolitan Police.”

“Awarded for conspicuous gallantry for diving into a dock on a bitterly cold winter night to save the life of a drowning seaman.”

20

“London - Mr Joseph George Taylor, Constable, Metropolitan Police.”

“Awarded for conspicuous gallantry in saving a child from drowning by plunging into the Thames, though the tide was running strongly and he was not a proficient swimmer, and swimming with the child to a pier, where he had to hold on for a long time with his finger-tips till aid came.”

21

“London - Mr Alfred Young, Constable, Metropolitan Police.”

“Awarded for conspicuous gallantry in effecting the arrest of two desperate and dangerous criminals, one of whom was armed with a revolver, which the constable wrested from him after he had attempted to fire at him. He then held both men until help arrived.”

22

“Denbighshire - Mr Benjamin Powell, Constable, Denbighshire Constabulary.”

“Awarded for conspicuous gallantry in saving from drowning a boy who had fallen into a very dangerous part of the River Dee.”

23

“Hull - Mr Josiah Dawson, Constable, Hull Police.”

“Awarded for conspicuous gallantry in saving a woman from drowning in the docks. Although he was not an expert swimmer, he dropped into the water, seized the woman who was sinking, and struggled with difficulty to the dock wall, where he managed to support himself and the woman till help arrived.”

24

“Leicester - Mr George John Stafford, Constable, Leicester.”

“Awarded for conspicuous gallantry in saving from drowning, a would-be suicide, who was a man of powerful build, and by his violent struggles in the water, endangered the life of his rescuer.”

25

“London - Mr Frederick John Smith, Senior Superintendent, London Fire Brigade.”

“Awarded for a specially-distinguished record in the London Fire Brigade, and for the efficient performance of highly important duties.”

26

“London - Mr William Thomas Emanuel, Superintendent, London Fire Brigade.”

“Awarded for long service in the London Fire Brigade, distinguished by exceptional ability and merit as well as by many acts of bravery.”

27

“Bury - Mr Edward Geall, Chief Officer, Bury Fire Brigade.”

“Awarded for over forty years’ service in fire brigades, distinguished by exceptional ability and merit; for acts of bravery and saving life, and for success in organising the Fire Brigade service.”

Scotland

28

“Inverness - Mr Alexander McHardy M.V.O., Chief Constable, Inverness Police.”

“Awarded for over fifty years’ service distinguished by exceptional ability and merit, and special services in dealing with a serious and destructive outbreak of public disorder.”

29

“Ayrshire - Mr William Ross, Superintendent and Deputy Chief Constable, Ayrshire Constabulary.”

“Awarded for long service, distinguished by exceptional merit and conspicuous gallantry in arresting criminals.”

30

“Glasgow - Mr James Orr, Chief Superintendent and Deputy Chief Constable of Glasgow City Police.”

“Awarded for service distinguished by exceptional ability and for special services to Royalty.”

31

“Elgin - Mr William Barron, Sergeant, Elginshire Constabulary.”

“Awarded for conspicuous gallantry in arresting an armed criminal, by whom he was dangerously wounded.”

32

“Edinburgh - Mr Arthur Pordage, City Firemaster, Edinburgh.”

“Awarded for success in organising the Edinburgh Fire Brigade, which he has brought to a high state of efficiency.”

Ireland

33

“Ireland - Sir Heffernan James Fritz Considine C.B., M.V.O., Deputy Inspector-General, Royal Irish Constabulary.”

“Awarded for a specially-distinguished record of administrative service, and special success in dealing with outbreaks of agrarian crime and public disorder.”

34

“Ireland -Mr James Gogarty, Head Constable, Royal Irish Constabulary.”

“Awarded for long service with a specially-distinguished record in detective work.”

35

“Dublin - Mr John Walsh, Dublin Metropolitan Police.”

“Awarded for conspicuous gallantry in effecting the arrest of an armed criminal at bay within a house.”

36

“Kilkenny - Mr Patrick Redmond, late Chief of the Kilkenny Fire Brigade.”

“Awarded for 40 years’ service, for success in organising the Fire Brigade, and for the performance of many acts of bravery and for saving life.”

[vi]

The King’s Police Medal – The ‘First’ Awards

The evidence appears clear that the first KPM for ‘distinguished service’ in the United Kingdom went to Sir Edward Henry K.C.V.O, C.S.I., Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis; the first KPM for ‘conspicuous gallantry’ went to Inspector Walter Moore of Great Yarmouth Police; the first KPM for ‘distinguished service’ in Scotland went to Alexander McHardy M.V.O., Chief Constable of Inverness and the first for ‘conspicuous gallantry’ to Superintendent and Deputy Chief Constable of Ayrshire, William Ross.

 

PS William Barron, KPM was, however, the first in Scotland to receive his decoration for his ‘conspicuous gallantry’ in the rank of Police Constable.

 

[i] The Scotsman, Monday, 4 July, 1910.

[ii] The Scotsman, Monday, 4 July, 1910.

[iii] The Scotsman, Monday, 4 July, 1910.

[iv] The Scotsman, Monday, 4 July, 1910.

[v] http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=18640.0

[vi] The Scotsman, Monday, 4 July, 1910.

Keeping the Peace in Elgin

In the Census of Scotland, 1911, PS William Barron and his family were living at 37 High Street in Elgin. [i]

Name & Age

Occupation

Place & County of Birth

William Barron, (42)

Police Sergeant

Inverness, Inverness-shire

Mary Jane Barron, (37)

 

Kiltarlity, Inverness-shire

William Barron,(13)

 

Burghead, Elginshire

Janet M. Barron, (1)

 

Elgin, Elginshire

 

The Census also records that William and Mary have been married for 14 years, have had four children together, all of whom are still alive on the date of the Census.

 

The place of birth of William Barron, (13), is shown as Burghead rather than Duffus as it was in 1901.

 

I found two other newspaper accounts of PS William Barron’s activities as a police officer. The first was in 1911 and appeared in The Aberdeen Daily Journal of 9 November, 1911.

 

The paper reported that in Elgin:

 

“In the Police Court on Saturday, before Baillie (Lay Magistrate) Black, Alexander Hood, Farm Servant…was charged with on the previous day on High Street, (1), assaulted a labourer by striking him on the face, (2), conducting himself in an outrageous, frivolous and disorderly manner, assaulted several other men, and cursed, swore and committed a breach of the peace, (3), assaulted Sergeant William Barron, while he was being arrested on the above charges, (4), resisted Sergeant Barron and Constables Mitchell and Grigor while being conveyed to the police station.”

 

“He pleaded guilty, said it was the drink. Chief Constable Mair said the man was mad with drink, but had never been there before. Sentence £1 (Fine) or 10 days.” [ii]

 

The final report I found was from The Aberdeen Daily Journal of Saturday, 15 April, 1922 and featured a report of a meeting of the County of Moray Joint Standing Committee (The Police Committee). The Committee decided to reduce the strength of the then Morayshire Constabulary as in their words, “They should look on the police as luxuries.”

 

Correspondence from the Police Federation complaining that the ‘War Bonus’, a total of £450 for the whole force, was still unpaid, was discussed. The Committee having refused to pay the Bonus twice before, again resolved to refuse to pay it on this occasion.

 

“The meeting next considered the resignations of Superintendent D. Cameron, Inspector James Winchester, and Sergeant William Barron, who at a previous meeting, had asked their pensions be fixed.

Chief Constable Mair said all three men had agreed to stay on for a month extra to enable him to procure houses, when changes would be made in the force…

It was agreed to accept the resignations.”

 

Some discussion took place on what rate the pensions should be paid as new regulations were due to come into force.  It was agreed to pay the pensions on the Government scale but under protest.

 

The Committee then voted to reduce the strength of the force by five officers, not to recruit a Superintendent, not to recruit an Inspector and leave a Sergeant in charge at Forres.

Colonel Grant Peterkin thought “they should look on the police as luxuries and that account, he would be in favour of a Sergeant.” (At Forres). [iii]

 

Have attitudes towards the police really changed?

 

[i] Census of Scotland, 1911, Elgin, Elginshire, 135/4/8, Page 8.

[ii] The Aberdeen Daily Journal, 9 October, 1911.

[iii] The Aberdeen Daily Journal, 15 April, 1922.

The End of the Story

On 24 April, 1935, William Barron, (67), a retired Police Sergeant married to Mary Jane Macdonald, died in Gray’s Hospital. Elgin. His usual address was 10 Forteath Street, Elgin.

 

His son, William Barron of 49 Second Avenue, Cathcart, Glasgow, registered his death. [i]

 

On 9 February, 1943, at 10 Forteath Street, Elgin, Mary Jane Barron, (69), Widow of William Barron, Police Sergeant, died.

 

Her son, William Barron of 49 Second Avenue, Cathcart, Glasgow, registered her death. [ii]

Epilogue

You might think that this admittedly long-winded story cannot have any more surprises but just wait.

William Barron, the son of William Barron KPM, joined City of Glasgow Police and was a Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) and as the eldest son, on his father’s death, inherited the KPM. In its case, he found the medal, the fob and Albert chain and the bullet!

 

Sometime in the 1960s, DCI ‘Willie’ Barron presented the medal, bullet and chain to the then Scottish North Eastern Counties Constabulary (SNECC), the successor amalgamated force of Moray & Nairn, Kincardineshire, Banffshire and Aberdeenshire Constabularies. When Neil Barron McAuley joined SNECC in 1956, he was proud to see his grandfather’s medal, Albert & fob and the bullet that shot him, displayed in the library of the Force Headquarters in Bucksburn, on the outskirts of Aberdeen.

 

On 16 May, 1975, ‘regionalisation’ happened in Scotland and eight Scottish police forces were created out of the old city, burgh and county forces. Grampian Police was an amalgamation between SNECC and Aberdeen City Police and the new force Headquarters (HQ) was to be Queen Street in Aberdeen. The Bucksburn HQ was relegated to a Divisional Headquarters (DHQ).

 

Neil McAuley happened to visit the Bucksburn DHQ sometime after the 1975 amalgamation and noted that the medal and other effects were no longer on display. He thought little of it at the time and surmised that it had been moved to the Grampian Police HQ in Aberdeen.

 

One day, Neil and his mother were having a discussion and she asked about her father’s medal. Neil told her it was no longer at Bucksburn and probably in Aberdeen. Mrs McAuley was not pleased about that and insisted that Neil ask after its whereabouts.

 

On asking at Queen Street, he was met with blank faces and statements like “Never heard of it”, “Who was he?” and “What force was that?” Neil was quite annoyed and decided not to let the matter rest. He asked some more senior CID officers and Administration staff but heard nothing for the next two years.

 

Then, one day while attending a CID Scenes of Crime Officer course at force HQ, he was summoned to see the Deputy Chief Constable (DCC).

 

The DCC invited Neil in, had him sit down the handed him a little red box and said “I believe this belongs to your family”. Neil opened the box and there was the KPM. The DCC said “I had a great deal of difficulty retrieving that”. Neil felt it better not to ask any more questions.

 

A few months later, Neil was approached by an old friend, the Inspector at Rothes who was organising an exhibition celebrating the towns’ centenary. He asked if the KPM could be put on display as part of the exhibition. The friend knew of the previous disappearance and gave his word to keep it safe.

 

When it was returned to Neil, the KPM was in a large brown envelope in which his friend said was details of the shooting from the exhibition. Neil put the envelope in a safe and thought nothing of it for a week or two. When he finally tipped out the contents of the brown envelope, he found the Albert and fob and the bullet as well as the KPM.

 

To this day, Neil has no idea who was responsible for the disappearance of the KPM, bullet and Albert but he is eternally grateful to the men who returned them to him and the family.

 

Postscript

According to Neil’s mother, sometime after his release from prison, James Stewart Craigie turned up at the door of the Barron’s home. It may have been in New Elgin but Neil is not sure. He may have called at the house to apologise but PS Barron was not at home. He was met by PS Barron’s wife, Mary Jane, who chased him from the door.

 

In the Census of Scotland, 1911, James Stewart Craigie and his family were living at 22 High Street, Rothes. [iii]

 

Name & Age

Occupation

Place & County of Birth

James S. Craigie, (33)

Hairdresser

Rothes. Elginshire

Mary J. Craigie, (34)

Grocer’s Wife

Enzie, Banffshire

John S. Craigie, (12)

Scholar

Rothes. Elginshire

James A. Craigie, (10)

Scholar

Rothes. Elginshire

Naylor D. Craigie, (8)

Scholar

Rothes. Elginshire

Jessie M. Craigie, (6)

Scholar

Rothes. Elginshire

Jessie Pirie, (92)

Aunt (Retired Grocer)

Rothes. Elginshire

 

According to the Census, they had been married for 13 years, had four children, all of whom were still alive on the date of the Census.

 

I believe James Stewart Craigie died aged 93 in Nairn in 1970.[iv]

Conclusion

This has provided an insight into the stories behind the first 36 awards of the King’s Police Medal after its institution in 1909.

 

It has also clarified that the first act of ‘conspicuous gallantry’ by a PC in Scotland to be honoured with a KPM is that of William Barron for his actions on Friday, 25 May, 1905.

 

I am also grateful to Neil McAuley for the opportunity to retell the story of such a remarkable man, his grandfather, PS William Barron KPM.

 

[i] Register of Deaths, Elgin, County of Moray, 1935, 135/56, Page 19, Entry No. 56.

[ii] Register of Deaths, Elgin, County of Moray, 1943, 135/56, Page 12, Entry No. 36.

[iii] Census of Scotland, 1911, Rothes, Elginshire, 141/7/9, Page 9.

[iv] Register of Deaths, Nairn, County of Nairn, 1970, 123/115.

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