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Kirkcudbrightshire Constabulary 1849 - 1948

PC William Muirhead MM, Kirkcudbrightshire Constabulary after 1932 as he is wearing the Scottish Police cap badge. The previous Kirkcudbrightshire cap badge can be seen below.

Kirkcudbrightshire Constabulary 

Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary

PC William Muirhead MM

 

Military Medal (Supplement to the London Gazette 6 August 1918)

British War Medal

Victory Medal

 

 

Introduction

William Muirhead was born on 11 January 1892 at Dunreggan, Dumfriesshire. His parents were William Muirhead, a Gas Maker and Jane Johnstone or Muirhead. They had been married on 25 July 1873 at Dunscore, Dumfriesshire.

 

William was a Carter before he joined Kirkcudbrightshire Constabulary in 1913. He enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) in late 1915. According to a later newspaper report, he entered France in 1916 and was awarded the Military Medal for ‘bravery in the field’ in 1918.

 

He rejoined Kirkcudbrightshire Constabulary after the war and in 1921, married Annie J. Brown at Thornhill in Dumfriesshire. 

 

William died in service at the Police Station in New Galloway in 1950.

The Early Years

 

Census of Scotland 1901

The following were living at Dunreggan in the Parish of Glencairn, Dumfriesshire on the night of the Census of Scotland 1901.

 

Name & Age

Occupation

Place & County of Birth

William Muirhead, (48)

General Labourer

Glencairn, Dumfriesshire

Jane Muirhead, (48)

Wife

Dunscore, Dumfriesshire

James Muirhead, (15)*

Son, Farm Worker

Glencairn, Dumfriesshire

Mary Muirhead, 13)

Daughter, Scholar

Glencairn, Dumfriesshire

William Muirhead, (9)

Son, Scholar

Glencairn, Dumfriesshire

Jane Muirhead, (6)

Daughter, Scholar

Glencairn, Dumfriesshire

Robina Muirhead, (2)

Grand daughter

Glencairn, Dumfriesshire

*161146 Private James Muirhead of the Royal Army Medical Corps of Dunreggan, Dumfriesshire was awarded a Disability Discharge and pension on 19 September 1919 due to the loss of ‘the left ring finger during his service’.

 

Kirkcudbrightshire Constabulary 1912

William Muirhead joined Kirkcudbrightshire Constabulary as a Police Constable in 1912 and was initially stationed at Maxwelltown.

The Kirkcudbrightshire Constabulary cap badge before 1932. It can be seen on an officer's cap below.

Dumfries and Galloway Standard, Saturday 11 May 1915

Page 5 of the Dumfries and Galloway Standard of Wednesday 17 November 1915, reported the following:

 

“Constable William Muirhead of the Maxwelltown division of the Stewartry Constabulary, was met by his fellow constables on Monday and presented with a toilet case on the occasion of his leaving to join the Royal Army Medical Corps. The presentation was made in an appropriate speech by Inspector Jamieson.”

 

No. 8 Field Ambulance RAMC War Diary  (WO95/1407/1)

The Regimental War Diary of No. 8 Field Ambulance, entry dated 29 April 1918, records the following:

 

“L’Abbaye, 29/4/18 – Owing to an outbreak of illness – influenzal in type, among the men, the unit proceeded to Labeauricre (sic) and arrived there at 3.00pm.

 

Sergeant A. Jerred MM was awarded a bar to the Military Medal. The following were awarded the Military Medal – 228357 Pte. S. E. Harding, 79088 Pte. W. Muirhead, 20596 Pte. A. Springett.”

 

Dumfries and Galloway Standard, Saturday 11 May 1918

Page 2 of the Dumfries and Galloway Standard of Saturday 11 May 1918, reported the following:

 

“Lance Corporal William Muirhead, Royal Army Medical Corps, has been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field during the great German offensive. 

 

When an aid post was subjected to heavy enemy fire he continued to carry wounded  through the enemy’s barrage until the post was cleared of its wounded.

 

He went to France at the beginning of 1916 and has seen much heavy fighting. Before enlisting he was  a member of the Maxwelltown police force.”

 

Supplement to the London Gazette No. 30830, Page  9247, 6 August 1918

Page 9247 of the Supplement to the London Gazette No. 30830, records that:

 

“The King has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the Military Medal to this non-commissioned officer for bravery in the field. ‘Private 79088 W. Muirhead, Royal Army Medical Corps – Moniaive.”

 

William was then serving in 8th Field Ambulance, RAMC.

The Medal Index Card showing William Muirhead's award of the Military Medal.

Kirkcudbrightshire Constabulary 1919

Apart from the Medal Index Cards showing his award of the Military Medal and the entitlement to the British War and Victory Medals, I can find no other Army Records for William Muirhead. This is not unusual since in 1940, the building housing the records in London was destroyed by enemy bombing and many of the records were burnt beyond recognition.

 

It is likely that William rejoined Kirkcudbrightshire Constabulary by early 1919.

Certificate presented to L/Cpl. William Muirhead MM, RAMC by the Burgh of Maxwelltown in 1919
The picture shows PC Muirhead, his wife Annie and an unknown local man outside the Police Station at Gatehouse of Fleet, date unknown.

Register of Marriages in the Parish of Morton in the County of Dumfries, 1921

On 11 November 1921, after Banns according to the Forms of the Established Church of Scotland, at 22 New Street, Thornhill, William Muirhead, (29), a Police Constable of the Police Buildings, Maxwelltown, married Annie Jardine Brown, (21) a Domestic Servant of 22 New Street, Thornhill.

 

William’s parents were William Muirhead, a Labourer and Jane Johnstone or Muirhead, (deceased). Annie’s parents were John Brown, a Labourer and Isabella Waugh or Brown, (deceased).

 

The witnesses were James Caldow and Mary Jane Brown, and the ceremony was performed by the Reverend J. H. Oswald, Minister.

The End of the Story

 

Register of Deaths in the District of Kells in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright 1950

William Muirhead, Police Constable, (58), married to Annie Jardine Brown, died at the Police Station, New Galloway, on 18 November 1950.

 

His parents were William Muirhead, a Gas Maker, (deceased) and Jane Johnstone or Muirhead, (deceased). His death was registered by David Shortland of 27 west Morton Street, Thornhill.

 

I could find no trace of Annie Muirhead’s death.

An unknown Kirkcudbrightshire Constabulary, PC 24 showing the cap badge before 1932. (Picture courtesy of the late John Green's book.

Acknowledgement

I am grateful to Joe Craig of the Dumfries & Galloway Police Museum who provided most of the information and pictures above. The museum is sponsored by the Dumfries & Galloway Branch of the Retired Police Officers Association of Scotland.

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