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Kirkwall Police Force
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Kirkwall Police Force

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Picture added on 13 September 2008
What year is this? Can anyone name any of them?
Added by Jane Russell on 15 September 2008
Must have been a lot o bad bu***s in Orkney at that time if we needed all them plods tae keep law and order in the place!

Seem like they would wield a mean blow to the criminal amongst us. Pity we did not have some o them back again and their values. Maybe there would not be so many court cases, or am I just old and do not understand the way of our society today.

Added by John Budge on 15 September 2008
Annual inspection – 1941

back: pwr j. Learmonth; pwr j. Rosie; pwr d. Skene; fpr r. Craigie; pwr j. Mair; pc c. Craigie; pwr j.swanson; pwr j. Sclater; pc j. Cormack; pwr j. Yorston.

middle: pwr s. Wick; pwr a. Cromarty; pwr t. Sclater; pwr j. Linklater; pwr w. Main; pc r. Tulloch; pc w. Yorston; pc j. Groundwater; pwr m. Ross; pwr j. Mcphee.

front: pwr h. Swanson; pwr j. Reid; temp. Ps t. Mainland; chief constable w. Colin campbell; hm inspector r. M. Dudgeon; inspector & dcc gathorne h. Cheyne; pc d. Allan; pwr t cumming; pwr t. Cumming; pwr t.paterson.
(absent pc r. Wylie; pc d. J. Inkster)

‘This photograph shows the annual inspection of 1941, and it can be seen that the force has grown in size. This was because, during the war years of 1939 to 1945, police war reserves were engaged as constables. This photograph was taken at the rear of the police station, junction road, kirkwall, as the air vents to the auction mart can be seen above the officers’ heads.'

the above information is taken from ‘a history of the police in orkney – part two’ which was written by sarah Matheson (daughter of sergeant d. Matheson, stromness, now retired). The two part history appeared in orkney vintage club newsletters nos 14 and 15 in 1997 & 1998, and both are to be found in the orkney library & archive.

Added by Harold Esson on 15 September 2008
The pwr J.Swanson (forth from the left back row)would that be Jimmy Swanson who lost his life in the Longhope Lifeboat in 1969?
I know he was a policeman and it looks a bit like it could be him, anyone know?.
Added by John Budge on 16 September 2008
Seated in the front row 3rd from the right is my Grandfather PC David H Allan. The medals on his chest are (left side) two from the Great War and the 1937 King George VI Queen Elizabeth Coronation medal. The medal on the right side of his uniform is one he was awarded by "The Society for the protection of life from fire" when he entered a blazing house in St. Margarets Hope and rescued two elderly ladies. An account of the rescue appears in "The Orcadian" dated 6th Oct 1927.
Added by David Tullock on 16 September 2008
Jimmy was certainly in the force with Jim Groundwater about that time.
Added by Stewart Taylor on 17 September 2008
Does anyone have any information about the police force around 1920? Particularly in Stromness.
Added by Jane Russell on 17 September 2008
Orkney Vintage Club Newsletter No 15, available in the Archives at the Orkney Library, has photographs and names from 1899/1905, 1927, 1938, 1941(above), 1950, 1969 and 1993.
Added by Harold Esson on 27 September 2008
The reason I am interested in the police in Orkney about 1920 is that I understand my grandfather was a policeman at around that time before he moved to the Midlands.
He was Alexander Stewart Banks and his father (same name) was the blacksmith in Stromness.
Added by Jane Russell on 17 November 2008
Fascinating photograph. I had been sent another copy of this photograph from the south of Scotland but it had been cropped to remove the "vents" and I did not recognise the location.

Orkney (and Zetland) were specifically excluded from the Police (Scotland) Act of 1857 which required every County and Burgh to establish a police force. As a result, although Orkney went ahead and formed its own force anyway, it was always a small force in terms of manpower because it did not receive any Government grant towards its upkeep (and was not subject to Inspection).

It was only in 1938 that the 1857 Act was finally applied to Orkney, and manpower was increased accordingly - and thus the Government Inspector (then Brig Dudgeon) came calling each year for an in-depth examination. Obviously the "inclusion" was due to the impending war, and the force's strngth was considerably increased by use of of Police War Reserves - equivalent to full-time Special Constables - plus FPR (First Police Reserve): retired officers recalled to duty.

Sergeant Mainland is wearing a very rarely issued medal - Kings Police Medal for Gallantry (awarded in 1937 New Years Honours list). Would anyone happen to know what act of gallantry? (A PC Cruikshank was the only other Orkney recipient of that medal - in 1912 for rescue from shipwreck, S. Ronaldsay)

Dave Conner
Northern Constabulary - retired (but still researching police history)
stationed in Kirkwall 1979-82
Added by Dave Conner on 13 February 2009
Regarding Tom Mainland's King's Police Medal I was told it was for stopping a runaway horse. I worked as the boy clerk in the Police Station, Back Road from 1947 to 1951 when I was called up for National Service. I remember most of the men in the photograph as some of the reserves were still there. Cheyne was Chief Constable and Jim Cormack Inspector and Deputy. Tom Mainland was no longer a Sergeant
Added by Peter (Pat) Baikie on 18 June 2009
I was born in The Old Stromness Police Station at 61 Alfred Street in 1928 prior to it being moved to North End Road. My Father was one of three serving Officers stationed in the town, namely Constables Manson, Mainland and Wylie.
Added by Arnot Manson on 30 June 2010
n regard to PC Cruikshank's medal there is the following:

Friday 19 January 1912

At this juncture, Skipper William Sinclair, Constable James Cruickshank and William Wards, fisherman, volunteered to make the attempt to rescue the men still on the piece of wreck. A small open boat was obtained, and carried to the best position, from which it was resolved to make the attempt and from which the three men started.
William Sinclair (35) Fisherman from Stews, William Wards (68) Dykend and PC JAmes Cruikshank from St Margaret's Hope.
The danger was not only from the breakers, but also from the great mass of cargo and wreckage which was being tossed hither and thither. They, however, reached the wreck to which seven of the men were still clinging. The getting of them into the boat was no easy matter, owing to the enormous seas and the frenzied haste of the shipwrecked sailors, but this was managed successfully after a time, when, watching their chance of a 'smooth' at imminent risk to their now overloaded boat, they made for the rocks from which they started and arrived there safely.

I would like to know the families of these three heroes if possible, so I record this information in the family tree.

Added by William Sinclair on 03 July 2010
Front row fourth from the left with the medals (and no gloves) is DCC Gathorne Hardy Cheyne my grandfather. He was made Chief soon after this picture due to the then CC standing down.
My father states that numbers of officers swelled due to the war effort and the problems that came with huge numbers of military personnel and prisoners of war due to the military importance of Orkney. Plus there was a great deal of ground to cover for the force and there were next to no cars on Orkney at that time so I'm told. My grandfather was one of the first to be issued one and only due to his position as CC. It's great to see another picture of my grandfather as I never met him. The medals my grandfather is wearing were for military service and he was awarded two more by the monarchy for his police service, the family still retain them.
The Cheyne policing tradition continues to this day.
Added by Graham Cheyne on 14 January 2011
Sorry Graham your grandfather is fourth from the RIGHT wearing leather gloves and no medals.
Added by Peter (Pat) Baikie on 15 January 2011
Graham, you have made a slight error with the position of your grandfather! He is the person wearing the leather gloves! I vividly remember him as CC when he wore his full uniform only once a year at the main gate of the Bignold Park on County Show day. He was an extremely smart individual both in and out of his uniform and, furthermore, his writing was copperplate. A talented man in many ways.
Added by Lex Craigie on 17 January 2011
G.H. Cheyne is fourth from RIGHT wearing leather gloves and not displaying any medals
Added by Peter(Pat) Baikie on 17 January 2011
William Sinclair, William Wards and Constable Cruickshank all received bronze medallions and £20 each from the Carnegie Hero Fund for their part in this gallant rescue. The medallions are, today, known as the Carnegie Hero Fund Medal.
Added by Eddy Ross on 14 March 2011
I am interested in tracing the history of the Orkney Police Force. My interest stems from my having been born in the one time Police Station then at 61 Alfred Street Stromness before moving to the new station on the North End Road in 1928. My Father served in both Stromness and Kirkwall for some 28 years prior to his death in 1934. Any information would be most gratefully received.
I'm sure will appreciate the fact that I am being persuaded by younger members of my family in this quest who are keen in gathering info of this kind before I "fold my tent"
Yours Faithfully
Arnot A. Manson

Added by Arnot Manson on 22 March 2011
William Sinclair, Joseph Cruickshank and William Wards were also awarded the Board of Trade Sea Gallantry Medal. This was also awarded to Alexander Harper Wards for the same rescue except he entered the water alone to rescue one of the crew. A very brave thing to do as the sea was awash with pit props which the Adele was carrying. IF ANYONE HAS A PHOTO OF ALEXANDER HARPER WARDS died 10/08/19 would they please get in touch.
Added by Vince Rosser on 18 May 2011
I believe PC Joseph Cruickshank was my Grandfather's uncle. My Grandfather was William Cruickshank from Dumfries and then Stirling. It seems that the rescuers met the king to receive their medals and they were also given a rack of pipes. I think there was a newspaper article at the time quoting PC Cruickshank saying "you would think the King would a known I didn'a smoke" and Mr. Sinclair saying there were "ow many trees at Barmoral" I do not have the article so this may be family lore.
Added by Fraser Cruickshank on 31 October 2018
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