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Orkney Constabulary 1941 | by conner395
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Orkney Constabulary 1941

This is the (by now-Home Office) police force of Orkney as it was in 1941 when inspected by the HM Inspector of Constabulary for Scotland, Brigadier-General Robert Maxwell Dudgeon DSO MC.


The force was of course on a war footing by then. It became a strategic military base with an invasion threat due to its proximity to German-occupied Norway.


Thus the Orkney Constabulary had a considerable increase in establishment, especially in terms of PWR (Police War Reserve) Constables.


Orkney is a group of islands off the north coast of Scotland. Like its sister island-group to the north, Zetland (Shetland) is was a self-contained County. As a result both Counties were exempted from the requirements of the Police (Scotland) Act of 1857 to establish a police force. The other Scottish island groups (Outer and Inner Hebrides) off the west coast of Scotland were part of mainland counties (Inverness, Ross or Argyll) and thus were not exempt.


Orkney did in any case decide to set up its own force in 1858 although it remained a "private County council" force until 1938, and was not subject to Government inspection - and thus no Government funding was forthcoming till 1938.


I am indebted to Sarah Matheson (daughter of now retired PS David Matheson QPM, formerly of Stromness Police) whose research identified the officers in the photograph. There are numerous versions of this photo in circulation - some of which have been cropped to remove the high wall behind. This wall however serves to identify the location, the back yard of the then Police HQ at Junction Road in Kirkwall. High in the wall can be seen pairs of holes, ventilators for the Kirkwall Auction Mart which backed on the Police Station Yard.


Back row (L-R): 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 and PWR J. Yorston.


Middle row (L-R): 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 and PWR J. McPhee.


Front row (L-R): PWR H. Swanson, PWR J. Reid, Temporary PS T. Mainland, Chief Constable W. Colin Campbell, H. M. Inspector R. M. Dudgeon, Inspector (and DCC) Gathorne H. Cheyne, PC D. Allan, PWR T. Cumming and PWR T. Paterson.


Missing from photo: PC R. Wylie and PC D.J. Inkster.


FPR = First Police Reserve - retired officer recalled to duty.

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Taken sometime in 1941