Archibald Swan was born in Glasgow in 1868 and, after schooling, joined the City of Glasgow Police in 1889. He served in several divisions, was promoted to Sergeant in ‘E’ (Northern) Division and later to Inspector in ‘A’ (Central) Division, where he was serving in 1916 when he was awarded the King’s Police Medal for Gallantry.
On a few occasions, The Chief Constable of Glasgow recommended a police officer for the King’s Police Medal for Gallantry where the officer had performed several acts of gallantry over a period of time and the citation reflected a composite description of the officer’s deeds and was not overly specific.
The award to Inspector Archibald Swan was an example of this: “This officer was recommended for conspicuous gallantry and resource in saving lives and property on several occasions at fires in the City of Glasgow. He has also exhibited courage on many other occasions in dealing with criminals. He is a man of exceptionally powerful physique and has never hesitated in rendering aid to persons in danger. (There are no details of specific acts of gallantry recorded) (London Gazette 1 January 1916)