Constable James Sparks

Constable Sparks was a native of Glasgow and joined the City of Glasgow Police in 1920. He was posted to ‘L’ (Partick) Division but later transferred to ‘A’ (Central) Division. His Register Number was E-72.

About 11 pm on 6 June 1923, a youth attempted to rob a man in Kelvingrove Park. During a struggle the pistol brandished by the youth fired, slightly injuring the man. The youth ran off and again pointed the gun at the man. The youth was then pursued by members of the public along University Avenue and he again fired the revolver at his pursuers.

Constable Parks saw the pursuit and commandeered a passing motor car and managed to overtake the youth with the gun. Constable Parks alighted from the car when he was ahead of the youth near the Western Infirmary. The youth was trapped between the constable and the people pursuing him.

Constable Sparks adopted a crouching position and approached the youth who aimed the pistol at the constable. Before he could fire, the officer threw his baton at the youth which struck him, knocking him to the ground. Before anyone could approach the youth he shot himself in the head and died.

In recognition of Constable Spark’s bravery, he was awarded the King’s Police Medal and a Glasgow Police Certificate of Merit (see below). In 1925, he was also the first Glasgow Police officer to receive the newly instituted Corporation of Glasgow Medal for Bravery.

Constable Sparks resigned from the Glasgow Police on 6 February 1932.

Glasgow Police Certificate of Merit – Constable James Sparks (18 June 1923)