John MacLeod was born in Stornoway, Isle of Skye in May 1921 and after leaving school became an apprentice bricklayer. In 1939, when war broke out, he joined the Royal Navy and served from October 1939 until December 1945, reaching the rank of Petty Officer.
In February 1946, he joined the City of Glasgow Police and was posted to ‘B’ (Marine) Division. He served in both uniform patrol and plain clothes duties
In September 1952, he was on plain clothes duty, accompanied by Constable Thomas MacDonald, in Hyndland Road, Glasgow, when the officers attempted to arrest a young bank clerk who was suspected of embezzling money. As the unarmed officers approached the young man, he produced two pistols and shot both officers, killing Constable MacLeod instantly and wounding Constable MacDonald.
The young man ran off into a nearby lane pursued by other officers. He became trapped in the lane and fired shots at a number of police officers. Realising the futility of his situation, he then took his own life.
Constable MacLeod was posthumously awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct and the Glasgow Corporation Bravery Medal.
Constable MacLeod’s medals are on display in The Glasgow Police Museum.