John McGimpsey was born in Donaghadee, Co. Down, Ireland in 1864. He worked as a Tramway Guard before joining the Glasgow Police on 5 April 1888, aged 23 years.
He was posted to ‘E’ (Northern) Division and on 8 July 1898 he was promoted to Sergeant. On 22 April 1901 he was appointed Detective Officer in ’B’ (Western) Division but soon transferred back to ‘E’ (Northern) Division.
On 1 June 1909, he was promoted to Detective Inspector in ‘A’ (Central) Division and on 22 February 1912 he was promoted to Detective Lieutenant.
During his 34 years service he was involved in many important cases, and on a number of occasions had to disguise himself to achieve arrests. During the First World War he was engaged in secret work and played an important part in gathering intelligence concerning I.R.A. activity in Glasgow.
He was awarded the King’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service in 1919 and retired on pension on 31 December 1922.