Sergeant David Cairns, a native of Edinburgh, joined the City of Glasgow Police on 14 February 1923 and was posted to ‘H’ (Maryhill) Division. His Register Number was E-374. He remained in ‘H’ Division until January 1931 when he was transferred to the Mechanized Transport Branch. The following year, he was promoted to Sergeant and transferred back to ‘H’ (Maryhill) Division.
Constable Richard Gillespie, was born in Glasgow and, on 30 August 1930, he joined the City of Glasgow Police. He was posted to ‘H’ (Maryhill) Division and given the Register Number F-226.
On 27 August 1934, a child was playing on a railway sorage tank at Dawsholm railway station when he overbalanced and fell in. Sergeant Cairns and Constable Gillespie were sent to the scene.
The only entrance to the tank was by a manhole measuring 5ft by 3ft and the water in the tank was 8ft deep. Stays and supports inside the structure made it difficult to move around. However, Constable Gillespie took off his tunic and entered the tank but soon got entangled with the support structure and had to be pulled out.
Sergeant Cairns took off most of his clothing and slid into the tank head first and dived to the bottom where he found the boy trapped under a motor tyre. He got the boy free and lifted him out of the water where he and Constable Gillespie applied artificial respiration for some time, without success. (London Gazette 1.1.1935)
For their selfless bravery, both officers were awarded the King’s Police Medal for Gallantry and the Glasgow Corporation Bravery Medal.
Sergeant Cairns continued his service and retired from ‘H’ (Headquarters) Division on 10 July 1953 with the rank of Inspector.
Constable Gillespie also continued his service for another 3 years but resigned on 29 May 1937 to take up civilian employment.