Tain Museum Image Library

Inspector Cameron, Tain
Tain Museum Image Library
Inspector Cameron, Tain

Inspector Cameron would have been employed by the Police Commissioners who were responsible for policing matters in the burgh. The Police Commissioners were mainly made up of burgh councillors and baillies and included the Provost and the Dean of Guild. They were abolished in 1900 when they and the Burgh Council were replaced by a single Town Council.
Picture added on 23 July 2004
I wonder if you know a first name for this gentleman? My family tree- inherited from Joan ROSS MCINTYRE - has a Kenneth CAMERON who was "chief inspector in Ross and Cromarty". I wonder if this might be him? Not sure of his precise dates, but approximate match!
Added by Susan Kelso Ryan on 20 July 2005
The gentleman in the photograph would appear to have been Inspector DONALD Cameron, of the Ross-shire Constabulary, who was stationed at Tain (officer-in-charge of the "Easter Ross Division") from 1884 to 1896 (not definite about date - records are incomplete).

Tain never had a police force of its own, unlike some other Burghs - although a police force for the "Eastern District of Ross" (based on Tain, no doubt because of its having a Sheriff Court) did exist in 1853, when it merged with the "Western District" Constabulary (based on Dingwall) to form the Ross-shire Constabulary.

In 1884 Inspector Donald Cameron was moved from Stornoway (where he had been Superintendent) to Tain in place of Inspector James Gordon. Mr Gordon went to Stornoway promoted to Supertintendent while Mr Cameron was effectively demoted to Inspector. Neither officer appears to have relished the transfer - but they went (no option in those days!)

Having said that, Ross-shire Constabulary only had 4 ranks above that of Sergeant, namely one Inspector (at Tain), 2 Superintendents (one being Deputy Chief at HQ in Dingwall, the other in charge of Lewis), and of course a Chief Constable. Donald Cameron had been promoted driect from Sergeant (at Conon) to Superintendent (at Stornoway) in 1872.

An Inspector Malcolm MacDonald is recorded as having been promoted from Sergeant at Invergordon to Inspector at Tain in May 1896, so it is likely that Inspector Donald Cameron would have retired (or possibly died in service?) then too.

Mr Gordon, who was married to a Barbara Ross from Tain, returned to the Mainland in 1889 to take on the job of Chief Constable, which he held until 1898.

I would be glad to hear of any more historical photographs/information of police officers in the Tain/Ross-shire area.

Added by Dave Conner (Police Historian, Inverness) on 27 September 2008
Hi Dave
Thanks to you I now know that this isn't my relative - it also gives me the chance to correct the entry above - my family tree was researched by Joan Ross McIntosh and I blush for getting it wrong!
I would heartily recommend contacting Dave for assistance with police history - it is absolutely fascinating!
Added by Susan Kelso Ryan on 28 September 2008
Thanks for that - yet another valuable snippet of information, Susan.

So the chances are that Inspector Donald Cameron (he in the picture) would have retired in 1895 or 1896, (aged 60 or so) which would have resulted in Malcolm Macdonald being promoted to Tain in his stead.

Kenneth Cameron went from Constable directly to Superintendent in 1884, and was appointed Deputy Chief Constable of Ross & Cromarty the following year, retiring in 1915 at age 65.
(Note: Between us, Susan and I have a lot more info on "Kenny" Cameron but not relevant to quote too much here since it's not him who is the subject of this photo).
I now know this to be Donald CAMERON b Fodderty 1835 and died 1924, son of Alexander and Margaret (ms CAMERON), who married Ann FRASER and ?Margaret JOHNSTONE. He was uncle to the Kenneth we mentioned above. Rank in 1891 (per census) Inspector of Police and residence 2 Scotsburn Rd, Tain, ROC
Added by Susan Kelso Ryan on 20 April 2010
I know this to be Donald CAMERON my great-grandfather.
Added by Andrew Roy Cameron on 16 December 2017
Donald's son Kenneth was killed in the Great War serving in the Australian forces, the museum would love a photo of him if anyone can help?
Added by Jason Ubych on 17 December 2017
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