Glass Remembered …. PC Mitchell

The following was in the Huntly Express of  June 27 1919


Retirement after 38 years’  Service


A representative company from Glass and Cairnie met in the Royal Oak Hotel, Huntly on Friday night, to do honour to Mr Thomas Mitchell, who has just retired from The Aberdeen County Constabulary after 38 years’ service.  Mr Mitchell has been for the past eight years in charge of the Glass and Upper Cairnie district and now retires on a well-earned pension.  Entering the Police Force in May 1881, he was first stationed at Fraserburgh and subsequently was stationed at Jessiefield, Belhelvie, Kintore, Strathdon, Blackburn and Glass.

Rev. W.G. Guthrie, The Manse, Glass, presided and there were also present from Glass – Mr W. Shand, Schoolhouse: Mr G. Smith, gamekeeper, Edinglassie: and Mr Geo. Milne, gamekeeper, Blairmore.  The Cairnie representatives were – Messrs A. Simpson, Broadland: J. Simpson, Mains of Davidson: J. Riach, Shenwell; and Robert Simpson, Smallburn: and from Huntly – Mr J. Gordon, Wellheads and Mr J. Martin, gas manager, Huntly.

The Chairman, in a happy speech, welcomed the guest of the evening and paid a high tribute to Mr Mitchell’s many excellent qualities, both as an official and as an individual.  “Tom”, the Chairman continued, carried out his official duties faithfully, without undue officiousness and with the least possible offence to those he lived amongst and had earned for himself the highest respect and esteem in the district.  As a parishioner remarked to him (the Chairman) the other day, Tom was a very quiet man and they would all miss his genial and kindly presence from the parish.  Specially ought it to be mentioned, that by their unostentatious and kindly acts, both Mr and Mrs Mitchell had endeared themselves to all with whom they came in contact, their neighbourliness and help in time of sickness being warmly appreciated.  As a token of their goodwill, he (the Chairman) had pleasure in handing to Mr Mitchell a wallet containing twenty guineas, with best wishes for him and his wife and family in their new home.  (Applause).  The Chairman concluded by referring to the happy circumstance that Mr and Mrs Mitchell had gone to reside at Glenbuchat, where the latter had been appointed teacher in the same school in which she taught when they were married.

Mr Simpson, Broadland, endorsed all that the Chairman had said regarding Mr Mitchell.  He had gone about his duties in a very quiet and unofficious manner.  During the war period, the duties of the police were rendered particularly onerous and under the regime of their friend “Dora” there were many irksome restrictions imposed on farmers which the police had to see carried out.  All these duties Mr Mitchell had carried out with the least possible friction and to the satisfaction of all concerned.  He would carry away with him the best and kindest wishes of the people of Cairnie.



Mr Mitchell, in reply, said – There are times when one would give much to be able to express in words the thoughts and feelings of the heart.  I wish tonight that I had the eloquence of some great speaker for a short time, but the wish is vain, for I am like Hamlet who I think said, “I am impregnant of my thoughts and can say nothing”, but I feel I have your sympathy and that you know what I would say if I could only find words.  I feel tonight as if I have had greatness thrust upon me, not by any merit of my own, but by the kindly feelings of my many friends in Glass and Cairnie, who have done me this great honour.  The kindly feelings that have prompted this grand gift I appreciate much more highly than the gift itself and how I wish I could in words convey my heartfelt thanks to all those friends who have done me this honour.

As you all know, I have retired from the Police Force after a service of over 38 years.  In looking back over that long period, I do not think that anyone can charge me with having been over-officious, although “dressed in a little brief authority”, or with having exceeded my duty to the hurt of anyone and to my knowledge I was never the means of convicting a man of a crime he had not committed.  I have always endeavoured to give everyone fair play.  I may have often erred, but I think my intentions were good.  I once heard a minister say that “hell would be paved with good intentions”.  I do not know whether this will be the case, but I think with Burns that –

“The man whose heart is free frae a’
Intended fraud or guile,
However fortune kick the bat
Has aye some cause to smile”

(Applause)  I would like to think the feelings which prompted this gift from you are partly due to your appreciation of the manner I have performed my duties as police constable amongst you and partly due to personal friendship and respect.  I have spent a good many pleasant years amongst the good people of Glass and Cairnie and I carry away with me many happy memories of all your kindness to me and mine.  Kindly convey to all subscribers who are not here tonight, my heartfelt thanks and now in conclusion, as the parson says, and with apologies to Sir Harry Lauder, I will give you a parody of my own composing –

There’s a wee hoose ‘mang the heather,
Whar we’re bidin’ in the noo,
And in that canty wee hoose
There’s a welcome aye for you.

An’ if you’d come an’ see us,
I’ll fairly guarantee
You a’ a Highland welcome
An’ a cheering cup o’ tea:

And a roam amang the heather,
For it’s at oor verra door,
And a climb upon the mountains,
The Highlands to explore,

And when ye reach the highest peak
And rest the scenes to view,
I trust ye’ll get a drippy
O’ Harry’s mountain dew.

(Laughter and applause)

An hour was afterwards pleasantly spent, during which many amusing incidents and reminiscences in connection with the police force were recounted.

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