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Plaque unveiled in memory of Policeman Crag

L-R: Sid Mackay, Chair Trustees pf the Police Roll of Honour Trust, Kathleen Rowley, Secretary of Cumbria National Association of Retired Police Officers, Susan Abbott, descendent of PC James Armstrong and Chief Constable Michelle Skeer

A memorial plaque has been unveiled to mark the death of officer James Armstrong who died over 170 years ago.

On Sunday 23rd September, Chief Constable Michelle Skeer and Cumbria Police & Crime Commissioner Peter McCall were present at a memorial ceremony for James Armstrong, held by The Police Memorial Trust, at the Royal Hotel, Dockray.

Police Constable Armstrong, of the Derwent Division, died on 30th September 1847 after falling 300 feet from a crag at Wanthwaite. PC Armstrong, who was the officer covering Keswick, was returning from the execution of a warrant for a non-payment of a fine at Pooley Bridge. Prior to his death he had stopped for refreshments and to obtain directions at the Royal Hotel in Dockray.

PC Armstrong was identified as Policeman Crag, the story of an unidentified police officer who had died in the execution of his duty, in 2016 by Raymond Greenhow, a staff member at Cumbria Constabulary.

Raymond, a keen historian, researched the tale of Policeman Crag after seeing a reference to the death of a policeman at Clough Head. Local people knew of the crag name reference but there was nobody seemed to know who, when and how this referred.

Chief Constable Michelle Skeer, Cumbria Constabulary, said: “It was a privilege to be invited by The Police Memorial Trust to pay tribute to PC Armstrong as it is important to recognise those that have died in the line of duty. The unveiling of a plaque is incredibly fitting for a man who paid the ultimate sacrifice performing his public duty.

“The plaque also marks a key moment in our local history. I hope those that visit the area take the opportunity to view the memorial and take a moment to help ensure that James Armstrong will not be forgotten.”

Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said: “I feel very proud – and humble – to be part of this very important ceremony in memory of PC Armstrong. I am very grateful to the Police Memorial Trust for the good work they do to ensure that our fallen officers are not forgotten, and the plaque will certainly provide a focal point to help keep his memory alive.”

Mrs Geraldine Winner, Chairperson of The Police Memorial Trust, said: “I am very pleased to be here in the beautiful county of Cumbria in place of my late husband Michael Winner to remember the service and sacrifice of Police Constable James Armstrong.

“This is the 46th time the Police Memorial Trust have stood with the families of officers who have died on duty to remember their loss.

“It’s absolutely right that the landscape of Dockray should change just a little to accommodate a permanent reminder to its citizens, and those passing through, of the life and death of Constable James Armstrong.”

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