This Remembrance Day, here at the Lock-up we want to reflect on those police officers that gave their lives during World War I & II. This article focuses on Douglas Blackford, born 3rd March 1917 in Small Heath, Birmingham.
We are told by Douglas’ daughter Jaqueline Archer, that he was the youngest of the four brothers in his family. Despite being 6’4” tall, Douglas was often described as quietly spoken, blonde hair and blue eyes, it is also believed that he was the favourite in his family. Unfortunately, Douglas’ father died of his injuries during the First World War while Douglas was only seventeen months old. Once old enough Douglas and his brother joined the Scots Guard; their father had served in the Scottish Regiment - although they had no Scottish bloodline.
After leaving the Scots Guard, Douglas joined Coventry City Police, serving under collar number 193, despite living in Birmingham (this is because he was not able to join the police force where the family were living). We are told that Douglas loved being a police officer and although he had only been in the force for a short amount of time, he received a commendation for arresting two ex ‘Black and Tan’ men (members of the former RIC Special Reserve).
At the breakout of war Douglas immediately volunteered and therefore, he didn’t need to be drafted in. His friends and family tried to talk him out of it and wait until it was his time to be called up, but he insisted and went. Unfortunately, when a friend was hit by a sniper, disobeying an order, Douglas rushed out to help. After sustaining fifteen machine gun bullets Douglas died later that day of his injuries, passing away just days before Jaqueline’s first birthday. This act of selflessness is telling of the incredible man, father, soldier and police officer Douglas Blackford was. A man that we shall not forget this Remembrance Day.
Douglas with his wife Beatrice and their son Anthony, who tragically died at just 14 months old
The family's policing legacy lives on, with one of Jacqueline's cousins having served with West Midlands Police and two of Douglas' granddaughters currently serving with Devon and Cornwall Police.