By Hugh Dougherty and Robin Jones
A heroic railwayman, who died trying to fight off armed robbers intent on stealing the Christmas payroll for Glasgow Works on December 21, 1973, has been honoured more than 40 years later, after a plaque to his memory was unveiled at the railway works, thanks to the Railway Heritage Trust.
Security guard James Kennedy, 43, tackled the first man and prevented him leaving the yard. The intruder was then released by his companions who attacked Kennedy and stunned him by hitting him about the head with the barrels of their shotguns.
At this point the raiders climbed into a van, driven by one of the gang.
Having regained consciousness and, undeterred by his injuries, Kennedy made another attempt to prevent the criminals escaping, by running towards the front passenger door of the van.
He was killed by two shots fired from the front passenger seat and the raiders escaped with £9854.73 in a crime which shocked the nation.
James Kennedy, from Bearsden in Glasgow, later died at the city’s Royal Infirmary, leaving behind his wife Ellen and three daughters.
He was posthumously decorated with the Glasgow Corporation Bravery Medal in 1974 and the Queen presented the George Cross to his widow and children at Buckingham Palace in 1975.
Read more in Issue 237 of HR – on sale now!