A man of strong conviction

Every know and then
The world produces a leader,
One who makes a difference
Who knows he’s a brother’s keeper,
Who doesn’t approve of common wisdom
And swims agains the tide
Is concerned more for truth
Than taking an easy ride.

A great Grandfather of mine
James Dornan from Wigtown,
Left his crofter’s life
To fight evil in Glasgow,
Scotland said “welcome”
In eighteen seventy five
“we need a leader like you
to contribute to Scottish life”.

A crofter at twenty two
Became a policeman at twenty three
Then became a young detective
Fighting crime on Glasgow streets,
As a very young detective
Oscar Slater was arrested,
A well known Glasgow criminal
But this murder; he didn’t do it.

With an impatient Scotland public
Wanting a result in the case,
The media getting excited
Seems “guilty” is Oscar’s fate,
But going against the flow
James said he disagreed
Being a contrary witness
Saying he disagreed.

Even the Sherlock Holmes writer
Outraged, wrote a book,
Highlighting the injustice
Making many to have a look,
At what is reallly truth
That’s James was all about,
He began to rise in authority
Being promoted in detective clout.

Now a detective lieutenant
Number two in the Policeman’s tree,
He must have been able to lead
And solve things logically,
And be able to get on with people
Yet be a husband and father,
Eight children in a terraced flat
A success at every layer.

So how do I see him now ?
Well in his photos I see,
The warmth in his portrait
Yet detective authority,
A man of strong conviction
Who rose above the crowd,
To my great great Grandfather
I am quite proud.


Middle top photo – Detective John Trench is seated to James Dornan’s left. He also thought Slater was innocent. For his stand, he lost his job and life pension. He had a wife and 6 children.

Here is a photo taken from the TV screen on a “Scottish television” documentary on the case. James Dornan is handcuffed to Slater. Dornan is on the top of the stairs. Dornan was in charge of the Marine Division of the Glasgow CID, and also deputy detective.
Dornan boat slater tv

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