The Lady is now a Detective!

For our next volunteer diary, Dorothy Taylor tells us a bit about the work she has been doing at the archives and an interesting article she found in the police news cuttings scrapbooks.

When I retired 2 years ago, I needed something to keep my mind occupied, too much daytime TV freezes it. So, I joined the Friends of Dundee City Archives and offered my services as a volunteer. Having an inquisitive nature, I thought this would suit me to a tee. (Well, OK, I’m just naturally nosey).

The first task I was given was to index the newspaper cuttings collected by Dundee City Police. The cuttings book are 3 large volumes filled with articles about crimes, court appearances, reports, statistics and members of the police. The indexing work involved recording the date of the article, the names of the people involved and a summary of the story. One article in particular really caught my eye.

On 7th September 1946 the Peoples Journal published a story with the headline: “THIS LADY IS NOW A DETECTIVE”. The report reads, “Miss Hilda C Bury, of Dundee, plump, pleasant and still on the right side of 30 has just passed a three month course for Policemen at Edinburgh. She was one of two women among 54 men”. Political correctness, as can be seen, did not exist then and perhaps in 1946 this description was regarded as a compliment.

Getting back to my “inquisitive” nature, I started to wonder what had become of Hilda. She was born in 1919 and prior to joining Dundee City Police served as a Company Sergeant-Major in the A.T.S. This trail blazing woman was one of the first female CID Officers in the region and, as was the norm for the time, she worked as a special investigation officer mostly on cases involving women and children, many of these being sexually motivated offences. As the only female CID officer her services were also in demand in the surrounding area including Perthshire and Angus. She stayed with this unit for 25 years then moved into the Juvenile Liaison Department before retiring in 1974.

She was then employed by the Procurator Fiscal’s Office in Dundee for a further 5 years and retired from there in 1979. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours list of 1973 she was awarded the BEM for services to the police.

Hilda passed away in early 2012 having lived to the good old age of 93 years. Didn’t she do well for a young woman who was “pleasant, plump on right side of 30”.

Nosiness satisfied I look forward to my next detective case inspired by my work at the Archives.

Find out how you can join the Friends of Dundee City Archives. If you are interested in volunteering at Dundee City Archives please contact us.

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