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HIDDEN GEMS: A special guest of honour

Police Constable shot in tragic incident attends game as a guest

17 September 2021

With our archive all-but destroyed by the floods, it’s still fantastic to come across some real hidden gems, particularly when the back-story to the image or clip is easy to verify and confirm.

Such was the case with the image above, which shows PC Alex Archibald (on the left) in the director’s area of the stadium back in 1965.


On 10 February 1965 PC George William Russell and PC Alex Archibald, along with other officers, were involved in a stand-off at Oxenholme train station with a suspected car thief, who it transpired was also in possession of a stolen gun.

PC Archibald was shot and seriously injured, and PC Russell was shot and fatally injured during the incident. The killer, John Middleton, later took his own life.

A plaque was erected at the station in 2007, with PC Archibald in attendance, and Chief Constable Michael Baxter said at the unveiling: “We should never forget the dangers that police officers face in carrying out their duties.

“This memorial plaque will ensure that we never forget George Russell's brave actions, who, like others, gave his life whilst protecting the public.”

PC Russell is buried in Carlisle and was posthumously awarded the Queen's Police Medal for Gallantry.

PC Alex Archibald was invited to Brunton Park in April 1965 (two months after the shooting) as a guest of honour of the club, for the 3-0 home victory over Mansfield Town, with Frank Large (2) and Jonny Evans scoring the goals.

18,764 fans were in attendance on the day.

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