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Council Officer’s medals presented to Town House (14/12/09)
Medals once belonging to the Council Officer, who gathered the signatures of members of the British Cabinet when it was held in Inverness in 1921, were received into the collection of artefacts in Inverness Town House today (Monday) by the Provost of Inverness, Councillor Jimmy Gray.
Provost Gray welcomed the donation of the medals of former Council Officer William Bain by Inverness military history enthusiast Bob Shanks.
The donation included:
• the First World War British War and Victory Medals named to 170522 GNR W. Bain R.A. and two mounted miniatures of the same;
• a copy of the medal index card and medal rolls which confirm his Mr Bain’s entitlement to the medals showing that he served as a Gunner in 484 Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery; and
• a Royal Burgh of Inverness Medal commemorating the 1937 Coronation Celebrations.
Provost Gray said: “We are grateful to Mr Shanks for his generous donation and are delighted that his knowledge and awareness has meant that these artefacts of significant local social history interest will be preserved for future generations to enjoy.”
Council Officer William Bain was working at the Town House Chamber on 7 September 1921 when the British Cabinet met to discuss the political troubles in Ireland. It was due to Mr Bain’s presence of mind to pass round a piece of paper and ask for the cabinet members’ signatures that a lasting record was secured of the only known time that a British cabinet meeting has been convened outside of London. The reason for the meeting being held in Inverness was that the Prime Minister Lloyd George was on holiday at Gairloch and King George V was shooting at Moy. From this meeting emerged the “Inverness Formula” which formed the basis of discussion at the conference where the Treaty for creating the Irish Free State was agreed.
A copy of the signatures is on display in the Town House Chamber – the original is held in Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.
Mr Shanks, a retired civil servant who collects military memorabilia, was presented with the medals some years ago after giving a talk to Inverness Soroptimists Club by one of its members. On a more recent visit to the Town House, he saw a painting of Mr Bain displayed at the Town House and this prompted him to pass the medals to the Council.
The medals have now been framed and will go on display in the Town House Chamber beside the painting of Mr Bain.