1911 Shooting

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The first awards of the King’s Police Medal to Lancashire Constabulary officers were to Detective Sergeant Henry Linaker and Constable Christopher Adamson for the arrest of a dangerous armed criminal at a house on Burton Street, Rishton in 1911.

The official citation said that the award was made for "conspicuous gallantry and exceptional coolness, courage and determination displayed in apprehending Albert Wright, alias Harry Webster, a powerful, well-built man known to carry a loaded firearm, and having previously expressed an intention to use it".

He was wanted by the Lincolnshire Police for burglary, and had twice previously escaped when on the point of arrest during the previous four months.

In 1905, after being arrested in Nottingham, Wright produced a pistol and pointed it at an officer and pulled the trigger twice, but the gun misfired.

A violent struggle took place and Wright struck the officer a severe blow to the head with the gun butt before being subdued. Wright had been released on licence after several years imprisonment.

At 5.45 p.m. on November 3, 1911, Sergeant Linaker and Constable Adamson were in plain clothes, and along with two other officers went to the house at Burton Street, Rishton, following information received.

Linaker and Adamson entered via the front door and the other officers went to the back of the house. Wright had failed to obey the conditions of his licence and was to be arrested and returned to prison as well as being wanted by several other forces.

Once inside they saw Wright facing them, about eight feet away, with his hand in his jacket pocket.

Linaker told Wright that he was a Police Sergeant, and Wright then produced a revolver which he levelled at him. Wright pulled the trigger but the revolver misfired. Wright then hit Linaker in the left eye with the muzzle.

Linaker knocked the hand with the revolver to one side, and Adamson seized it, trying to keep the muzzle pointing downwards.

A struggle ensued, and Wright backed away, saying," I will kill you both".

He fired three shots, one of which grazed the Sergeant Linaker’s ribs, one hit Adamson in the thigh and the third shot missed. After a long struggle on the stairs, Sergeant Linaker drew his truncheon striking Wright who was then overpowered and arrested.

Albert Wright appeared at Manchester Assizes on November 20, 1911 charged with attempted murder.

Wright’s defence was that he had no intention of firing the revolver and the jury passed over the more serious charge of attempted murder and convicted him instead of unlawful wounding. Wright was sentenced to 10 years penal servitude by Mr Justice Avory.

It was revealed that in 1905 Wright had previously been sentenced to nine months imprisonment for housebreaking and later six years penal servitude for attempting to shoot a constable at Nottingham in 1906.

Stolen property was found in Wright’s possession and arrest warrants were issued later at Rotherham, Grimsby and the East Riding of Yorkshire for burglary.

Henry Linaker and Christopher Adamson were presented with their medals by King George V at Buckingham Palace on February 6, 1913.

Henry Linaker was born at Leyland, Lancashire in 1872. He joined Lancashire Constabulary in 1892, having previously been an asylum attendant at Prestwich County Asylum.

He served at Manchester, Blackburn, Bolton, Church and Wigan Division on promotion to Sergeant. In 1914 he was promoted to Inspector and returned to Bolton where he was promoted to Chief Inspector in 1919. In 1920 he was promoted to Superintendent and took charge of Rossendale Division. In 1928 he moved to Blackburn Lower and Higher Divisions.

He retired in January 1937. In 1939 he was appointed to the wartime First Police Reserve, serving until 1940. He died in 1944.

His son William Henry Linaker also joined Lancashire Constabulary and became an Assistant Chief Constable. He served for 24 years, retiring in 1967.

Christopher Adamson was born at Bolton in 1878. He joined Lancashire Constabulary on August 1901, his previous occupation was as a factory operative.

He served at Ormskirk and Church Divisions. Adamson recovered from his injuries and continued his Police career. In 1913 he was promoted to Sergeant in 1913 and transferred to Manchester and then to Ashton-under-Lyne in 1918.

In 1918 he was promoted to Inspector and transferred to Blackburn Higher Division. In 1927 he was promoted to Chief Inspector. He retired in July 1930 and died in 1950. 


Forgotten Heroes: A Record of Police Gallantry Awards in the Lancashire County Palatine by Stephen Wilson