Percy Toplis shooting heroes are honoured

Percy Toplis
Percy Toplis

An North-east man has picked up an award on behalf of his grandfather who was involved in an infamous shooting incident that went down in Scottish folklore.

Percy Toplis, or more famously known as “Monocled Mutineer” shot and wounded Banffshire PC George Greig and local farmer John Grant in a bothy near Tomintoul in 1920.

Toplis was on the run for murdering a taxi driver in Hampshire and escaped after the Tomintoul shooting, but five days later he was shot dead in Cumbria.

The incident known as the “Tomintoul Outrage” seen both men recover from their injuries.

However they were given no official recognition at the time for their bravery during the incident.

Police Scotland presented the families of the two men with official commendations to mark their involvement this week.PC Greig’s grandson- Alistair Greig from Collieston, and Iain McAllister from Elgin - John Grant’s grandson collected the awards.

Chief Superintendent Mark McLaren said: “It is a remarkable story that has gone down in folklore and the men deserved to be honoured for their part in what happened.”

After fleeing England, Toplis had been hiding out in a bothy near Tomintoul.

His fire, made from chairs and fence posts caught the attention of local gamekeeper John McKenzie who went to the scene with PC Greig and John Grant. As they woke Toplis, he shot Greig and Grant but McKenzie escaped unhurt to raise the alarm. Toplis made off into the darkness singing on his bicycle.PC Greig suffered a shot in the shoulder and three weeks later the bullet had to be removed - which was on display at the presentation. Grant was shot in the thigh.

The Toplis story was turned into a BBC TV drama starring the actor Paul McGann, who later became famous as Doctor Who. The current Police Scotland officer in Tomintoul - PC Andy Main, located the relatives for the presentation.

He said: “It is a fascinating story and shows that even almost 100 years ago, police officers could face unexpected dangers in the most unlikely places.”