Percy Laurie

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Sir Percy Robert Laurie
Assistant Commissioner "D", Metropolitan Police
In office
Preceded by Maurice Tomlin
Succeeded by George Abbiss
Personal details
Born 5 November 1880
Sevenoaks, Kent
Died 16 February 1962
Profession Police officer

Major-General Sir Percy Robert Laurie KCVO CBE DSO (5 November 1880 – 16 February 1962) was a British Army and police officer.

Laurie was born in Sevenoaks, Kent, and educated at Harrow School. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 3rd London Volunteer Rifle Corps in August 1901[1][2] and transferred to the Regular Army in the Royal Scots Greys in March 1902.[3] He was stationed with his regiment in South Africa for the aftermath of the Second Boer War, and promoted Lieutenant in October 1903.[4] In October 1909 he was appointed regimental adjutant.[5] In August 1911 he became ADC to General Sir Charles Douglas, General Officer Commanding Southern Command,[6] and was promoted Captain in October 1911,[7] in March 1912 he accompanied Douglas as ADC when he became Inspector-General of the Home Forces, and in 1914 he accompanied him again as personal assistant to the Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

During the First World War he served successively as assistant provost-marshal[8] of a cavalry division and a corps. He was mentioned in despatches six times and in January 1916 was promoted Brevet Major and awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).[9] He was promoted Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel in November 1917[10] and appointed provost-marshal of the Fourth Army and later the Second Army. He also received the Belgian Croix de Guerre in March 1918,[11] the French Croix de Guerre in November 1918,[12] the Order of Leopold and the Order of the Crown of Belgium, and the Order of the Crown of Italy.

In February 1919 he went on half-pay[13] and was appointed Deputy Assistant Commissioner "A" in the Metropolitan Police in London, in command of the Mounted Branch and with direct supervision of the four police districts under the Assistant Commissioner "A". In July 1919 he was promoted substantive Major in the Army[14] and in October 1919 he formally retired with the substantive rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.[15] He was put in charge of restoring morale following the 1919 police strike and also organised the policing of the victory march and other commemorations of the war. He pioneered police aviation and organised the first experiments in Britain with using the airship R33 to watch the crowds on Derby Day in 1921.[16] Under his command, the Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch training depot at Imber Court was established. He also pioneered the use of police dogs in Britain.[17] He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1923 New Year Honours.[18]

In June 1933, Laurie was appointed Assistant Commissioner "D", responsible for policy and planning.[19][20] In this post, he planned the policing for the Silver Jubilee of King George V. Laurie's own horse, Quicksilver, was a favourite of Londoners. Laurie acquired him in France in April 1916 and he was slightly wounded by shrapnel at the Battle of the Somme. He bore his master on every state occasion from 1919 until Laurie's retirement in July 1936.[21] Laurie also established the Metropolitan Police Athletic Association. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) in the 1935 New Year Honours.[22]

On the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Laurie came out of retirement to serve as Assistant Chief Constable of the War Department Constabulary. In July 1940 he was appointed Provost-Marshal of the United Kingdom with the rank of Brigadier and served in this post, being promoted to the local rank of Major-General in July 1942,[23] until July 1943, when he once again retired. This followed his suspension for ration book offences after he obtained Army ration cards as well as his civilian ration book. He was convicted and fined, although his conviction was later quashed on appeal after the Appeals Committee accepted he had simply made a mistake.[24][25][26] He was reinstated, but he then asked to retire[27] and was granted the honorary rank of Brigadier.[28]

From 1939 to 1946 he was also Land Tax and Income Tax Commissioner for Wiltshire and was County Welfare Officer for the Wiltshire Army Cadet Force from 1944 to 1946. He was a Justice of the Peace from 1933.


  1. ^ "No. 27347". The London Gazette. 20 August 1901. p. 5512. 
  2. ^ Planck, p. 6.
  3. ^ "No. 27419". The London Gazette. 25 March 1902. p. 2077. 
  4. ^ "No. 27652". The London Gazette. 1 March 1904. p. 1363. 
  5. ^ "No. 28296". The London Gazette. 12 October 1909. p. 7495. 
  6. ^ "No. 28520". The London Gazette. 8 August 1911. p. 5919. 
  7. ^ "No. 28548". The London Gazette. 7 November 1911. p. 8056. 
  8. ^ "No. 29175". The London Gazette. 28 May 1915. p. 5109. 
  9. ^ "No. 29438". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 January 1916. p. 575. 
  10. ^ "No. 30440". The London Gazette (Supplement). 18 December 1917. p. 13351. 
  11. ^ "No. 30568". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 March 1918. p. 3096. 
  12. ^ "No. 30995". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 November 1918. p. 13113. 
  13. ^ "No. 31306". The London Gazette (Supplement). 22 April 1919. p. 5162. 
  14. ^ "No. 31567". The London Gazette (Supplement). 23 September 1919. p. 11885. 
  15. ^ "No. 31577". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 September 1919. p. 12104. 
  16. ^ "R33 as Traffic Controller", The Times, 2 June 1921
  17. ^ "Dog Policemen", The Times, 31 January 1924
  18. ^ "No. 32782". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1922. p. 9. 
  19. ^ "Metropolitan Police Appointments: Colonel Laurie to succeed Major Tomlin", The Times, 21 June 1933
  20. ^ "No. 33957". The London Gazette. 4 July 1933. p. 4474. 
  21. ^ "Retirement of Sir Percy Laurie", The Times, 18 July 1936
  22. ^ "No. 34119". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 December 1934. p. 7. 
  23. ^ "No. 35629". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 July 1942. p. 3085. 
  24. ^ "Sir P. Laurie charged", The Times, 30 March 1943
  25. ^ "Sir Percy Laurie to appeal", The Times, 16 April 1943
  26. ^ "Sir Percy Laurie's Appeal", The Times, 19 May 1943
  27. ^ "Sir Percy Laurie retires", The Times, 7 July 1943
  28. ^ "No. 36080". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 July 1943. p. 3047. 


  • Obituary, The Times, 17 February 1962
  • Biography, Who Was Who
  • C. Digby Planck, The Shiny Seventh: History of the 7th (City of London) Battalion London Regiment, London: Old Comrades' Association, 1946/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2002, ISBN 1-84342-366-9.
Police appointments
Preceded by
First incumbent
Deputy Assistant Commissioner "A", Metropolitan Police
Succeeded by
Last incumbent
Preceded by
Maurice Tomlin
Assistant Commissioner "D", Metropolitan Police
Succeeded by
George Abbiss
Preceded by
Assistant Chief Constable, War Department Constabulary
Succeeded by
Military offices
Preceded by
Provost-Marshal of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Brigadier John Mellor