Unsolved Murders

James B Wilson

Age: 37

Sex: male

Date: 29 Dec 1920

Place: 10 St. Leonards Road, Ayr

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

James Wilson was a wine merchant. He was shot three times by masked men with revolvers.

The sister of James Wilson's wife had opened the door in response to a knock between 10-11pm on 28 December 1920 and two men wearing masks walked into the house. She thought it was a joke at first and made a jocular remark. They asked them what they wanted and then saw that they had revolvers. They had not stated what they wanted when James Wilson arrived at about the same time having just returned from town where he had closed his shop for the day. He had tinkled his bicycle bell as usual and upon hearing him his wife shout, 'For God's sake, come quickly'. At that the masked men had apparently taken fright and were in the act of turning back in the lobby to the door, but James Wilson blocked the doorway and either one or both of them shot him at point blank range. James Wilson then fell into the vestibule of the doorway mortally wounded. One of the masked men had also turned and fired at James Wilson's wife but the bullet missed and lodged in the woodwork. The masked men then hurriedly escaped heading off towards Maybole.

James Wilson was hit in the head and groin and was taken by ambulance to Ayr County Hospital where he later died between 6-7am on 29 December 1920.

A greasy cloth cap was found nearby as well as a mask.

The first man was described as being 5ft 10in tall, well built, fair hair, clean shaven, wearing a light-coloured waterproof without belt and was bareheaded when seen. The other man was described as being shorter than the other man, well built, wearing a dark oilskin coat and a felt or velour hat. He was also said to have been wearing leggings.

A lamplighter said that he saw three men on the Carsphairn Road in the Loch Doon district at about 10.30pm on the Thursday night and said that one of them didn't have a hat or cap on. He also said that one of them had a handkerchief tied around his head. He said that the men had asked if he had wanted to buy a pair of leggings but the lamplighter said that he had no need for them and suggested that they might find a purchaser in the village but said they replied that they had no time for that.

The police searched the area around where the lamplighter had said he saw the men including the bog country. Police also made a search of the country on the borders of Ayrshire and Kirkcudbright to the south of Loch Doon.


*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.


see Aberdeen Journal - Tuesday 04 January 1921

see Western Times - Thursday 30 December 1920

see Western Times - Friday 31 December 1920

see Sunday Post - Sunday 23 January 1921

see Dundee Courier - Saturday 01 January 1921

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Thursday 20 January 1921

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 29 December 1920