Unsolved Murders

Robert Wilson Guthrie Donald

Age: 24

Sex: male

Date: 12 Aug 1931

Place: Clydesdale Bank, Radnor Park, Glasgow

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Robert Wilson Guthrie Donald was murdered during a bank robbery on 12 August 1931 at the Kilbowie Road, Dumbarton branch of the Clydesdale Bank.

He was a clerk at the Bank of Clydebank and was found unconscious behind the counter with his head battered in and having been shot. He died five minutes later.

It was said that close to £1,525 was missing. The police were able to obtain numbers for most of the notes that were stolen and a large number of the notes were traced in 1937.

It was the practice to close the bank in the afternoon and take the takings to the head office. However, when he didn't arrive a man was sent to ascertain why and he was found dying on the floor with head injuries.

His head had been battered in with a heavy instrument and he had been shot. It was thought that he had been fouled at the door and then dragged across the floor. The police said that they thought that he had not had a chance to defend himself and that once he had been felled to the ground more blows had rained down on his head.

Although he had been shot, it was said that workmen in the street had heard nothing.

It was thought that the raid and been a lighting raid at 3pm just after the bank had closed its doors.

The premises had been ransacked.

Two reports were made of suspicious men. The first report was of a man that had been seen in the vicinity boarding a bus. It was said that he was clearly agitated and had blood on his face and had been carrying an attache case. Another witness said that they saw an excited man who appeared to have a cut under his right eye.

Later, the police received a report from a motor engineer that said he had been in a hotel in Carlisle on the day after the bank robbery where he had met two girls and he said that they had told him that they had been given a lift from Dumfries to Gretna by two men in a blue four-seater car and that they had told them that they had two attache cases full of money in the back and that they had showed them a revolver saying that they were protecting the money. Scotland Yard said that they were trying to trace the two girls.

The police said that they thought there had been more than one robber and that at least one of them had a Clydebank connection.

Robert Donald was due to join his sister and aunt on holiday in Stonehaven on the Monday. He had lived with his aunt in Hillhead.

In January 1937 a woman was arrested for receiving money that had been stolen from the bank which was hoped might help the police identify the murderer. She had received between £500 and £600 of £1,525 which had been stolen. The police were first notified that a £5 from the robbery was in circulation around New Year in 1936 and carried out an investigation  and discovered that found that one of the £5 notes from the robbery had passed through a shop in Glasgow. Whilst the police were investigating that transaction another £5 turned up in another shop. The woman was passing them was then identified and arrested for receiving between £500 and £600.

It was also said in 1937 that the police believed that they had traced the revolver that was used in the robbery too, stating that they had come into the possession of a revolver of American design.


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


see Western Daily Press - Thursday 13 August 1931

see Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Thursday 13 August 1931

see Western Morning News - Saturday 22 August 1931

see Western Morning News - Monday 17 August 1931

see Belfast News-Letter - Thursday 13 August 1931

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Thursday 07 January 1937

see Londonderry Sentinel - Thursday 07 January 1937