Unsolved Murders

William Robb

Age: 9

Sex: male

Date: 7 Feb 1947

Place: Kelty, Fifeshire

William Robb was found dead under some corrugated iron with his green scarf tied tightly round his neck in a snow-covered field near Kelty on 7 February 1947.

He had been out on a sledging expedition with some playmates.

He was found under the corrugated iron about 300 yards from his home in a snow covered field on Cocklaw Farm near the Oakfield Street bus station, about 16 hours after he was first missed by a poultry farmer from Rosewll Cottages in Kelty who owned a poultry run nearby and who had been out looking for some stray ducks. The poultry farmer said that when he lifted the piece of corrugated iron, he saw William Robb there as though he was asleep. He said, 'It was as though the boy had pulled it over himself for warmth'. He added, there was one set of faint footprints, the overnight snow had filled them in, on either side of the corrugated iron'.

His death was given as being due to strangulation with the only other injury being a slight bruise on his forehead.

William Robb had lived at 23 Drum Road in Kelty. He was last seen along with other boys sliding on a hill near his house until after dark on the Thursday night after which he was never seen again. His playmates said that when they last saw him William Robb said that his sledge was broken and that he was not going home until he had looked for another one.

His parents said that he had gone out at about 10pm to go sledging, and his mother said that she told him, 'Be back in a quarter of an hour'. William Robb had borrowed William Williamson's sledge, William Williamson having lived in the home opposite William Robb's home at 10 Drum Road.

William Robb's sister said that she went out to shout, 'You are wanted, Billy' at about 10.15pm, but said that William Robb was making his way with a sledge away from their home.

William Robb's sister said that she called on William Williamson at 11pm who she said told him that he had left William Robb in Blair Street, which was the roadway between their two houses.

A search was started about midnight and the police were informed at about 2am that William Robb was missing.

William Robb's father, who had been working the nightshift at the Aitken Colliery didn't found out about his son's disappearance until he got home at 7am on the Friday morning.

William Williamson was the last person to have seen William Robb alive.

Shortly after William Robb was found dead, his 19-year-old companion, William Williamson who lived opposite William Robb in Drum Road, Kelty was found dead in a gas filled scullery at his home on the night of 10 February 1947 in Drum Road where he lived with his parents. William Williamson was due to be buried on Thursday 13 February 1947, but the police stopped his funeral in order to take charge of his body, but no reason was given as to why.

Before his death, William Williamson had said that William Robb was 'a fine wee lad. He sometimes came across to my house for the night, and we played games together'. He later said, 'Later I left Drum Road to sledge in Blair Street, and told Billy he could not sledge there. He went away, and I heard a woman I took to be his mother shouting for him. Earlier in the night billy had a sledge that I borrowed for him, but it was broken. First I knew he had not gone home was when one of his family came to our house about 11pm to ask if Billy was there. My father was out with the family looking for Billy until 4am in the morning'.

It was also noted that during the police investigation, two men were seen handling a sled in an air-raid shelter near to William Robb's house on the night he disappeared.

Both William Robb and William Williamson were buried at the Kirk of Beath Cemetery.

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

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Saturday 08 February 1947

see Gloucester Citizen - Tuesday 11 February 1947

see Gloucestershire Echo - Tuesday 11 February 1947

see Gloucester Citizen - Thursday 13 February 1947

see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Friday 14 February 1947

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 11 February 1947

see Dundee Courier - Saturday 08 February 1947

see Dundee Courier - Wednesday 12 February 1947

see Sunday Post - Sunday 09 February 1947

see Lincolnshire Echo - Tuesday 11 February 1947