Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Ever Heard Of 'the Cheeky 40' ?
Glasgow Boards/Forums > Misc Boards > Questions about Glasgow
Paulines47
Hi. I'm a 'soft southerner' trying to find out about a notorious gang in Glasgow called 'The Cheeky 40'. My dad, George Adams born 1933 in Ingleston Street, mentioned that an uncle of his was a member of this gang. Unfortunately, my dad isn't around any more to ask more. Has anyone else heard of this gang???? It's possible that the uncle was called Willie.....but i don't know how far back my dad would be talking about.

George lived in Southampton for 40+ years & never once revisited Glasgow or even talked about it in any great depth, to me & my brothers.....we realised that it hadn't been the best of times.

If there's anyone who knows about this 'Cheeky 40', Ingleston St, the Adams' family or just about the area at that time, i would love to hear from you. (Also reference Everard Cruickshanks Adams/Mary Ann Stewart Jeppesen/Rankin Memorial Hospital/657 Edgefauld Road......)

Many thanks from Pauline 'newbie' Saunders nee Adams xx


GG
Hi Pauline,

Welcome to the boards! You may have seen the following reference to the 'Cheeky 40' on the boards here:

QUOTE
Hi All.. Yes the notorious area you are talking about was Barnes Road, Especially around the Sixties with the Gang culture, the "Possil Fleet "and "The Cheeky 40" used to have the odd Ding Dong with them, but eventually the Untouchables soon put a stop to them Cheers Flim

http://discuss.glasgowguide.co.uk/index.ph...st&p=126095

I also found on the web a reference in The Times:

QUOTE
A gang called the “Cheeky 40” made a point of beating up French sailors in the local dance halls. The Glasgow Herald of December 22, 1942, reported an incident in which a seaman was stabbed after “various nationals went to the aid of their compatriots and it is believed there was a struggle for a knife”.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/s...ticle841288.ece

Also, someone else has looked for information on the gang here:

http://discuss.glasgowguide.co.uk/Cheeky-Forty-t14840.html

The gang is (briefly?) mentioned in the following book

Blood on the Streets: The A-Z of Glasgow Crime (Paperback)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Streets-Z-Gl...e/dp/1845020170

Pauline, the gang (from Garngad, now Royston) appears to be one of the more prominent of a large number of 'razor gangs' which blighted Glasgow in the thirties and forties; they are frequently mentioned in the context of their more notorious rivals The Tong and The Billy Boys.

There is also the suggestion that these gangs consisted of anarchists rather then 'neds'...

QUOTE
Sometime during the Spanish Revolution, probably about 1937, a Glaswegian who had gone to fight Franco, was arrested by the Stalinist authorities then in the process of crushing the revolution. This nameless individual, popularised by the play From the Calton to Catalonia by Willie Maley, had been ‘leader aff’ of the Cheeky Forty, a Garngad-based gang, and was arrested in Spain for ‘hooliganism’. Fighting the state for years on his own doorstep had obviously whetted this character’s appetite for a more large-scale engagement. One could easily claim generations of Glasgow criminal rebels against the status quo for the cause of anarchism, but then many anarchists might not agree with such an inclusion. Certainly, the crux of the matter is that Glasgow has had and continues to have a long and venerable history of revolt. Anarchism has found a central role, I would argue, in that development and has, moreover, always found a welcoming home in the tenements, factories, pubs, halls and back-rooms, as well as the hearts and minds of Glasgow people. But what is it?

http://radicalglasgow.me.uk/glasgowpedia/w...#39;s_Anarchism

GG.
GG
Also, from the Daily Mail, the suggestion that the wartime leader of the Free French may have made a surprise visit to Scotland as a result of the actions of the Cheeky Forty:

QUOTE
The Great Deceit;
On Christmas Eve, 1942, an unexpected visit by French President de Gaulle caught Scotland on the hop. Was it a social call... or something more sinister? Daily Mail, December 24, 2005 Saturday

... Warships such as Surcouf, then the largest submarine in the world, operated from the Clyde, along with convoy escort frigates such as L'Escarmouche, La Decouverte and Lobelia.

French seamen in their distinctive uniforms and caps topped with red pom-poms were a familiar sight in Greenock, Gourock and Glasgow. Local men, home on leave from the forces, resented the ease with which they wooed girls.

A gang calling themselves the 'Cheeky 40' had taken to beating them up in dance halls.

The French fought back. In early December, 1942, police were called to a very nasty incident in which a young Frenchman was stabbed and several men were wounded in what the local paper described as 'a struggle for a knife'.

So was de Gaulle on an impromptu diplomatic mission to calm French tempers and soothe Scottish nerves?

That is possible. He made a point of thanking Greenock for its 'generosity and kindness'.

But, even in the strained atmosphere of wartime and amid the strict security necessary to protect senior allied leaders, there was astonishment at what the Scottish press referred to as the 'surprise nature of de Gaulle's visit'. ...

GG.
Paulines47
Thanks for the info GG.

I didn't realise that the 'cheeky 40' were as bad as that.....the name sort of implies a bunch of nippers just being naughty laugh.gif Having said that, my dad told us that they used to keep razor blades underneath the lapels of their jackets!!

I shall have a look at the links you've supplied, with great interest.

If there's anyone else with any stories or recollections, i'd love to hear from you.

Many thanks for the welcome.
Pauline ;]
TeeHeeHee
Looks like the "Cheeky 40" might have been reference to location and number, viz-a viz; "Can yer mammy sew? Well get her to stitch that!"
*paulines47*
QUOTE (TeeHeeHee @ 4th Oct 2009, 12:37pm) *
Looks like the "Cheeky 40" might have been reference to location and number, viz-a viz; "Can yer mammy sew? Well get her to stitch that!"

Your quote made me smile.....i remember my dad saying this on quite a few occasions. Even at the age of 60 plus, as a VC at a working men's club, if there was ever any trouble everyone used to say "get Jock" & they'd leave my dad to it.

He was only about 5ft 8, but i'd seen him square up to some big guys....nobody would mess with him. I suppose the uncle's 'spirit' lived on through him.

One thing that always amazed me was that he'd lived in Southampton for about 40 years & never, ever lost his glaswegian accent....even i couldn't understand him sometimes.
biggrin.gif
Paulines47
QUOTE (TeeHeeHee @ 4th Oct 2009, 01:37pm) *
Looks like the "Cheeky 40" might have been reference to location and number, viz-a viz; "Can yer mammy sew? Well get her to stitch that!"

Hi TeeHeeHee, your quote made me smile.....i remember my dad saying this on quite a few occasions. He was a VC at a working men's club & whenever there was any trouble the other committee members used to get Jock to sort it out. He was only about 5ft 8 but i've seen him square up to some big guys....nobody ever messed with him. I suppose the uncle's nature lived on through my dad.

I'd still like to hear from anyone with recollections of early Glasgow & people.
Pauline ;]
North Canalbank St
There have been at least a couple of books written about Glasgow gangs, yet none of them mention a gang from Anderston.
Even an ex speaker of the House of Commons said Anderston made the Gorbals look like Center Parks, yet never a mention of a gang.
Strange one, maybe the mists of time have wiped the Anderston folk memory clean.
Paulines47
QUOTE (North Canalbank St @ 6th Mar 2010, 04:26pm) *
There have been at least a couple of books written about Glasgow gangs, yet none of them mention a gang from Anderston.
Even an ex speaker of the House of Commons said Anderston made the Gorbals look like Center Parks, yet never a mention of a gang.
Strange one, maybe the mists of time have wiped the Anderston folk memory clean.


Apart from the info GG supplied at the start of this thread, i've found nothing. One of my relatives has just visited Glasgow & asked everyone.....but they (apparently) knew nothing. As you say, perhaps the mists of time have wiped memories clean.

I would've been interested to have found out who Uncle Willy was.....there are several in my tree & it could've been any of them.
North Canalbank St
Hopefully P within the next couple of weeks i,ll get the chance to meet up with the only person i ever heard of mentioning the "Cheeky 40" thats still alive.

I,ll see if they remember any more info on this gang.

Certainly the local beat cop of the time period went by the nickname, "Hitler" and local folklore has it that Hitler was,nt adverse to asking the locals hoodies of the time to fight him, "man to man", in the open backcourts of the tenaments.
The name "Cheeky40" seems to have died around the time the area was redevloped in the late 50s early 60s.
The follow on gang name by the 1960s in the same area was the "Shamrock" as stated by a 1970s gang member in his book.

Often wondered if the gang names came from 1930/40/50s B movies, not as far fetched as its seems considering the number of gangs called Tongs, Toi, Posse, Gringo, Bison, Goucho and the marine theme as in Maryhill Fleet or Baltic Fleet.
And who thought up the Bee Hive name from the Gorbals, was the BH not the name of pub ?

There is a theory that gangland history points to Irish faction fights being brought into the 19th century industrial enviroment as to the reason Glasgow gangs existed in the first place.
Noticeable that in New York and Liverpool the gangs of old had the same names as their Glasgow counterparts.

I should point out for the victims sake in all of this, that there nothing romantic about razor gangs and such like.

Paulines47
I'll be interested to hear if they have any recollections. My dad never really gave up any info & i suppose we never thought to ask him anything.
Rabbie
Naw, cannea say I have heard them (Cheecky 40) until reading this thread.

Cheeky could be a wee bit of wordplay on the ubiquitous warcry "Ah'm gonna rip yer jaw.", meaning gonna slash your face /cheeks.

Well ye ken wit Glasgea humour is like.

"Hey yoo, kin yer mammy sow?"

"Naw,", hoping to get away with it.

"Well, time she leant, init."

As a wean used to see running ding dongs, featuring the Shamrock, Tongs and Fleet, used to be blue mhudder on the Parade during green / orange walk season. Pub brawls and chibbings were common.
jock
Ever heard of the "Sally Boys"..... from the Parkhead/Carntyne area many,many years ago. I had a classmate at St. Mungo's who belonged and taught us all their song which I still remember after 60 years!
Willy Maley
Cheeky McCaig was from Townhead and was, as I understand it, the leader of the 'Cheeky Forty'. I was with my father years ago in Possil and he said hello to him. My father thought that Cheeky (whose name might have been Charlie) was also in Spain at the same time as him in the 1930s.
George Gray
HI

Just read you query (a wee bit late but better than never). I come from Greenock where the Cheeky 40 were the local thugs during the war. At that time the british and allied fleets were anchored at the tail of the bank and the cheeky 40 used to get into serious fights with the visiting sailors, using razors and knives. At some point a guy called "Wolf Docherty" I'm not sure if he was a member, but he killed a sailor with an axe and that caused all kinds of trouble. Wolf finally got away with the murder as a stupid policeman cleaned the axe before it went to court for evidence and hence the case was lost. Docherty died a long time later, but he was a real pain as he used to brag about it all the time, when he had a few beers.

Hope this help fill a gap or two.

Regards

George Gray
marie87
Willy, I think there was a Charlie McCaig and a Johnny McCaig, not sure which one or if both were nicknamed Cheeky McCaig. I know that Johnny definitely was in Spain for the Civil War in the 30's.
Anne Marie Timoney
Dear Pauline,

I believe I am a cousin twice removed of Charlie (Cheeky) McCaig who was the leader of the Cheeky 40. He fought in The Spanish Civil War and I have heard various stories about him. I will however have to speak with my father to find out more. Keep an eye on this space.

Anne Marie
Paulines47
QUOTE (Anne Marie Timoney @ 26th Aug 2010, 12:53pm) *
Dear Pauline,

I believe I am a cousin twice removed of Charlie (Cheeky) McCaig who was the leader of the Cheeky 40. He fought in The Spanish Civil War and I have heard various stories about him. I will however have to speak with my father to find out more. Keep an eye on this space.

Anne Marie


Interesting Anne Marie....thanks for your reply. I'll look forward to hearing a bit more.
Tommy Kennedy
I have a vague memory of hearing talk of the ‘Cheeky 40’ when we lived in the Garngard in the mid 30s
Paulines47
QUOTE (Tommy Kennedy @ 28th Aug 2010, 11:50am) *
I have a vague memory of hearing talk of the ‘Cheeky 40’ when we lived in the Garngard in the mid 30s


That's roughly the period I would be looking at, my dad was born in 1933 so his recollections of Uncle Willie would be from about 1935 to about 1953-ish.

I started this thread off ages ago & all the time little bits & pieces are being added. I'm gonna find out who this Uncle Willie was if it's the last thing I do. smile.gif
Tommy Kennedy
Probably have more luck if you look for Uncle WULLIE rather than WILLIE smile.gif
Paulines47
QUOTE (Tommy Kennedy @ 28th Aug 2010, 03:59pm) *
Probably have more luck if you look for Uncle WULLIE rather than WILLIE


Never thought of that Tommy.......I'm trying to picture my dad saying it dry.gif .....& you may have a point there. Thanks smile.gif
Anne Marie Timoney
Dear Pauline,

I have had a quick conversation with my dad and our family were related to John (cheeky) McCaig not Charlie as I thought. I have asked my dad to have a chat with Cheeky's neice to find out what she knows about him and whether or not he was a member of the Cheeky 40. My dad thinks yes. He fought in Spain with the International Brigade as my dad remembers him coming home and he gave him a lighter in the shape of an old bomb. Lighter is long gone but the memory is still very keen for my dad.

He has a couple of recollections of getting him out of sticky situations due to Cheeky being his cousin. There was an age gap of about 10-15 years between them so dad doesn't remember much about that time other than what he and his pals were getting up to...football etc

My dad was born in the Calton but is positive that the Cheeky 40 were from Garngad. He is also not entirely sure if John (Cheeky) McCaig was the leader of the the Cheeky 40 or if your Uncle was a part of that gang. As he was from the Calton I doubt he would have any news of your uncle. I will keep you up dated as soon as I know more.

Good luck with your search

Anne Marie
Paulines47
QUOTE (Anne Marie Timoney @ 29th Aug 2010, 10:28pm) *
Dear Pauline,

I have had a quick conversation with my dad and our family were related to John (cheeky) McCaig not Charlie as I thought. I have asked my dad to have a chat with Cheeky's neice to find out what she knows about him and whether or not he was a member of the Cheeky 40. My dad thinks yes. He fought in Spain with the International Brigade as my dad remembers him coming home and he gave him a lighter in the shape of an old bomb. Lighter is long gone but the memory is still very keen for my dad.

He has a couple of recollections of getting him out of sticky situations due to Cheeky being his cousin. There was an age gap of about 10-15 years between them so dad doesn't remember much about that time other than what he and his pals were getting up to...football etc

My dad was born in the Calton but is positive that the Cheeky 40 were from Garngad. He is also not entirely sure if John (Cheeky) McCaig was the leader of the the Cheeky 40 or if your Uncle was a part of that gang. As he was from the Calton I doubt he would have any news of your uncle. I will keep you up dated as soon as I know more.

Good luck with your search

Anne Marie



Thanks for that Anne Marie. Perhaps you could PM me.....I recently found out a snippet re my dad & his brother that might tie in a bit. Also, as a Southerner myself (!) the districts don't mean much to me but my dad was born '33 & his bro' in '36.
Tommy Kennedy
Maybe you should see if you can check the records of Barlinnie Prison, Pauline. rolleyes.gif

I was told I was named after an 'Uncle Tommy' - Fathers brother, who went out to Kenya in the 20s.
When I was in Kenya in the 50s I checked up on him. Found he was wanted for bank robberies in S.Africa, imprisoned and escaped to Kenya - caught there and sent back to prison in S.Africa. Escaped again and made his way back to Scotland!!!
Paulines47
I've just spent the best part of 2hrs hunting through NAS re Ballinnie Prison but didn't have a lot of joy.

Part of the problem is not knowing 'Wullie's' real name or any idea of a date.

Lots of interesting things on that site though....thanks.
Backcauseway
I used to work in Parkhead in 1948 or so and thought the "sally came from Salamanca Street. Ran parallel to East Wellington Street. Real bad crowd. I recall someone got beaten up in the "Horse or Hare and Hound"? I think. Pub between Salamanca St and East Wellington Street.Anyhow the police found no witness's. However the guy that did it was murderded by someone in the "sally".
The guy got "fingered" and the "sally"! were told to fix him by the guys wife.Again no one was ever caught. It was the talk of the work for weeks.
vegadave
hi.
i am cheeky ('john') mckeag's grandson. ive read with great interest all these posts about him. unfortunately all his children are gone now, but me and a couple of my cousins still know a few things about him. i know he joined the international brigade and went to fight in spain. (left a note on my grannys mantlepiece saying- 'away tae fight in spain, see you when i get back!'---
theres also a story here about someone being arrested?, well, in actual fact cheeky was court marshalled and sentenced to be shot, put in front of the firing squad. ( i know the reasons for this, but would rather not go into them just yet.) thanks to his brother-in-law jimmy mclay, he was released and sent home. he died fairly young, but by all accounts had a very eh..colourful life. anyway, im pushed for time at the moment, but would be happy to discuss this further with anyone who has an interest.
david mckeag
Paulines47
Hi Dave, fascinating stuff.

As it was me that started this search off in the first place, I'd love to hear more.

You can always PM me.
angel
Hi Pauline I just googled ..the cheeky forty ,you might just get some info. there. smile.gif
Paulines47
Hi Angel.....well I googled but it just showed our stuff. Did you see something additional? Must admit I did get to 12 pages & then got 'cheeky girl' blindness.... laugh.gif
angel
QUOTE (Paulines47 @ 27th Oct 2010, 09:34pm) *
Hi Angel.....well I googled but it just showed our stuff. Did you see something additional? Must admit I did get to 12 pages & then got 'cheeky girl' blindness.... laugh.gif


Hi pauline, I googled it just to see if there was any info. on the cheeky forty
but I did,nt read up on it at all, I just thought you might find something there .. biggrin.gif
Paulines47
QUOTE (angel @ 28th Oct 2010, 02:06am) *
Hi pauline, I googled it just to see if there was any info. on the cheeky forty
but I did,nt read up on it at all, I just thought you might find something there .. biggrin.gif


Thanks for the thought Angel. smile.gif
steph bradley
i was born and still live in glasgow, although i've moved around a bit. i too, have been trying to find out more about the cheeky forty over the years.... people seem to 'not talk about it'. there still seems to be a deliberate silence regarding members/family of the cheeky forty. when i was about 14 - 16 years old, i would regularly visit my granda 'danny bradley', on a sunday afternoon. i used to listen to all his tales about years gone by. he was from the garngad and was a member of the cheeky 40. my memories of his stories are quite sketchy, at best. i used to go to springburn around the age of 16, go to 'bells bar', (his local), an' pick up a wee 'message' for him. same thing at the old 'celtic club', (where, latterly, he was the ,doorman).this consisted of a wee half bottle of whiskey and six wee bottles of guinness. it was on one of these visits to his home in balgaryhill flats, that after his wee tipple, he let slip about a certain incident involving his days with the cheeky 40. as i recall, under the kitchen sink, there were a couple of 'mementos' i was always curious about. a police truncheon and spurs, belonging to a mounted policeman. i was often asked by one of my uncles,r.i.p. what we talked about on my visits. i was sworn to secrecy. i could not divulge anything we discussed. i've kept this promise to this day. my granda was well liked and respected, although he may have had a few enemies along th way. i cannot say how he aquired these 'mementos'. just, lets say it was quite messy. a relative is in possession of these items, but does not know the story behind them. there are many stories, but, there are very few people alive that could verify them. time is short. the only true source of the information you are looking for lies with the 'old timers' in and around the pub scene in royston (garngad), springburn, calton, possil, townhead, auchinairn, etc. i've been doing this over the years. although there are 'auld yins' who are willing to talk for a wee 'hauf', names and dates seem to be omitted, possibly, as a habit down the years, to protect those involved. i'd be glad to share any info i can gather, if i can get names, dates, etc...
*johnem*
My Dad, who was born in 1914 used to talk to me about the Cheeky 40 who were from the Garngad, in fact he used to sing a song with the words in it 'we chased the 40 up the Garngad', never had much of a tune, mind you he wasn't much of a singer. My Dad was born and brought up in Townhead, which is right next to the Garngad. I believe at that time the Garngad had many people who's roots lay in Ireland, including the Cheeky 40. When I asked him what gang he was in he told me that he wasn't in a gang but not sure about how true that is as it would probably take a gang to chase the cheeky 40! He got married in the late 1930's, so assume that the times he spoke of were in the 1930's before he got married.

Unfortunately I cannot remember any more, hope this helps. smile.gif
Guest
To GG, I lived at 689, Bilsland Drive, my Parents close was between Arnold Street and Hazlitt Street, I know Barnes Road and Emerson Street very well, I honestly have never heard of the Cheeky Forty being from there (Banes Road or Emerson Street), I believe the Cheeky Forty came from Garngad or Townhead area, there was also a Cheeky Forty gang in Greenock, when I lived at 689, Bilsland Drive it was in 1952.
hugh ferns
l had a visit from an old aunty at the weekend, she said that her and her pal used to go dancing in the greenock town hall and a member of the cheeky 40 asked her for a dance ?
peter jay
QUOTE (Paulines47 @ 4th Oct 2009, 10:54am) *
Thanks for the info GG.

I didn't realise that the 'cheeky 40' were as bad as that.....the name sort of implies a bunch of nippers just being naughty laugh.gif Having said that, my dad told us that they used to keep razor blades underneath the lapels of their jackets!!

I shall have a look at the links you've supplied, with great interest.

If there's anyone else with any stories or recollections, i'd love to hear from you.

Many thanks for the welcome.
Pauline ;]

ryan cannon
I'm looking to find out more about my granda, his name was lachlan galbraith or lachy, he was born 1933 and lived in greenock, was told he used to run about with the cheeky forty. Would really appreciate if anybody knows more or could help find oot more about him. His quote, bloom them all bar nancy, still dunno what it means? ... Ryan cannon
Rab
I've never heard of the 'Cheeky 40'. However, I have never forgotten the 'Cheeky Girls'! yes.gif laugh.gif
jackie b
Hiya pauline, yes my father was born in 1931 and I remember as a child him telling me he was in the cheeky 40's, he talked a lot about it when I was young I remember he had a pearl handle razor for years as you can guess I was not allowed to touch it ... lol don't know what happened to it he moved to England in 1959, had a stroke in 2000. Then sadly died in 2011 aged 80 ... so it did exist!! Don't know any names though sorry.
Guest
My uncle was James Rose Reid Blair a member of the Cheeky Forty.
peter dunlop
QUOTE (George Gray @ 5th Aug 2010, 12:10pm) *
HI

Just read you query (a wee bit late but better than never). I come from Greenock where the Cheeky 40 were the local thugs during the war. At that time the british and allied fleets were anchored at the tail of the bank and the cheeky 40 used to get into serious fights with the visiting sailors, using razors and knives. At some point a guy called "Wolf Docherty" I'm not sure if he was a member, but he killed a sailor with an axe and that caused all kinds of trouble. Wolf finally got away with the murder as a stupid policeman cleaned the axe before it went to court for evidence and hence the case was lost. Docherty died a long time later, but he was a real pain as he used to brag about it all the time, when he had a few beers.

Hope this help fill a gap or two.

Regards

George Gray

This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.