UNDER THE PRESENT
Handsome and Useful
Contributions of the N.W.M.P. Towards the Armies Fighting the Battles of
the Empire in South Africa.—The Victoria Cross.—Great Extension of the
Work of the Force in The Yukon and the Far North.—The Memorable Visit of
the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, and the Conferring upon the
Force of the Distinction "Royal".—The Earl of Minto Honorary
Commissioner.—Vice-Regal Visits.—The Inauguration of The New
Provinces.—The Hudson Bay Detachments.—Something About the Force as it
is To-day, and the Work it is Doing.
THE transfer of the
Commissionership from Lieut. Col. Lawrence W. Herchmer to Superintendent
A. Rowen Perry, and the large contributions made by the force to the
Canadian Contingents in South Africa combine to make the year 1900 a
memorable one in the annals of the Royal North-West Mounted Police.
was promoted Commissioner vice Lieut.-Col. Herchmer retired, August 1st,
and assumed the command on August 18.
The new Commissioner is
a graduate of the Royal Military College, Kingston, (1) a member of the
first-class, that graduating in 1880, in fact. After graduating from the
R. M. C., and before being appointed to the .N M M. P., the Commissioner
served for several years with distinction in the Royal Engineers, he
having won a commission in that corps upon graduation from the Royal
(1) The Royal Military
College, established by Act of the Parliament of Canada, was opened in
1876, with the special object of providing the defensive forces of the
Dominion with a staff of thoroughly trained and educated officers and
has been an unqualified success from the start, its classes having been
always well attended. The success of the system of education adopted is
attested by the large number of brilliant officers the college had
contributed to the British regular Army, to the Canadian Active Militia,
and the Royal N '.rth-West Mounted Police, not to speak of the hundreds
of eminent engineers and others engaged in civil occupations, who claim
the "R.M.C." as their alma mater. As a general practice, although there
is no hard and fast rule to that effect, about one-third the commissions
in the R.N.W.M.P. are awarded to graduates of the R.M.C., the others in
succession being allotted in about equal proportions to exceptionally
qualified officers of the Activc Militia and to non-commissioned
officers, who have performed distinguished anil meritorious service in
the force. The officers the Royal Military College has contributed to
the R.N.W.M.P., have always been distinguished not merely by their
exceptional technical knowledge of the military branches of the work in
the force, but by great zeal in the discharge of their miscellaneous
duties, and exceptional success in the handling of the men entrusted to
At the time
Commissioner Perry assumed command, affairs within the Mounted Police
were in a decidedly unsettled state owing to the then recent heavy
drafts therefrom of officers, men and horses for service with the
Canadian Contingents for South Africa.
The first contingent
despatched by Canada to South Africa, which sailed from Quebec, October
30, 1899, at the special request of the British Government consisted
wholly of infantry, and thereto the North-West Mounted Police made no
contributions of officers or men directly, although several former
non-commissioned officers and constables of the force enlisted.
The units to which the
N.W.M.P. contributed directly were the 2nd Battalion Canadian Mounted
Rifles, which sailed from Halifax for Cape Town 011 the "Pomeranian,"
January 27, 1900; Lord Strathcona's Corps, which embarked at Halifax on
the SS. "Monterey," March 10, 1000; Canadian contingent to the South
African Constabulary, sailed during the spring of 1001; the 3rd, 4th,
5th and 6th ''Regiments" of Canadian Mounted Rifles (generally known as
the T1 >rd Contingent) which sailed from Canada in May, 1902, and
returned in July the same year, hostilities having in the meantime been
brought to a conclusion.
The N.W.M.P. had the
honor of supplying for the Boer war, no less than 18 officers, and 160
non-commissioned oflicers and men, distributed as follows:— 2nd Canadian
Mounted Rifles, 11 officers and 134 men: Strathcona Horse, 7 officers
and 20 men. A considerable number of ex-officers and men were in both
A. Bowen Perry, Fifth, and Present, Commissioner.
111 of the chief
non-commissioned officers of both units were both former members of the
force, and in fact the influence of the Mounted Police was so dominant n
both corps that they may almost be regarded as the special contributions
of the force to the armies carrying on the fight for Empire in South
Officers and men, upon
being allowod to accept service in the various in it«, were granted
leave of absence from the Mounted Police, the time serving n South
Africa being counted as service with the force.
For the "Third
Contingent" five officers and men were granted twelve months leave for
the purpose of joining it and the following commissions were granted to
members of the force, who with one exception, had already served in
South Africa:—Insp. Moodie, Captain; Insp. Homers. Lieutenant; Scrgt.
Maj. Richards, Lieutenant; Sergt. Maj. Church, Adjutant. Senrt Hynes,
was appointed Regtl. Sergeant Major.
There wore a great
number of volunteers,a nd had the Government thought it wise to organize
a battalion of N.W M Police, the Commissioner did not doubt but that the
force could have been easily increased to 1,000 men by ex-members
rejoining for the campaign.
The recruiting in the
Territories for the last contingent was done by the commanding officers
of the different posts,
The force contributed
to the South African Constabulary four officers and thirty-eight
N.C.O's. and constables. Supt. Steele, C.B., M V.O., was appointed a
Colonel in the S.A.C. and was allowed twelve months leave in order to
take up the appointment. Inspector Scarth was appointed captain in the
S.A.C. and granted six months leave. Constables Ermatinger and French
were given commissions as lieutenants. The N.C.O's. and constables
transferring from the N.W.M.P. to the S. A. Constabulary were granted
The total contribution
to the South African war by the N.W.M.P. was 245. all ranks. No other
permanent corps in the Empire was called upon to make such proportionate
sacrifices, but as a corps, more's the pity, it reaped no reward.
The Second Battalion of
the Canadian Mounted Rifles, raised under authority of a Militia Order
of December, 1809, was recruited under the special direction of the
Commissioner of the North-West Mounted Police. As about one-third of the
750 men of the North-West Mounted Police were on special duty in the
Yukon district, it was impossible to think of recruiting the whole
battalion from the active list of the force, so the Commissioner was
authorized to accept as many of the non-commissioned officers and
constables as could be spared, and to fill up to the authorized
establishment with ex-policemen and others when lie and his recruiting
officers considered qualified to serve in the battalion. Pay was fixed
at the rates prevailing in the Mounted Police. All the posts of the
North-West Mounted Police were constituted recruiting stations. The
officers of the battalion, who were given rank in the Active Militia,
were as follows:
Herchmer, f ont.-Col L W. (Commissioner N.W.M.P.); "C"
Squadron—Commanding Squadron, Howe. Major J. (Superintendent N.W.M.P.);
Captain, Macdonell, A.C. (Inspector N.W. M.P.); Lieutenants, 1st Troop:
.Moodie, J. D. (Inspector N.W.M.P.); 2nd Troop: Begin, J. V. (Inspector
X.W.M.P.); 3rd Troop: Wroughton, T. A. (Inspector N.W.M.P.); 4th Troop;
Inglis, W.M. (late Capt. Berkshire Regt.); "D"
Squadron—Commanding-Squadron, Sanders, Major G. E. (Superintendent N.W.
M.P.)„ Graduato R.M.C.; Captain, Cuthbert, A. E. R. (Inspector N.W
M.P.); Lieutenants, 1st Troop: Davidson, H. J. A. (Inspector N.W.M.P.);
2nd Troop: Chalmers, T. W. (formerly Lieut. M.G.A., later Inspector
N.W.M.P.), Graduate R.M.C.; 3rd Troop:
Superintendent J. D. Moodie.
Taylor, J. (Lieutenant
Manitoba Dragoons); 4th Troop: Cosby, F. L. (Inspector N.W.M.P.) Machine
Gun Section, Rliss, D. C. F. (Major Reserve of Officers); Howard, A. L.
(Lieut. Unattached List) Adjutant, Baker, Capt. M. • (Inspector
N.W.M.P.) Quartermaster,Allan, Capt. J. B. (Inspector N.W.M.P.) Medical
Officer, Devine, J. A. (Surgeon-Lieut. 90th Battalion); Transport
Officer, Eustace, Lieut. R. W. R.; Veterinary Officer, Riddell,
It will be observed
that with very few exceptions all the officers were active or retired
officers of the North-West Mounted Police.
For a time, at the
front, the battalion chanced to serve under Major General Hutton, who
had been some years previously communicated with, with the object of
securing his services as Commissioner of the N.W.M.P.
Here is a sample
incident which gives some sort of an idea of the service performed by
the 2nd Battalion of the Canadian Mounted Rifles and which also shows
that the officers and men of the Mounted Police displayed in South
Africa the same cool courage and devotion which have crowded the annals
of the service of the force on the North-West prairies with so much that
is honorable and glorious:—
November 1st, 1900, a
column, under General Smith Dorion, moved south from Belfast toward the
Komati River. Sixty men of the 2nd C.M.R., the second day of the march
formed the advanced guard under Major Sanders. The guide took a wrong
direction, and when they came in touch with the enemy the main column
had branched off to the right and was nearly two miles away. Expecting
early assistance, the small force, although in a most critical and
dangerous position, held its ground under severe rifle, fire. After some
time, orders were received from the G.O.C., who had received news of the
situation, for a retirement. The small party in the extreme advance was
commanded by Lieutenant Chalmers, and he skillfully fell back upon his
supports, the retirement subsequently being steadily parried out by
successive groups. Meantime, the whole party was being subjected to a
galling rifle fire. Corpora] Schell's horse was killed, and the animal
falling on his rider, seriously injured him, whereupon Sergeant Tryon
dismounted and helped the injured man on to the back of his own mount,
continuing himself on foot. Noticing this, Major Sanders rode to the
assistance of Tryon, and was in the act of taking him up in front of
him, when the saddle turned, and both were thrown. Major Sanders,
partially stunned by the fall, was making for cover when stricken to the
ground by a bullet. Lieutenant Chalmers immediately preceeded to the
assistance of his superior officer, and being unable to remove him, was
riding to the firing line for assistance when shot through the body,
dying a few minutes later.
On September 5, a
detachment of 125 men of the Second Battalion which was guarding the
railway between Pan and Wondorfontem, east of Middleburg, was attacked
by a force of Boers with two field pieces and one pom-pom. Colonel Mahon
was sent to their assistance, but before he arrived the Canadians had
beaten the Boers off after a sharp fight in which Major Sanders,
Lieutenant Moodie and two men were wounded and six men captured. Lord
Roberts characterized this exploit as "a very creditable performance. "
January 13, 1900. the
Secretary of State for War, accepted the offer made by Lord Stratheona
and Mount Royal, two days previously, to equip and land at Cape Town, at
his own expense. 500 rough riders from the Canadian Xorth-West as a
special service corps of mounted rifles. The Dominion Government
undertook the work of orgai izing and equipping this regiment, and on
February 1st, authority for the enlistment was granted. The force was
enrolled at twenty-three points between Winnipeg and Victoria. Any man
experienced in horsemanship and rifle shooting was eligible, but the
preference was given to former mcm-bcrsof the Xorth-West Mounted Police
and the mounted (Major 5thRoyalScots);Cart-wright, F. L., (N.W.M.P.);
Lieutenants. Magee, R. H. P., Graduate R M C.; Harper, F., (X.W.M.P.);
Renyon, J. A., (Captain Royal Canadian Artillery); Maekie, E. F.(
(Captain 90th Winnipeg Rifles); Fall, P., (2nd Lieut. Manitoba
Dragoons); White-Eraser, M. H., (Ex-Inspector X.W. M.P.); Kotehen, H.
1). R.. (N.W M.P.); Macdonald, •L F., (Captain 37th Haldimand Rifles);
Leekic, J. E., (Graduate R.M.C.); Courtney, R. M, (Captain 1st P.W.R.F.,
Graduate R.M.C.P; Poolcy. T. E., (Captain 5th Reg't., C.A.); Christie.
A. E.; Strange, A. W.; Laidlaw, (J. E.. (Graduate R.M.C.); Kirkpatriek,
G. H.. (Graduate R.M.C.); Tobin. S. 11.. (Graduate R.M.C.);
The Officers and Guidons of Strathcona's Horse.
Standing -Lt. Magee,
Lt. Laitllaw, Lt. Christie, Capt. McDonald, Capt. Harper, L(. I'oki ii,
I.l Snider. Dr. Keenan, Lt. Hwrlinr. Lt. Courtney, Lt. Strange, Lt
Ketchcn, Lt I'ook-y, Lt. Tealle. Adj. Markie.
Capt. Cartn'srht, Maj. Snyder, Lt.-Col. Steele. Maj. Bclehcr, Maj.
Jarvis. Maj. Laurie, Capt. Cameron
Permanent corps of
Militia. Pay of officers and men was again fixed at the rates prevailing
in the North-West Mounted Police. The command was given to
Superintendent Steele, and eight of the other most important commissions
were given to officers of the force. The complete list of officers of
Strathcona's Horse, who were commissioned as officers of the British
Army, was as follows:—
Steele, Lieut.-Col. S. B., (N.W. M P.); Second in Command, Helcher,
Major R N W. M P.); Majors, Snyder, A. 11* (R.N.W.M.P.); Jarvis, A. ML
(N.W.M P.); Laurie, H. C., (Graduate R.M.C.); Captains, Howard. D. M.,
(N.W.M.P.); Cameron, G. W.
W.; Transport Ollicer, Snider, I. B., (2nd Lieut Manitoba Dragoons);
Medical Officer, Keenan, C. B., (Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal);
Veterinary Officer, Stevenson, G. P.
The rank and file
numbered 512 and were recruited over a territory of over 1,000.000
square miles m extent. Some men had actually to travel 000 miles on the
ice of the Yukon River to enlist, and others came for the purpose from
the Peace River district.
Strathcona's Horse was
the last body of Canadian troops, which was under fire, to leave Africa.
Under General Puller thev took part n the brilliant campaign in the
north of and beyond Natal, taking part in the capture of Amerspoort,
Ermele, Carolina, Macha-dadorp. Lydenburg, Spitz Hop, and Pilgrim's
Rest. Returning to Machadadorp on October 7th, they received
instructions to turn their horses over to the Imperial cavaln and
entrain for Pretoria. It was supposed to be the intention to send them
home then, but 011 October 20th, they were rehorsed at Pretoria and sent
to assist in the movement destined to open the railway to Potchefstroom.
In these operations they greatly distinguished themselves, particularly
while acting as advance guard November 10. The Strath-
Major A. E. Snvder, Strathcona's Horse.
conas afterwards joined
the force under General Knox in his strenuous pursuit of DeWet.
Several retired members
of the force served throughout the campaign in South Africa with
distinction in other than the distinctively Canadian corps, notably
Constable Charles Ross, who had distinguished himself as chief scout
under Superintendent Herchmer during the operations of the Rattleford
Column in the Rebellion of 1885. Ross enrolled in an irregular troop and
was given a lieutenancy in Roberts' Horse, securing promotion and being
eventually accorded an independent command of a Corps of Scouts.
The campaign brought to
the Mounted Police, through its officers and men serving in the several
contingents in South Africa, numerous distinguished honours, including
even the prize covetted by all British soldiers, the reward "For Valor,"
the Victoria Cross.
The Cross was won at
Wolvesprint, July 5, 1000, by Sergeant A. H. Richardson of "C" Division,
Battleford, serving in Strathcona's Horse. Sergeant Richardson's act of
valor consisted in gallantly riding back, under a very heavy fire, to
within 300 yards of the enemy's position, to the rescue of a comrade who
had been twice wounded, and whose horse had been shot.
The following honours
were also gained by members of the Mounted Police while on service in
To be a Companion of
the Order of the Bath—Supt. S. B. Steele, Lt.-Col. Commanding Lord
To be Companions of the
Order of St. Michael and St. George—Inspector R. Belcher, Major 2nd in
Command, Lord Strathcona's Horse; Inspector A. M. Jarvis, Major, Lord
To be Companions of the
Distinguished Service Order—Superintendent G. E. Sanders, Major, 2nd in
Command, Canadian Mounted Rifles; Inspector A. C. Macdonell, Captain
Canadian Mounted Rifles; Inspector F. L. Cartwright, Captain Lord
To be a member of the
Victorian Order (4th Class) — Superintendent S. B. Steele, Lt.-Col.,
Commanding Lord Strathcona's Corps.
Distinguished Conduct Medal—Reg. No. 995. Sergt. J. Hynes) Regt.
Sergt.-Major, Lord Strathcona's Horse; Reg. No. 895 Sergt. Major
Richards, Sqd. Sergt.-Major, Lord Strathcona's Horse; Reg. No. 3263
Constable A. S. Waite, private, Canadian Mounted Rifles.
Lieut.-Col. L. W.
Herchmer, was granted the rank of Honorary Colonel 011 the retired list
of the Active Militia from May 17, 1901, Superintendents G. G. Sanders
and A. C. Macdonall, the rank of Lieutenant Colonels, and Superintendent
J. Howe and Inspectors Cuthbert and Moodie, Majors. Several of the
junior officers received promotion in the Militia, superior to the rank
at which they joined the contingents. The N.W.M.P. officers in
Strathcona's Horse all received honorary rank in the British Army.
The following members
of the force were rewarded for their services in South Africa by being
granted commissions in the British Army and the Colonial Forces:—
Regtl. Rank. Name.
Sergeant.......Skirving, II. R.....Colonial Forces.
Constable..........Bredin, A. N........Imperial Army.
Ballantine, J. A. ...
3031 Corporal. . .
French, J. G.......S. A. Constabulary.
Constable..........Ermatinger. C. P.. .
Sergeant........Hilliani, K. . . .....Howard's Scouts.
3191 Sergeant-Major . .
Church, F.........Canadian Yeomanry.
S99 " .....Richards,
3062 Staff-Sergeant ...
lvetchen. H. D. B .C.M.R., Winnipeg.
Commissioner Perry took
over the command of the Mounted Police from Assistant Commissioner
Mcllree, who had been in command after the departure of Lieut.-Col. L.
\Y. Herchmer and the 2nd C.M.R. for South Africa, on August IS, 1900.
As soon as practicable
he inspected the posts at Calgary, Fort Saskatchewan, Macleod,
Lethbridge, Maple Creek and Prince Albert, in order to obtain touch of
the force in the Territories, from which he had been absent for some
time on duty in the Yukon Territory. He. naturally, found the divisions
short-handed and somewhat disorganized owing to the number of officers,
non-commissioned officers and men, who had been permitted to proceed on
active service in South Africa. A large percentage of each division
consisted of recruits from whom the same work could not be expected as
from trained and experienced men. He, however, found all ranks anxious
to do the. best under the circumstances and proud to have their corps
represented on the South African veldt.
The condition of the
horses was not satisfactory, and for the same reason, 155 picked annuals
had been sold to the Militia Department for South African service. This
loss, out of a total strength of 508, could not but cripple the force
somewhat. The new Commissioner found a considerable percentage of horses
were unfit for further service, and they were cast and sold as fast as
suitable remounts could be purchased.
About 84 special
constables were carried 011 the strength of the force in the Territories
as interpreters, scouts, artizans, teamsters, <&e., and were not
trained, therefore, weakening the effective strength of the force.
On November, 30, 1000,
the strength was:—Xorth-West Territories, 24 officers, 70 non-com.
officers, 417 constables, 41S horses; Yukon Territory, 10 officers, 17
non-coinmissioned officers, 207 constables, .51 horses; South Africa, 17
officers, 43 non-com. officers, 102 constables, lt was estimated that
011 the return of the contingents in South Africa and the discharge of
all special constables, the. strength would stand, on February 1 at 850.
Territories was divided into districts as follows:—
Estevan, Saltcoats, Wood Mountain, Moosejaw, Oxbowf Qu'Appelle, Wolsely,
Whitewood, Kutawa, Fort Pelly, Yorktown, North Portal, Town Station,
Willow Bunch, Nut Lake, Emerson.—18.
Lieut. H. D. H. Slralhcona's Horse.
Promtled from the ranks of the N.W.M.P.
Ten Mile, Medicine Lodge, Medicine Hat, Town Stat on, Sw ft Current,
Jackfish. Maefarlano, Henrietta. Saskatchewan.—5.
Big Bend. Kootenav. Stand Off, St. Mary's Kipp, Leavings, Mosquito
('reek, Porcupine. Piegan, Town Patrol, Lees ( reek, Herd ('amp.—13.
Gleichen, High River, Olds, Banff, Canmore, Millarville, Rosebud,
Morley, lnnisfail. Sarcee Reserve, Okotoks.—12.
Lake, Batoche, Rosthern, Fletts Springs.—4.
(Fort Saskatchewan is the headquarters.)—Edmonton, St. Albert,
Wetaskiwin, Lacombe, Peace River Landing, Lesser Slave Lake, Fort
Milk River Ridge, St. Mary's, Writing on Stone, Pendant d'Oreille.—5.
Total Districts, S.
Total Detachment, 71.
Three detachments had
been temporarily established in Manitoba for the winter to protect Crown
timber. From Roseau River in south-east Manitoba to Fort Chippewyan, in
the far north, 2,000 miles apart, the men of the force were to be found.
In his annual report
for 1900, Commissioner Perry remarked:—"The great countries of the
Peace, Athabascka and Mackenzie rivers are constantly recquiring more
men. An officer is about leaving Fort Saskatchewan to take command of
that portion of the territory. The operations of the American whalers at
the mouth of the Mackenzie will ere long require a detachment to control
their improper dealings with the Indians, and to protect the revenue."
It was perhaps a happy
co-incidence that in 1900, white so many officers and men of the force
were upholding the authority of the Empire in South Africa, a great
injustice, sustained by members of the force for many years, was
righted. Contrary to the practice in dealing with the militia corps, the
officers and men of the N.W.M.P., who served through the North-West
Rebellion of 1885, but did not happen to be under fire, did not receive
the medal awarded by Her Majesty's Government for the campaign, and it
was not until 1000 that this invidious distinction was wiped out.
His Excellency, the
Governor General, accompanied by Her Excellency the Countess of Minto,
their family and suite, made an extended official visit through the
Territories lasting over three weeks during 1900, and visited
Lethbridge, Macleod, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Prince Albert, Duck
Lake, Batoche and Fort Qu'Appelle.
Escorts, orderlies and
transport were furnished at the different points, His Excellency
expressing himself pleased with the arrangements.
An escort of one
officer and 24 men proceeded from Regina to Prince Albert to take the
party over land from that place to Qu'Appelle. The weather was wretched
just before starting, and the trip was abandoned by Her Excellency and
family. His Excellency, accompanied by a small staff and the escort,
left Batoche one Sunday and reached Fort Qu'Appelle on Saturday night,
having travelled 200 miles. It snowed and rained alternately, rendering
the trails very bad, and increasing tremendously the work of the horses.
On arrival at
Qu'Appelle, His Excellency thanked his escort, and October 10, directed
the following Order to be published:—
"His Excellency, the
Governor General, wishes to express his great satisfaction with the
escort supplied to him from the Depot Division. The escort accompanied
him through a very trying march, during which His Excellency was
impressed by their smartness and efficiency, and he also wishes to thank
all ranks for the trouble they took to secure his comfort."
On His Excellency's
return to Ottawa, he forwarded, through the Commissioner, a gold pin to
each member of his escort, who keenly appreciated the high honor
conferred on them.
The following transfers
of officers from the force serving in the Yukon took place during 1900:—
Supt. A. B. Perry to
depot, Insp. I). A. E. Strickland to depot, Insp. F. L. Cartwright to
depot for service in South Africa, Insp. A. M. Jarvis to depot for
service in South Africa.
Superintendent Z. T.
Wood took over command of the North-West Police, Yukon Territory, on
April 18, relieving Supt. A. B. Perry, who vacated the command on that
At the end of the year
the officers serving in the Yukon under Supt. Wood were;—
"H" Division—Supt. D.
C. H. Primose. commanding division, Insp. J. A. McGibbon, attached from
depot, Asst. Surg. L. A. Pare, Asst. Surg. A. M. Fraser, Dal ton Trail.
"B" Division—Insp. C.
Starnes, commanding division, Insp. W. H. Routledge, Insp. W. H. Scrath,
Insp. A. E. C. McDonell, Asst. Surg. W. E. Thompson, on leave, Asst.
Surg. G. Madore, Selkirk, Act. Asst. Sarg. W. H. Hurdman.
The Royal Escort at Retina, September 27th, 1902.
The census of the Yukon
Territory was taken by the police in April, 1900, and a school census
was taken in the month of August. The order for the first, coming as it
did at the season of the year when travelling was most difficult, was
carried out in a most satisfactory manner. On account of the people
being scattered over the country, it meant considerable travelling.
The total population of
the district, including Indians, at the time of census taking, was
16,403. Whites, 16,107; Indians, 356. The school census, taken in the
Dawson district only, totalled 175 children. Two at noon. A captain's
escort, strength 33, commanded by Supt. Morris, with Inspector Demers as
subaltern, escorted Their Royal Highness to Government House. Eleven
carriages were provided for the Royal party. A guard of 14 N.C.O's and
men was stationed at Government House. In addition to these there were
tw o staff officers and four staff orderlies. Insp. Cuthbert was
detailed as orderly officer to H.R.H. and Sergt.-Major Church as orderly
N.C.O., and accompanied Their Royal Highnesses while in the Territories.
The strength at Regina
was 73, all ranks, and 60
Presentation of Decorations and Medals at Calvary, decorated by His
The strength of the
force in the Yukon territory on November 30, 1000, was two hundred and
fifty-four, distributed at the two headquarters of divisions and 20
The event of chief
importance to the force in 1901 was the visit to the North-West
Territories, in connection with their round-the-world trip, of Their
Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and \ork The Royal
party arrived at Regina on September 27, horses. "C" and "f" Divisions
furnished the escort. The Royal train left Regina at 3 p.m. on the 27th,
and arrived at Calgary at 10.30 on the 2Sth. After the reception by the
corporation officials at Calgary, H.R.H. rode to Victoria Park,
accompanied by Ins staff, in full uniform. The Police supplied the
horses and saddlery The Duchess of Cornwall and York, accompanied by Her
Excellency the Countess of Minto, drove, escorted by a travelling escort
of 11 from A Division, under Inspector Baker. Ten carriages were
provided for the suite.
At Calgary a
provisional battalion had been mobilized composed of troops from Depot
"E", "D", "K", and "G" Divisions, ft included 173 men mounted, and band,
15, dismounted. The battalion having been inspected by His Royal
Highness, walked, trotted, galloped and ranked past In section, and then
advanced in review order.
On the completion of
the review, His Royal Highness was graciously pleased to express to
Commissioner Perry how glad he was to have inspected a portion of the
force, and his great satisfaction with the appearance of men and horses
and their steadiness on parade.
On completion of the
inspection, the decorations and medals for service in South Africa were
presented. Insp. Belcher had the honour of receiving from His Royal
Highness the insignia of the Companionship of the Order of St. Michael
and St. George. . A large proportion of those who received medals at
Calgary were members of the force.
On completion of the
presentations, the Duke, accompanied b3r his staff and escorted by a
full Royal escort of 117, under Commissioner Perry's command, rode to
Shaganappi Point, where a big Indian camp were pitched, and where an
interesting presentation of a number of Indian chiefs was made to His
At 2 p.m. Their Royal
Highnesses took luncheon with the officers of the force at the barracks,
GO covers being laid. After luncheon, the Royal Party proceeded with a
travelling escort to the sports at Victoria Park, and thence to the
train, which left Calgary about 4.30 p.m.
From the North-West the
Royal party proceeded to British Columbia, and, on account of the
absence of mounted military corps in the Pacific provinces, the N W. M.
P. were required to furnish an escort. This included 68 of all ranks
and. 65 horses, under the Commissioner's command, with Supt. Sanders,
D.S.O. as squadron commander. It left Calgary by special train at 6 p.m.
the 28th, and, arriving at Vancouver on the 30th, a travelling escort
was furnished for a drive by Their Royal Highnesses around the city. At
5 p.m. the horses were embarked on the steamer "Charmer" and at 9 30 the
boat left for Victoria, arriving there at 5 a.m. on Oetober 1.
The full strength of
the force attended on Their Royal Highness from the outer wharf to the
Legislative Buildings and thence to Esquimalt. From Esquimalt a
travelling escort under the command of Inspector Macdonell, D.S.O.
escorted the Royal Party to the Exhibition Grounds and thence to Mount
Baker Hotel to the Empress of India, on which they embarked for
The following letter
was received by Commissioner Perry from Sir Arthur Bigge, Private
Secretary to H.R,H:—
October 9, 1001.
Dear Col. Perry,—The
Duke of Cornwall and York directs me to express to you his gratification
at the very smart appearance of that portion of your force which he had
the pleasure to inspect at Calgary.
His Royal Highness also
wishes to thank you, and all under your command, for the admirable
manner in which the escort and other duties were performed during his
stay in western Canada.
(Sgd.) Arthur Biggk.
On November the 30th,
the strength was:—North-West Territories, 37 officers, 103 non-com.
officers, 353 constables, 467 horses; Yukon Territory, 15 officers, 43
non-comm. officers, 44 horses, 220 dogs; South Africa, 2 officers.
Flight newr detachments had been established, the strength had been
increased in the Athabaska district and an officer stationed at Lesser
Slave Lake, in command.
The Royal Equipage (furnished by N.W.M.P.) at the Calgary Review.
H.R.H, The Duchess of Cornwall and York arid Her Excellency The
Countess of Minto in the carriage.
In the following terms,
in his annual report at the end of the year, Commissioner Perry drew
attention to the increased duties devolving upon the force, and to the
need of increasing the strength:—
"There has been a large
influx of \ery desirable settlers, and land has risen very rapidly in
value consequent upon the current of immigration which has set steadily
"The rapid increase of
population has caused an expansion of our duties which, with our fixed
strength, we find great difficulty in meeting.
"When the force was
organized in 1873, with a strength of 300 men, the Territories were
unsettled, and the control given over to lawless bands who preyed upon
the Indians, with whom no treaties had then been made.
H.R.H. The Duke of Cornwall and York and Staff at the Calgary Review.
In 1866, complications
with the half-breeds culminated n rebellion, which was successfully
quelled. The strength of the force was then raised to 1.000 where it
stood for about 10 years, when, owing to the peaceful state of the
Territories, the settled condition of the Indians, and the rapid means
of communication by railway into the different portions, it was
gradually reduced to 750. In 1808, the gold discoveries iK the Yukon,
and the consequent rush of gold seekers caused the sudden increase of
the force on duty n that territory to 250 men, thus reducing the
strength in the North-West Territories to 500.
"A further decrease has
now taken place by an addition to the Yukon strength, charged with the
maintenance of order m the Yukon, but the services of the police have
been required in the Athabaska District, a country of enormous extent
with no facilities for travel, but where police work is ever on the
"It may be thought that
the settled portions of the Territories ought now to provide for their
own police protection, or at any rate that the incorporated towns and
villages should do so. Some of the larger towns have their own police
forces, but the smaller towns seem desirous of retaining the N.W M P.
constables, claiming that they obtain better service, but doubtless they
are largely influenced by economical considerations.
"The population of the
Territories has doubled in ten years, and the strength of the force has
been reduced by one-half. Our detachments have increased from 49 to 79.
Although we have only half of the strength of ten years ago, still we
have the same number of division head-quarter posts, carrying in their
train the staff organization and maintenance of barracks as though the
divisions were of their former strength The distinguished services
rendered to the Empire in the South African war, by members of the
force, emphasize the fact that it has a very decided military value and
that in future nothing ought to be done to impart its efficiency."
In his annual report
for the following year Superintendent Perry reverting to the same
"In my last annual
report 1 called your attention to the largely increased demands on the
force, and the difficulty I found ifnmeeting them. This year these
difficulties have been emphasized. The continued development of the
country, the increase of population, the settlement of remote districts,
many new towns that have sprung up, and the construct ion of new
railways have greatly added to our work. In the train of the immigration
has come a number of the cr minal class, which though not large, will
"The new settlers are
principally from foreign countries, a great number being from the United
States. The American settler is much impressed by the fair and impartial
administration of justice. He finds a constabulary force such as he has
not been accustomed to, but the advantages of which he is (puck to
acknowledge, and a country free from all lawlessness and enjoying
freedom without license.
"The proposal of the
Grand Trunk Railway tthrough the Peace River country, is sure to attract
to that district in the immediate future a lot of people seeking for the
best locations. The police work is steadily increasing We ought to
increase our strength there, and establish a new police district, with
headquarters for the present, at Fort Clupewyan. Two of the districts in
the organized territories could be combined into one, thus releasing the
staff for the new district in the north. The northern trade is steadily
increasing. Detachments ought to be stationed on Mackenzie River."
A Pension lhll
providing for the pensions of officers of the North-West Mounted Police
was passed •luring the session of 1002, the ^onerous provisions of which
were much appreciated. The officers, promoted from the ranks, profit
largely by it, in that service in the ranks is reckoned as service for
The strength in the
Territories in 1903 was 490; 10 under that authorized, but 28 more than
at the date of the previous annual report. The force was at the end of
1903 distributed from the international boundary than in any previous
year in the history of the Territories. 1 think 350,000 a very
conservative estimate of the present population. This rapid development
has greatly increased the work of the force, and I have had difficulty
in meeting fully the requirements. The rapid settlement of a new country
General View of the Royal Review at Calgary, September, 1901.
to the Arctic ocean,
and from Hudson Bay to the Alaska boundary. There were 8 divisions in
the Territories, each with a headquarter post, and there were 84
detachments, with 182 officers and men constantly employed on detached
It is instructive to
compare this year's (1903) record of crime with 1893, ten years
previous. The estimated population at the latter date was 113,000, and
total convictions 614. The estimated population in 1903 was 350.000, and
the number of convictions 2,613.
On November 30, 1903,
Supt. A. H. Griesbach, having completed thirty years' honourable
service, retired on pension. He was the first man to join the force on
organization in 1873, and was shortly after promoted Regimental
Sergeant-Major. His commission soon followed. Before joining the force,
he had seen service with the 15th Hussars, with the Cape Mounted Rifles
in South Africa, and with the 1st Ontario Rifles in the Red River
Rebellion. He was given the rank of Major during the North-West
rebellion. He had the honour of being appointed an extra A.D.C. to His
Excellency the Governor-General during Lord Aberdeen's tenure of office.
Superintendent Griesbach took with him on retirement the best wishes of
In his annual report
for 1903 Commissioner Perry referred as follows to the extension of the
responsibilities and duties of the force under his command:—
" The increase of
population this year has been greater certain lawless and undesirable
element, and it is evident, from the year's crime reports, that the
North-West Territories are not an exception. The new towns and extending
settlements call for police patrols and supervision, and it is quite
clear that the point will soon be reached, if it has not already been
reached, when this force, with its fixed strength, cannot satisfactorily
perform the duties expected by the people of the Territories.
" Our field of
operations this year has been tremendously widened. A detachment of five
men, under the command of Superintendent Moodie, was selected to
accompany the Hudson's Bay expedition in that far distant region.
D.G.S. "Neptune," with Supt. Moodie and Hudson Bay Patrol K.N.W.M.P.,
aniong the Arctic Ice.
was despatched in May to the Arctic Ocean, consisting of five men, under
the command of Superintendent Constantine. This detachment reached Fort
Macpherson, on the Pelly River, early in July. Superintendent
Constantine having arranged for quarters, returned to Fort Saskatchewan,
leaving Sergeant Fitzgerald in charge. This non-commissioned officer
visited Herschell Island in August, and had the honour of establishing a
detachment, the most northerly iu the world, at this point.
"Herschell Island is in
the Arctic ocean, 80 miles north-west of the mouth of the Mackenzie
river. It has been for mam* years the winter quarters of the American
whaling fleet, and has been the scene of considerable lawlessness and
violence. The reports of Superintendent Constantine and Sergeant
Fitzgerald will be found in the appendix. Superintendent Moodie has not
been heard from.
"The establishement of
these outposts is of far-reaching importance. They stand for law and
good order, and show that, no matter what the cost, nor how remote the
region, the laws of Canada will be enforced, and the native population
"I venture again to
call your attention to the valuable work of the force among the
immigrants, who are largely foreign-born. It is of the utmost importance
to the future of the country, that they should be started n the right
way; that from the first they should be impressed with the fair, just
and certain enforcement of the laws, and that they should be educated to
their observance. In 1001, 30 per cent, of our population was
foreign-born, and I think I am fairly stating the position now, in
saving that the foreign-born equal those of British birth (using the
term British in its widest sense).
"It is claimed, and
rightly, that we are a law-abiding people, that no new country was ever
settled up with such an entire absence of lawlessness. Why? Because of
the policy of Canada in maintaining a powerful constabulary, which has
for thirty years enforced the laws in an impartial manner.
"The North-West Mounted
Police were the pioneers of settlement. They carried into these
Territories the world-wide maxim, that where the British flag flies,
peace and order prevail. I refer to this, because it has been stated
that the time has now arrived when their services are no longer
required. With this view I do not agree, but, on the contrary, I believe
that their services were never so necessary. I have referred to the
large immigration, but the country s so vast, that it scarcely makes an
impression. There are huge stretches without a single habitation, and a
boundary line of 800 miles, along which for 200 miles, not a settler is
to be found."
"The force is now
distributed from the international boundary to the Arctic ocean, and
from the Hudson's Bay to the Alaska boundary.
"There are S divisions
in the Territories, each with a headquarter post, and there are 81
detachments, with 182 officers and men constantly employed on detached
duty. Of these, 55 are distributed among 21 detachments along the
For many years it had
been a source of complaint on the part of the North-West: ranchers, that
Inspector Cortlniull Slarnes, for many years on duly in the Yukon.
cattle, were allowed to
graze <n Canada w tliout restriction, that the owners often deliberately
drove their cattle to the boundary, so that they would drift into
Canada, where grass and water were more plentiful; that United States
round-ups came into Canada gathered and branded their young stock and
turned them loose again, and that their 'beef roundups,' in taking up
their own fat stock, were not too particular. The complaints came from
poi its all along the boundary, from Willow Bunch to Cardstun, some 500
miles, but they were particularly loud and stridemt from the ranchers on
Milk River, who suffered most.
In 1903 the Customs
Department took action, and notified United States cattle owners that
the privileges which they had hitherto enjoyed, could not be continued.
They were given until July 1 to gather and take out their cattle.
The effect of this
action has been satisfactory. A special officer of the Customs
Department was stationed at Coutts to look after this work. The police
were instructed to strictly enforce the regulations. Their good work was
acknowledged by the special Customs officer.
The police patrols
seized several bands of ponies which were being run in by Indians
without any regard to Customs or quarantine laws.
"E" Division, Calgary,
during 1902-03 distinguished itself by the long pursuit and capture of
the young-Wyoming desperado Ernest Cashel. This criminal was arrested
for forgery, and escaped from the chief of the Calgary City Police on
October 14, 1902. The Mounted Police were then notified and commenced
the pursuit. On October 22, Cashel stole a bay pony near Lacombe in his
efforts to escape. After this, no word of him was received until
November 19, when one I). A. Thomas, of Pleasant Valley, north of Red
Deer river, reported the mysterious disappearance of his brother-in-law,
J. R. Belt, from his ranch, 38 miles east of Lacombe. Constable McLeod,
of "G" Division, investigated, and found that when Belt was last seen,
about November 1, a young man calling himself Bert Elseworth was staying
with him. The description of Elseworth proved him to be Cashel. Belt's
horse, his saddle, with name J. R. Belt on, shotgun, clothes, money,
including a $50 gold certificate, were missing. As there were grave
suspicions of Belt having been murdered by Cashel, Supt. Sanders put
Constable Pennvcuick on the case. A lookout was kept in every direction
to prevent the fugitive going south, and every detachment warned. On
January 17, 1903, Mr. Glen Healy, of Jumping Pond, lent a horse to a man
answering Cashel's description and giving the name of Else-worth; the
horse was not returned. The Mounted Police next heard of the man near
Morley, then at Kananaskis, where he stole a diamond ring, and abandoned
his horse. The search became now confined to the railway. Trainmen and
others were warned, and constables sent along the line. In spite of
this, Cashel managed one evening to steal the clothes of the trainmen
from a caboose at Canmore. Finally, on January 24, Cashel was arrested
by Constable Blyth. at Anthracite. On him was found a pair of brown
corduroy trousers similar to those in the possession of J. R. Belt, and
the diamond ring stolen at Kananaskis. The police found that Cashel had
been living with the half-breeds near Calgary for some time, and that he
had arrived there early in November, shortly after he was seen at
Belt's. Constable Pennycuick visited the breeds and got clothing and
other articles Cashel had left there, amongst them was the balance of
the corduroy suit owned by J. R. Belt. He also got evidence of a $50
bill the prisoner had. As the body of Belt could not be produced or
accounted for, the prisoner was charged simply with stealing A horse
from Glen Healy and a diamond ring from the section foreman at
Kananaskis. Meantime Constable Pennycuick and others commenced to trace
the movements of the accused from the time he had left Belt's to the
date of his arrival at the half-breed camp.
On May 14, 1903, Ernest
Cashel was sentenced by the Chief Justice to three year's imprisonment
in Stony Mountain Penitentiary.
When the ice went out
of the. river in the spring, careful search was made for Belt's body in
the Red Deer and Constables Rogers and Pennycuick searched the stream in
a canoe for several hundred miles, but without success. Supt. Sanders
offered a reward of $50 as well. Constable Pennycuick traced Cashel from
Belt's place with Belt's clothes, horse, saddle and $50 gold certificate
to a point near Calgary. The chain of evidence connecting Cashel with
the disappearance of Belt was complete with the exception of sure
information as to where Belt was. On July 20, John Watson a farmer
living some 25 or 30 miles down the Red Deer river from Belt's place,
discovered, while hunting for cattle, the body of a man floating in the
river. He secured it and told the police. The coroner was notified and
an inquest held. The body, although much decomposed, was fully
identified as that of J. R. Belt, mainly by a deformed toe on the left
foot, and an iron clamp which the deceased wore on the heel of his left
boot. A bullet hole was found in the left breast, and at the end of the
hole near the shoulder blade a *44 bullet of the same calibre as the
revolver and rifle carried by Cashel.
An information was now
laid against Ernest Cashel for murder. The jury brought in a verdict of
'guilty' and the prisoner was immediately sentenced to be hanged on
December 15, at Calgary.
a combination of circumstances, Cashel, having been supplied with t \o
revolvers by a brother permitted to visit him in his cell under judicial
authority, effected his escape December 10, five days before the date
fixed for his execution. It is the proud boast of the force that within
its far-reaching jurisdiction no man has ever been lynched, nor has a
known murderer or other criminal ever found safety, and it may be well
supposed that great efforts were made to recapture Cashel.
The pursuit was
commenced at once, but the Mounted Police were handicapped by the
weather, the night being particularly dark and snowing hard. every
available man was turned out, mounted patrols covered all the roads, and
a thorough search was made of the neighbourhood. Constable Goulter, one
of the mounted patrols, shortly after the escape, arrested Cashel's
brother on the street; he was evidently expecting to meet, his brother
and had a parcel of footwear, obviously for the fugitive's use, and a
pocketful of revolver cartridges. Supt. Sanders commanding at Calgary
notified the Commissioner also all police divisions and detachments
south, east and west. Next day, not having picked up any trace, and
being satisfied that the trains were being too carefully watched for him
to have got away by that means, Supt. Sanders decided there was nothing
to be done but to send parties out and warn the whole country.
On December 12,
Commissioner Perry arrived from Regina, accompanied by Inspector Knight,
and assumed charge of the operations. Superintendents Primrose and Regin
were ordered to place patrols to the south, extending from the mountains
and along the Little Row. Reinforcements were ordered from Regina to
Macleod; ten N.C.O.'s and men from Regina, six from Maple Creek and one
from Edmonton were ordered to Calgary. A reward of SI,000 was offered
for the ca}>-ture or information leading to the capture of the fugitive.
Worsley and party left for the former and Inspector Knight and party for
the latter. Inspector Knight found that Constable Spurr with an Indian
tracker, whom Sanders started out on the 11thi from Morley, had been on
the tracks of a man in the snow, and had tracked him to a ranch, where
the description given left no doubt it was Cashel. Spurr followed him up
and found he was making for Calgary. He actually went to a house that
Cashel was in, but the old woman and her son who lived there, denied the
presence of any stranger. The son was afterwards sentenced to three
month's imprisonment for assisting Cashel on this occasion. Inspector
Knight searched all houses in that vicinity during the night, and found
a pony had been stolen from one place. Next morning the police found
this pony near Calgary, and foot-marks leading from the place where it
was found into the town. Later the police found that Cashel had stopped
during the night at a rancher's named Rigby, six miles west of Calgary,
Rigby and all his family being away. Whilst there he changed the clothes
he had escaped in and selected a new outfit from Mr Rigby's wardrobe. A
note was left, with the old clothes and easily recognized as Cashel's
handwriting, which read, 'Ernest Cashel, $1,000, return in six months.'
on the 15th, the police heard of a man answering the description at the
place of a man called Thomas Armstrong six miles east of Calgary. Cashel
had left there in the morning and walked along the. track east.
Inspector Knight and party scoured the whole district night and day, and
police from Gleichen with Indian scouts worked west along the railway,
but without success. During the 16th, 17th and 18th, the country north,
south and east of Armstrong's was continually patrolled and the police
had apparently reliable information at the same time of the fugitive
being at six other points. On the evening of the 18th it would appear
Cashel was in the outskirts of the town and was seen by a citizen who
reported it too late to be of service. At 4 a.m. of December 18 Supt.
Sanders took a party and searched the half-breed camps and wooded
coulees west of Calgan. In Macleod and Lethbridge districts to the south
much the same work had been going on, and numerous alleged Cashels were
being run down and found to be innocent parties. Commissioner Perry left
for Regina on the night of the 23rd. The usual crop of rumors kept
coming in each day and the patrols through the outlying districts were
kept up without nterniission and without anything much transpiring,
except that the police, were pretty certain from a citizen's report that
Cashel had been again in the outskirts of the town on December 20. This
condition of affairs continued to the end of December, and the police
were still fairly convinced the man was in hiding and receiving
assistance from sympathizers.
Owing to persistent
reports from Montana of Cashel being seen there, Sergeant Hetherington
was detailed to go to the States and work in conjunction with the United
States authorities, who were keenly on the alert. Indications were
strong yet, however, that he was in the country to the east of Calgary,
and although the police had covered every point as far as the number of
men and horses would permit, they watched the district around Langdon
and Shepard closely. Supt. Sanders also got the local papers not to
mention the affair at all, for he knew from former experience of this
criminal, that he had a great love of notoriety and would risk anything
to obtain it. On January 11, Mr. Crossar, a rancher, four miles east of
Calgary, reported that at 10.30 p.m., of January 10, a man had come into
his brother's house with a revolver in his hand and asked for a horse,
he then said: 'I guess you know who I am. I am Cashel. I am not after a
horse, but I am desperate and must have money. I have plenty of friends
but still 1 want money.' Cossar gave him all he had, §12, then Cashel
asked for his bank book and asked for the newspapers; after reading
these he wrote a letter and spoke of men whom he had heard had helped
the police and said he would get even with them. He left the house at
12.30 and threatened Cossar with the vengeance of his mythical friends
should he (Cossar) inform. The same night he must have visited
Armstrong's house (the place he slept in on December 14), because next
day Armstrong on his return home found the place had been ransacked. As
a result of this information several constables in plain clothes were
placed the capacity of hired men at different farms in the
neighbourhood. That Cashel had some fixed point from which he made
excursions at night appeared certain, and Supt. Sanders suspected he
visited many farms and extorted money without it being reported. As he
was on foot, it was not likely he walked more than ten miles away from
his hiding place during the night, so that should the police obtain one
or two more points where he had visited it would be possible to define a
certain area of country within which he could be found. Another point
was supplied on January 21, when Mr. S. Wigmore, who lives near Shepard,
reported Cashel had been at his place on t he night of the 19th and
behaved in much the same way as he had at Cossar's. Not getting any more
clues, Supt. Sanders marked off an area on the map, based on the visits
Cashel had made in the Shepard district, and decided that if a thorough
search were made of the country embraced therein in one day success
would be met with. It required about forty mounted men to do this and
Supt. Sanders had not got them unless he drew in all his detachments and
received men from other posts. This would take too long and was not
safe. He consequently wired the Commissioner on the 22nd January asking
if he objected to his using volunteers; doing this on the strength of
several offers from the Canadian Mounted Rifles, Mr. Wooley-Dod, a
rancher, and others, to lend a hand. On January 23, Superintendent
Sanders reeeived a reply authorizing him to do so, and telling him to
swear his volunteers in as special constables. Accordingly he arranged
with Mr. Wooley-Dod, Mr. ' Heald and Major Barwis to get 20 volunteers
together, and be at the barracks, mounted and ready to start, at 8 a.m.
the following day, Sunday, January 24. Every one turned up on time, and
with the police, numbered 40 all told. These Supt. Sanders divided up
into five parties under Major Barwis, Inspeetor Knight, Inspector
Duffus, Sergeant-Major Belcher and himself. Each party consisted of
police and citizens equally divided. The leader of eaeh detachment was
given a certain district, comprising so many townships, within which he
was to search every building, cellar, root-house and haystack. The
Superintendent also ordered that should they discover the fugitive, and
by burning the house or stack where he was found, prevent loss of life,
they were not to hesitate in doing so. At 11.30 a portion of Inspector
Duffus' party consisting of Constables Rogers, Peters, Biggs, Stark, and
Mr. McConnell, while searching Mr. Pitman's ranch, at a point just on
the edge of the district being secured, six miles from Calgary, came
across Cashel in the cellar. Constable Biggs found him, and was fired at
by Cashel out of the darkness; Biggs returned the shot and ran up the
steps, being fired at again. Constable Rogers, the senior constable,
ordered the men to come out of the house and surround it; he then sent
word to Inspector Duffus, who was searching another place nearby with
the balance of the party. Inspector Duffus, after speaking to Cashel and
advising him to surrender, without success, decided to set fire to the
building, which was a mere shack. This was done. When the smoke began to
enter the cellar Cashel agreed to come out, and was immediately
arrested. Efforts were then made to put out the fire, but it had gained
too much headway. Everything went to show that Cashel had been living in
a haystack alongside of the house for some time; a new robe and spring
mattress were found in a large hole burrowed under the staek, together
with several indications of its occupancy for a lengthy period. The two
men living at the ranch were afterwards arrested, and one of them,
Brown, received six months' imprisonment.
Thus ended perhaps one
of the most arduous pursuits after a criminalin the annals of the force.
Each man felt keenly the circumstances surrounding the escape, and no
one spared himself in any way.' Night and day, with very little rest,
they stuck to their work without a murmur.
During the pursuit the
date of the execution was put off from time to time by the Chief
Justice, and on the day after his capture the prisoner was brought
before His Lordship and finally sentenced to be hanged on February 2.
Cashel was hanged in the guard-room yard on that, date, and confessed
his guilt to the Rev. Mr. Kerby just previous to leaving his cell for
Again, in his annual
report for 1904, Commissioner drew attention to the increased
responsibilities of the police due to the rapid settlement and
development of the country, writing as follows:—
"The Royal North-West
Mounted Police has gained a reputation, both at home and abroad, as an
effective organization, which has materially forwarded the progress of
the Territories. It is to-day dealing with all classes of men—the
lawless element on the border, the cowboys and Indians on the plains,
the coal miners in the mountains, the gold miners in the Yukon, and the
American w halers and the Esquimaux in Hudson Bay and the far distant
Arctic Sea. It is an asset of Canada, and the time has not arrived in
the development of the country when it can be written off.
"No case of crime is
too remote to be investigated. There have been many instances during the
past year. The following are worthy of being brought to your notice.
'Extract from Sergt.
Field's report dated Fort Chipewyan, December 8, 1903:
'A half-breed arrived
here from Fond-du-Lae, on Lake Athabasca, and reported that an Indian.
Paul Izo Azie, living at Black Lake, near Fond-du-Lac, had deserted his
adopted children in the bush some time during last September.
'The particulars of the
case are: This Indian Paul Izo Azie, was camped on an island in Black
Lake, where he intended fishing and hunting during the fall and winter
One day he sighted four or five canoes, with a number of men on board,
coming towards his camp. He fired two shots in the air, as is customary
amongst Indians as a sign of friendliness. They did not reply or take
any notice of his shooting, but paddled off in another direction, and
landed on the main shore of the lake. This man being very superstitious,
as most Indians are, concluded that these were bad people and intended
killing him and all his family. He got very frightened, so he got his
wife, sister and the two little children and himself into his canoe and
paddled ashore, leaving his camping outfit and all his belongings behind
him. When he landed on shore he started off on foot for Fond-du-Lac,
followed by his wife and sister, leaving these two little children
behind without food or protection, one a little boy and the other a
little girl, aged two and three years respectively. It being an eight
days' trip, or about 130 or 140 miles from his camp to Fond-du-Lac, his
sister, a young girl about fifteen years old, got fatigued after the
first or second day's travel He left her behind on the road also,
without food or protection. This poor girl wandered about the woods for
several days in a dreadful state of starvation until she was picked up
by some Indians that were camped in that direction She told them her
story, how her brother had deserted these two little children on the
lake shore. Some of these Indians started back to search for the
children. When they got there they found the camp just as the Indian had
left it, nothing taken or stolen. They tracked the little children along
the shore and where they went into the bush. They followed their tracks
up nto the woods and then fired two or three shots and then called out
as loud as they could, but got no reply. Then they went on a little
further, and there they found a little dress, all blood-stained and
torn, and wolf tracks all around where the little girl had evidently
been eaten by wolves. They could find no trace or sign of the other
child anywhere. There is no doubt that the little boy has been devoured
by wolves also.
'These Indians, who
found the little dress, and also this man's sister, being the principal
witnesses in the case, were not at Fond-du-Lac at the time Constable
Pedley was out there, so he did not arrest this Paul Izo Azie, as he
could not get the witnesses.
'They will all be at
Fond-du-Lac next summer for treaty payments. I will then go myself and
arrest this Indian and get the witnesses and all necessary evidence on
the case and take them out for trial.'
"Black Lake is about
250 miles east of Fort Chipewyan The accused was arrested at Fond-du-Lac
on June 28, and committed for trial at Edmonton by Inspector West. He
was escorted there by Sergeant Field, accompanied by the witnesses. On
Jul)' 25 he was tried at Edmonton by Mr. Justice Scott, convicted and
sentenced to two years' imprisonment at Stony Mountain Penitentiary.
"In carrying out this
duty, Sergt. Field travelled with his prisoner, by boat 0G7 miles, bv
trail 90 miles and by train 1,031 miles, a total distance of 1,788
In his report,
Commissioner Perry drew attention to the heroic work of Corporal D. B.
Smith, stationed at Norway House, Lake Winnipeg. A severe epidemic of
diphtheria and scarlet fever occurred there in the previous November.
Corporal Smith was untiring in his efforts to aid the unfortunate
people. lie supplied them with food, disinfected their houses, helped
care for their sick and buried the dead. He was promoted to the rank of
sergeant in recognition of his services.
For some years back the
constantly increasing consumption of extracts, essences and patent
medicines in the unorganized territories had shown that these liquors
were not being used for legitimate purposes, but when being traded and
sold to the Indians and half-breeds for use as intoxicants. As an
instance of the extent to which the trade had reached, a trader's stock
was examined by the police at lesser Slave Lake and tin y found 107
dozen 2 oz. bottles of ginger, peppermint, &e., equal to about 1(5
gallons. This trade was demoralizing the native population, and, on the
facts being brought to the notice of the Prima Minister, he directed
that the sections of the North-West Territories Act dealing with the use
of intoxicants in those portions of the Territories where liquor license
ordinance was not in force, were to be rigidly enforced
The Commissioner issued
orders in accordance with these instructions on February 22, 1904 The
reports from the detachments in 1904 stated that tin prevention of the
importation and sale of extracts and essences had been most beneficial,
and that drunkenness among the Indians and half-breeds had greatly
The strength in the
Territories on November 30, 1904. was 39 officers, 475 non-commissioned
officers and constables and 459 horses.
There were 9 divisions,
each with a headquarters post and 93 permanent outposts. There should
have been more outposts, but the Commissioner was unable to establish
them. An increase of the strength by 100 men was authorized on July 1,
but the Commissioner at the end of the year had not yet been able to
recruit them. He did not anticipate being able to do so satisfactorily
until a substantial increase was made in the pay.
The force required
sober, intelligent, active young men of good character, and such men
were in great demand in the country. To obtain them the rate of pay
would have to be raised so as to be in reasonable proportion to what was
paid in civil life.
Their Excellencies the
Governor-General and Lady Minto paid a farewell visit to the Territories
in September, 1904. Ceremonial escorts were furnished at Calgary and
Regina and an escort of 1 officer, 25 non-commissioned officers and men
and 42 horses accompanied His Excellency on his ride from Edmonton to
Saskatoon. Saddle horses were supplied for His Excellency, and party,
also camp equipment and transport. The force also established a
permanent camp for Her Excellency and party at Qu'Appelle Lakes and
furnished saddle horses, carriages and heavy transport.
His Excellency was
pleased to express his approval in the following letter to the
Comptroller from the Military Secretary:—
Ottawa. October 1,
Sir,—I am commanded by
the Governor-General to express to you His Excellency's warm
appreciation of the admirable arrangements made for him on the occasion
of his recent ride from Edmonton to Saskatoon and also for Lady Minto in
the camp lately occupied by Her Excellency at the Qu'Appelle Lakes.
In both cases
everything that was possible was done to ensure the comfort of Their
Excellencies, and I am to ask that you will accept for yourself and
kindly convey to the Commissioner and the officers, N.C. officers and
men of the Royal North-West Mounted Police, the grateful thanks of Their
I have the honour to
Your obedient servant,
(Sgd.) F. S. MAUDE,
The event of the year,
however, in the annals of the Mounted Police was His Majesty's personal
recognition of the splendid services rendered for so many years to the
Dominion and the Empire, by the force, by conferring upon it the title
of Royal. The first intimation of this honour was conveyed by an
announcement in the Canada Gazette of June 24, 1904, reading as follows:
"His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to confer the title of
"Royal" upon the North-West Mounted Police."
The authority for this
announcement was the following communication from the Colonial Office.:—
From Mr. LYTTELTON to
Downing Street, 19th
It gives me great
pleasure to inform Your Excellency that His Majesty the King has been
graciously pleased to confer the title of "Royal" upon the North-West
Mounted Police, in accordance with your recent recommendation.
I have, etc.,
The Right Honorable,
The Earl of Minto,
Referring to the
conferring of this honour upon the force, in his report for the year,
Commissioner Perry wrote:—
"The force is deeply
sensible of the high honour which has been conferred upon it, and I
trust it will continue by loyalty, integrity and devotion to duty, to
merit the great distinction which His Majesty has been so graciously
pleased to bestow upon it."
officers were serving in the Yukon Territory at the end of
1904:—Commanding, Asst. Commsr. Z. P. Wood.
Division—Superintendent A. E. Snyder, Commanding Division.—Inspectors,
F. J. A. Demers, F. P. Horrigan, A. E. C. McDonell, P. W. Pennefather,
Surgeon L. A. Pare, Asst.-Surgeon, S. M. Fraser.
Division—Superintendent A. R. Cuthbert, Commanding Division—Inspectors,
W. H. Routledge, T. A. Wroughton, J. Taylor, R. Y. Douglas, It. E.
Tucker, Asst.-Surgeons, W. E. Thompson, G. Madore.
The general state of
affairs in the Yukon Territory at the same date was reported in a most
satisfactory and, on the whole, prosperous condition, and from a police
point of view left but little to be desired. Like all mining camps, the
Yukon had attracted to its environments a large number of the criminal
class, but, notwithstanding their presence, crime had been confined to
the smaller and more trivial offences.
As a matter of fact,
the criminal element, the individuals of which were nearly all known to
the police, wore subjected to so close a surveillance that few
opportunities were allowed them to stray from the paths of virtue and
rectitude, and they were perforce obliged to confine themselves to
avocations strictly honest or seek pastures new. The great majority of
them found their enforced probity too irksome and left the territory for
its and their own good.
Attention was called
several times during the year to the great expense involved in keeping a
force of 300 men in the Yukon, and a claim had been made that one-third
of that number would be sufficient to police the Territory.
Wood, in his annual report speaking of this claim, wrote:—"I quite agree
with this provided we could confine ourselves to the preservation of law
and order as we are primarily intended to do. The fact of the matter is,
however, that we are acting more or less for every department of the.
government and performing work, such as mail carriers, &c., which is
quite foreign to a police force proper; in fact although we are, as I
have stated, getting rid of some of our extraneous work,we are still
called upon to perform some duties which other officials and civilians
refuse to undertake because they are not remunerative enough; for
instance, acting as postmasters. Appointments as such were offered to
officials and civilians throughout the Territory, who, however,
invariably refused because of the fact of there being either no
emolument in connection with the work or if there were, on account of ts
smallness. Many of the offices are still filled by members of the
During the municipal
elections in Dawson in January, 1004, one of the questions before the
public was whether they should not have their own city police instead of
availing themselves of the services of the force. A stiiff-sergeant and
11 men were on the town detachment and received the aggregate sum of
$350 per month, the main expenses of their maintenance falling on His
Federal government. It was held by some of the applicants for office
that one or two men would be sufficient to police the city, but it was
found that the public generally were in favour of the retention of the
R.N.W.M Police for. as m previous years, the candidates for mayor and
council who advocated keeping the force in charge, of the city easily
defeated those, who were opposed to them.
Among other duties the
R.N.W.M.P. in the Yukon discharges s that, of regulating the time. In
his annual report for this year (1004; discussing armament, Asst
.-Commissioner Wood wrote:—"The Maxim and Minimin-Nordenfeldt guns are
also in a serviceable condition. \N th regard to guns of heavier
calibre, we possess one 7-pdr. brass muzzle-loading gun at Dawson. The
firing of the gun at noon is an important matter, as in all mining
disputes, such as the staking of claims, Ac., and in fact in all legal
matters in which official time is required, the courts in Dawson have
held that the standard time in the Territory, and more particularly that
portion embracing Dawson, and the creeks in the vicinity of and
contiguous thereto, is the time of and at the 135th meridian of
longitude, as announced by the noon-day gun. Should this old 7-pdr.
burst, as the other did some three years ago, we would be left without
any means of regulating Dawson time-pieces. For this and other reasons I
would recommend that we be supplied with two of the latest pattern
12-pdrs. They are also required for saluting purposes and to enable the
men to obtain some knowledge of gun-drill,"
In addition to his
other duties the Assistant Commissioner was, and still is, acting as
Inspecting Officer of the Dawson Rifle Company, the only Militia Corps
in the Yukon, and represents the Officer Commanding Military District
No. 11 in matters appertaining to that body and to the Dawson unit of
the Dominion Rifle Association.
It will be recalled
how, in the earlier days of the Mounted Police occupation of the Yukon,
the officers were often hard put to it to secure the necessary dog
teams. This difficulty has been overcome by breeding dogs for the
service. Asst.-Commissioner Wood reports :—
"We are now fairly well
supplied with dogs of a size and strength suitable to our needs; nearly
all have been bred at the various detachments, and I hope in future to
have a sufficient number raised to replace those destroyed on account of
old age, etc., and to meet any special demands that may be made for
Four events stand out
prominently in the history of the R.N.W.M P. for the year 1005—the
acceptance by the Earl of Minto of the appointment of Honorary
Commissioner of the force, the visit of Their Excellencies Lord and
I.ady Grey to the North-West, the establishment and inauguration of the
new Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, embracing practically all the
territory comprised within the original sphere of operations of the
R.N.W.M.P., and the long demanded and necessary increase of pay.
The appointment of an
Honorary Commissioner was in line with a practice long followed in the
British Army but only of late years introduced into Canada. The
acceptance of the honor by the Earl of Minto, now Viceroy of India, was
notified by the following communication:—
Hawick. January 11,
'My Loud,—I have the
honour to acknowledge the receipt of Your Lordship's despatch of
December 20, 1904, inclosing an extract from a report of a committee of
the Privy Council, informing me that I have been appointed, on the
recommendation of the President of the Council, honorary commissioner of
the Royal North-West Mounted Police.
'1 would be much
obliged if you would express to Sir Wilfrid Laurier my sincere
appreciation of the honor that has been conferred upon me.
'I have the honour to
be, my Lord, 'Your obedient servant,
'The Earl Grey,
G.C.M.G., &c., &c.'
Their Excellencies the
Governor General and Lady Grey visited the new provinces in September.
Escorts were furnished at Edmonton, Macleod, Cardston, Lethbridge and
A permanent camp was
established at Qu'Appelle lakes for their use, and orderlies, horses and
His Excellency was
pleased to express his approval in the following letter:—
'My Dear Commissioner
Perry,—I am commanded by His Excellency to express to you his
appreciation of the work carried out by the Royal North-West [Mounted
Police during the Governor General's visit.
'Lord Grey has always
heard of the good record borne by the force under your command, and it
gave him great pleasure to see such a fine body of men.
'He hopes that you will
convey to the officers, noncommissioned officers and men, and especially
to those who were with the camp on special duty, his high opinion of
their smartness and work.
'I am, yours. '(Signed)
J. HANBURY-WILLIAMS, Col.,
' Military Secretary.'
The Provinces of
Alberta and Saskatchewan began their career as autonomous provinces with
imposing celebrations at Edmonton and Regina, the temporary capitals,
with which were attended by Their Excellencies the Governor General and
Lady Grey, the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Sir Wilfrid Laurier,
and other eminent public men. Thanks to so many years of constant and
loyal work by the Royal North-West Mounted Poliee, the new provinces—
foster children of the foree they may be almost considered—began their
career as such with the same respect for and observance of law and order
as prevails in the oldest provinces of the Dominion, and this
notwithstanding the great influx of population, particularly during
recent years, drawn from many foreign countries. As a fitting
recognition of the pre-eminent services of the R.N.W.M.P. in fostering
and protecting the new country in its pioneer days, the force was given
a conspicuous part m the inauguration ceremonies.
By instructions from
Sir Wilfriid Laurier a portion of the force, consisting of 15 officers,
189 non-commissioned officers and constables, 200 horses and 4 guns,
attended at both Edmonton and Regina.
This force had the
honour of being reviewed by His Excellency the Governor General,
accompanied by Sir Wilfrid. The men composing the force were drawn from
all parts of the Territories, and were together for four days only
before the review. The assembling of this strength at Edmonton, the
transfer to Regina, a distance of 700 miles, and the distribution to
their respective posts; was carried out without any delay or accident.
The conduct of all ranks was excellent, and all vied in a desire to do
credit to the force to which they belonged.
The increase of pay to
all ranks was voted by Parliament during the session of 1905, on
resolutions introduced by the Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier. In
presenting the measure the Prime Minister explained its object and scope
"This resolution was
introduced in consequence ot the representations which have been made to
the government on the floor of this House on both sides, from time to
time, advising that the pay of the North-West Mounted Police should be
increased. This matter has been under consideration, and I. think we are
meeting the public demand and the exigencies of the case in providing
for the salaries now set forth in this resolution. The increases are as
"We have four
staff-sergeants to whom we give $2 a day. Other staff-sergeants receive
SI.50 a day, and we propose to give them $1.75 a day, an increase of 25
cents a day Non-commissioned officers receive SI a day, and we propose
to give them $1.25 a day. Constables receive 75 cents a day, and we
propose to give them SI a day. Special constables and scouts we have no
right to pay for particularly, but we have paid them from 75 cents to
SI.25 a clay. We propose to give them SL50 a day. Buglers under IS years
of age receive 40 cents a day and we propose to give them 50 cents a
day. Working artisans receive 50 cents a day, and we propose to give
them 75 cents a da< . It is calculated that this will increase the pay
of the force bv $50,000."
The strength on
November 30, 1905, was 54 officers, 50 N.C. officers and constables, 109
interpreters, guides, scouts, artisans and special constables, total.
SI3. and GOG horses.
The strength in the
provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan and the North-West Territories was
38 officers, 478 N.C. officers and constables, G9 interpreters, &c.,
total, 585, and 513 horses.
The strength in the
Yukon Territory was 16 officers, 172 N.C. officers and constables, 40
interpreters, ete.. total, 22S. and 93 horses.
In the North-West
Territories and new provinces there were ten divisions, each with a
headquarters post, and 104 permanent outposts, an increase of 1
headquarters post and 11 outposts as compared with the previous year.
The strength was only
15 under that authorized. N o special effort had been made to recruit.
There had been many applications to engage, and not more than one in
three had been accepted.
The work of the year
1905 was very heavy and varied. The increase of population and the
extending settlements added greatly to the ordinary duties, and further
demands were made this year in opening up the Peace River Yukon trail, a
difficult task. In his annual report, the Commissioner brought to notice
several cases he qualified as strenuous duties well performed.
Corpl. Mapley, of 'B'
Division, with a party of police left Dawson with dog teams on December
27, 1904 for Fort McPherson, on the Peel river, 500 miles distant, cam
mg despatches to that distant outpost. The route taken was practically
unknown, across mountain ranges. The party arrived back on March 9,
having made a successful journey without a mishap, and having travelled
upwards of 1,000 miles.
On January 7, 1905,
Inspector Cienereux, of Prince Albert, returned from a patrol to the far
north to inquire into a case of alleged murder. He was absent 132 days,
and travelled 1,750 miles by canoe and dog train. As a coroner he held
an inquest and established that the death was accidental. This trip was
very expensive, but it is an illustration of the principle which has
hitherto prevailed, that enemy will be dealt with no matter how remote
the place, how dangerous the journey, nor how great the cost. A marked
instance of the administration of justice by the government of Canada
through the Mounted Police has been the free expenditure of money in
bringing criminals to justice. The government has never tied the hands
of the police by refusing to authorize any expenditure of money where
there was a reasonable hope of success. Many cases have cost tens of
thousands, and in one celebrated ease upwards of one hundred thousand
dollars was expended.
Another instance was
the investigation made by Inspector McGinnis and Sergt. Egan into an
alleged murder north of Cat lake m Keewatin some 200 miles north of the
Canadian Pacific Railway, a point to which no white man had before
penetrated. The accused was arrested.
Constable A. Pedley,
stationed at Fort Chipewyan, was detailed to escort an unfortunate
lunatic from that place to Fort Saskatchewan He reports as follows:—
'I left Chipewyan in
charge of the lunatic on December 17, 1904. with the interpreter and two
dog trains. After travelling for five days through slush and water up to
our knees, we arrived at Fort McKay on December 22.'
'Owing to the extreme
cold, the prisoner's feet were frost bitten. 1 did all I could to
relieve him, and purchased some large moccasins to allow more wrappings
for his feet. I travelled without accident until the 27th, reaching Big
Weechume lake. Here I had to lay off a day to procure a guide, as there
was no trail. 1 arrived at Lac La Biche on the 31st, and secured a team
of horses to carry me to Fort Saskatchewan I arrived on January 7, 1905,
and handed over my prisoner. During the earlier part of the trip the
prisoner was very weak and refused to eat, but during the latter part of
the trip he developed a good appetite and got stronger.'
'The unfortunate man
was transferred to Calgary guard room. Assistant Surgeon Rouleau reports
that \t was a remarkable case. He was badly frozen about his feet, and
the exposure to the cold had caused paralysis of the tongue for several
days Every care and attention was given him at the hospital (to which he
was transferred), with the result that he was discharged on February 23
with the loss only of the first joint of a big toe. His mind and speech
were ;is good as ever. His life was saved.'
commenced his return trip to Fort Chipewyan. When he left Fort
Saskatchewan he was apparently in good health, but at Lac La Biche he
went violently insane as a result of the hardships of his trip, and his
anxiety for the safety of his charge. He was brought back to Fort
Saskatchewan and then transferred to Brandon Asylum. After spending six
months there he recovered his mind and returned to headquarters, lie was
granted three months' leave, and is now at duty as well as ever. In
spite of all, he re-engaged for a further term of service.
One more instance of
devotion to duty. Constable (now corporal) Conradi was on patrol, when a
treinenrlous prairie fire was seen sweeping across the country. He asked
the rancher, at whose house he was having dinner, if any settlers were
in danger, and was told that a settler with ten children was in danger,
but his place could not be reached. Conradi felt that he must try, and
galloped off. Mr. Young, the settler, writing to Conradi's commanding
officer, said in part :—' His (Conradi's) pluck and endurance I cannot
praise too highly; fighting till he was nearly suffocated, his hat
burned of his head, hair singed, and vest on fire.' 'My wife and family
owe their lives to Mr. Conradi, and I feel with them, we shall never be
able to repay him for his brave conduct.'
On March 1 a new police
district was created, to be known as 'Athabasca and a division,
designated ' N,' organized for duty in that district, with temporary
headquarters at Lesser Slave Lake. The members of 'G' Division stationed
in Athabasca, were transferred to 'N' Division. Superintendent
Constantine was appointed to the command. To this division was assigned
the duty of opening up a pack trail from Fort St. John, B.C., to Teslin
Lake, Yukon Territory, across the mountains of British Columbia. The
estimated distance is 750 miles. A detachment of two officers, thirty
non-commissioned officers and constables and sixty horses left Fort
Saskatchewan on March 17 for this work. Owing to the breakiug up of the
winter roads, the journey was very trying, but they reached Peace River
Crossing, 350 miles from Fort Saskatchewan, on April 9, without any
serious mishap. Here they were delayed awaiting supplies, which had been
contracted for, until May 21, when the party left for Fort St. John, 570
miles from Fort Saskatchewan, arriving there June 1.
Work was immediately
commenced on the construction of winter quarters, and cutlting hay. Work
commenced on the trail on June 15, and was suspended on September 25,
owing to heavy snow in the mountains. 94 miles of trail were completed.
During the year 1900
exceptionally good progress has been made.
Owing to the
demoralization, by the liquor traffic, of the Indians living on the
shores of Lake Winnipeg, it was decided in 1905 to establish a police
patrol. Arrangements were made with the Department of Indian Affairs to
share the expense of purchasing and maintaining a small steamer for this
work. The Red-winy was secured and placed in commission in June, and
laid up on September 25, owing to the dangerous storms on the lakes in
the autumn making navigation for such a small boat unsafe.
The effects of this
patrol were most beneficial. Missionaries and Indian officials agree
that they never saw such an absence of intoxication among the Indians.
It is worthy of remark
that for some years the Mounted Police have been discharging duties
afloat, so that besides acting as policemen, soldiers, inspectors,
explorers, surveyors, teamsters, etc., etc., members of the force have
been acting as marines and actually sailors. The force in the Yukon has
in charge three launches, one at Cacross, the other two at White Horse,
and a steamer the "Vidette." This steamer was purchased in September,
1002, and has been in commission during the five months of navigation
each year since.
R.N.W.M.P. Patrol Steamer "Vidette."
(From a photograph kindly loaned by Lieut.-Col. F. White, the
The boat was purchased
at auction for some S3,000, and has proved herself of valuable
assistance. She carries a vast amount of freight to different points on
the Yukon river, both from Dawson and White Horse, and, furthermore,
carried supplies up the Hootalinqua, Stewart and Takheena rivers to the
several detachments at those points. A patrol is also made 250 miles up
the Pelly river.
At the time the Vidette
was purchased it cost more to ship freight from eastern points to Dawson
than to White Horse. It was the intention to have all the police
supplies consigned to the last named place and have the steamer bring on
what was required for Dawson, thus saving a considerable sum. The White
Pass and Yukon route, however, in order to drive opposition off the
river, reduced the through rate to Dawson to the same figure as was
charged on White Horse consignments. For this reason the police boat did
not effect the saving that was expected of her.
A detachment of two
officers, 13 N.C. officers and constables, Supt. J. D. Moodie
commanding, were stationed in Hudson's Bay (luring the seasons 1904-05.
They wintered at Cape Fullerton. The summer was spent in patrolling the
Bay in the ss. Artie.
It will be recalled
that Supt. Moodie with a detachment of N.W.M.P. left Halifax in August
1003 for Hudson Bay on the ss. Neptune for the purpose of asserting the
authority of the Dominion Government, and enforcing the laws in those
As to the location of a
permanent Mounted Police post in the region, one of the objects in view,
when in Cumberland Sound, in September, 1903, Supt. Moodie heard that
United States whalers were somewhere about the north of Southampton
Island. On the way to Fullerton, the matter of locations for detachments
was frequently discussed by Mr. Low, commanding the expedition, Captain
Bartlett and Supt. Moodie, although no formal council was called, and it
was taken for granted that the police would build where the whalers
wintered. On arrival at Winchester inlet, about 40 miles south of
Fullerton, m September, the officers heard from natives that there was a
whaling station at Fullerton and a Scotch station at Repulse Bay. It was
decided to winter at Fullerton, where there was said to be good water
and a good harbour. Deer, fish and birds were to be had in abundance.
The Neptune arrived there on September 23, and building was at once
Supt. Moodie had been
informed by the Comptroller that most probably a detachment would be
placed at Churchill in the spring This confirmed his opinion that a post
was to be placed on the west side of the bay, where whalers wintered;
also, that it was intended the police should have jurisdiction in this
district, although it is actually part of Keewatin. With natives and
good dogs, it would be possible to make a patrol from Fullerton to
Churchill in the winter along the sea ice, even without an intermediate
post; with one there should be but little trouble. Supplies for the
return journey could be procured from the Hudson's Bay Company.
Fullerton was the best
winter harbour seen on the west side, and is on that account a good
place for a post.
Supt. Moodie chose the
site for barracks on the island, as this forms one side of the harbour,
and the inlet between it and the main land is only navigable for small
boats. The building which is intended for officers! quarters is 15 by 24
feet, divided into large and two small rooms; a store house for
provisions, Ac., a coal shed, and a lean-to kitchen 12 by 10 with large
poreh have also been erected. There is a good fresh water pond in the
rocks, about 75 yards from the house.
Supt. Moodie left
Staff-Sergeant Dee and Constables Conway and Tremaine with a native at
Fullerton when the Neptune sailed on July 18th, 1004. Moodie instructed
the Staff-Sergeant, if possible, to purchase one or two teams, of ten
good dogs each, and to purchase from natives and store ample supplies of
dog feed, viz: fish, deer meat, seal, walrus, (%«. He had field rations
for five men for 400 days, but his supply of coal was limited, a little
over 11 tons.
He was instructed to
endeavour to make a patrol to Repulse Bay during the summer of 1005 by
boat. He was also to make short patrols inland and along the coast
during the winter, as weather, &e., permits, should the Neptune not be
able to return to Fullerton.
Under the existing
circumstances and strength of the police in Hudson Bay, patrolling to
any extent is next to impossible. In the winter the distances and the
absence of any posts at which the supplies for men and dogs can be
obtained, make the risk too great. In the summer, the time is so
limited, that if the officer commanding has to visit the trading
stations in Cumberland Sound and north thereof he will be unable to do
any work n the bay. The winter is the tune when patrols inland will be
made; in fact, it is the only time when they can be made away from
To patrol and become
acquainted with this country would require a considerable force and an
expenditure in proportion. The difficulties are much greater than even
in the Yukon. The season when travelling by water can be done is
shorter, and, there being no fuel or shelter of any description, in the
winter everything for men and dogs has to be carried.
On September 17, 1904,
Superintendent Moodie nailed from Quebec in command of the D.G.S. Arctic
She had on board in addition to Capt. Bernier, sailing master, officers
and ship's company, Insp. Pelletier, S.-Sergt. Hayne, 2 corporals and 0
constables of the Royal North-West Mounted Police, Mr Vanasse,
historian, Mr. Maekean, photographer, and Mr. A, D. Moodie, secretary.
Tne Arctic arrived at Port Bur-well, Ungava bay, on the afternoon of
October 1. The "Arctic" left Burwell the same evening for Fullerton and
arrived there on the morning of October 10. No ice was encountered on
the voyage until the ship got within a few miles of Fullerton, when she
ran through some slob ice floating in and out with the tide. The inner
harbour, where the "Arctic" anchored, was frozen over to a thickness of
about 4 inches.
additional buildings at Fullerton were carried by the "Arctic." It was
intended that the headquarters of 'M' Division, newly created for
service in the Hudson's Bay district, should be built at or near Cape
Wolstenholme. This cape forms the north-west corner of Ungava on
Hudson's straits. There was not however, sufficient room on the Arctic,
and it was finally decided that the ship should winter at Fullerton,
complete the necessary buildings there, and that the material for
headquarter and a detachment at Cumberland Sound should be forwarded bv
the supply steamer going north in 1905. Owing to the entire absence of
timber in the north the detachment are dependent altogether upon the
supplies of lumber sent up from the south.
A good frame barrack
room, 30 feet 3 inches by 15 feet 3 inches inside measurement, was
erected in the fall of 1904 at Fullerton, by the police, assisted by a
carpenter hired from the whaler Era. A non-commissioned officer's room
was partitioned off from the barrack-room, but later had to be used as a
trade and quartermaster's store, though much too small for the purpose.
Native Hut near the Fullerton Post of" the R.N.W.M.P.
The officers' quarters
erected the previous winter and used, until the new building was
completed, as a barrack-room, was floored with matched lumber, and the
walls covered with asbestos paper and oiled canvas. The new building was
finished in the same way. Both were, reported warm and comfortable but
within certain limits. Nothing appeared sufficient to keep the
frost-out. The curtains in the bedroom were frozen to the floor, and
there was thick ice all round the skirting boards.
July 5, 1905, the
Arctic sailed from Fullerton with Supt. Moodie on board and proceeded to
Cape Wolstenholme, in which vicinity a site on a large bay named
Prefontaine Harbour, in honour of the then Minister of Marine and
Fisheries, was selected for Divisional headquarters. Shortly afterwards,
owing to accidents to her machinery, the Arctic had to return to the St.
Lawrence, Supt. Moodie, and the men with him transferring to the
chartered steamer Neptune. In Hudson Bay very heavy weather was
encountered. " On October 6th the sun was only visible for about 5
minutes and no sights were obtained. At 4.15 a.m., on the 7th, position
by dead reckoning being lat. 60.20 N., long. 86.50 W. (almost in the
centre of Hudson's Bay), we struck heavily on reefs, pounding over them
for 15 minutes. The morning was pitch dark with snow squalls. After
apparently getting inside the reef, vessel again struck three times. The
Captain kept her as nearly as possible in position until dawn, when the
seas could be seen breaking on the reefs all round. He then took her
through the only visible channel with barely water to take us through.
Wind increased to strong from S.E. by E.. true, with heavy short seas.
Weather thick with frequent squalls of snow7 and sleet. Vessel's head
was kept to wind, engines going slow. Morning of 8th was fairly clear,
course S.W. by S., engines going slow. Just before noon the sun appeared
for a short time, and a sight was obtained giving us the latitude of
Marble Island, which was sighted at 5.30 p.m. After consulting with
Capt. Bartlett I decided to go to Fullerton, from which we were distant
only about 90 miles, before proceeding to Churchill. By doing so time
would be saved. The vessel was making water, our compasses were totally
unreliable, and it was not considered advisable to get out of sight of
land until they could be adjusted. The 9th was comparatively fine and
clear. Ran along coast until evening, but on account of mirage no land
marks could be made out— the whole coast appeared to be lifted up like
high perpendicular cliffs. Towards night it came on to blow a gale with
very heavy sea. Soundings were taken every 15 minutes during the night,
the police on board being told off into watches for this purpose, one
seaman and two of the police, being in each watch of two hours. Lay-to
going slow and half speed as required to keep the vessel head on;
frequent heavy squalls of snow and sleet. The 10th was a repetition of
the previous night, gale veering from N.N.R to N.N.W. with tremendous
sea." Pumps gping all the time. This continued, with wind and sea
getting worse, all the 11th. At 4 p.m. on this day a heavy sea struck
forward end of bridge on port side. It curled over chart room, and
falling on main deck, smashed to splinters the two whale boats swinging
inboard from davits. The stern of starboard boat was cut off and left
hanging from davit Main boom broken from gooseneck, both poop ladders
torn from the bolts and with two harness casks, lashed on deck, swept
overboard. The lumber, &c., on port side of poop was torn from its
lashings and wrashing about, and the rest loosened up The cattle pens
forward were smashed and one sheep had two legs and some ribs broken.
Sea and wind increasing, it was decided to jettison the rest of the deck
load and so relieve the vessel somewhat from the heavy straining. The
danger was that if the deck load broke loose ;t would carry away the
cabin skylight and flood the vessel The morning of the 12th the wind
began to moderate and the sea quickly went down." (Supt. Moodie's
The same day the
Neptune arrived at Fullerton and Staff-Sergeant Havne, going on board,
reported the sad death, by drowning, of Constable Russell, on the
evening of the 5th July, the very day the^lrriio left her winter
quarters. On the 17th, the Neptune sailed for Churchill, Corpl. Rowley,
Constables Vitrev and Heap, and Interpreter Ford being left at Fullerton
to strengthen the detachment.
again returned to Hudson Hay with re-inforcements and supplies during
the present summer, 1906.
In September, 1905, the
force was re-armed throughout with Ross fifles and Colt revolvers, which
replaced the Winchester carbines and Enfield revolvers.
A Lonely Grave in the Far North near the R.N.W.M.P. Post at Fullerton.
On the organization of
the force it was armed with the Snider carbine and the Adams revolver,
both weapons, so far as durability was concerned, standing the rough
work to which they were put very well.
About 18S0, 100
Winchester rifles, improved pattern, were purchased,and "A" and "F"
Divisions armed with them. This rifle, which was a repeating one, and
capable of receiving eight cartridges in the magazine, had many good
points, and was a favorite arm with the western prairie men. It was not,
however, altogether a good military weapon. The system of rifling was
good, but the rifle was altogether too weak in construction to meet the
rough handling that at times it was impossible to prevent its receiving.
In his annual report of
1881, Lieut.-Col Irvine, referring to the armament of the force, wrote
in part:— "'The Snider carbine is now considered n many respects an
obsolete military arm, and is somewhat un-suited to the wants of a force
in this country, where a large portion of the Indian population is armed
with an accurate shooting weapon. Still, however, bearing in mind the
expense that a change of arms would necessitate, I think the Snider
carbine may be utilized for us for some further time, at all events. The
amount of Snider ammunition on hand is large.
"The revolver with
which the force is armed is of the "Adams" pattern. This revolver is not
such as I should recommend were a new purchase being made; they can,
however, be made to answer all practicable purposes.
"The question of
further arming the North-West Mounted Police with sword is one to which
1 have given considerable attention. There are times when a sword would
prove an encumbrance to a .Mounted Policeman; times, therefore, when it
would be undesirable. It is, of course, requisite that in the question
of arms, the number and weight carried by each man should be reduced to
a minimum consistent with efficiency.
"In making ordinary
prairie trips where no serious danger of attack is to be anticipated, I
should be sorry to see our men's endurance further taxed by their being
forced to add a sword to the arms they already carry.
"If I mistake not, the
late General Custer, U.S.A., objected to the sword being employed in
Indian warfare, on account of the noise made n carrying it. I presume
General Custer, in condemning the sword, must have meant his remarks to
apply to one carried in a steel scabbard such as the British cavalry now
"Similar and other
objections have been advanced by officers of much experience in England.
"It will be remembered
that the 7th United States Cavalry, who fought under the late General
Custer, at the battle of the "Big Horn" (known as the Ouster Massacre),
were not armed with swords. From various accounts of this fight given me
by the Sioux Indians who took part in it, I am led to believe that had
this arm been in use the results would not, in all probability, have
been so terribly disastrous.
"The artillery armament
of the force consists of four 7-pr. mount am guns (bronze), at Fort
Walsh. Two 9 pr. M L.K. guns, and two small mortars, at Fort Macleod."
In his report at the
end of 1S82 the Commissioner wrote:—" You are aware that we are still
obliged to retain in use at Keg in* and Battleford a number of Snider
carbines. These carbines, owing to long and hard service, an fast
becoming unserviceable, in addition to the arm itself being an obsolete
one, and inferior to that which most of the Indians (all of those in the
southern district) are armed. Two years ago I alluded to certain defects
existing in the first pattern of Winchester carbine supplied to the
force. In the new carbine, manufactured expressly for the force by the
Winchester Arms Company, (a number of which had been recently issued)
all the old defects have been obviated. I beg to recommend that the
whole force be at once supplied with Winchester carbines of the same
pattern (model 1876) as those purchased from the Winchester Arms
"I would remind you
that the carriages and limbers of the 7-pr. mountain guns are fast
becoming unserviceable. I recommend that new ones be purchased of the
pattern lately approved by the Imperial authorities."
During 1S83, more of
the new special pattern Winchester rifles, and some Enfield revolvers
were issued to the force. At the end of the year the Commissioner
reported:—"The new pattern Winchester rifle supplied is a most excellent
arm, and of very superior manufacture. It is, in every respect, well
adapted to our use. The same remarks apply, with equal force, to the new
As to the artillery
armament of the force, in the same report Commissioner Irvine
wrote:—"The artillery armament of the force is as follows, viz.:—Two
9-pr. R.M.L. guns, four 7-pr. mountain guns (bronze), and two small
mortars. The two 9-pr. guns and two small mortars are at Fort Macleod.
Two of the 7-pr.guns being at Calgary and two at headquarters, the
various projectiles and stores appertaining to the mountain guns are
proportionately divided between the last two places mentioned. I have
previously reported that the carriages and limbers of the 7-pr. guns are
virtually unserviceable, and last year I recommended that carriages and
limbers of the Imperial pattern be purchased. On close inquiry, however,
it was ascertained that such purchase would have entailed a very
considerable expenditure. Carriages and limbers suitable for our
purposes can be manufactured in this country at a much smaller cost than
would ensue were a purchase made from England."
Gradually all the
Snider carbines and Adams revolvers were replaced by Winchesters and
In his report at the
end of the year 1887 . Commissioner Herchmer wrote:—
"The whole force is now
supplied with Enfield revolvers which are well adapted for our work. I
propose to arm the railway police with a smaller weapon which can be
carried in a less conspicuous manner.
carbine, so long the favourite arm with western prairie-men, is not
giving good satisfaction in the force. The ease with which it gets out
of order and its liability to break off at the stock, are serious
drawbacks to its efficiency. The advantages of the magazine in this
carbine are quite neutralized by the difficulty experienced in keeping
it in order, and the great temptation it offers, especially to young
recruits, to waste their fire. For a military weapon the trajectory is
very much too high. A good many of the first issues are gradually
wearing out, and I would suggest that as soon as it can be settled which
is the best carbine now made, one division be supplied with it, when, if
satisfactory, it can be issued to the rest of the force."
In the annual report of
the Commissioner for 1890 appeared the following reference to the small
arms of the force:—
"Our Enfield revolvers
are in excellent order, and answer the purpose very well, but the
ammunition is too strong, and they shoot rather high, at short distances
particularly. The small revolvers in use at railroad stations are also
very good, and I have asked for some more.
carbines are still in use, and are still complained of. They, however,
answer our purpose very well, and with close supervision and a
considerable number of new barrels, which are being put in, will last
for sometime longer.
"Last winter, Morris
tubes were sent to Regina, and during the winter months the recruits
derived great benefit from using them, and many of them in the spring
proved excellent shots with the Winchester."
The artillery attached
to the force in 1895 consisted of one brass 7-pounder at Prince Albert
in good order; two brass 7-pounders at Battleford, and one M.L.
9-pounder all in good order. One M.L. 9-pounder at Regina in good order,
used for drill purposes and one brass 7-pounder for salutes. Two M.L.
9-pounders at Macleod in good order and two brass mortars. Two
7-pounders at Calgary. At all posts, gun detachments were regularly
In 1895 there was a
small experimental issue of Lee-Metford rifles.
At the end of 1896,
Commissioner Herchmer reported: —"Our Winchester carbines are in about
the same condition as last year. By providing new barrels and parts worn
out, they will last for some time, and for short ranges, up to 400
yards, they are well adapted for our work. Beyond this range, the
Lee-Metfords are very much more accurate, in fact, beyond 500 yards, the
Winchesters are of little use. The sighting of the Winchester carbines
is most defective, they nearly all shoot too low, and paper, or some
other substance has to be placed under the back-sight to ensure any
accuracy at target practice. We used American Winchester ammunition
entirely, and it was of good quality.
During the last year he
was in command in the Yukon, Supt. A. B. Perry reported:—"There are in
the Yukon Territory two Maxim guns, one at Tagish, one at Dawson; and
one Nordenfelt gun, at Tagish. The small arms are as follows:—Winchester
carbines 06. Dawson district; 156, Tagish district; Lee-Met ford
carbines 39, Dawson district; 5, Tagish district; Enfield revolvers 71,
Dawson district; 154, Tagish district; Smith & Wesson revolvers, 2,
Tagish district. Some small repairs are needed and some of the
Winchester carbines are badly honey-combed. Remainder are in good order.
A Mauser pistol, which by means of a stock which forms its case, can be
transformed into a carbine at a moment's notice, has been tried and
proved satisfactory. I would recommend that it be adopted for the use of
the force. This arm being well known, needs no further commendation."
In his first annual
report as commanding officer (1901) Commissioner Terry drew attention to
the necessity of re-arming the force in the following terms:—
"The force should be
entirely re-armed. "D" Division alone has the Lee-Met ford carbine, all
others are armed with the obsolete Winchester carbine and Enfield
revolver. Carbines and revolvers have been in use a long time and the
rilling is worn out. If the corps is to be armed, it ought to be well
armed. Without accurate arms there cannot be good shooting, without good
shooting, carrying arms is an anomaly. A change of the arms will call
for a change in equipment. At present when the revolver is worn,
ammunition for the carbine must be taken whether the carbine is carried
In his report for the
following year the Commissioner was able to report:—"The re-arming of
the force has been sanctioned and is now only delayed, to take advantage
of any improvements in small arms resulting from the South African war.
New equipment v. ill necessarily follow the re-arming."
In the report for 1003,
progress in the matter of rearmament was reported by the Commissioner as
"The force is now armed
with the Winchester carbine, with the exception of "D" and "K"
Divisions, which are armed with the Ivee-Metford carl line, and with the
Enfield revolver. Both carbines and revolvers are worn out, and I am
glad to be able to report that the department has decided to re-arm the
whole force with modern weapons.
"Sir Charles Ross
submitted for trial two rifles, one with 28 inch barrel, and one with 25
inch barrel, the action being the same in both. The essential difference
between the Ross Rifle and the Lee-Metford, used in the Imperial
service, is in the bolt action. In the Ross the bolt is withdrawn, and
closed by a straight pull, whereas in the Lee-Metford the bolt is
revolved through a quarter circle, either in opening or closing. Roth
have the same barrel and use the same ammunition.
"Comparisons were made
with the Winchester carbine, and Lee-Metford and Mauser rifles.
"The Board recommended
that the Ross rifle, of which the following is a description should be
adopted, but that certain minor alterations should be made in the sealed
pattern:—Length from heel of butt to muzzle, 3 ft. 8 inches, length of
barrel, 25 inches, distance between fore and back sights. 20 3-16
inches, length of stock, 14 1-5 inches, weight, 7 lbs. 8 oz."
The perfected rifle of
to-day, if it is to be effective, must shoot accurately; its mechanism
must be simple and safe; its trigger must pull smoothly and easily; its
sights must be rigidly secured and finely adjusted; and the stock must
be strong and firmly balanced. The gun must be as light as it can be
safely made, and must shoot with such precision that the man behind it
knows that a miss is his own fault.
The Ross rifle, which
is manufactured in Canada, meets all these requirements as does no other
in existence. Furthermore, it excels iu rapidity of fire, in
lightness and balance, in quality and strength of metal, in the accuracy
of its sights, and in the maintenance of its alignment. It secures its
rapidity of fire by the mechanism of a bolt that requires but two
movements, while most military rifles iu use require at least tfiree and
some even four. Its weight (7 pounds and 13 ounces), nearly two pounds
less than tfie present arm in use in the United States, is gamed by the
high quality of metal used.
Roth sights of the gun
have improvements worth noting.
The rear sight is a
marvel of compactness. The leaf is hinged at the forward end and is
adjusted up or down, either by means of sliding clamps engaging a
moveable rack held by a plate, which the distances by hundred yards are
useribed, or by a micrometer thimble showing fractional parts of these
distances. The sliding clamps provide the coarse adjustments, and the
micrometer thimble the very fine adjustments. The sight leaf can be
carried to elevations corresponding with ranges from 100 to 2200 yards.
A wind guage is also provided with the rear sight.
Much interest has
always been taken in the target practice of the force, never as much as
under the present Commissioner, who is Einself a crack shot In 1903.
Commissioner I'errv, in General Orders drew particular attention to the
importance of rifle shooting.
practices what he preaches, and in the annual target practice of the
Depot Division, the same year, he took first place with the carbine.
During the month of August the Depot Division had a number of
interesting matches, the principal ones being "B" Division (Dawson)
versus Depot Division, results wired; certified scores by mail; 10 a
side; 200 and 400 yards. "B" Division won by 32 points.
For the first time in
the history of the force, regimental matches were held at Calgary in
September this same year. Teams of 8 men from each division competed in
rifle and revolver matches. The scores were excellent and the
competition very keen. A substantial grant was authorized from the fine
fund for prizes. The Slater Shoe Co., Montreal; E. L. Drewry, Esq., of
Winnipeg, and Superintendent Constantine gave very handsome sterling
silver cups for competition. The canteens subscribed generously, and the
officers gave a large cash prize. The Canadian Pacific Railway gave a
very low rate for transportation, so that the charge against the public
was much reduced. The team matches were won as follows:—Slater trophy,
"A" Division; Drewry trophy, Depot Division,; Constantine trophy, "E"
Reg. No. 1200, Corporal
Banham, won the individual rifle match, and Reg. No. 1126,
Sergeant-Major Raven, the individual revolver match.
The bringing together
of men from every division was most beneficial, and the Commissioner
hoped that these matches would be made an annual event.
In 1904 a rifle range
with eight targets was built on the police reserve at Medicine Hat. It
is an excellent range, and it is proposed that annual regimental matches
be held there. These matches were to have taken place in 1904, in
September, and all arrangements were made. Owing to unexpected demands
made at that time the matches had to be postponed.
Owing to the fact that
the new rifles were not received until September, the annual target
practice for 1905 was not carried out.
His Excellency the Earl
of Minto, Honorary Commissioner of the force, has sent the Commissioner
a very handsome silver cup to be competed for at these matches.
His Excellency the
Governor General has also informed the Commissioner that he intends
presenting a trophy for competition.
As there have been
several changes in the armament since the organization of the force so
there has been a steady but often slow process of evolution going on
with regard to uniform and equipment.
The uniform of the
Royal North-West Mounted Police at present consists of scarlet serge
(tunic of dragoon pattern for officers) blue back overalls or riding
breeches with broad yellow stripes, broad-rimmed brown felt hat of
cow-boy pattern, brown leather belts, gauntlets, etc. A suit of khaki
drill is worn on prairie service, fatigues, etc.
The full-dress uniform,
while comparatively plain and free from detail, is in general effect
very smart, particularly when the clothing is well-fitted and worn on a
good figure, which is invariably the case in the Royal North-West
Mounted Police. The smartest cavalry regiments in His Majesty's service
cannot turn out a smarter lot of troopers than the stalwart red-coats
that swagger about the streets of the towns and villages of the Canadian
The red-coat has always
been a characteristic feature of the uniform of the force. The adoption
of this striking detail of uniform was not merely due to the strong
British sentiment which prevails in Canada. It was not a piece of empty
colonial swagger; but rather a case of subtle diplomacy. Among the
Indians of North America the red coat was a tradition, and a dearly
cherished one. It recalled to their minds stories related about the camp
fires by their fathers and grand-fathers, of staunch red-coated warriors
who had fought side by side with them. Who had not only fought well, but
had acted the brave, honourable and manly part towards their dusky
allies. It was a subject of comment among the redmen that however other
white men might lie to them and cheat them, these wearing the red coat
could be trusted with implicit confidence; that although among a certain
class of white men, the inhuman doctrine had been enunciated and acied
upon with barbarous perseverance that " The only good Indian is a dead
Indian," the authority which the red coat represented held the life of
an Indian as sacred as that of any white. It will be remembered that, as
a crafty concession to this sentiment among the Manitoba Indians, the
foot soldiers of the permanent militia force maintained in that province
for some years after the suppression of the Red River troubles, were
transformed from "rifles" into red coated infantry."
The original red coat
of the Mounted Police, as worn by the force under Colonel French, was of
the loose frock or Norfolk jacket pattern in vogue in the army for some
years after the Crimean War, with cloth belts. The broad-striped
breeches, as at present, were worn, while the head-dress for full dress
was the white helmet, for undress the small, round " pill-box forage cap
once universal m the mounted branches of the British service. The
original issue of uniform also included long brown boots and a brown
cotton fatigue suit.
The officers' uniforms
differed only from those of the non-commissioned ranks in the addition
of a light edging of gold lace to the "frocks" and the wearing of
military rank badges.
In his confidential
report on the force in 1S75, Sir Selby Smith made the following
reference to the uniform of the force:—
"1 like the dress of
the Mounted Police, scarlet frock, cord breeches, long brown boots and a
brown cotton fatigue suit, (better cotton than linen)—the latter when
wet causes chills and fevers; white helmet; the forage cap can be
improved, and also I prefer the tunic shape to the frock, it is more
'dressy' and the men take some pride in looking smart. At present there
is a want of uniformity in the dress. I am told the uniform lately sent
is excellent, but I hardly concur in the system of allowing officers to
wear the same as the men with the addition of gold lace—it may do for
service but I think a neat full-dress should be adopted, not costly but
such as they could feel becoming their position in society. I believe
the officers desire this Improvement. I think the simpler the adornment
of lace the better.
"It is suggested that
the officers should wear swords which have a great effect upon the
Indian mind and a shoulder belt with a pouch for field glasses. Indeed I
think constables should have a field glass, they are absolutely
necessary on the prairie; a great number of Indians and others now wear
them, and the police are therefore at a disadvantage without this aid."
Shortly after this,
while the Hon. II. \V. Scott was the ministerial head of the department,
at the request of the officers, the tunic pattern of "coat" was adopted
for the non-commissioned officers and men, a most elaborate officers'
uniform being sanctioned at the same time. This included a very handsome
tunic of the hussar pattern, but of course of scarlet cloth, and with
the rich trimmings of gold lace and braid bestowed upon the familiar
hussar officer's blue garment. Other striking features of this uniform
were long drooping of horse hair worn in the officers' helmets, and a
sabre tache literally covered with gold lace, the main ornament being
the corp's badge, as at present, consisting of a buffalo head surrounded
by maple leaves, with a garter underneath inscribed with the corp's
motto "Maintiens le Droit." Of course gold lace belts were also worn At
the time this uniform was adopted comment was made upon •ts
exceptionally elaborate and expensive character, hut it was represented
by the officers that smartness is especially required in the early years
of any corps to assist in the development of a proper feeling of corps
pride, and furthermore,, that in this case there was a special object to
be considered in connection with the uniform of the Mounted Police,
namely the importance of creating a marked impression of the importance
and authority of the officers of the force upon the receptive minds of
the Indians. Owing to these arguments, and to the fact that the officers
themselves, who would have to pay for the gold lace and plumes, had
asked for them, the minister gave his sanction to the elaborate uniform
which was so long worn by the officers.
For some years now the
officers have worn plainer and less expensive tunics of dragoon
officers' pattern in full dress.
The dressy blue undress
patrol jacket with braided breast and hanging tabs, still worn by the
officers, was adopted at the same time as the original elaborate full
The helmet was never
regarded with favour in the Mounted Police, nor apparently in any other
Canadian organization of a military character. The relegation of that
head-dress to the rubbish heap was repeatedly and urgently asked for
before the wishes of all ranks were concurred in a few years ago.
In his annual report
for 1880 the Commissioner under the heading of uniform wrote as
"The uniform, clothing
and boots supplied to the force last year were very good; the
underclothing particularly so. I think that a light grey felt hat would
be preferable to the helmet. Very few wear the latter unless obliged to.
On trips they are almost invariably carried in the waggons, and get
greatly damaged by the knocking about. The men always wear felt hat*
when they can. With the present kit the men are well clothed, and are id
a position to turn out at any time of the year."
In his annual report
for 1885 Commissioner Irvine wrote:—'
"The suitability of the
present dress of the police has long been a moot point. On the one hand,
the red coat, from long association, has the confidence of the Indians,
and conduces to the smartness and soldierly appearance of the men. On
the other hand, a red coat soon loses its color under the dust and dirt
of prairie travel. I see no necessity for an alteration in the tunic,
which *s used on full dress parades, Arc., but consider that a working
suit of some stout material is very desirable. There could hardly be a
better pattern both as regards material and cut, than the suit worn
recently by Methuen's horse n Smith Africa. I forwarded, m July 1884, a
pattern of a cap which I considered suitable for prairie work, in that
it shades the eyes and back of the neck, is light to wear, serviceable
in colour, easy to carry when not in wear, and of little cost.
" It is an object to do
away with pipeclay as much as possible. It was for this reason that I
recommended, last year, the adoption of brown leather gauntlets, such as
are worn by the mounted infantry of the Imperial service, in place of
the white ones with which we are now equipped.
"The same remark
applies to the helmet, future issues of which should be of buff or brown
leather. It would be better, also, if they were not so tall as the
present pattern, which presents an unnecessary surface to the wind on
the prairie, and is thereby rendered very uncomfortable to the wearer."
time and time again, in their reports, drew attention to desirable
changes in the uniform, all condemning the helmet as unsuitable for
In his annual report
for 1886 Supt. E. W. Jarvis, at the time commanding "B" Division,
pointed out that the police uniform fitted too well for a man actively
engaged in rough prairie work, and was soon spoiled by duties required
round a camp fire. He suggested the issue of a " prairie dress" which
would consist of dark brown cord or velveteen breeches, long boots and
spurs, a heavy flannel shirt, over which the stable jacket could be worn
when required, and a broad-rimmed hat of soft felt to complete the
outfit. The regular uniform would be saved for parade and duty in
About the same time
other officers made similar recommendations and a brown duck service
suit was a short time afterwards issued for wear about barracks, stable
duties, etc. In his report at the end of the year 1899, the Commissioner
wrote:—"The duck suit is still very satisfactory, but the cap is found,
outside fatigue work about barracks, to be of little use, and in wet
weather it is no protection against rain, and also loses all shape. I am
more than ever of opinion that a heavy felt hat, of a uniform pattern
should be adopted for patrol work, and that they be kept on repayment. "
This duck suit was of
course of little or no use for prairie' work except perhaps for very
short trips in summer, and there was a general demand for a serviceable
prairie uniform. In his report at the end of 1899, Inspecting
Superintendent Cotton, wrote:—"I would again renew my previously made
recommendation in favour of a prairie suit of some neutral colour. A
loose Norfolk jacket (lots of pockets) made of light, soft cord, with
riding breeches of the same material, would, I think, answer our purpose
The recruit upon being
regularly enlisted in the force receives as a free issue a complete and
most excellent kit, which includes m addition to the entire kit issued
to the cavalry soldier, warm underclothing, fur cap, fur coat, buckskin
mittens, etc., etc. Of course men serving in the Arctic regions receive
a special kity which is made as complete as possible.
In 1894 the various
acts passed regarding the North-West Mounted Police were revised and
consolidated and embodied in a new statute "The Mounted Police Act of
1894" (57-58 Victoria, c. 27.)
This is the legislation
under which the force is at present maintained.
Although the Mounted
Police is popularly regarded as a military body, which is not surprising
considering the uniforms and style of the officers and men, the strict
discipline, and the military character of much of the work done, the
force, like its famous prototype, the Royal Irish Constabulary, is
actually a purely civil body, although at a moment's notice, liable and
ready to be transformed into a formidable military unit.
The department of
North-West Mounted Police is a separate branch of the civil government
at Ottawa, under the control of the Premier and President of the Privy
Council, the Right Honourable Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the permanent head of
the department being the Comptroller.
Frederick White, C.M.G., Comptroller of the Royal North-West Mounted
Police, was born in Birmingham, England, February 16, 1847. Educated
there, he came to Canada as a young man, and was trained to official
life under the late Lieut.-Col. Bernard, C.M.G., one of the ablest
public officers of the old regime at Ottawa. He entered the Department
of Justice as a third class clerk, March 1, 1869, being appointed chief
clerk. August, 1876. Upon the organization of the N.W.M.P. (in
connection it will be remembered, with the Department of Justice of
which Sir John A. Macdonald, the Premier, was minister) Sir John
specially selected him to take charge under him of the administration of
the Mounted Police Branch of the Justice Department, the title of
Comptroller of the N.W.M.P. being conferred upon him. Sir John at this
time explained his ideas as to the organization and equipment of the
force to Mr. White and entrusted him with their execution. In all the
changes which have taken place in the administrative head of the force,
succeeding Ministers have retained the Comptroller in his position and
given him their confidence. In July, 1883, he was accorded the rank and
status of a deputy head of department. No man in the Canadian public
service has had as extended an experience of North-West affairs or lias
individually contributed as much to its satisfactory development. From
1SS0 to 1SS2, he served as private secretary to Sir John A. Macdonald, m
addition to his other duties. While a resident of Montreal, after first
coming to Canada, he served for a time in the ranks of the 3rd Victoria
Rifles, after moving to Ottawa accepting a commission in the Governor
General's Foot Guards and attaining the rank of Captain. May 17, 1901,
as a special ease, he received the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the
Active Militia, m recognition of long and honourable service largely of
a military character, and especially as a mark of appreciation of the
value of his co-operation with the militia authorities in the work of
raising and equipping the several Canadian contingents for South Africa.
He received the appointment of Companion of the Distinguished Order of
St. Michael and St. George in 1902.
were originally designated "Inspectors and the Inspectors
"Sub-Inspectors," but after a few yaws, as the establishment, increased
these titles were found to be cumbersome and the system adopted of
designating the commanding officers of divisions "Superintendents," and
their subalterns "Inspectors."
It will be remembered
that when originally despatched to the North-West, the Mounted Police
had the usual compliment of regimental staff officers.
Owing to the great
distances which separated the several Mounted Police Posts it was found
impossible for the paymaster, the quartermaster and the veterinary
surgeon to perform the duties which at the organization of the force, it
was intended they should discharge, and those offices were therefore
abolished under authority of Order-in-Council of August 16.1870, and
June 25, 1877. Since those dates the officers commanding divisions have
performed the duties of Paymaster and Quartermaster of their respective
commands. At the time of the change competent sub-constables were
appointed veterinary constables at the principal posts. In course of
tune promotion as veterinary staff sergeants came to some of the most
efficient of these men, and for some time now there has again been a
staff of veterinary surgeons at headquarters. and several posts,
rendered necessary by the quarantine duties which for long have
comprised a very important part of the duties of the force.
The officers of the
force are obtained from three sources—from among the graduates of the
Royal Military College, Kingston; from the Active Militia! and from tin
rank and file of the force. I he latter source of supply is very proline
on account of the very high standard of manhood which hits always
prevailed in the force. Socially a considerable proportion of the
constables of the various divisions would be a credit to any regimental
mess in the world.
Every member, on
joining the force, is required to take the oath of allegiance, and in
addition an oath of office in the following form:—
"I, A. B., solemnly
swear that I will faithfully, diligently, and impartially execute and
perform the duties required of me as a member of the North-West Mounted
Police Force, and will well and truly obey and perform all lawful orders
and instructions which I shall receive as such, without fear, favour, or
affection of or toward any person. So help me, God."
Every constable, upon
his appointment to the force, signs articles of engagement for a term of
service not exceeding five years; but he is liable to be discharged at
any time by the Commissioner for cause.
The duties of the force
are enumerated in the Act as follows:—
(a) The preservation of
the peace and the prevention of crime.
(b) The arrest of
criminals and others who may be lawfully taken into custody.
(c) Attendance on
magistrates and execution of process.
(d) The escort and
conveyance of prisoners to and from courts and prisons.
(e) To search for,
seize, and destroy intoxicating liquors where their sale is prohibited.
Although the members of
the force are not subject to the Army Act and Militia Act, except when
serving with the Active Militia in the field, the discipline is
officers and men accused of any of the following offences are liable to
arrest and trial:—
(a) Disobeying or
refusing to obey the lawful command of, or striking his superior.
(b) Oppressive or
tyrannical conduct toward his inferior.
(d) Having intoxicating
liquor illegally in his possession, or concealed.
(e) Directly or
indirectly receiving any gratuity, without the Commissioner's sanction,
or any bribe.
(f) Weai ing any party
manifesting political partisanship.
(h) Overholding any
(i) Mutinous or
(j) Unduly overholding
any allowance or any of the public money entrusted to him.
(k) Misapplying or
improperly withholding any mono}' or goods levied under any warrant or
taken from any prisoner.
(l) Divulging any
matter or thing which it is his duty to keep secret, (ra) Making any
anonymous complaint to the Government or the Commissioner. (n)
Communicating, without the Commissioner's authority, either directly or
indirectly, to the public press, any matter or thing touching the force.
(m) Willfully, or
through negligence or connivance, allowing any prisoner to escape.
(p) Using any cruel,
harsh, or unnecessary violence towards any prisoner or other person.
(q) Leaving any post
on1 which he has been placed as sentry or on other duty,
(r) Deserting or
absenting himself from his duties or quarters without leave,
(s) Scandalous or
profane, or grossly immoral conduct.
(u) Violating any
standing order, rule, or regulation, or any order, rule, or regulation
(v) Any disorder or
neglect to the prejudice of morality or discipline, although not
specified in this Act, or in any rule or regulation.
All pecuniary penalties
form a fund which is applied to the payment of rewards for good conduct
or meritorious service, to the establishment of libraries and recreation
rooms, and to such other objects for the benefit of the force as may be
Offences by the
commissioned officers are tried in a summary way by the Commissioner,
who is clothed with the necessary authority to compel the attendance of
New Riding School of the R.N.W.M.P. at Regina.
All recruits join the
depot, where an efficient instructional staff is maintained, and where
they are supposed to receive the ground work in their education as
members of the force which experience will ripen into efficiency. The
present Commissioner, feels that it is more than ever necessary for a
thorough grounding at the depot, for, once transferred, there is neither
time nor opportunity to supply the want.
H. Christie Thomson, an
ex-member of the force, describing life in the force in an article
published in the "Boy's Own Paper," February 1897, made a special
reference to the life of the recruit at the depot:—
"The first few months
of a recruit's service are spent in Regina, the headquarters of the
force, where he is put through a regular course of instruction. He rides
and drills, drills and rides—particularly' rides, until he is heartily
sick of the sight of a drill sergeant or a riding master Throughout the
extremely painful period spent in acquiring a military seat, he is
upheld by the thought that it is only for a very few months. As he works
upward from the awkward to Xo. 1 squad, and from No. 1 to Xo. 1 Ride, he
is always looking forward to the time when he shall be dismissed from
rides and drills, and transferred far from Regina. with its "rookies"
(reernts), its riding school and its parade ground.
"In addition to the
training of the soldier, he receives instruction in many subjects
bearing upon his future work. Police dulies, a smattering of law,
veterinary science, care of transport and saddlery, all receive due
attention. He is taught to shoe a horse, to drive two horses or four,
and by actual experience is initiated into the many mysteries antl
secrets of camping out.
"During the day his
time is fully occupied. The horses have to be attended to at least three
times each day, he has his parades, his lectures and an occasional
fatigue. In the intervals of duty he must be cleaning his kit,
polishing, burnishing and brushing, for cleanliness is the first
requisite of a soldier. With the exception of doing his turn on guard,
which comes around every week or so, his evenings are altogether his
own, and he can choose between a dozen different amusements.
"Once through his
course of training, and transferred from Regina, a new phase of life
begins, and a much pleasanter one. tie has now much more time to
himself. and discipline is not so strict. There are not nearly so many
parades, and better than all, a considerable portion of his time is now
spent patrolling the praine, far from barracks and civilization. And
here he is absolutely free and diasterless as though he did not wear the
Queen's uniform. Prairie fires have to be fought, horse thieves and
desperadoes caught, Indian reserves patrolled, the observance of the
game and fishery laws enforced, settlers looked after, lost horses
hunted, and a thousand other duties to be performed that necessitate a
constant life n the saddle.
It will be realized
from the foregoing that although a civil force, the R.N.W.M.P. is
drilled as a military organization, and it is so thoroughly drilled too,
that officers and men can at a moment's notice act either as cavalry,
artillery or infantry.
And, be it remembered
by good intentioned but ignorant people who read both history and
passing events with one eve shut and consequently imagine that military
drill ami discipline have no practical value since the invention of arms
of precision, the training imparted to the recruit at the depot of this
unsurpassed corps of "soldiers-of-all-work " is not confined to
instruction in marksmanship and equitation, although great stress is
laid upon those branches; but includes complete courses in setting-up
drill, infantry drill, cavalry drill, etc. Even the intricacies of the
musical ride—a phase of military work which so-called reformers are so
fond of railing at, is mastered by picked squads. This art is acquired
at voluntary drills, and the immense amount of work required to secure
the absolute perfection attained in the training of men and horses but
illustrates the devotion of all ranks to their special work and their
ambition to be excelled in smartness by none. The performance of the
musical ride by a picked squad of the Mounted Police would make the most
showy cavalry regiment in His Majesty's service anxious about its
A Musical Ride Squad of the R.N.W.M.P. al Regina.
At times several of the
Divisions have had fine brass bands, iu some cases the olhcers and men
providing the instruments themselves, in others the department affording
a little assistance. In 1886 "D", "K" and "II" Divisions had very good
bands, and the following year one was started at the depot, the
instruments being provided bv the department. The frequent, changes of
station, the extension of the outpost system as the country was settled,
and the other exactions of service have made it very difficult to
maintain bands. A new voluntary band was formed at the depot under
Sergeant Walker in 1904.
As the depot is the
nerve centre of the whole force, so is the "post" of each Division. Each
divisional post, they arc all posted at carefully selected points, is
the hub of a system of patrols and outposts. Some of the latter are
maintained only at certain seasons, generally the summer. The
detachments occupying them vary from an officer's command to a single
constable, but most of them consist of a squad under a sergeant or a
constable. The larger outposts are houses in government buildings
erected for the purpose. At first these were mere "shacks" or huts put
together hurriedly by the various detachments, but latterly a great
improvement has been effected and there are now numerous cozy, and in
some cases, almost pretentious quarters for the chief detachments
commanding the principal trails. Some isolated detachments are housed in
farm houses, while others are accommodated in private houses in villages
and hamlets along the various lines of railway.
The whole vast country
is covered like a network by a most efficient system of patrolling. A
map of the North-West indicating the posts, outposts and patrols of the
North-West Mounted Police, looks as if the country were covered with a
series of large and small cobwebs, the larger representing the
divisional posts and their patrols, the smaller the outposts or
detachments and theirs.
The men on outpost duty
patrol the international frontier for the suppression of smuggling and
horse stealing, and the whole country in the vicinity of their
detachments for the enforcement of the law and departmental regulations.
An important duty which particularly falls upon the patrols is the
guarding against and suppressing of prairie fires, and frequently this
duty is extremely hazardous.
Of recent years, since
the present great influx of population began, the duties of the police
in connection with the settlers and settlement have greatly increased.
Every new settler is interviewed and thoroughly informed as to the laws
and departmental regulations, the maxim being applied to the new
citizens of Canada as it was years ago in dealing with the Indians, that
preventive measures are far superior to repressive ones. W hen a
constable rides out on his patrol he carries a patrol sheet which is
handed in succession to each settler, who is required to sign the paper,
stating whether he has any complaints or not, and if he has, indicating
their nature. On his return to his post, outpost, or detachment, the
patrol hands in his patrol sheet. All new settlers, especially
foreigners, look to the ponce for advice, for they are not slow to
realize that these dashing "warriors of justice" hold them strictly to
account as subjects and occupants of the land, but at the same time
afford them full and complete protection,
if need be, at the risk
of their lives. Any momentary unruliness on the part of recently settled
communities is soon repressed, for the fearless way, yet with scrupulous
avoidance of bloodshed, with which the arrest of delinquents is promptly
effected never fails to make the desired impression. The advice of the
red-coats is constantly being asked by new settlers, and they have
settled amicably many disputes which might easily have resulted in
Many a settler could
tell of valuable assistance received from the men of this ubiquitous
military-constabulary outside altogether of the discharge of their
ordinary duties. They have been helped by the men charged with their
security and protection, to pitch their camps the first night on the
prairie, to erect their first modest huts, to herd their live stock, to
repair their harness and vehicles, to even cook their meals and nurse
their sick and children. And your bravest man is always your gentlest
In the large number of
time-expired men who have remained in the far west, men accustomed by
discipline to practice the useful virtues of respect for authority and
self restraint, the force has contributed to the North-West some of its
very best settlers and citizens.
Among the most
important duties discharged by the officers of the force are those
appertaining to their magisterial functions, and in the interpretation
and application of the law they have never left anything to be desired.
It is related that the
great Blackfoot chief "Crow-B foot," in a spirit of some hostility, soon
after the police took possession of the country, attended the trial of a
couple of the braves of his tribe before an officer of the force. -He
followed the proceedings closely, and was so impressed with their
absolutely impartial character that he remarked:—"This is a place where
the forked tongue is made straight. When my people do wrong they shall
come here." And the wise and just old chieftain, statesman, orator a.id
warrior, in every way a credit to his race, kept his word and never had
occasion to regret it.
Within the present year
(1906) an important change in the control of the Royal North-West
Mounted Police has taken place. Most of the territory comprised within
the region which the force originally opened up, having been erected
into the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, the administration of
justice therein falls within the scope of the provincial governments,
instead of continuing under the Dominion Government, as heretofore. So,
although the federal control and direction of the whole force is
maintained, the posts and detachments thereof stationed in the new
provinces will act under the direct instructions of the
General although maintained by the Dominion Government under a special
There continues to be
abundance of work for this incomparable body of men to do, not alone in
the Yukon. Mackenzie, Peace River and Hudson Bay districts but in the
new provinces as well. The enforcement of law and order in the
construction camps of the great railways now being rushed westward and
northward is no small matter, for railway construction in connection
with both the Grand Trunk Pacific and the Canadian Northern, is being
rapidly pushed forward just now, the railway activity in the North-West
being unequalled in the history of the world.
The Grand Trunk Pacific
Railway Company, which was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1903, is
under agreements with the Canadian Government for the construction and
operation of a line of railway across Canada, from the Atlantic to the
Pacific ocean, wholly within Canadian territory, of an estimated mileage
of main line of 3,600 miles; in addition to which there will be
constructed several branch lines of considerable length and importance,
including a line from the main line southerly 190 miles to Fort Will am
and Port Arthur, on Lake Superior, for the purpose of reaching
navigation on the Great Lakes; also from the main line southerly about
229 n lies to North Bay or Gravenhurst, n the Province of Ontario, to
make connection with the lines of the Grand Trunk Railway Company of
Canada, and another line from the main hue southerly to Montreal. Branch
lines are proposed as well, to Brandon, Regiria, Prince Albert and
Calgary, and to Dawson u the Yukon Territory.
This great undertaking
which surpasses in magnitude and importance, any plan of railway
construction hitherto conceived as a whole, has been projected to meet
the pressing demand for transportation facilities in British North
America, caused by the large tide of immigration which is now flowing
into that country from Great Britain, Northern Europe, and still more
extensively from the Western States of the United States, seeking the
rich lands which lie so abundantly in the Province of Manitoba, and the
territories of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Athabaska.
comprising the North-West Territories (the latter, however, having been
absorbed in the two new provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta), the
lands originally opened up to settlement by the Mounted Police, and now
covered by their patrols.
The country through
which the Prairie Section of the railway will pass, contains land now
known to be well adapted for the grow mg of wheat, which in extent is
four times the wheat growing area of the United States, and is the great
agricultural belt of the North-West.
Mr. Frank W. Morse,
Vice-President and General Manager of the Grand Trunk Pacific is a warm
admirer of the Royal North-West Mounted Police, having been able to form
an idea of the efficiency and splendid work of the force from his visits
to the North-West and over the projected line of his company's railway.
Upon one occasion Mr. Morse rode 500 miles on horseback across country
from Portage la Prairie to Saskatoon, and there was not a moment that he
did not feel just as safe as if he had been in his office in the city of
Mr. Frank W. Morse (on the left), Vice-Provident and General Manager
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, and party over the Surveyed Line through
the Prairie Region
The rough service of a
pioneer nature now discharged by the members of the force lies trrgedy
in the Yukon and the vast and only partially explored territories to the
north of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, but even there the rough
border element is being eliminated, and law and order established.
Bishop Stringer, who
succeeded that great Church of England hero, Bishop Bompas, in mission
work in the far north, was a visitor in Winnipeg this summer (1900) en
route to the Mackenzie River, where he has ministered to the Indians
since 1S92. Speaking of one phase of his work in the far north, he
highly compliments the Mounted Police in this language:
"Formerly the country
was overrun by Americans. Xow this is all changed, and the new-comers to
the north are Canadian born. Perhaps it is that the Americans are
becoming Canadianized; but travelling through the country now-a-days,
the fact is borne in mind that the Canadians are greatly m the majority.
We are getting more particular as to whom we welcome to the great north
now. The tough finds his row a hard one to hoe, and this in a great
measure is owing to the excellent management of the members of the
R.N.W.M.P., whose work in the wild sections of the northland cannot be
over-estimated. It isn't the numbers of them, nor is it the force of
their authority; it is a subtle something which enters the mind of the
wrong-doer whenever he meets the eye of the man wearing the red jacket.
Why, an ordinary constable wearing No badge of office beyond his small
badge and redcoat, strikes terror to the heart of the roughest. It is
the dignity and the determination of the police, and the splendid esprit
de corps of the force. The mounted police, it may be asserted, have been
the safety and pride of the whole north country."
Some years ago
despatches had to be sent to a distant post during extremely severe
weather. A young constable of good family, a university graduate, in
fact, was selected. A stinging blizzard set in. soon after he started,
and days slid into weeks with 110 tidings of him. The following spring a
patrol entering a secluded coulee found a storm-worn uniform of the
force still clothing the bones of the lost courier. His mind in the last
solemn moments appears to have been more haunted with the fear that he
would not be able to discharge the duty entrusted to him than with any
concern as to his personal safety. On his orders were scrawled a few
brief sentences:—"Lost, horse dead. Am trying to push ahead. Have done
my best." Truly a pathetic vindication of the honour and sense of duty
of a gallant member of this remarkable force of soldier-police.
That has always been
the spirit of the Royal North-West Mounted Police, and wherever the duty
of the force is to lie in the future, these capable officers and
dashing, daring men may be depended upon to do their best, and to add
many chapters just as honourable as those preceding them to the
chivalrous, romantic and patriotic record of the force.