We have heard about people stranded on a remote island perhaps for days or months. Reports are that they were about to go 'out of their minds' until they were rescued. In the criminal justice system, the most serious sanction for a prisioner is to be placed in solitary confinement. The prisoner lives the remainder of his or her life apart from all other human beings and never experinces personal contact. One cannot imagine a dreadful life of solitary stillness and aloneness.
In his last days, Our Vet of the Month for July, 2010 was poor and abandoned. Sadly, upon his death, he lost his name and, after all these years, is still waiting for a more honourable burial.
First, let's reveal what is known about our Vet of the Month. It is known that Reg. #1032, Constable George Henderson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and after immigrating to Canada, he joined the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) on May 29, 1884.
He was posted to 'Depot' Division in Regina, SK. He must have been brave because he was present and fought in the Riel North West Rebellion.
Like many others, Cst. Henderson had human flaws. On September 4, 1898, he was charged in Service Court for 'neglect of duty'. His punishment was a demotion in rank from Staff Sergeant to Sergeant. Hardly five months later, Henderson was in Service Court again for being intoxicated. For this offence, he was fined $10 and demoted again from Sergeant to Constable. Unquestionably, these experiences marked Henderson. After years of hard work which had earned him notable promotions, he lost two ranks and his reputation. Shortly afterwards, he quit the NWMP.
There is no mention in the records of a family for Cst. Henderson. He died in Fort QuAppelle, SK and the lack of care for his remains might indicate that he was desperately alone. He was buried at St. Hubert's Mission in the Whitewood District of Saskatchewan in an unmarked grave.
RCMP Vet. George Anderson, presently living in Saskatchewan, reports that he tried to obtain a headstone for Cst. Henderson in 1984, but he was unsuccessful. It seems that RCMP policy regarding the care of grave sites did not apply to Cst. Henderson.
Since his death, Cst. Henderson has had no name as he continues to lie with no grave marker in a pauper's grave. Surely, something can be done for him.
Written by Reg.#23685, Buffalo J. J. (Joe) Healy assisted by Vet. George Anderson and with the kindness of notes by Vet. Jack White.
'Maintain Our Memories'