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Monday, January 31, 2011

In Memory of Reg.#4708, RNWMP Sergeant Percy Rose


In Memory of Reg.#4708,
RNWMP Sergeant Percy Rose

'Friends Not Forgotten'

This memorable note from the Percy family has been received.

Dear Buffalo Joe,
Re: Reg.#4708, Percy Rose

Thank you very much, for this tremendous service you are doing.  My grandfather joined the RNWMP on May 8, 1908. He was a constable and corporal.

On May 1, 1917 he joined the Northern Manitoba Provincial Police as a constable and left December 31, 1924 joining the Manitoba Provincial Police on January 1, 1925. He became sergeant and on April 1, 1932.

Seventy-four of the then 85 MPP, joined the RCMP. He retired May 31, 1936. I have all his discharge papers, long service medal, RNWMP and RCMP badges.

He was stationed in The Pas, Thompson, Swan River, etc. all the way to Churchill. I have his photo album of the frozen North. I will take a photo of his gravestone for you.

Kind regards,

D. Wendy McAlpine, daughter of Dorothy Mary McAlpine(nee:Rose) granddaughter of Percy Rose

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy,

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In Celebration of Reg.#11912, Ernest Henderson - Age 106

In Celebration of Reg.#11912, Ernest Henderson

Oldest Living Member of the RCMP @ 106 years

In the last few days, the following messages were received from the family of Ernest Henderson.

'Hi Joe,

I know that your website mainly focuses on graves but I thought it would be interesting for your readers to know that my husband's grandfather just turned 106 and was an RCMP officer. His name is Ernest Henderson.

Mr. Henderson served in various places in Alberta - most notably Drumheller. He presently lives in High River, AB and still has great stories to tell of working. He didn't work that long as an RCMP because it didn't pay enough and he couldn't marry in those days. We will send you some pictures.

Truly, Kristin Hillenbrand []'

and message number two:

'Hi Joe,

Here are a few pictues for your readers. The first photo (top) was taken at 'Depot' Division, Regina in 1933. The picture below (Musical Ride) was taken in 1934 in Vancouver, BC.

Yours truly,

Rob Henderson []'

All Vets also join you to celebrate the life of 'Ernie' Henderson. We can truly call him Senior Man. My sincere thanks to Kristin and Rob for these memorable photos.

More about Cst. Henderson's life will be written in our Vet. of the Month segment of the website.

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

Saturday, January 29, 2011

In Memory of Reg.#10402, Corporal. F.G. Truscott


In Memory of  Reg.#10402, Cpl. Frederick George Hicks Truscott

'Friends Not Forgotten'

Corporal F. G. Truscott was born in 1908. He served the Force for many years and he died in Toronto in 1987. The Toronto Div. Vets have established that Cpl. Truscott is buried in Sanctuary Park Cemetery, Toronto. Ontario.  

Vet. Murray Adair researched Cpl. Truscott's life and established a snippit of trivia. Murray says that the first RCMP Owen Sound Detachment was opened by F.G. Truscott on July 2nd,1932. It's our history.


* to Vet Murray Adair for the history snippet
* to Vet Jack O'Reilly for the photo of Cpl. Truscott's grave maarker.

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

Friday, January 28, 2011

Grave found - Mystery solved - Reg.#5934, E.D. Harmon

Breaking News

Unmarked grave found - Another mystery solved
Reg.#5934, E.D. Harmon

'Friends Not Forgotten'

For several years, the death place of Cst. E. D. Harmon was known to be Lethbridge, AB and that his final resting place was supposed to be Foremost, AB. However, for years and years, his grave could not be located. Until recently. I am pleased that Cst. Harmon's final rsting place was found by Mr. Reg Keatley, Friend of the Force, Calgary, Alberta.

First, Cst. E. D. Harmon was born about 1882. He joined the Force in 1914 at the oubreak of WWI. A year later, Harmon quit the Force. He had been posted to 'K' Div.

Cst. Harmon died in 1943, but his actual grave could not be located. The reason for the mystery is that Cst. Harmon's grave is unmarked in the Foremost, AB Cemetery -- his grave has no identifiable marker. His grave location was identified by Mr. Keatley. There was nothing to photograph.

'Maintain Our Memories'

J J Healy,

In Memory of Reg.# 15377 and Reg.# 0.590 Supt. E. R. Madill

Reg.# 15377 and Reg.# 0.590
Superintendent E. R. 'Ted' Madill

'Friends Not Forgotten'

There is one particular reason why life can be sunny and enjoyable. Friends.

Unexpectedly, every once in awhile throughout my career, I would meet a new friend who left me with a memorable, favourable impression. That's the case with Supt. 'Ted' Madill. He was a friend.

I was a new Corporal in 'Depot'. Supt. Madill was the Admin Officer under Chief Superintendent 'Tad' Tadison. Supt. 'Bill' MacRae was the Training Officer.

One day, I was walking near the Chapel and Supt. Madill was returning to his office after lunch. Salute, naturally. He stopped and spoke to me. Immediately I felt comfortable in his presence. It was about 1973.

Superintendent and a fresh new Corporal. The 'old man' with experience, days gone by, age, wisdom, yarns to tell. Corporal as a listener fascinated by stories he told about my home province of New Brunswick. 'Oh yes, he says, I know all about St. Stephen, NB as I was once posted to 'J'. 'How about those fiddleheads'? 'Aren't they delicious?' Ah, Sir; what's a fiddlehead?'

Supt. Madill was born in 1928 at Alton, Ontario. He joined the Force in 1948 and over the span of a long career, he had been posted to 'J', 'HQ', 'F', 'O' 'F' then 'Depot' Div.. He retired in 1983 and he continued to live in Regina, SK. He was active and involved with the 'F' Div. Vets.

Supt. Madill was not my buddy. He was a friend. While I was an NCO in other parts of Canada, Supt. Madill remained a friend over the years. He was the kind of Officer that I wanted to be when I grew up. We did not socialize together and I had never visited his home. I recall that his wife was kind.

My friend was not threatening yet he was curious in conversation. Perhaps, maybe, he was reminded of being a Corporal years ago? Time passes. Everyone has memories which flash into our minds when a catalyst ignites them. I was a Corporal. Perhaps, as a Corporal I was the catalyst.

And, there was another thing that made Supt, Madill special. He didn't demand respect. He was tall and the quiet type, observing, noting, watching.
He was approachable. His personality made him respected by the junior ranks.

On one occasion, I received a sarcastic memo from an NCO in the Admin Office. I had goofed up with the submission of a form related to a university course. The memo came to me directly from the NCO. Supt. Madill had not seen a copy of it until many hours later. He called me to apologize for the ill tone of the memo. That's the way he was. A friend. Later, I spotted the NCO in the stables.

I last met Supt. Madill at the Vets AGM in 2000 at 'Depot' Div. I had retired. We laughed. We said good bye. Supt. 'Ted' Madill died in 2009. He is buried in the 'Depot' Cemetery.

I'm not sure where my friend went after his death? But, I have a very solid hunch. If I'm right I'll be seeing Supt. Madill again.

But, only if I'm lucky too.

Friends are always friends, eh?

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

Thanks to:

Friend of the Force, Erik Nicholson for the photo of Supt. Madill,
and Vet. AJH 'Joe' Collinson, for the photo of Supt. Madill's final resting place at 'Depot' Div.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

RCMP Graves Website - some statistics

'Friends Not Forgotten'

RCMP and Vets Graves Website and Database


On occasion, I've been asked statistical questions related to the RCMP and Vets Graves Information Website and Database.

Here are a few statistics:

100 - average number of hits from around the world per 24 hours. Some days its 135 hits, others its 96.

22 - average number of countries that hit on the website each day; the top countries are: Canada, US, UK, Australia, Switzerland, Ireland and South Africa.

197 - average number of Canadian cities and towns from which hits originate each day; the top cities are; Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton, Kamloops, Thornhill, Waterloo, Dartmouth and Kingston.

5 - the average number of minutes for a search in the database.

14, 500 - the number of deceased NWMP, RNWMP and RCMP presently listed in the database.

1,700 - average number of hits on the database page per month

32 - the number of rows in each members file which will accept data; i.e. Reg.#, date of birth, photo etc.

3 - number of systems back ups for the website; one in California and two in Canada.

1 - number of technical helpers with the website and database (Mr. Gerry Vullings of Ottawa).

1 - average number of times per week that a technical glitch arises with the website or the database.

122 - number of individual pages in the website.

35 - average number of e-mails received each day related to the website or database.

2,500 - number of photographs presently in the database (of graves or photos of deceased members)

5- average number of minutes required to post a photograph; resize, focus, crop, apply borders, enter.

1 - number of obscene e-mails received over the years of the website's existence

? - average number of hours per day required to maintain the website and database - info cannot be released because my wife monitors this blog.

? - average annual cost required to maintain this website and database - cannot be released for the same reason as above.

100's - average number of Vets and family members who contribute to the website per month and to whom notes of appreciation replies are sent. Thank you.

4 - most popular web pages which readers visit daily; database, home page, Buffalo Blog, Buffalo Board.

0 - number of complaints received from the RCMP, our RCMP Vets or the public community about the website's purpose, its content or the database.

1- number of people assisting with French translation

* Every effort is being made to have the entire website translated into French.

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy,

Some complexities of caring for graves

Graves and other underlying issues

'Friends Not Forgotten'

Intro: Presently, our Vets are exploring ways to coordinate a Canada wide program aimed at restoring and caring for NWMP, RNWMP and RCMP graves.

I was asked by Ottawa Vet Alex Geddes to provide some input. This is my report.

Hi Alex,

First, thank you for advising me of the effort to renew old graves and markers, etc.

I thought I’d mention a few other considerations for your deliberation; this is not the final eulogy on the topic.

1. Many hundreds of graves of the NWMP have been found and photographed by volunteers especially in Alberta, but there are many which have not yet been found simply because there hasn’t been a coordinated push on to find them until the National RCMP Database was born. Now, there is a lot more interest, but more volunteers are needed to actively search for graves.

Conclusion: As of today, the entire body of NWMP graves have not been found. But, we are much further ahead today then we were a few years ago before the database.

2. Cost will be a major consideration if the Vets want to become responsible for the grave renewal program. The job is simply huge. Many graves are easily accessible, for instance in Calgary, but having access to some graves in isolated spots or on private property will make the task harder and more costly.

Conclusion: We might say that the majority of NWMP graves are located in larger centers, but in fact they are spread over several dozen cemeteries.

3. Replacing markers is just the starter. Most or many of the old NWMP graves are in need of repair – to repair or buy new ones will require a comparative analysis. Perhaps they all ought to be replaced with modern materials to better withstand the weather.

Conclusion: Some NWMP markers in good shape --- the big, tall, granite ones which some Officer’s families could afford. But, the majority of NWMP graves which we know about are faded so that the name of the deceased and bio data is difficult to read. Maybe black etching is required...but again, this will be a major undertaking and costly. Repainting a grave requires a professional touch—I suggest it’s not a summer project for students.

4. Many NWMP graves have wooden crosses versus granite. The wooden cross will have to be replaced as they are in need of replacement or repair.

Conclusion: Replacing the wooden crosses will add more costs.

5. As a broad statement, the majority of NWMP, RNWMP graves require some/full repair. Even if the stone marker is in fair condition, the plot might require work...small fences, seeding or the stone’s base/foundation is sinking into water, tilted or slipping into the cemetery ground.

Conclusion: Repairs to the stone markers is one small portion of the project. In many hundreds of cases, the foundation for the marker also requires work. I suppose this is the work of grounds people -- I would be surprised if the cemetery has grounds people on loan to our Vets --- rather it will become an additional cost to hire people. Recall too, that hundreds of graves, especially in the Maritimes are in small, church cemeteries. In these cases, our work will have to be coordinated with local folks.

6. Even some Force grave markers in large urban cemeteries are in poor (faded or moss covered) shape. There are some exceptions. But, one particular cemetery in NS is embarrassing to members – especially in the heat of the summer. Cemetery care takers do not pay any more attention to RCMP graves than anyone else’s – either the family shares the responsibility or members and Vets will have to be caring for them.

Conclusion: Grave work has to be ongoing, regular, consistent and worthy. Hundreds of graves might only require a minor cleanup; a brush and some water. Many of the old NWMP grave markers have moss growing on them, but it’s not a difficult task to clean them. Some volunteers carry cleaning kits with them in the car trunk. The chore is twofold, clean it up then take a fresh photo.

7. Back to the issue of unaccounted graves – old NWMP graves are continually being found as they have become buried under earth, leaves, etc.

Conclusion: Grave work is investigation work. Vets have to be patient in the quest to find graves. The job requires investigational techniques, library searches, town halls, churches, computer searches, etc. Some volunteers bite the bullet and pay for web sites while others find their answer in different ways. Some old obits give clues with regards to relatives.

8. Hundreds of graves have incorrect data on them. Spelling errors, incorrect ranks, incorrect names, incorrect dates and the list goes on and on. Someone has to be willing to pay for the costs of these grave markers also. There’s been a good effort to identify the graves with errors on them.

Conclusion: It’s costly to repair a grave stone; a spelling mistake or any kind of an error.

9. Alex, I think this repair program requires a Canada wide approach with the cooperation of many levels of government. Fundraising will be required as governments today want others to share the cost. Governments require a good plan; then they ask to be shown the cost sharing arrangements.

Conclusion: Perhaps a Canadian firm, bank, investment company would be the principle funding source. Vets have to invest their time also.

10. Our cemetery in ‘Depot’ also requires work as many grave stones need some sort of repair. Record keeping requires work. Commissioner Nicholson’s grave comes to mind as it has become discoloured. I’ve been working with the two daughters of Comm’r. Nicholson in Ottawa to find a contractor in Regina to replace his stone. It was a photograph which I had taken of Comm’r. Nicholson’s grave that made the daughters feel so bad about the poor condition of his stone. I have no idea for the reason that it had not been previously reported. As well, you will note on my site that deceased Deputy Commissioner Eves is identified as a Commissioner. His flat marker ought to be repaired?

Conclusion: I had a call this week from an Officer in ‘Depot’ about the National RCMP Grave Database. ‘Depot’s uses the databank frequently because their graves are all identified on the website. Alot of work has already been done for them by our Vets. But, ‘Depot’ intends to go one step further; they want to map out their cemetery property and pin point where all 800 to 1,000 graves are precisely located so that no one digs in the wrong spot. ‘Depot’ also wants to computerize all the locations...maybe GPS?

Final remarks. Much more can be said. Much more can be done. Much more money is required. Much more cooperation is required among Vet Divisions. I am willing to work as an advisor to you on more ideas...there is alot of enthusiasm in the field among Vets, families and friends to coordinate the graves project which I think is memorable and worthwhile. Most Vets, I believe are not compensated for their efforts but this situation may vary from Division to Division.

Final, final remarks. In a short time Alex, I will be announcing the discovery of the remains of a very senior Officer. He’s been lost. The Officer has been forgotten. The investigation to find this Officer has taken months, but finally tonight I can say that he’s been found. I mention this as one example of many other ‘ole timers who have been forgotten or overlooked. We’re not sure where they lie – especially members who passed away before 20 years service.

*The dead and small children have one thing in common: they prefer not be lost. Everyone lost wants to be found.

Yours truly,

Joe Healy

'Maintain Our Memories'

Last Post: Reg.#46073, Sgt. Steven Stark

Reg.# 46073, Sgt. Steven Stark
'Friends Not Forgotten'

Sergeant Steven Stark passed away suddenly at his home in Surrey, British Columbia on Saturday, January 22, 2001.

Steven was currently posted to Burnaby Detachment as the NCO I/C Emergency and Major Event Planning. He has served throughout the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, including Chilliwack Detachment and the "E" Division Clandestine Lab Team.

Sgt. Stark was a vibrant member of the Burnaby Detachment Family and served as Chair of the Health and Safety Committee and as a member of the Continuous Improvement Team. He was an active member of the "E" Division NCO's Mess, serving on the executive for several years.

Our thoughts are with Steve's wife Kim, their parents and families as well as the many friends who have gathered to lend their support. A Book of Remembrance and Condolences will be created from all email messages sent to the family. Please send email messages of condolence to the following

Account: This account will be checked frequently by family members and the Burnaby Detachment Assisting NCO to Mrs. Stark.

Funeral Details are as follows:  Celebration of Sgt. Steven Stark's Life (reception to follow) Saturday, January 29, 2011 1030 hours Peace Portal Alliance Church.

15128 - 27B Ave (Southwest corner of 152 Street and King George Blvd.) Surrey, BC.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the following charity in Steve's name: Donation envelopes will be available at the service.

Obituary, appreciation to : Vet. Sheldon Boles, Surrey, BC
'Maintain Our Memories'

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Recommended books for those interested in Force history

Recommended books (4) on Force history

1. Insignia of the Canadian Mounted Police : 1873-1998 by Donald J. Klancher 2009; Kamloops, BC; Mounted Police Research & Consulting; 620 pp; 8½ X 11

(216 mm X 279 mm); 900 photographs.

$100.00 + shipping

No potential source of information was overlooked during the exhaustive research, which was conducted over a period of some thirty years. The book represents the most in-depth study ever undertaken of the various badges and insignia worn, or used by, members of the North West Mounted Police {NWMP}, Royal North West Mounted Police {RNWMP} and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police {RCMP}.

This book quickly became the definitive history on NWMP, RNWMP and RCMP badges and insignia and without a doubt, will remain so for many years to come.

2. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Veterans' Association : 1924 - 1999 by Donald J. Klancher 1999; Kamloops, BC; Goss Publishing; 280 pp; 5.25 X 8.5 (133.5 mm X 209.5 mm); 18 illustrations.

Out of Print

In 1999, the RCMP Veterans' Association celebrated its 75th anniversary at the Annual General Meeting in Ottawa. This book, which was dedicated to members of the Association who supported and worked for it over the years, was part of the celebration.

Outlined were the 19th century attempts to organize an Association; along with efforts in the early part of the 20th century which led to the formation of the RNWMP Veterans' Association in 1924. The name was changed to the RCMP Veterans' Association in 1954.

3. The North West Mounted Police and the North West Rebellion by Donald J. Klancher 1999; Kamloops, BC; Goss Publishing; 158 pp; 5.25 X 8.5 (133.5 mm X 209.5 mm); 20 illustrations.

$21.95 + shipping

The wording on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Guidon reads simply "North West Canada 1885." That brief statement acknowledged the first major military involvement by members of the Force, then known as the North West Mounted Police (NWMP).

This fascinating book discussed the history of the involvement of the NWMP in the North West Rebellion of 1885, which took place in, what is now, West-Central Saskatchewan. The activities of many significant players were included, and some opinions offered regarding the situation as a whole.

The history of the rebellion was briefly discussed; the medal struck for the event described and illustrated. As near as could be determined, the book contains the only complete nominal rolls for members of the NWMP involved; including those members who were "under fire" during the conflict.


4. Arms & Accoutrements of the Mounted Police : 1873-1973 by Roger F. Phillips and Donald J. Klancher 1982; Bloomfield, Ontario; Museum Restoration Service; 212 pp; 8½ X 11 (216 mm X 279 mm); over 400 illustrations and photographs Soft cover: $31.95 + shipping; Hard cover: $49.95 + shipping

A definitive history, this detailed and fascinating work is the standard reference for the revolvers, rifles, machine guns, cannons, ammunition, swords, lances, saddlery, holsters, etc., used by the NWMP, RNWMP and the RCMP during the first hundred years of the Force.

Ordering information - contact the co-author at:


Box 1376
Kamloops, BC
Canada V2C 6L7 


Review: Accept the following as 'no bull'. History books on the Force are coming rare and more difficult to purchase. Collectors who have these books in their possession will not sell them. I have recently purchased them from Don Klancher to add to my library and because of their valuable content.

The author, Don Klancher is a retired member of the Force. Soon after Don was born (into the Force), he began collecting books, papers and other documents. His collection of materials is found now inside his books which are for sale. The price for each is very modest.

Most authors of Force history do not portray incidents in valid, balanced terms. In these books, one gets the real thing. Don's research can hardly be contested as he is the sole expert at his level -- sky level.

Now is the time to consider adding good books to your library. You can add them to your last will. Our new Governor General encourages all Canadians to take more interest in our country. Who best can be given credit for discovering and settling our country? The NWMP.

Some day, you will be thankful that you purchased Don's books.

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Last Post: Reg.#13548, S/Sgt. Harold Heacock. 'Air' Div.


In Memory of Staff Sergeant Harold A. Heacock
RCMP/GRC 'Air' Division

'Friends Not Forgotten'

This from the Globe and Mail.

 HEACOCK, Harold Albert ('Harry') - June 21, 1920 - January 16, 2011.

The family of Harold Heacock is sad to announce his sudden passing. He is survived by his devoted wife of 61 years, Freda, children Edward (Mary), Helen (Paul Edwards), Phyllis, Gordon (Lorna), a sister June Brown plus numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. Harold was predeceased by his parents Kenneth and Rebecca (Nelson) and siblings George and Muriel. Harold was born in Athabasca, Alberta where he spent his early years before moving with his family to Vegreville, Alberta.

After becoming a member of the RCMP he joined the RCAF early in World War II and was assigned to 412 Squadron where he flew Spitfires over Britain and Western Europe. At war's end, he rejoined the RCMP Air Division flying bush planes in many of the remote parts of Canada. Upon his retirement from the RCMP, Harold worked with the Federal Ministry of Transport as an Air Regulations Inspector. An accomplished aviator, mentor and family patriarch, Harold was most content surrounded by his family, friends and neighbors.

A celebration of Harold's life will take place at 2:00 P.M. on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at Howard & McBride Westlawn Chapel, 16310 Stony Plain Road, Edmonton, AB. In Lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Alberta Aviation Museum in Edmonton or the charity of one's choice. To send condolences, please visit

Source: Obituary, Globe and Mail dated January 21, 2011 received today.

Appreciation to: B. Filiatrault [].
Mr. Filiatrault, Friend of the Force adds this poignant message; 'My dad's first flight as an RCMP "Air" Division pilot was March 27, 1962, from Rockliffe to Welland and back with Harold Heacock in Beech-18 CF-MPH. Kindest regards to the Heacock family. Bernard Filiatrault.'
'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

Monday, January 24, 2011

In Memory of RCMP Members Killed at Carmacks, Yukon


RCMP Members Killed at Carmacks, Yukon. 1963 

The following is an excerpt from the Whitehorse Star which summarizes the tragedy of our members.

"Plane Burst into Flames When It Struck the Ground

Four Whitehorse RCMP officers and a prisoner were killed Saturday evening when a Beaver aircraft crashed and burned in Carmacks.

Dead are pilots Sgt. K.M. Laughland, in his early thirties; Cp. R.W. Asbil, 29; Const. P.L.A. Malcolm, 29; Const. W.J.L. Annand, 27 and prisoner Joseph Phillipe Clement Desormeaux, 56.

Desormeaux was a time-serving prisoner who had appeared as a witness in a contested court case at Mayo and was being returned to Whitehorse when the crash occurred.

The Whitehorse Air detachment RCMP aircraft CF MPO was apparently landing in Carmacks on police business. It crashed in a bank just below the Mayo Road at a location approximately in between the Territorial Garage and the Carmacks bridge.

Police said the crash happened about 8:10 p.m. No cause for the accident has been established but a Department Transportation investigating team has been flown in from Edmonton to search the wreckage.

Word of the mishap shook the Yukon because the men were well-known to many residents. The Whitehorse Star joins those grieving today as a consequence of the tragic death of the men..."

'Friends Not Forgotten'

Source: The Whitehorse Star, Monday, July 15, 1963

Photo of Memorial taken from the RCMP Chapel, Regina, SK.

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Last Post: Reg.#34754, Aivars Uldis Lagzdins

Georgian Bay Vets report with sadness the death of  Vet Reg.#34754, Aivars Uldis Lagzdins, (husband of Barbara) of Thornbury, Ontario. 

Aivars passed away during the night of January 22, 2011 at Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto, Ontario after complications resulting from an operation to repair an aneurism.

At this time, no funeral arrangements have been confirmed. More details to follow.

'Friends Not Forgotten'
'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

In Memory of NWMP, Reg.#o156, James B. Mitchell

It's generally accepted by the majority of RCMP members that the Drill Hall is the opposite of a church. In the Drill Hall, certain vocabulary and antics are tolerated for the psychological development of the aspirant. In contrast, a church is a place of reflection, prayer and peace. Loud, mob control training and Police Service Dogs in one place and quiet, hushed tones in the other. One accepts that's the way it is. Normally.

It's apparent that I was not meant to be a holy man; monk or minister. This in spite of having a clear conscience and being chosen to the post of Chauffeur for the Archbishop of Ottawa, Terrence Prendergast, SJ.

After our Sunday sacrifice today, I was met in the church aisle by a woman 'of age' -- older than me. She recognized me though our church community. Grace had a police story to tell -- it goes like this.

Many years ago, Grace's mother was a friend in Winnipeg, Manitoba of Mrs J. B. Mitchell, the wife of Reg.#o156. Grace didn't know 'ole J.B. personally, but Grace's mother said that he had once been in the NWMP. Grace had also been told that 'ole J.B. had also married a much younger woman (which is not a legislated crime, speaking from personal experience). Mrs J.B. had lived a long, long life after J.B. died.

Grace became momentarily surprised when an i-phone appeared with the fresh RCMP graves database. Sure enough, Reg.#o156, Staff Constable James B. Mitchell is mentioned in database cyberspace. 'J.B.' was born in Gananoque, Ontario in 1852 and he joined the NWMP in 1874. It's recorded that Mitchell was one of the newly minted NWMP members and he participated in the March West.

Sub/Constable Mitchell's career was short as he quit in 1877. For his three years of good service, he received Land Warrant # 0097. Mitchell settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba and he retured to school to become an architect -- he enjoyed a long career in architecture for over 36 years. At some point, J.B. married and his wife became a friend with Grace's mother. Full circle. Constable Mitchell died in Winnipeg on November 14, 1945. He is also buried in Winnipeg.

My 'in-hand' knowledge was quite compelling , memorable and enjoyable to Grace. She had never seen an i-phone. She had learned alot about 'ole J.B. Mitchell and I was happy to share the good news. Where better than to share good news? I guess that my joy may have caused Grace and me to giggle a wee bit but I thought that we were alone in the church with the exception of Him.

(Photo right) Constable James Betram Mitchell

Under normal circumstances I don't emulate Drill Hall practices in any holy place. I mean, I am respectful in church most of the time. The Archbishop will testify.

However, I confess that it was at the point of our second giggle when an old, prayerful man approached. He took direct aim at me. Waving his pointy, painful, arthritic finger in my direction, he said: 'It's the House of God, you're not supposed to be talking!'

History lesson over for today. Discussing Canadian history has its boundaries. Save it for the Drill Hall.

Shhhh -- promise and please, no one tell the Archbishop.

Friends Not Forgotten: In Memory of NWMP, Reg.#o156, James B. Mitchell

Credit: Historian, Vet and friend Jack White.
Photo credit: Supt. Brian Brennan, OIC Federal Policing, Halifax, NS

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

Saturday, January 22, 2011

In Memory of Reg.#13097, Charles Louis De Lisle

Mr. Pierre De Lisle remembers his father,
Reg.#13097, Corporal C. L. De Lisle

Reg.#13097, Charles Louis De Lisle joined the Force in 1937. In 1944, he was highly commended for concluding a patrol without incident from Pond Inlet to Fort Ross by way of the Artic Bay. The two way trip covered 3,351 miles over 151 days.

Over his career, Corporal De Lisle served in 'C', G', 'D' and 'C' Divisions. He retired in 1959. Corporal De Lisle died in 2001 and he is buried in Montreal, PQ.

Very recently, this note was received from Corporal De Lisle's son, Mr. Pierre De Lisle.

Mr. De Lisle says: ' I am enclosing four documents pertaining to Dad's experiences in the Arctic. They reads like a Hollywood epic: war years, danger of Nazi U-Boats during sea transport, a murder investigation and the danger of starvation due to the relief ship unable to reach our base for two years. The problem was caused by ice conditions and a 3,500 mile trek to reach base with a dogsled...'

Best regards,

Pierre De Lisle
Son of Reg.#13079, Corporal Charles De Lisle

In snap: Inspector C. N. Kirk, Constable L. De Lisle and Corporal W.E. Hastie

'Friends Not Forgotten'

We express our thanks and deep appreciation to Mr. Pierre De Lisle and to his cousin,  Ms Joan Faber for sending in a collection of memorable stories and photos about Corporal Charles De Lisle.

Credit: Photo's from the Montreal Gazette, October 1944.

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Review of NWMP History - What's in a Name?

Some names in Canadian history are more famous than others. Take Canada's first Prime Minister, John A. MacDonald,  for instance. Or, Louis Riel, Sam Steele, C.D. Howe, Ann  Murray and Avril Lavigne or Romeo Dallaire. Few people will forget Canada's memorable hockey star Paul Henderson. 

Other names in Canadian history are equally deserving to be remembered even though they might not have received wide public acclaim. Here's one. A man once joined the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) as an Officer in 1882.

One of the responsibilities of Reg.#O.47 was to act as Coroner at the hanging of Louis Riel which took place at 'Depot' Division. 'Depot' was also this Officer's job site.

Officer #0.47 was a medical surgeon. After a short career of eleven years with the NWMP, Officer #0.47 retired in 1893 and he returned to the West Coast of Canada.

O.47 is the holder of a unique record in the Force. He is the oldest member recorded in present records. He was born in India on October 30, 1821 and he passed away in 1905 in Vancouver.

Officer Reg.#0.47 is Augustus Louis Jukes, MD. It's Canadian history.

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

Thursday, January 20, 2011

In Memory of Reg.#5426, Corps Sergeant Major G. F. Griffin


In Memory of Reg.#5426,
Corps Sergeant Major G. F. Griffin

'Friends Not Forgotten'

This interesting inquiry of an international sort about CSM Griffin was received today.

'Dear Sir,

I was delighted to discover your website because I'm trying to trace my family history. My parents once told me that a G. F. Griffin was connected to the family in some way and that his name appears as an advisor to the film Northwest Mounted Police. He was known to my parents and grandparents as 'Uncle Tim'.

I note from your records that he was born at sea near Liverpool, England. Liverpool is the city in England where my deceased parents and Grandparents lived.

To see a photograph of his grave stone is really heart warming. I would be really grateful if you were able to put me in touch with somebody who may have more information about Uncle Tim.'

Kind Regards.

Phil Lawrenson
Herefordshire England

*A note of reply has been sent to Mr. Lawrenson

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In Memory of Reg.#44595, Cst. Jeffery H. Webb


In Memory of Reg.#44595,
Cst. Jeffery Hayward Webb

'Friends Not Forgotten'

Jeffery Hayward Webb was born on November 3, 1970. He joined the Force on June 28, 1993. After recruit training he was posted to 'B' Div. (Newfoundland and Labrador. NL).

Cst. J. H. Webb died on January 26, 2004 at Happy Valley/Goose Bay, NL.

Our thanks go out to S/Sgt. Don Allen, RCMP 'J' Div. Fredericton, NB for the photo of Cst. Webb.

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In Memory of Sgt. Ryan Russell


Cross of the Unknown

In Memory of  Sgt. Ryan Russell
Toronto Metro Police Service

'Friends Not Forgotten'

Words of comfort spoken at the funeral service for Sgt. Ryan Russell on January 18, 2011 in Toronto.

'Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.'

The Sermon on the Mount - Jesus Christ
Matthew 5 - 6 - 7

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

Monday, January 17, 2011

In Memory of Reg.#16195, Edward S. Bennett


 Reg.#16195, Edward Stewart Bennett

'Friends Not Forgotten'

A note of remembrance was received from S/Sgt. Ed Bennett's son, Derek Bennett.

Derek Bennett says; 'Ed Bennett was my father. He started his policing career with the Newfoundland Constabulary in 1939. After Newfoundland became the tenth province of Canada, the RCMP invited 31 selected members of the Newfoundland Constabulary to join the RCMP as transferred members.

Ed Bennett was invited to join the RCMP by the Chief of Police on May 4, 1950 and on May 5, 1950 he accepted! Dad was assigned Reg.#16195 by the RCMP.

He went through initial training and resumed his post as the RCMP Constable in Botwood, NL rising through the ranks as Constable in charge of Botwood Detachment.

Dad was later transferred to 'K' Division where he remained until his death in 1972.

*Our thanks go to Dereck Bennett for this note about his Dad and for the photo.

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Wild Ride: A History of the North West Mounted Police (NWMP)

Book review

The Wild Ride:
A History of the North West Mounted Police

A new book on the history of the NWMP has recently hit the shelves of Canadian bookstores. It is written by well traveled Canadian author Charles Wilkins.

I have found the book fascinating on various fronts. First, the RCMP were not involved with the author's research. This 'hands off' exploration of the NWMP's past gives Wilkins a fresh, unbiased approach and leaves the author free of uncluttered presumptions.

Early in the book, Wilkins gets into the mind of  Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald. Wilkins sees early Ottawa politics this way -- either MacDonald makes a move by sending the NWMP into the west thus protecting Canadian interests such as a new railway or the United States would and could move into the vacuum as unwelcomed occupants.  

Wilkins uses a very understanding and human pen to describe the plight of the Canadian Native peoples -- the buffalo were gone, disease was prevelent, their culture and language threatened and whiskey was taking over. To put it more blunt, whiskey was being poured down their throats. On the one hand, Wilkins writes that the NWMP would not be capable of solving all Native problems, but on the other hand, the NWMP would cut down on bartenders and their trade. Wilkins feels that this strategy in itself would be beneficial.

The author also provides excellent historical overviews and the principle causes leading the NWMP into battle.  Detailed maps are also included. Wilkins also provides hundreds of fresh pictures which have not previously been seen.

I found Wilkins' book to be very thoughtful, descriptive and penetrating. Feelings which are penetrated. His thoughts are clear yet sad. This description of 'sadness' can be used for both the plight of the Natives people as well as for the conditions under which the NWMP were born.

The overdue birth of the NWMP and the struggles which the NWMP had to endure and overcome as they helped to settle Canada are remarkable. Wilkins says so. The NWMP took years in a mountain climbling course -- meaning their work was uphill all the way. 

In the end, Wilkins pays the NWMP their fair due. The Force came out looking battered at times but otherwise fine. 

Nothing is said about the conditions of the Force today -- but then again, the NWMP existed before video camera's. The book is about forty-five skins.

J. J. Healy

'Maintain Our Memories'

Saturday, January 15, 2011

In Memory of Reg.#0.29, NWMP Inspector F. J. Dickens


'Friends Not Forgotten'

One name in the North West Mounted Police literature which is mentioned most often is Inspector F. J. 'Frank' Dickens. Without question, part of his reputation arose because he was a son of the English novelist Charles Dickens -- in discreet circles, it is said that Frank Dickens likely received his commission in the NWMP because of family connections. 

Even today, controversary swirls around Inspector Dickens. One the one hand, he was reputed to be an excellent horseman having learned his saddle skills some years earlier with the Bengal Mounted Police. He was truly an 'outdoors' person since he had turned down previous offers in journalism. On the other hand, Dickens reputation was also one less flattering. It is said that that he was frequently overcome by the evil spirits which flow out of the bottle. The ills of every man can be magnified under different lite thus from that perspective, Dickens was not unlike many others who have served in policing. 

After a twelve year career in the NWMP, Dickens stuck hard times. At one point, he was invited to Moline, Illinois to give a speech about his famous father. However, prior to his speech, he died of a heart attack. He was buried in Moline.

The RCMP erected an official N.W.M.P tombstone over Inspector Dickens grave on September 24th. 2002.

'Maintaain Our Memories'

J J. Healy

Friday, January 14, 2011

In Memory of Reg.#58586, Constable C. A. Robinson


'Friends Not Forgotten'

Constable Chelsey Alice Robinson was born in Picture Butte, Alberta, CA in April 1985. She joined the Force in 2009.

Cst. Robinson graduated from the RCMP Academy and was posted to 'K' Division (Alberta). Whilst on patrol and on the lookout for an impaired driver, Cst. Robinson was killed on June 21, 2010 near Stoney Plain, Alberta when her cruiser was struck by a truck as she crossed the highway.

Cst. Robinson is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Lethbridge, AB

Appreciation: to Mr. Reg. Keatley, Friend of the Force, Calgary, AB for the photo

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

Thursday, January 13, 2011

In Memory of RCMP/GRC Friends - Lives Lost in Haiti


In memory of

Chief Superintendent Doug Coates
Sergeant Mark Gallagher


'Friends Not Forgotten'

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Visit to Reg.#22316, John MacDonald. Ottawa, ON

Look who's gettin' around town
Reg.#22316, John MacDonald

Not so long ago, I was invited to tag along to visit an ole' friend, retired Reg.#22316, John MacDonald who is presently living in a Long Term Care Home in Orleans, Ontario due to his restricted ability to walk.

John is very fortunate because he has a couple of close troopmates living in the Ottawa area; Reg.#22329, Herman Beaulac and Reg.#22322, Ernie Welter.
Every few weeks or so, Beaulac and Welter slip around the 'Home' and take John captive -- out for lunch and a refreshment or two.  John has the youthful nursing staff in stitches especially by the graceful way that he teases them ... he ties to convince them that he's single and in need of a date on Friday night's.

One can easily tell that John is admired and loved by the nurses -- although they make him do his share of 'pushing and pulling' so that his strength remains at a reasonable level.
Lunch in downtown Orleans was absolutely delightful and memorable. Helping John into the restaurant and moving him into place for lunch was no trouble as new restruarants have adapted to the wheelchair. The food was equally delicious and John was hungry.
John has not lost one ounce of his humour. He made sure that he capatilized on the conversation especially about his days during training at 'N' Division in '62 as well as his stints in FSS, first, at the Canadian Police College where he and I first met during the mid 1970's. Later, John also worked in FSS at 'HQ'.
After returning to the Home, I had the ocassion to play a few standards on the old grand 88's for John. You can tell how he loves music. For a moment, I thought he would dance! Later, I learned that John is an accomplished harmonica (harp) player so the next time that we're together we'll play a romantice set on our harps for John's nurses!
Oh, it's great to be Irish or French or Scottish or English or German and Canadian too!
Photos by Reg.#23685, Healy, J. J.
Suspects: on the left, Herman Beaulac, center John MacDonald and right Ernie Welter.
Maintain Our Memories'

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In Memory of Sgt. J. C. Coughlin - Royal Tour 1939

Sgt. J. C. Coughlin - Royal Tour 1939
Revived and Living (in our memories)

Deceased RCMP Sgt. J. C. 'Jimmy' Coughlin deserves to be called a legend in life. 

Sgt. Coughlin first came to my mind in mid 1964 at 'Depot'. I was one of a half dozen recruits chosen by Riding Instructor Cpl. Dee Jessiman to dig a grave in the 'Depot' Cemetery. At the time of the dig, we didn't know the intended grave's occupant.

As it turned out, the deceased was more famous than any of us realized. I now know that he was Reg. # 12511, Sgt. James Campbell Coughlin. Jack White of the Kamloops Vets reports the following:

'Coughlin Bay’, Regina, Saskatchewan is named after Reg.#12511, RCMP Sergeant James Campbell Coughlin. Jimmy was a man of many talents. He was the Canadian Welter Weight Boxing Champion of 1934 and he put these talents to good use in his many years as Boxing Instructor at ‘Depot’. Probably for his physical abilities, he was chosen as one of the 4 personal Orderlies (bodyguards) to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on their 1939 Royal Tour of Canada.

Sgt. Coughlin was also a artisan. He designed the wrought iron gates, which welcomed all to ‘Depot’ for many years, at both the north and south entrances to the training facility. He also collaborated in the design of the Steeple on the Force Chapel at ‘Depot’ and, in 1962, painted a mural which adorns the Sergeants Mess at ‘Depot’.
Recently, I was very pleased to receive a letter from Historian Vet Don Klancher of 'E' Div. about Sgt. Coughlin. In addition to providing more information on the roles of the two different RCMP groups who travelled with the Royal couple, he also sent this photograph which was taken from a post card.

Don Klancher explained there were four members who were body guards (Orderlies) who accompanined the Royal couple. They were: Reg. #10433 Sgt. H.W.H. Williams, Reg.#12054 Cst. J.A.L.S. Langlois, Reg.#12511 Cst. J.C. Coughlin and Reg.#12766 Cst. R. Portelance. These four members can be seen in the photograph above.

Don said there was a second group of RCMP which also travelled with the Royal couple but in a separate pilot train-car. The distinction between the two groups of RCMP escorts is explained in Without Fear, Favour or Affection written by then Assistant Commissioner V.A.M. Kemp. A/Comm'r Kemp wrote: '[the first group to which Sgt. Coughlin belonged was] '... a hand-picked detachment [who] travelled at all times on the Royal train, while another [the second] group travelled on the pilot train. The police party, consisting of sixteen NCO's, constables and myself, occupied a full car on the pilot train...'p.191.

The 1939 Royal Tour was most unique to the RCMP because it the first major, cross Canada, planned undertaking of this sort for a month long VIP visit by the Royal Family. The entre tour went smoothly. At the conclusion of the Royal visit, King George VI praised the work and dedication of the RCMP Escort Team. The King said to A/Comm'r Kemp: 'I can't recall a single incident which could, by the remotest stretch of imagination, be termed difficult or embarassing.' p.191

The gracious remarks of King George were a wonderful credit to the RCMP, to Assistant Commissioner Kemp and all the Officer's, NCO's and constables which comprised the Royal Escort.

Cst. J. C. Coughlin later Sergeant Coughlin must have been proud when he heard the compliments paid to the RCMP Royal Escort. I, too, am proud to have shared a wee bit of history with Sgt. Coughlin. I would  liked to have met him and to jaw about his experiences on the Royal Visit.

I didn't expect to be selected to dig Sgt. Coughlin's grave in 'Depot' in 1964. But,  today I can thank Cpl. Jessiman for choosing me.

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. Healy

Credits: Thanks to 'E' Div. Vet. Don Klancher for the story line and the photograph of the Royal couple and the RCMP Escort Team.

Kemp, Vernon A.M. Without Fear, Favour or Affection. 1958. Longman, Green and Company. Toronto.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Say...have you seen the new 'Depot' Drill Hall?

In Memory of Reg.#12375, Cst. Hugh Joseph Ferguson

Cst. Hugh Joseph Ferguson joined the Force in 1934 but apparently the experience was not to his liking. He took discharge March 16, 1935. While he was at 'Depot' in 1934, he took particular note of a freshly constructed building -- today we call it the 'new' Drill Hall.
Vet. Cyril Camerson of Nova Scotia tells this yarn about Cst. Ferguson. Cyril says: 'Joe, I knew Hughie Ferguson very well. A very fine man. In fact, when I was heading off to 'Depot' Hughie said that the RCMP was building the 'new' Drill Hall while he was in training. When I arrived at 'Depot', sure enough I noted the corner stone was dated 1934'.
Cst. Ferguson died on October 21, 2009. He is buried in Dearborn, Michigan, USA. Hughie looks a fine gentleman indeed.  We let a good one get away.

'Maintain Our Memories'

Source: Thanks to Vet Cyril Cameron for the yarn and our thanks to Supt. Brian Brennan for the snaps.

J. J. Healy

Sunday, January 9, 2011

In Memory of NWMP Reg. #2266, Cst. E. B. Jewell

Cst. Earnest Benjamin 'Shorty' Jewell joined the North West Mounted Police (NWMP) on March 5, 1889. He was posted to 'F' Div. (Saskatchewan) and 'K' Division (Alberta).

After serving about 6 years in the Force, Cst. Jewell left in 1895. He died in Fort Smith, NWT in 1942 and he is buried in a small cemetery in Fitzgerald, AB.

In recent days, this message was received from Mr. Trevor Whitehouse. He said: 'In 1991, I was in the Coast Guard and happened to be working in the Slave River area near our sub-base at Fort Fitzgerald.  I came upon the cemetery and took this picture of this RCMP gravesite primarily because the surname was the same as a colleague of mine.  I note your database doesn't have the photo.  Since Fitzgerald, AB is well off the beaten path, I thought you might want it.'

I am very, very appreciative to Mr. Trevor Whitehouse for sending in this photo of Cst. Jewell's grave. It has now been added into the graves database photo collection.

Thank you.

'Maintain Our Memories'

J. J. (Joe) Healy

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Reg.#12402, S/S/M J.R. 'Ray' McFarland

In the Dock: Causing a fuss over a Birthday
Reg.#12402, S/S/M J.R. 'Ray' McFarland.

Reg.#12402, Vet S/S/M J.R. 'Ray' McFarland (R'td) of Ottawa was recently charged by the Ottawa Division Vets for celebrating a big birthday milestone.

In his message of congratulations to Ray, Ottawa Vet President Al Rivard said: 'Dear Ray; We all wish you a Happy Birthday.

We happen to have learned that you are 97 years young. Congratulations. I've also been told that you have been a member of the RCMP Veterans' Association for 48 years. This alone is a truly remarkable feat.
Ray, I speak on behalf of the Ottawa Division when I say that we are proud to have you within our ranks and we wish you all the best on this very special day. Your Happy Birthday. We'll let you off with a warning this time but you must promise to continue celebrating birthdays.' Best Wishes.

Al Rivard
President, Ottawa Vets

PS: Raymond James McFarland was born in Saint John, NB on December 14, 1913. He joined the Force on June 20, 1934. Ray was posted to 'A', 'G', 'HQ', 'A' and 'HQ' Divisions. Ray McFarland retired in June, 1961 at the rank of Staff Sergeant Major.

In this photo, Reg#12402, seasoned Vet Ray McFarland  is shown with a Vet pup Reg. #23685, J. J. Healy.

Answer: Vets McFarland and Healy were born in New Brunswick.
Question: What's the secret to the pair of smiles?

by, J. J. Healy

'Maintain Our Memories'