Eric Rebiere, former Cst. RCMP 37515 and CF Veteran, has summarized a history of the RCMP that proves it has served in war and battle conditions, thus making them combat veterans in the true sense of the word.
Shirlee Engel, a Global News reporter, has contacted Eric, and she is looking for disabled RCMP vets to step forward and talk about their frustration dealing with Veterans Review and Appeals Board (VRAB) in regard to their Disability Claims. This is the shot disabled Mountie vets need to add to military feedback of their demeaning treatment by VRAB so please add your input. Shirlee wants to talk to as many of the 9,000 disabled RCMP veterans who have served in combat as possible to give you an opportunity to be heard.Shirlee Engel Ottawa Correspondent Global National with Dawna Friesen Email: Shirlee.Engel@globalnews.ca
HISTORY OF THE RCMP IN WAR AND PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS
By Eric Rebiere, former Cst. RCMP 37515 and CF Veteran, member War Pensioners of Canada
Through 1870 and ’71, American whiskey traders—mainly at Fort Whoop-Up—were selling crude whisky to the local Assiniboine Indians led by Chief Little Stony Spirit. The lawlessness that resulted ended up in the Cypress Hill Massacre in 1971 with the slaughter of an estimated 30 men, women and children from the Assiniboine tribe.
Afraid of anarchy spreading through western Canada, Canadian Prime Minister John A. Macdonald proposed forming mounted troops to quell the increasing disorder. The United States objected to the first name given to this force – North West Mounted Rifles – because it sounded like Canada was amassing military troops on its border. Native tribes in the western part of the Dominion also rejected the idea of military control of their land. Thus name for the new law enforcement force became the North West Mounted Police and it was organized along the lines of a cavalry regiment in the British Army. Red uniforms were provided for this mounted troop. First NWMP commissioner, Lt. Colonel George Arthur French, formerly the Commandment of the Artillery School in Kingston, based the new regiment on the Royal Irish Constabulary paramilitary force. On August 30, 1873, Queen Victoria gave Royal Assent to the Act of Parliament (36 Vic, ch 35) proclaimed May 23, 1873 by the Order of Council 1134 that Sir John A. Macdonald submitted for the formation of the North West Mounted Police.
On July 8, 1874, Lt. Colonel French led his Mounted Force of 22 officers, 287 men, horses, wagons and provisions and two nine-pounder field guns west. The ranks of the men were titled Constable and Sub-Constables under the supervision of Sergeant Major Samuel B. Steele.
The NWMP contained the American whisky trade, enforced agreements with the First Nations peoples and prevented American expansionists from settling in the Canadian prairies to secure sovereignty in the West for the Canadian Dominion.
In 1885, the North West Mounted Police helped suppressed the North-West Rebellion led by Louis Riel and suffered particularly heavy losses during the Battle of Duck Lake.
In December 1899, NWMP Commissioner L.W. Herchmer recruited the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles consisting of 13 RNWMP officers and 118 NWMP non-commissioned officers and men to provide cavalry fighters in the Boer War. With the rank of Lt. Col., Herchmer took command of the recruits and sailed for Cape Town, South Africa, from Halifax. Two weeks later, Lord Strathcona asked the now Superintendent S.B. Steele to form a regiment of NWMP under his command, which he would fund, to fight in the Boer War as well. The Lord Strathcona Horse (LDSH) regiment consisted of 114 officers and men, and Sergeant A.H. Richardson (NWMP) received the Victoria Cross, the British Empire’s highest award for bravery in combat.
As a result of its distinguished service in the Boer War, King Edward VII changed the name of the NWMP to the Royal North West Mounted Police on June 24, 1904.
During World War I, the RNWMP was responsible for border patrols, surveillance of enemy aliens, and enforcement of national security regulations. In late 1917, the Royal North West Mounted Police Cavalry Squadron joined the Canadian Corps Cavalry with men to form D Squadron, one of four cavalry regiments forming the Canadian Light Horse Brigade consisting of the 19th Alberta Dragoons, 1st Hussars and the 16th Canadian Light Horse. At the same time in 1917, RNWMP established the Canadian Provost Corps in France.
Members of the RNWMP forming A and D Squadrons served valiantly until the end of the WWI on November 11, 1918.
In 1919, B Squadron of the Royal North West Mounted Police served in part with the Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force.
The name of the RNWMP changed again when King George V bestowed it with the title of Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1921 and awarded it the status of a Regiment of Dragoons so the RCMP could display a Regimental Guidon commemorating their battle honors in the North West Canada 1855 (Rebellion), South Africa mission 1900 to 1902, the Great War in France and Flanders 1917-1918 and Siberia, 1918-1919.
In 1935, again serving under the Regiment of Dragoons, the RCMP participated with the King’s Life Guard at the Horses Guards’ Parade in 1937 leading up to the coronation of King George VI. A true honor for the RCMP.
During World War II, the RCMP again served with distinction under the Number One Provost Company. Its members were so well trained, they suffered the fewest casualties of all allied combat units. The company’s battle honor was added to the RCMP Regimental Guidon.
In 1998, the RCMP provided volunteers for the first time since WWII to the United Nations. UN duty is now part of the RCMP mandate, and numerous deployments to Special Duty Areas carry on regularly.
In 2007, the RCMP again provided volunteers to serve in Afghanstan under combat conditions, working and training with the Canadian Military and Afghan National Police. They are still serving there to date.
References:Websters on line dictionary Link: http://www.websters-dictionary-online.net/definitions/Royal%20Canadian%20Mounted%20Police Victorian Soldier, History and Uniform of the North West Mounted Police, 1873-1904by Jack L. Summers and Rene Chartrand, Ottawa: Canadian War Museum, 1981http://www.militaryheritage.com/nwmp.htm The Royal Canadian Mounted Police by R.C. Fetherstonhaugh 1938 The Story of South Africa by Clark Ridpath and Edward S. Ellis Copyright 1889