A Riding Crop Returns Home!

Photograph of Constable Douglas Marshall with his riding crop.




Veteran Ric Hall sent us a wonderful story. Recently an old Riding Crop issued in 1955 was returned to the family of Doug Marshall, Reg # 19043, for the story of how it was found and returned by Staff Sergeant Major Sean Darling of “F” Division please read on.




In July of 1955 nineteen year old Douglas “Doug” Frederick Marshall joined the RCMP and became Regimental # 19043. Doug was following in the footsteps of his father William Henry Marshall, Regimental # 10725, who joined in 1929, and later his brother Don Marshall, Regimental 21009, followed the same path in June 1959.

Photograph of Constable Doug Marshell

Photograph of Constable Doug Marshall (Reg.#19043) taken at the RCMP “Depot” Division at the time of his graduation (Source of photo Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Doug Marshall like all recruits received as part of his kit issue a riding crop and was standard practise he wrote his Regimental # on the leather strap, so that it did not get mixed up with his troop mates riding crops. Doug Marshall left Regina after his training taking the train east to “O” Division where he was to spend all his service retiring in 1975 as a Corporal.

Leaving Regina he had his picture taken at the train station in Review Order carrying his Riding Crop. Well into the late 1960s recruits leaving “Depot” travelling by public transportation inter-provincially had to travel in Review Order, without sidearms. Their protection being the “image” and their issue riding crop.

Photograph of RCMP Constable Doug

Photograph of RCMP Constable Doug Marshall (Reg.#19043) taken at the Regina train station prior to proceeding with his transfer to Toronto Ontario (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

“In 1935, with the impending “March on Ottawa” by the unemployed, a new and very inconspicuous but effective weapon was introduced in the form of a baton or whip.

The new leather-covered baton had the appearance of a handsome riding whip but concealed a steel rod. It had a woven leather handle which was passed about the wrist to prevent it from being dropped or pulled away. It was prescribed for all orders of dress where sidearms were not worn.

In 1943, it was suggested the riding crop be done away with, storage of the crop was an issue when wearing sidearms and many members road their bicycles to work and the crop could interfere with the safe operation of the bicycle. Commissioner Wood carefully considered the recommendation, but ruled against it on the grounds that the baton/crop constituted the only weapon available with certain orders of dress and carrying a crop improved military carriage.

In 1965, Commissioner McClellan ordered that riding crops would no longer be carried.      [1][2]

Having been appointed a Staff Sergeant Major for “F” Division I wanted to obtain one of the original issue riding crops to carry while performing the ceremonial part of my duties. In May 2015, I achieved my goal of obtaining a riding crop from a collector of RCMP memorabilia. Upon close inspection of the riding crop I noted the member’s Regimental #, who it had been originally issued to, inside the wrist strap. I began my search to find where the my new crop should rest.

With the assistance of the RCMP Heritage Centre, I learned the riding crop was originally issued to Corporal Douglas Fred William Marshall who passed away in 2006. Through www.rcmpgraves.com, I was able to locate Corporal Marshall’s brother, Sergeant Don Marshall who now resides in Alberta. His days of retaining old RCMP kit have passed, however he did point me in the direction of his brother’s son.


Photograph of Constable William Henry Marshall (Reg.#10725) (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of Constable William Henry Marshall (Reg.#10725) (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

He left the Force in May 1935 and became the Chief Constable of Township of Whitney, at Porcupine, ON, from 1937 to 1943. He served in the RCAF from January 1944 to December 1944. He was the Chief Constable of Battleford, SK from January 1958 till February 1959. Additionally, two great uncles also served the Force; Constable James Marshall (Reg # 1470) – NWMP – join date November 1885. He served at Onion Lake, Regina, Battleford & Wood Mountain, “F” Division and Sergeant Walter Beresford Dobbin (Reg # 6480) – RNWMP – who served at Fort Mcleod, Edmonton, Olds, Drumheller & Medicine Hat, “K’ Division, join date around November 1915.Corporal Doug Marshall’s son is Sergeant Dave Marshall, a serving member of the Abbotsford Police Department.

Photograph of NWMP Constable James Marshall (Reg.#1470) (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of NWMP Constable James Marshall (Reg.#1470) (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

On March 23, 2015, with the assistance of “E” Division Sergeant Major Dave Hall, Corporal Marshall’s riding crop was presented to his son Dave who was very pleased to have it back in the family. The mystery of how it left the family and ended up in the hands of a collector will forever rest with former Corporal Marshall, Reg # 19043. Perhaps, it was simply a case of downsizing and getting rid of all those old uniform items stored in boxes.

Photograph of

Photograph of (left to right): “E” Division Sergeant Major Dave Hall presenting the missing riding crop to Sergeant Dave Marshall of the Abbotsford Police Department (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

The research and story of the Marshall family and its association with the Force was undertaken by S/S/Major Sean Darling of “F” Division.

Photograph of Staff Sergeant Major Sean Darling of "F" Division (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of Staff Sergeant Major Sean Darling of “F” Division (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

[1] Uniforms of the Mounted Police, James J. Boulton pg. 188.

[2] Supt. Ric Hall http://www.rcmpveteransvancouver.com/ric-halls-photo-corner-rcmp-riding-crop/