A Story Of The RCMP Reserve: “E” Division 1950s

 

 

 

Veteran Ric Hall sent us this article and a reflection of the Force’s history.

 

 

 

 

 

Under the RCMP Act there is provision for a RCMP Reserve.   One the Reserve was first put in the RCMP Act I could not find. The current Regulations under the Act are laid out below:

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Regulations, 2014

SOR/2014-281

ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE ACT

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Reserve

Establishment
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Reserve is established.
·       Organization of Reserve

The Reserve is to be organized as the Commissioner directs and is to consist of those persons that the Commissioner appoints, up to a maximum number as determined by Treasury Board.

·       Appointment

The Commissioner may appoint reservists for a period of not more than three years and may revoke their appointment at any time.

·       Qualifications
  • A person may be appointed as a reservist only if they are of good character and meet any other qualifications for appointment to the Reserve as determined by the Commissioner.
·       Training or duty
  • The Commissioner may call up a reservist for training or duty when the Commissioner considers it to be necessary.
·       Pay and allowances

A reservist who is called up for training or duty is to be paid the pay and allowances determined by Treasury Board.

·       Duties of reservist
  • A reservist who has been designated as a peace officer when called up for duty has the duties set out undersection 18 of the Act and section 14.

Up until the mid-1960s there had been an active RCMP Reserve, lost in time is the reason for the RCMP Reserve being discontinued, however, there remained in the RCMP Act the provision for a Reserve. Perhaps it was because the Auxiliary Constable Program was established in 1963 and the Force could get for free what it was paying the Reserves to do.   Just speculating on my part.

In the mid to late 2000s due to an increase of on-the-road resources the Reserve Program was brought back into play. Retired members were coming back as reservists to fill the void created by members being ODS, Mat/Pat Leave, Annual Leave, particularly during the peak summer months. As a reservist they had to maintain their medical profile and meet all the mandatory training requirements. A far cry from those original Reservists.

During the time I was assembling the applications for the Generational and
Territorial Service Insignias for the Vancouver Division I was able to talk with many serving and retired members about their family and personal connections to the Force.   One was Jim Warren.   I received his application for a Generational pin and noted that he was living in Alberta.   Without checking further I called him to ensure that he wanted his application directed to the Vancouver Division and that perhaps the Edmonton Division might be more appropriate. I guess I should have checked further before calling. Jim Warren has been a member of the Vancouver Division since 1967 and at one time he was the President of the Vancouver Division and is a Life Member!

I quickly found out that Jim served as a Reservist joining in 1955 serving till 1966 when the Reserves were shut down. After the Reserves he served as an Auxiliary Constable in “E” Division in the Lower Mainland.

After speaking to Jim, he acknowledged that he may be one of the last of the Reserve Constables. I asked him if he would write some notes about his service with the RCMP as a Reserve Constable.   Most, like me, never gave much thought about the RCMP Reserve, they were disbanded while I was still suffering extra duties while in training at “Depot”. The move to bring back the Reserves came about as I was winding down my career in the Force in the mid 200-s. It just seem to be one of those arcane sections of the RCMP Act left over from earlier times.

Reserve Constable Jim Warren receiving his “Discharge Certificate” from Assistant Commissioner Frank Spalding, Reg # 11745/O.366, Commanding Officer, “E” Division and Sergeant (later Sergeant Major) Jim Zavitz, Reg # 13937.

Some memories of Reserve Constable James Stewart Warren – Regimental #R1442 – Troop 2 – February 2, 1955.

The R.C.M.P. Reserve started in Eastern Canada in 1937. In 1954, the first troop (Troop 1) in Western Canada started training at Vancouver Sub-Division (Fairmont Barracks) followed by Troop 2 starting their training in Feb. 1955 and Troop 3 in the fall of 1955. Each troop consisted of 32 men. Later 2 Reserve members transferred in from Montreal.

Training sessions were once a week. The primary instructors were: Sergeant Major Charlie Thornton, Sergeant Hap Glanville (NCO i/c of the Reserves and later Sergeant Zavitz), Corporal Cam Forbes and other regular members. Reserve members received training on the Criminal Code and Court procedure, Provincial law (especially liquor), radio procedure, drill and other topics. Uniforms were issued consisting of, brown serge pants, brown serge tunic, black boots, regular forage cap, full Sam brown, and rain gear and a riding crop. Reserves were never officially armed.

 Many Reserves spent time at Cultus lake. Cultus Lake Park was a recreational located at the north end of Cultus Lake, B.C. There was an amusement area, a store and a dance hall, with small cabins for rent and a large camp ground, and at that time approximately 50 privately owned cottages, and 3 Provincial camp grounds. This area was very heavily used during the summer season. There were continual problems with bush parties and areas adjacent to the dance hall due to intoxicated youths fighting and creating disturbances that affected the permanent summer residents and campers.

 The Reserve members tasked with duties at Cultus Lake were paid the daily wage rate for Constables, as well as being supplied accommodations and meals paid and travel expenses by way of F-93s (the current 1393). They were required to be on duty from 7 PM Friday evening until approximately 6 PM Sunday. Our duties were to run road blocks for underage youths in possession of liquor, be highly visible around the dance hall to keep the peace, and assist the regular member on duty. Assistance was also provided in the conduct of boat patrols enforcing Canada Shipping Act and vehicle patrols in both Provincial and Parks Board camp sites.

I believe it was decided by the Parks Board and the R.C.M.P. Chilliwack Detachment to station a member full time at Cultus Lake from the May long weekend until after Labour Day weekend in September. Vancouver Sub-Division was to provide 4 Reserve members to assist on week ends.

E Division Reserves as a larger entity were deployed on two occasions of note that I remember very well.

1961 – Group photo of “E” RCMP Reserves members.

Different times, note the three officers all holding their bamboo swagger sticks, which were later done away with by Commissioner George B. McClellan. In 1965 Commissioner McClellan ordered that riding crops would no longer be carried.   Up until this time Commissioned Officers carried a short bamboo cane. Force legend has it that while on a police plane Commissioner McClellan dropped his cane and was down on his hands and knees trying get it from under a seat, it is believed he immediately made the decision to have officers cease carrying a cane or stick.   This may have influenced his decision on the carrying of riding crops as well.   As well in the picture is a young Inspector M.J. Nadon….I wonder where his career took him? RDH

On April 5, 1958, the blowing up of a marine hazard known as “Ripple Rock” that was located in the Seymour Narrows north of Campbell River on Vancouver Island. Reserves were assigned perimeter security and traffic duties. It was quite the sight to see the water spout from the explosion and feel the ground shake. The explosion was noted as one of the largest non-nuclear planned explosions on record.

On July 15, 1959, the Royal visit of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to the Vancouver Lower Mainland took place which included officiating at the official opening of the George Massey tunnel. Reserves were assigned perimeter security and traffic control. Once the opening was completed the Reserve contingent were transported to Victoria to perform similar duties for 2 days while the Royal couple were in the Victoria area.

I spent many week-ends at Cultus Lake. Occasionally, I would rent one of the larger cabins and have my family attend. I like to think that the close relations between the Reserve members and the Regular members gave our son the urge to join the force, which he did in 1972. (Note: Jim’s son is retired member James Warren, Reg # 30168 and his son-in-law is retired member Daved Mitchell, Reg # 34360/O.2109)

Many members arranged through Sgt. Glanville to spend time at detachments close to their residence and volunteer time as a ride along. This seemed to be appreciated by the members.

 I had the opportunity to go to Burnaby and the Bridge Detachments. Where I met a lot of the members that I would later meet at different detachments as they transferred around. I developed some deep friendships which continue to this day.

 Burnaby Detachment-   It was General Duty and traffic. At that time, the detachment was in a Quonset hut. I would attend 2 or 3 times a month as a Reserve volunteer. In Burnaby I was involved in an attempted bank robbery. I was riding with Constable Bob Muir on General Duty one day when we entered a parking area of a business area on the Burnaby side of Boundary road at Grandview highway. As we entered we observed a vehicle with a rag over the licence plate. I got out of the car and went to the driver side to tell him about the rags on the licence plates. I as looked into the car I observed a riffle over the console. I pulled open the door and pulled the driver out which quickly brought Bob Muir to my side. The man had a bandana around his neck. He was put into the police car and in a very short time plain clothes members Harry Twist and Bill Fraser arrived and took over the investigation. There was a branch of the Bank of Montreal that opened on Fridays in a store front to accommodate the workers from Dominion Bridge on pay day Friday. It was later confirmed the that the man had intended to rob the bank.

 Bridge Detachment- At a meeting, Sgt. Glanville asked if any reserve could volunteer to go to the Bridge Detachment on a Sunday night as they could use a member to assist with traffic duties. On summer week ends there were significant volumes of traffic created by people from day or weekend outings at the beach or from trips to the U.S.A. Traffic would back up past the junction of the Trans Canada Highway (now Fraser Way) and King George Highway. These backups continued every summer until 1964 when the original Port Mann bridge was built.

 I attended on many weekends throughout the year at the Bridge Detachment and rode with the members. On one occasion, I was riding with Constable Al Morell it was well after midnight, we were parked at the north end of the bridge watching the traffic. When we heard a muffled call for help over the radio, it was very hard to make out. There were several detachments on the same radio frequency it was hard to tell where the call was coming from. We eventually determined that that the call was coming from the Colony Farm Indian Reservation which was in the Mallardville Detachment area (now Coquitlam) and that a member had been shot.

(Note: May 1959 – John Clark, Reg # 15512, responded to a complaint of a fight on a native reserve near Coquitlam, BC. On his arrival, he was confronted by a man who without warning shot him in the chest with a .22 caliber rifle. Constable Clark’s life was saved when another native, John Robertson, placed the wounded officer in his police car and even though he didn’t have a driver’s license, drove the police car five miles to the hospital. Doctors operated and removed the bullet from Clark’s heart saving his life. Clark who had joined the RCMP in 1948 received a commendation for his bravery and eventually returned to active duty and retired in 1974 as a Staff Sergeant.)

We also determined that it was not a member on the radio and that this person was going to try and drive to the hospital. I knew the area well I directed Cst. Morell to the area of Lougheed and Brunette St. where we waited for the car to appear. There was no traffic and we could see a car approaching. He stopped momentarily and we informed the driver to follow us with red light and siren. We headed for Royal Columbian Hospital where we were met at Royal Columbian Hospital by Burnaby members who took charge and started an investigation. The member survived the ordeal. We later learned that the driver of the car was an Indian fellow who had no drivers licence and no driving experience. He was given a Commissioner’s Commendation for his actions.

Below the last gathering of the Vancouver Sub-Division Reserve Constables – April 1966

In 1966, the Reserve Division was disbanded. After discharge, I approached Sgt. Zavitz who was then the officer in charge of the Reserve if it was possible to join the R.C.M.P. Auxiliary Police section, and could I pick a small detachment, like Mallardville. He later contacted me and my request had been granted and I was to go to Mallardville. As I had not turned in any uniform. I attended right away and was welcomed. Later Maillardville and Port Coquitlam were amalgamated to form Coquitlam Detachment at a new location on Christmas Way.

 I left the R.C.M.P. Auxiliary in 1996 when they found that I was over the age limit for active duty. I stayed a few more years doing administrative record keeping and planning auxiliary functions.

I feel very fortunate to have had the privilege of serving as a member of the R.C.M.P. Reserve and Auxiliary Policing program. I met members who I am best friends with to this day.

As a member of the R.C.M.P. Veterans Association, I would come across many members that I had worked with over the years. It was always “Do you remember the time or a name “………..

 In 1990, I held the office of President of the Vancouver Division of R.C.M.P. Veterans Association and I am very of proud of the trust that they placed in me. I am a LIFE member of the Division.

 These are some of the things that the Reserves did over the years. Many Reservists would have some very good stories to tell. But alas it is to late to get their stories about their service in the Reserve.

Jim Warren

1955 – A Group photo taken of the RCMP Reserves in front of Fairmount Barracks in Vancouver, BC

Another bit of Force Triviam somewhat related; Brock House was the home of Vancouver Sub-Division from 1952 to 1975. In 1952 Brock House was sold to the Federal Government and it was occupied by the RCMP, Vancouver Sub-Division Headquarters Staff, until 1971.  On May 1, 1975 the property was turned over by the Federal Government to the City of Vancouver as part of the transfer of the Jericho Waterfront Lands.   Today Brock House Restaurant specializes in weddings with over 200 weddings annually.

Often group photos, similar to the one below, of the Vancouver Sub-Division members, during the 1950s and 1960s taken in front of Brock House are confused with being in front of Fairmont Barracks due some similarity in design of the buildings.

Photograph of Brock House in Vancouver, BC

Photograph of Brock House today.

Another bit of Force history forgotten over time.

Thank you to Jim Warren for sharing his photographs and some of his lasting memories of being a member of the RCMP Reserve in “E” Division.

image of Ric Hall closing block for his Photo Corner webpage

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