Grave Markers Neglected




Two realities we all face is death and taxes.

If a RCMP Veteran receives a pension, they are entitled to a regimental grave marker at public expense.  The choice of a grave marker comes in three different forms:







The selection of the RCMP regimental grave marker hinges on the regulations of the cemetery where the RCMP Veteran is buried.  Whether the past Force member receives a regimental grave marker or a regular grave marker, the decision rests with the family.

The earliest notation of a need to maintain past Veteran’s grave markers dates back to 1901.

According to Don Klancher’s book entitled “The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Veterans’ Association: 1924 – 1999” (page 7), “The activities of the veterans’ association in Calgary area during the late 1880’s and early 1890’s remained somewhat obscure but the association had ceased operations by 1896.  However, by early 1901, some ex-members in the area decided an attempt would be made to re-organize the association.  To further those efforts, a letter was submitted for publication to area newspapers, such as the Macleod Gazette on May 17, 1901:

Ex-Mounted Police

Comrades – At the earnest request of ex-members of the Force residing in nearly every section of the N.W. Territories, your comrades of the Calgary District deem it a duty and a pleasure to invite you to co-operate with them in organizing an ex-N.W.M.P. Association on the following basis:

1) To preserve and strengthen those friendly and fraternal feelings which bound us together while members of the N.W.M.P. and to perpetuate the memory and history of the part played by the Force in the settlement of the North-West Territories and in establishing therein a proper system of law, order and government.

2) To extend needful aid to such comrades as may be disabled by accidents, wounds, or sickness.

3) To see that the funerals of deceased comrades are conducted with due respect and ceremony.

4) To care for the widows and orphans of deceased comrades.

5) To see that the graves of deceased comrades are kept in decent condition.”

Not all past Veterans have a grave marker with a badge or reference to the Force.  As such, the identifying and inspecting these grave markers becomes more difficult.  There are many past Force members who no longer have a grave marker or were never given a grave marker.

Up until approximately 15 years ago, the RCMP Detachment Commanders were required to conduct an inspection of Force regimental grave markers and compile an annual report.  If deficiencies were discovered then action would be taken to correct the deficiencies.

For a variety of reasons, these annual inspections were discontinued.  At the time, it was assumed that the cemetery perpetual care program would include caring/maintaining all the grave markers.  In reality, the perpetual care has come down to just cutting the grass around each grave marker and rebuilding sunken graves. 

On his own initiative and many years ago, RCMP Veteran Joe Healy decided to commence locating and developing a database of Force member gravesites.  As the numbers of grave site details grew larger, Joe developed the National RCMP Gravesite Database website.

The actions of Joe Healy stimulated other RCMP Veterans to take up the cause to locate and photograph grave markers.  This database now contains over 15,000 entries. You can check out this database  and the details associated to past Veterans you know of.

As more and more RCMP Veterans became involved in locating and inspecting grave markers, it was quickly discovered that some grave markers are not being maintained.  Consequently, many RCMP Veterans have on their initiative taken steps to regularly inspect and when necessary clean-up a grave marker.

It is our view that these past RCMP Veterans have contributed greatly to the history of the Force and made many sacrifices to provide the best possible service to Canada.  As such, these past Veterans deserve a grave marker that clearly recognizes their name and is void of dirt, moss, etc…

We have included below some recent photographs taken RCMP grave markers which were neglected and have been cleaned up.



As RCMP Veterans, we have a vested interest to ensure RCMP grave markers are inspected and maintained – we too will have a grave marker.

If you are interested in getting involved in conducting grave marker inspections in your area, we would encourage you to include your name, email address and any comments below: