Mystery Solved: Cpl. A. Wilson


On August 23, 2013, we sought RCMP Veterans assistance in identifying a Force members illustrated in a painting entitled “Corporal A.J. Wilson & Flicker his horse.”  The artist was Robert Elmer Lougheed.



This painting mystery was brought to us by one of our Vancouver Division sponsors – Al Merriman of Remax Realty – Colonial Pacific Realty Ltd. 15414 -24th Avenue White Rock, BC.

Painting of RCMP Cpl. A.J. Wilson with his "N" Division horse

Painting of RCMP Cpl. A.J. Wilson with his “N” Division horse. Painted by Robert Elmer Lougheed.

Based on this initial request for assistance, we received an email message from Active member Dick Pulsifer (RCMP Veterans’ Association – Nova Scotia Division) on September 24, 2012:

I did some checking on Cpl. WILSON and it seems that he was a ‘real life’ member of the RCMP. The artist, Robert LOUGHEED was from Ontario but when he died in 1982, he was living in New Mexico.  I checked Galleries of the USA and found that in 2005 the Claggett Rey Gallery of Vail, CO., met with the artist’s wife, Cordy LOUGHEED and purchased the entire Lougheed Estate, involving hundreds of paintings, thoughs of drawings and all the personal notes on the artist.  It took 1.5 years to catalogue all material and in 2007, a separate Lougheed Studio was opened.

Active member Dick Pulsifier was able to contact the Claggett Rey Gallery and they discovered a note relating to the above painting.  This note stated as follows:

Corporal Wilson of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police worked form me at their Remount detachment located at Pakenham near Ottawa, Ontario.  He posed in their ‘review order’ uniform with the scarlet tunic and now only worn for ceremonial duties. The original uniform of 1874 was the same color and marked the men of the north west mounted police as soldiers of the queen, and here a legend was born.  A man with four stars on his upper left arm that told me of his 20 years of duty for his fellow man and country.  He was a horseman, I would tell, as he took off on Raglan for a canter during rest periods, also had his tour of seven years duty in the frozen northwest territories on dog team patrol.  Raglan was a fine looking thoroughbred stallion given to the RCMP by R.S. McLaughlin for breeding.  

When the originals set out for field duty in 1874, each division rode horses of distinctive color.  Division “A” was mounted on only dark bays. Division “C” on light chestnuts, etc…  Now that the horse is confined to ceremonial occasions, the appearance is once again of prime importance, and it was decided to have ‘blacks’ only.  It was then that a fine looking “Black” called “Flica” came into her own as brood mare.  I painted her standing on the edge of the Ottawa River with Corporal Wilson in his service order of brown serge.  

I recall so well, boats and tugs pushing log booms, moving down the Ottawa River steeped in history.  The afternoon of my last day, we worked up on the flat plain above the river.  As I painted, a fast airplane appeared not far from us, came in low and left faster than any plane we had ever seen in almost a vertical climb time and again ti did this, leaving the area before the sound reached us.  I was to find out later this was the first appearance of the new ‘jet’ on this continent.  The brass from Canada, the United States and England were there.  Little did they know that a fine thoroughbred, a Royal Mountie and an artist were also looking at history that day.

On September 29, 2012, Active member Dick Pulsifer forwarded the following message:

I have been trying to find information on the jet plan.  Today, I wend to the Aviation Museum, CFB Greenwood, Greenwood, Nova Scotia where I spoke to the Curator.  The Curator was familiar with the first jet flight.  The test pilot ws Sqdr. Leader Everett ‘Shan’ BAUDOUX, RCAF of Stellerton, NS.  In 1944, BAUDOUX completed training as a test pilot.  After training, he was then stationed to Rockcliffe, Ontario.  I was attempting to learn the flight date, as this would help to place the time for Cpl. WILSON’s posting in Ontario.  The Curator could not provide the date of the flight.

I did further research, including the RCL “Legion Magazine” that had an article on the flight.  In August, 1945, A gloster Meteor MK111, arrived, by crate, in Montreal.  Sqd. Leader BAUDOUX eventually flew the plan from Montreal to Ottawa in 15 minutes.  This is the information that it was taken to the Test and Development Establishment.  The plane’s first test flight in Ottawa, by Sqdn Leader BAUDOUX, was on 18 September 1945.  VIP’s attended the test flight from Canada, USA, Russia, Norway, Belgium, France and Peru.  The description given by artist, Robert LOUGHEED, seems to fit this description on events.

In addition to the above information, Active memberVeteran Dick Pulsifer discovered two more paintings created by Robert Lougheed of Cpl. A. Wilson.  These two paintings are illustrated below:

Painting of RCMP Cpl. A.J. Wilson with his "N" Division horse

Painting of RCMP Cpl. A. Wilson in red serge at "N" Division in 1945

 From the painting above of Cpl. Wilson in a brown serge, we discovered he was wearing the ‘rough rider’ trade badge.

With the details about Cpl. Wilson as noted above, we checked available Force Veteran databases and discovered that there was no listing for a Cpl. A.J. Wilson who had served in Ottawa during the timeframe indicated above.   However, we did discover a possible Cpl. Wilson fitting this description and who served in Ottawa areas during this timeframe:

Reg. #9938 – Sgt. Arthur Samuel Wilson: joined the Force on July 30, 1925 and retired on July 29, 1948.  Authur was born on September 29, 1896 at Swindon England and served with the Canadian Expeditionary Forces overseas between 1941 and 1919, where he attained the rank of Corporal.  He joined the Force on July 30, 1923 at Ottawa and following recruit training at Depot Division was posted to “E” Division, Vancouver.  In 1925, he was transferred to “G” Division, and during the next eight years served at Edmonton, Aklavik, Baillie Island, Arctic River River, Pearce Point and Cambridge Bay.  Subsequent transfers too him to “N” Division and “A” Division.  He was promoted to lance corporal on October 1, 1935, corporal on August 1, 1936 and sergeant on May 1, 1946.

According to his service file, Arthur Wilson had many notable entries:

1924 July 16: Service Court – Absence – Fine $5 – Supt. KNIGHT.
1925 May 04: Service Court – Absence – Fine $1 – A/Cmmr. KNIGHT.
1930: Replaced Reg. #9150 BELCHER at Cambridge Bay.
1932: Reg. #9938 WILSON & Reg. #10625 WHITE built new detachment building at Cambridge Bay.
1937: participated in the Coronation Contingent George VI.

He died on November 6, 1980 at Ottawa, Ontario.

On October 2, 2012, we forwarded a letter to the Officer in Command of the Musical Ride to confirm if Sgt. Arthur Samuel Wilson was the member stationed at “N” Division during the above timeframe.

On November 13, 2012, we received a response from the RCMP Historical Section.  Their message stated as follows:

The Musical Ride ceased to operate between the outbreak of the Second World War and 1948.  “N” Division still had a Mounted Section located at Rockcliffe Ontario.  In 1945, there were 7 members who were assigned to the Mounted Section, including Cpl. S.A. Wilson (Reg. #9938).

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of both Active member Dick Pulsifer and Veteran Joe Collinson, the mystery has been solved.  The above noted actions of these Veterans demonstrates that one can be retired from the Force but the investigative abilities remains with you.

On behalf of the RCMP Veterans’ Association – Vancouver Division, we express our appreciation to Associate member Dick Pulsifer and Veteran Joe Collinson as well as the staff at the RCMP Historical Section at HQ Ottawa for solving this mystery.

Another investigation successfully CONCLUDED HERE. No C237 Report required!