Ric Hall: Force’s 100th Anniversary With Harley-Davidson Motorcycles

 

RCMP motorcycle advertisement

 

 

You have come along way baby!

In the early days of the 1900s the Royal North West Mounted Police was still truly the “Mounted Police” virtually all work and patrols were conducted on horseback. Horses were abundant in detachment stables across the Dominion.

 

 

 

The Force did not acquire its first automobile until 1917. The first police car, a seven passenger model 55 McLaughlin, purchased and driven by Alexander Locke (Reg.#6263) was used for transporting prisoners from the guardroom @ “Depot” to the Regina Gaol.

Photograph of RNWMP members trying out the new Ford horseless carriage (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of RNWMP members trying out the new Ford horseless carriage (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Not sure if those prisoners were members of the Force or your everyday criminal. One senior officer is believed to have said that the top should always be down, rain or shine, as “horses don’t have roofs and neither should cars.”

Harley_Poster_webBut mechanization did come earlier than the first car in the form of motorcycles. It has not been recorded when the Force acquired its first motorcycles but it appears it was around 1915. So I am declaring 2015 as the “Unofficial 100th Anniversary” of the Force’s association with the Harley-Davidson motorcycle. I am sure there are those more wise in such things that will correct me if I am wrong.

Harley Davidson motorcycle RNMWP, RCMP

According to the Harley-Davidson web site; “The first Harley-Davidson police motorcycle was delivered to the Detroit Police Department in 1908. Right from the start, police departments recognized the tactical advantage provided by a manoeuvrable vehicle such as a motorcycle along with Harley-Davidson’s reputation for reliability.” and “During the First World War Harley-Davidson motorcycles proved their value as military hardware. The U.S. was drawn into World War I – as were approximately 20,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Motorcycles were a great aid in dispatching messages before the advent of reliable radio communications. Most of these motorcycles had sidecars which could be fitted with machine-gun mounts if needed.” Patrolling the western back country of the Dominion of Canada and along the U.S. border seemed to be a good use of the motorcycle.

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The maneuverability of the motorcycle on crowded streets offer advantages not provided by larger, more traditional police vehicles. The motorcycle’s relatively small size allows it to get to accident scenes more quickly when incidents such as traffic collisions slow down access by four-wheel vehicles. Police motorcycles are also used for the escort of VIP motorcades, and other special events.

Photograph of a horse mounted RCMP member and another member on a motorcycle (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

A look of disdain from the horse towards the motorcycle” – Photograph of a horse mounted RCMP member and another member on a motorcycle (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

1915 - Photograph of RNWMP members trying out their new motorcycle (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

1915 – Photograph of RNWMP members trying out their new motorcycle (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Photograph of an early RNWMP motorcycle (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of an early RNWMP motorcycle (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

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1939 Photograph of an RCMP motorcycle escort for the Royal Visit to Canada (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

1939 Photograph of an RCMP motorcycle escort for the Royal Visit to Canada (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

1939 - Photograph of the Royal Visit to Canada with a RCMP motorcycle escort at the top of the photo (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

1939 – Photograph of the Royal Visit to Canada with a RCMP motorcycle escort at the top of the photo (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

1939 - Photograph of the Royal Tour of Canada with a  RCMP motorcycle escort (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

1939 – Photograph of the Royal Tour of Canada with a RCMP motorcycle escort (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

1950s Edmonton - Photograph of Constable Ronald Julius Friesen (Reg#18269) (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

1950s Edmonton – Photograph of Constable Ronald Julius Friesen (Reg#18269) (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

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1984 - Commissioner Simmonds and the Motorcycle Escort at "N" Division training for the Papal visit in 1984 (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

1984 – Commissioner Simmonds and the Motorcycle Escort at “N” Division training for the Papal visit in 1984 (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Photograph - "On Parade or On Patrol a couple of beauties!" -  RCMP Motorcycles (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph – “On Parade or On Patrol a couple of beauties!” – RCMP Motorcycles (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Force legend has it that when the first motorcycles began to appear on scene, there was audible snickering coming from the stables across the Force. It was the horses letting it be known, they were not going to be replaced by a two wheeled contraption, in later years sled dogs had the same thoughts when snow machines appeared! Look where it got them!

Photographs of RCMP motorcycle member - "Trying to replace the Musical Ride?"  (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photographs of RCMP motorcycle member – “Trying to replace the Musical Ride?” (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Happy 100th Anniversary RCMP Motorcycles!

Don’t worry, we still love our horses!

Photograph of an RCMP Musical Ride member kissing his horse (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of an RCMP Musical Ride member kissing his horse (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

photograph of RCMP mounted members battling the snow. (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of RCMP mounted members battling the snow. (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

image of Ric Hall closing block for his Photo Corner webpage

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