Ric Hall’s Photo Corner – “Another Trumpeter’s Story

Photograph of a RCMP Trumpeter badge in gold wire with red felt background (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles)

 

 

With Sheldon’s recent article on Force Trumpeters another former trumpeter has surfaced.    Veteran Perry Edwards whose hobby is photography has met a former member of the Force while they both stroll through the Maplewood bird sanctuary east of the 2nd Narrows bridge in North Vancouver.

 

 

One of the other regulars there is a RCMP Veteran Bill Adams, Reg. #18773).   He and Perry were recently talking and Perry mentioned the Vancouver Vets’ website and the high level of activity on it.  Perry mentioned the recent article on Force trumpeters, whereupon Bill said, “That’s how I first joined the Force at age 18 in 1954“‘.   He went on to say that he was the trumpeter for the Queen when she opened Parliament in 1957!

I took the opportunity to contact Bill and found out that he joined the RCMP in 1954.   His training was completed in Ottawa at Rockcliffe and was nine months long.

Bill still had a copy of the Ottawa Journal from Oct. 11, 1957 regarding the preparation for the Queen’s visit.   He was gracious enough to photograph the page and the individual photographs.  The quality is not that good, taking pictures of a fifty-six year old yellowed newspaper is not the best!

Photograph an artilce in the Ottawa newspaper in 1957

According to Bill:  “The article stated that I was to sound the alert that we were approaching parliament. (This was totally wrong and have no idea where they got that info).  My only duty was to sound the Royal Salute once we were at Government House as I recall and that was it.

I was at first denied entry to the Force and asked to wait for a few years until I looked a little older but then they contacted me and said they were trying this new experiment with trumpeters in the Force again. I was asked to join as a trumpeter and in that way enter the Force earlier then what I had expected.   Another chap also did the same: his name was Ron Stewart.  Ron was stationed in Alberta last I had contact with him and I understand he did not remain in the force.  I spent three years in Ottawa, counting the training period of nine months and then posted to Chemainus .B.C.    Maury Low was the corporal in charge of the detachment and two others, Bill Bloxham and Mike McIsaac were also stationed there.  I put in about a year at Chemainus and then decided I didn’t think the policeman’s’ life was for me.  I left in October of 1958 and joined Levitt-Safety Limited where I remained until I retired in October of 1993 at age 57.  Since that time I have enjoyed being an artist.”

Bill Adams

Photograph of Constable William 'Bill' Adams taken in 1957 while stationed in Ottawa as a RCMP Trumpeter (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection)

One of the pictures shows Bill with his trumpet (perhaps a bugle) and a beautiful horse over his shoulder.   Even in 1957 he was still wearing the old cap badge and collar dogs.   Unfortunately one of the other pictures is not too clear, but it shows the Ride members, in shirt sleeve, wearing forage caps and carrying lances (one mounted member is wearing a Stetson, he may have been the Officer responsible for the Queen’s escort) escorting an old wagon full of members in fatigues.

Photograph of an RCMP wagon in a rehersal for Queen Elizabeth's visit to Ottawa in 1957 (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

That wagon was a stand-in for the landau that the Queen would ride into parliament….apparently “they” did not want the landau to be damaged while practising.   The wagon looks very similar to the one we used in Regina to take the manure out into the fields…but that is another story.

1957 - Photograph of an RCMP member polishing the Royal Carriage which Queen Elizabeth would ride in on her visit to Ottawa (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

1957 – Photograph of an unknown RCMP member polishing the Royal Carriage which Queen Elizabeth would ride in on her visit to Ottawa (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

 

1957 - Queen's visit to Ottawa in 1957 (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

1957 – Queen’s visit to Ottawa in 1957 (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Bill is also a highly regarded artist, a talent he may have inherited from his grandfather W.H. McMahon, who was a member of the NWMP.  Here is his website, and also a 2012 article in the North Shore News which gives a very good outline of his brief RCMP career in Ottawa and Chemainus:

 Bill Adam’s website and samples of his artwork – check out his amazing artwork

North Shore News article entitled “Talent Turns Up Early” – Check out the news article

Bill also sent me the following information on his grandfather;  “My grandfather was in the NWMP William Hastings McMahon.    He was a great water colour artist. (RCMP gravesite web page)

I don’t believe this history in the NWMP was too glamorous.   He was an alcoholic at that time and I believe left with a bit of a shove.  Lol.   I think Jim Zavitz looked up his history for me once but never did tell me what he found and probably wanted to save my feelings.”

A little research found that William McMahon was Regimental # 1782.  Archives Canada data base on the NWMP has 63 pages of documents on him.

He joined June 08, 1886 and discharged by purchase Nov 28, 1892.  Discharge papers indicate Constable – Corporal – Constable, appears to have left and re-joined for a short period of time.  Compared to so many on the Archives data base, his grandfather was almost a saint!  He was admonished for missing evening stables.   And there was something about abuse of stores.  The writing is so hard to read, but it was clear he had to pay back some funds.   All to do with the Cricket Team he played for.   There is a copy of the list of kit had to turn back in when he left the NWMP, apparently re-cycling was in fashion even back in 1892!   There is a letter from the Commissioner acknowledging the reports from staff and passengers on his excellent escort of a “lunatic woman” by train.  It is interesting to see the names of the officers who signed his documents that are on file.   A who’s who of the NWMP.

If you wish, you can review William McManon’s NWMP Personal – reviews is NWMP file at the Library Archives of Canada

The Alberta Archives have details on William McMahon and is as follows:

William Hastings McMahon was a member of the McMahon family of the County Monaghan in Ireland, and his brother was Sir Henry McMahon, originator of the Palestine White Paper during World War I. William Hastings McMahon came to Canada in 1885 and joined the North West Mounted Police (NWMP). He was stationed at Banff, Alberta and acted as a scout during the Riel Rebellion. 

1888 - Photograph of NWMP members stationed at Banff.  Cst. 1888 - Photograph of an Alberta Cricket Team.  NWMP member William McMahon is identified as being circled in Red. (Source of photo - Library Archives of Canada).
1888 – Photograph of NWMP members stationed at Banff. Cst. 1888 – Photograph of an Alberta Cricket Team. NWMP member William McMahon is identified as being circled in Red. (Source of photo – Library Archives of Canada).

 

In 1888 he was transferred to Edmonton, Alberta and when the NWMP would not let him take his favorite horse with him he left the force altogether.  He remained in Edmonton though, for the rest of his life, marrying Alice Janet Clark in 1892 and making a living as a house painter. McMahon was a member of the first Edmonton Cricket Club and the early Strathcona Fire Department.  He was also a talented landscape painter and cartoonist.”

1888 - Photograph of an Alberta Cricket Team.  NWMP member William McMahon is identified as being circled in Red. (Source of photo - Alberta Archives).

1888 – Photograph of an Alberta Cricket Team. NWMP member William McMahon is identified as being circled in Red. (Source of photo – Alberta Archives).

If you have photographs you wish to share and include in Ric Hall’s Photo Corner, please email him at rshall69@shaw.ca.

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Ric Hall

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