Ric Hall’s Photo Corner- RCMP Riding Crop

Photograph of the head of a RCMP riding crop (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

 

 

 

 

For this week, Ric Hall has selected the theme of this webpage as “the RCMP Riding Crop.”

 

 

 

 

Ric outlined “I was sitting around with a bunch of young pups at Surrey Detachment and we got to discussing the RCMP’s riding crops – of course – most had no idea about them.  As I discovered from reading James J. Boulton’s book entitled “Uniforms Of The Canadian Mounted Police” (page 188), I learned that these riding crops were discontinued in 1965.  I entered training in December of 1965 and our troop was all issued a riding crop.  I guess they still had a bundle in stores to get rid of.”

The photograph below is a photograph of some RCMP recruit kit issued to Constables D.E. Hall and R.D. Hall.  The crossed riding crops are in the centre of the photograph.

1965 - Photograph of RCMP kit issued to new recruits at "Depot" Division (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

1965 – Photograph of RCMP kit issued to new recruits at “Depot” Division (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Jame Boulton book describes a bit of history of these riding crops:

In June 1919 tens of thousands of disillusioned workers aligned themselves in staging a massive strike, perhaps the largest and most dangerous in the country’s history. A violent confrontation with armed and agitated strikers in Winnipeg was expertly defused by a small contingent of police, but not without injury to many of them.

In 1932, the police were better prepared for riot control. When the brief “Market Square Riot” took place in Edmonton the Force was armed for blunt combat. Members on foot were provided with cudgels made from pickaxe handles with a leather thong for the wrist. Members on horseback used a specially-made truncheon carried in a cylindrical leather scabbard on the left side of the saddle. The truncheon when in the scabbard resembled a sword. The shaft of the truncheon was lubricated with saddle soap so that it could not be grasped by an opponent.

Troops in training till the end of equitation in 1966 were still taught truncheon drill.

In 1935 with the impending “March on Ottawa” by the unemployed, a new and very inconspicuous but effective weapon was introduced in the form of a baton or whip. A riding whip had been permitted for other ranks for Walking Out order since the inception of the Force.

The new leather-covered baton had the appearance of a handsome riding whip but concealed a steel rod. It had a woven leather handle which was passed about the wrist to prevent it from being dropped or pulled away. It was prescribed for all orders of dress where sidearms were not worn.

In 1943 it was suggested the riding crop be done away with, storage of the crop was an issue when wearing sidearms and many members road their bicycles to work and the crop could interfere with the safe operation of the bicycle. Commissioner Wood carefully considered the recommendation, but ruled against it on the grounds that the baton/crop constituted the only weapon available with certain orders of dress and carrying a crop improved military carriage.

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Photograph of how a RCMP riding crop could be used (source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

In 1965 Commissioner McCLellan ordered that riding crops would no longer be carried. Up until this time, Commissioned Officers carried a short bamboo cane.

Photograph of an RCMP Officer's bamboo cane (Source of photo - Sheldon Boles).

Photograph of an RCMP Officer’s bamboo cane (Source of photo – Sheldon Boles).

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.

Photograph of a RCMP riding crop (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph of a RCMP riding crop (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

Fast forward to 2000 and the enhancement of the Sergeants Major program, riding crops are now being sought out by the Sergeants Major and what was once old is now new!

Photograph extract from the RCMP's dismounted cavalry drill manual (Source of photo - Ric Hall's Photo Collection).

Photograph extract from the RCMP’s dismounted cavalry drill manual (Source of photo – Ric Hall’s Photo Collection).

If you have any old Force photos that could be included in one of Ric Hall’s Photo Corner webpages, please email him at rshall69@shaw.ca. Ric will scan the photographs and return the original back to you.

image of Ric Hall closing block for his Photo Corner webpage

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