UPDATED – Ric Hall’s – The Case Of The Mysterious Suitcase

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I was recently contacted by a retired member who was in the process of downsizing. He had some old kit that had been passed along to him and asked if I would like it and take care of it. Of course I would!

 

 

 

He delivered a suitcase, a box with unknown contents and an old Stetson.

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With the suitcase I felt I now knew how Geraldo Rivera did when he hosted a TV special in 1986 centered on the opening of a secret vault once owned by the gangster Al Capone.   Poor Geraldo….his bank fault was empty except for debris.   Would my mystery suitcase be empty?

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It turned out that the items turned over to me had at one time belonged to Staff Sergeant Geoffrey Beeston Joy, Reg # 3045.   Joy was originally from England and like so many came to Canada seeking new adventures. He was born in September 1873, the North West Mounted Police, was in its infancy.

Geoffrey Beeston Joy joined the NWMP in April of 1894 and served until December 17, 1928, in “Depot” “K” “M” and “E” Divisions. He retired a Staff Sergeant with a good portion of his career being spent in the Yukon. On March 19, 1901, while posted in the Yukon, he experienced the displeasure of his Officer Commanding, Inspector Starnes (later Commissioner Starnes), who fined him $2.00 for “being late on departure to his detachment.” Mount Joy, Yukon, was named after him in 1909 by Joseph Keele, a geological surveyor for Canada.

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Geoffrey Joy passed away in October of 1946 living in West Vancouver.

The opening of the suitcase was a very interesting experience much better than Geraldos. Included in the contents was S/Sgt Joy’s blue serge tunic. It has to be at the minimum 88 years old.   Although wrinkled and somewhat dirty it is in very good condition for its age. Also included were two pairs of riding gauntlets, two kit bags, very worn and rotting blue felt ankle boots and a pair of gaiters with leather straps for snowshoeing.

 

Several metal cigarette containers were inside, it would appear that once the contents were used up the metal containers were used to store such things as pins and safety pins.   “American Pickers” would these tin containers.

A small camera was also found called the “Premotte”. Checking the Historic Camera’s History Librarium the following describes the “Premotte”; “The Premoette camera was manufactured by the Eastman Kodak Company from 1906 to 1912. Designed as a compact camera that would be able to fit in a boy’s pocket with a practical size of 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inch exposures. Daylight loading with Premo film packs. Fitted with a meniscus lens with universal focus and an automatic shutter with three speeds. A rapid rectilinear or Anastigmat lens were optionally available. Additional features include a tripod socket, a reversible finder and seal grain covering. This camera measures 1 7/8 x 3 3/16 x 4 1/2 inches when closed and weighs 11 ounces.

There were also forty contact sheets of photographs taken during the early 1900s of day to day life in the Yukon.   Amazing photographs!

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And most unusual was the sealed small box.   It contained tin type photographs mounted on small wood blocks. Although well worn the photographs can still be made out, there were pictures of officers of the Force, ships in ice and of the St. Roch.   There were also larger, what appear to be metal plates, used for printing.   As they are reversed for printing purposes, when held up to a mirror they can be recognized as cartoons depicting the Force.   Where were these used? Perhaps, thinking out loud, they may have been used in the old Vancouver Veterans’ Association magazine the Scarlet and Gold.

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Lastly, Joy’s Stetson, his name has been punched into the inside band. It is an original “John B. Stetson” Stetson.

UPDATE – June 2, 2017 – RCMP Collector Dale Wiskin of Kingston, Ontario contacted Ric Hall and outlined that he recently purchased an RCMP Long Service Medal named to S/Sgt. Joy of the NWMP.  Dale has provided the following photographs to supplement this article.

Photograph of S/Sgt. Joy’s RCMP Long Service cardboard medal case.

Photograph of S/Sgt. Joy’s RCMP Long Service Medal.

Photograph of the 1935 RCMP memorandum to S/Sgt. Joy to attend the Fairmont Barracks in Vancouver, BC to receive his RCMP Long Service Medal.

Photograph of S/Sgt. Joy’s ashtray with three attached Force buttons: NWMP, RNWMP and RCMP.

 

image of Ric Hall closing block for his Photo Corner webpage

 

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