Vancouver Division’s Old Office

 

 

Many of you will have watched the TV show “The Office” a British, and later American, mockumentary sitcom. Fortunately, the Vancouver Division of the RCMP Veterans’ Association never had to worry about similar goings on in our “Office”.  

 

 

 

 

Imagine starting a small business in 1913 and it is still functioning in 2017. All without an office!   For a short period of time our division had office space in the new “E” Division HQs in Surrey.   It was small, but it was an office!   All good things must come to an end, the office was required for operational purposes and we were punted out the door.

Over the years all the paper work, photographs of annual dinners with the ladies decked out in all their finery, ledgers, copies of correspondence regarding the Scarlet and Gold magazine, were boxed and stored.   There are bound copies of the RCMP Quarterly, four per year, and all the Scarlet and Gold magazines are bound till it’s demise. Where were they stored?   Members of the executive took on the role of gatekeeper, the boxes were stored in basements, garages and spare bedrooms over the years.

This past week, the time finally came to go through all the boxes and see what was historically significant and see what was of no value.   Three of our Executive members sat down and ventured where no man or woman has gone in a long time.  The musty smell of old paper still lingers.   One of the cardboard boxes had been attacked by mice made the decision easy for what to do with it.

A couple of treasures were found!

The original ledger with the hand-written minutes of the first meeting creating the RNWMP Veterans’ Association held in Vancouver in 1913.   This ledger contains minutes of meeting up till 1925.

Copies of the first page creating the Executive of the Association and the page with the By-Laws

 

This ledger will be retained by the Vancouver Division for its historical significance and perhaps one day we may have an office where it could be placed on display.

While digging through the boxes a gavel was found buried under a stack of old files. An interesting find. Upon closer examination, it had an engraved plate on the gavel head which reads:

Presented to

“A” Division RNWMP Veterans’ Assoc.

Insp. H.A. Larsen

RCMP St. Roch

– 1947 –

Examining closer the top of the gavel it appeared to be in the shape of a ship…. the St. Roch!   In very small letters on the bow is written “RCMPolice St. Roch”.  

Wow! What is the story behind this and why was it buried away in a carboard box for so many years?   Was this actually made by the Skipper of the St. Roch, Henry Larsen?

I had recently done an article on the history of the formation of the Vancouver Division and the current president’s gavel. But there was no mention anywhere of the “St. Roch” gavel.

While driving home after sorting through all the boxes I had a nagging feeling there was something I should know about the “St. Roch” gavel.   I got into my photo archives and Bingo!   In 2013, I met Kay Rawlings who was the daughter of Corporal Sydney Floyd, Reg # 9254, see http://www.rcmpveteransvancouver.com/cpl-sidney-floyd-reg-9254-a-St.ory-within-the-St.ory/. Kay allowed me to scan her father’s photographs and amongst those photos was an old Vancouver Sun newspaper clipping which shows Henry Larsen and her father attending the 34th Annual Roll Call Dinner for Veterans held in 1947 at Spencer’s Dining Room (whatever happened to Spencer’s Dining Room?).  The clipping is torn and yellowed, but it is clear to read about the origin of the “St. Roch” gavel:

“in ceremonies which saw a gavel hewn from the timbers of the RCMP schooner St. Roch presented to the organization by Inspector Henry Larsen, the ship’s skipper/explorer.”

On September 28, 20178 the Vancouver Maritime Museum will be holding its inaugural North West Passage Hall of Fame dinner.                                    

The Inaugural inductees for 2017 are:

 A) Category Individual – Eugene “Dean” Hadley (RCMP), radio operator on board  Roch1940-42; the last surviving member who served on the St. Roch

Photograph RCMP member Eugene Dean Hadley (Reg.#13013)

Photograph of former RCMP member Eugene Dean Hadley (Reg.#13013).

B) Category Vessel – RCMP  Roch, first vessel to transit the NWP from west. to east.;

 

C) Category Expedition – Hudson Bay Company’s ship Aklavik and the first commercial use of the North West Passage.

The “St. Roch” gavel has been buried away for many years and with no office space in which to display it has been decided to donate it to the Vancouver Maritime Museum as an addition to their St. Roch display.   Our Vice-President Bob Underhill attended the North West Passage Hall of Fame dinner representing the Veterans’ Association and presented the “St. Roch” gavel at that event to the Maritime Museum.  

image of Ric Hall closing block for his Photo Corner webpage

 

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