North-West Mounted Police - A Tradition in Scarlet   Francais Home Sitemap Links Feedback Credits
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1. Introduction2. Birth of a Police Force3. The March West4. Establishment of the Force5. The Railroad and the Rebellion6. The Growth of the Force7. Establishment of a National Police Force8. Biographies
Recruitment & Training
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You want to know how it all started, do you. Rather hastily, to be sure! With winter approaching and a lack of money to completely fund this new police force, it was decided to find 150 good men right away, then
add another 150 men the following spring.

What a time we had! Hundreds of men came forward
volunteer. Some wanted the adventure, some were tired of farming and looked forward to a regular paycheque. Others, well they were running away.

Among other requirements, each man had to pass a medical test and present a letter saying that he was a man of good character. But who had time to check up on these letters? Do you think that you would have been a good recruit?

Put yourself to the test by taking a quiz to test your eligiblity for the North West Mounted Police!

If you pass the test, be sure to take the oath of office.

I joined the North-West Mounted Police as a
sergeant major. We travelled to Lower Fort Garry in Manitoba and arrived in October 1873. Inspector Jarvis was in command, Inspector Walsh became adjutant, veterinarian and riding master, Inspector Griesbach was in charge of discipline, and I, well I broke horses and trained the young men to ride. As long as the temperature did not drop below -36°C, we worked from 6 am until dark, every day. Lt. Col. French, our Commissioner, arrived in November and took over the command.

He was gravely disappointed in our motley collection of recruits. Few knew how to ride and some were medically unfit 20 men were discharged almost immediately: one only had one eye, another was crippled and the others had various diseases. Why they even signed up I cannot say.

French returned to Ottawa to request another 150 men. He recruited these men personally and with great care. They assembled at New Fort in Toronto for a month of training. Then, with great fanfare I'm told, they rode the train to Fargo, North Dakota.

There they unloaded horses and equipment, and began the journey to Ft. Dufferin, to meet the rest of the detachment.

Each division, six in all, had one superintendent-and-inspector, two superintendent-and-sub-inspectors, a paymaster/quartermaster and a veterinary surgeon. Most of these men, like myself, were drawn from the
army or the militia.
The North West Mounted Police who fulfilled their contract with the government were granted 160 acres of land in the west.
The North West Mounted Police who fulfilled their contract with the government were granted 160 acres of land in the west.

Recruitment posters ran in major newspapers.
Recruitment posters ran in major newspapers.

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2. Birth of a Police Force

The Expeditions