True and Fascinating Canadian History

S/Sgt. Kowtun

In Memory of Reg.#6352, Corporal Michael Moriarty.
Honour Roll#55
Holy Cross Cemetery. Lackawanna, NY. USA

RCMP Graves Ontario

by Jack O'Reilly. Vets Toronto, ON.

Estimated count of RCMP graves in Ontario: 2600

In February 2003, Toronto Division Vets met with RCMP members from “O” Division to see if the Vets could assist the RCMP with any duties in the Greater Toronto area. Suggestions were made by the RCMP and following discussions with members of the Vets, we decided to take on the “Care & Maintenance of Police Graves”. We met with the RCMP again in March to discuss the pros and cons of the grave visitations. We decided to start with the graves located within Milton Detachment area which covered most of the Toronto area.

Sgt. Wilcox

We turned down an offer of payment by the RCMP and instead agreed on a small space in one of their buildings to keep our Toronto Division Vet’s files etc., as we had lost our office when the RCMP moved their Division HQ to London, Ontario. We had volunteers who lived close to cemeteries where graves were located and could visit these cemeteries without incurring expenses.

In 2003 Rick Morris co-ordinated the grave visits. In 2004 Wayne Barry volunteered to take over from Rick. In May 2003, we received the list from Milton Detachment with 18 graves. I wondered why there were only 18 names on the list and learned that now the RCMP only visit the grave if the headstones contains a reference to service in the Force. Years ago, we visited all the graves.

I felt names were missing from the list. Five former Commanding Officers of “O” Division had passed away in the Toronto area but their names were not on the list. We maintained a “Last Post” for members of Toronto Division Vets, so I had Toronto Division Vet’s names and when they died. I decided to try to find where some of them were buried.

S/Sgt. Kowtun

I am married to a lady who is heavily into genealogy and with her knowledge and guidance was introduced to researching obituaries in the Toronto newspapers. Each week I would take a list of names and head to the North York Library to search for obituaries. I would find cemetery names but in some cases only the name of the funeral home who handled the service. Now the funeral homes had to be contacted. I would do the research during the winter months then head to the cemeteries in the summer to locate the graves. Wayne Barry took an interest in what I was doing and between the two of us we started finding graves that were not on the RCMP’s list. This encouraged us to keep looking. I found the graves of the five former Commanding Officers of “O” Division. Three of the five have RCMP reference on their headstone.

I tried unsuccessfully to obtain the master grave list for “O” Division as I was finding many members were not buried where they died. Finally at our Vet’s Golf Tournament I made the current Commanding Officer a deal he couldn’t refuse. I would not disclose his golf score if he would let me see the Division Grave List. I had the list the next day. This saved me looking for graves in the Toronto area when they were buried elsewhere in Canada. I had a copy of Jack White’s (Kamloops Vet) Member History File which was of great assistance. Without Jack White’s knowledge, memory and encouragement, I would have quit after finding the five Commanding Officers’ graves.

This little project took off and we now have a list of over 400 names and have visited over 300 graves. Most headstones do not have reference to the RCMP on the headstone and there are a number of unmarked graves, but we have added 31 names to the “O” Division list of members who do have a reference to the RCMP on their marker.

S/Cst. Lancefield

In 2004 we also started doing the grave visits for Bowmanville Detachment and in 2006 included Newmarket Detachment. Our group of volunteers, Wayne Barry, Ken Cornforth, Ralph DeGroot, Jim Eichenberg, Charlie Farquharson, Stu Jarvis and Rick Morris carry a kit containing grass clippers, brush etc to clean up the headstones. Matters requiring attention such as sunken markers etc. are reported to the cemetery office and are usually corrected with little delay.

We have found a lot of graves which were badly neglected. Insp.Glenn Hanna, Bowmanville RCMP and RCMP Chaplain Gerry McMillan accompany us each summer on some of the visits within Bowmanville Detachment area. Insp. Hanna always takes flowers to place on the graves. In 2007 Wayne Barry’s report to the RCMP contained comments on 75 graves we had visited in the three Detachment areas

I have found this experience very rewarding. The only thing I find is that now when I visit a funeral home or cemetery, they are calling me by my first name!

Report 2015

Grave Inspection Committee Report: by Chair, Jack O’Reilly. Toronto, ON Vets

The Toronto area Grave Inspection Team consisted of Vets Wayne Barry, Ken Cornforth, Ralph DeGroot, Stu Jarvis, Chris Lavin, Rick Morris and Jack O’Reilly.

The Team visited 123 RCMP graves during 2014. Reports on the visits were sent to Bowmanville, Milton, Newmarket Detachments and “O” Division HQ.

There was also a Grave Re-dedication Ceremony on May 23, 2014 at St. James’ Cemetery in Toronto. New Regimental headstones were placed on the unmarked graves of four members of the NWMP. This ceremony was attended by several members of the RCMP including Commanding Officer Steven White and RCMP Chaplain Rev. Gerry McMillan.

In May 2014 the 'O' Div. Commanding Officer authorized three more markers to be placed on the unmarked graves of former members of the NWMP . These new markers have been ordered and will be placed on the graves at cemeteries in Peterborough and Toronto, ON. in the Spring of 2015.



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