By 1914, the Mounted Police had achieved an international reputation for their role in Western Canada's orderly development. In 1897, a NWMP detachment represented Canada at Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in London. Further contingents participated in King Edward VII and King George V's coronations in 1902 and 1911, respectively. During the South African War, members of the Force had been given leave of absence to fight with the 2nd Battalion, Canadian Mounted Rifles and the Lord Strathcona's Horse. In 1904, their achievements received recognition when King Edward VII granted the Force the prefix "Royal" and it became the Royal Northwest Mounted Police (RNWMP).
Although its deeds and its heroes were becoming a part of the legend of the West, a source of adventure and romance for the novelist and early motion picture producers, the Mounted Police frontier role was almost at an end. The First World War and its aftermath brought new conditions and challenges that resulted in the complete reorganization of the Force and its responsibilities.Mounted Police members were anxious to volunteer for active service when hostilities began in Europe. The government, however, refused to relieve them of their duties. It was concerned about the thousands of German settlers who had immigrated to the prairies. The Prime Minister decided the RNWMP must be retained in the West to ensure there were no attempts to sabotage the war effort.
By 1917, anxiety over the German settlers had diminished, but the government had become even more concerned over reports that United States pro-German sympathizers planned to cross the border and create unrest. As a result the Force terminated its provincial policing contracts of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and concentrated its resources on protecting the international boundary. It was not until 1918 that the threat subsided and the government allowed the Force to send two mounted cavalry squadrons overseas. The first, or "A" Squadron, served in France and Germany. The second, "B" Squadron, formed part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Siberia.Conditions in post war Canada brought even greater changes. There was a sharp increase in industrial strikes and disturbances in western Canada due to unemployment and the high cost of living.
In December 1918, to ensure that order was maintained, the government increased the Force's strength and extended its federal responsibilities throughout the four western provinces. During 1919, labour unrest continued, culminating in a general strike in the city of Winnipeg. Fearing that the country might be engulfed in a revolution similar to that which had occurred in Russia, the government decided there must be a single federal police force spread throughout the country to maintain law and order. In February 1920, the Mounted Police absorbed the Dominion Police, which had carried out federal policing in eastern Canada. Headquarters was moved from Regina to Ottawa and the Force became responsible for enforcement of federal laws from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In keeping with its new role, it was renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Maintain the Right; New York,1973
Beahen, William and Stan Horrall.
Red Coats on the Prairies. The North-WestMounted Police, 1886-1900; Regina, 1998
Dempsey, H.A. éd.
Men in Scarlet; Calgary, 1974
Histoire illustrée de la Gendarmerie royale du Canada ; McGraw-Hill; Montréal, 1974
Kelly, Nora and William.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A Century of Change, 1873 - 1973; Edmonton, 1973.
The N.W.M.P. and Law Enforcement 1873-1905; Toronto, 1976
Forty Years in Canada; Toronto, 1972
The North-West Mounted Police 1873-1893 (2 volumes); Ottawa, 1950
For further information on the history of the RCMP contact your nearest detachment or write:
Attn: National Communication Services Directorate
1200 Vanier Parkway