Fun facts and urban legends

Throughout the history of the RCMP there have been stories that are so fantastical that they are hard to believe. This page lists a number of stories that are true and some that are false.

Interesting facts

Did you know?
  • Stuart Zachary Taylor Wood, the 8th commissioner of the Force was the great grandson of Zachary Taylor the 12th president of the United States.
  • The brand of the RCMP - "MP" fused together, was registered in 1887.
  • The last dog sled patrol was in March 1969? The patrol was from Old Crow, Yukon Territory to Fort McPherson, N.W.T. and Arctic Red River and back, and covered a distance of over 500 miles. There were two teams with a total of 21 dogs.
  • The Dempster Highway in the Yukon was named after Inspector William John Duncan Dempster (# O.233) for his service in the north. Dempster served with the Force from 1897 until 1934 and spent over 36 years serving in the Yukon.
Secret Lives of Sgt. John Wilson (by Lois Simmie)

This book is based on real events. John Wilson (# 6020) served with the Force from Served August 31, 1914 until August 30, 1917 and again from January 6, 1919 until November 11, 1919. He murdered his wife, Mary Wilson, on September 27, 1918 and was tried from February 2, 1920 to February 4, 1920. John Wilson was hung at Prince Albert Gaol (Sk) on April 23, 1920. He is one of two Members of the Force to be executed for murder. The other was William Pepo (# 1917) who was hanged at Choteau, Montana on April 8, 1900.

Mrs. Margaret Agnes Clay
Mrs. Margaret Agnes Clay

Mrs. Margaret Agnes Clay was the wife of S/Sgt. Sidney Gaisford Clay (# 4279). S/Sgt. Clay opened detachment at Herschel Island in 1924 (farthest Northern Post at the time). While S/Sgt. Clay was away on patrol Mrs. Clay was attacked by husky dogs on September 20, 1924 and had one of her legs amputated. She died of shock on September 24, 1924.

Francis Jeffrey Dickens (# O.29)

Son of famous British novelist Charles Dickens. Served with the North-West Mounted Police from November 4, 1874 until March 1, 1886. He also commanded Fort Pitt during the Northwest Rebellion, 1885.

Urban legends


The story about the disappearance in the 1930's of an Inuit village near Lake Anjikuni is not true. An American author by the name of Frank Edwards is purported to have started this story in his book Stranger than Science. It has become a popular piece of journalism, repeatedly published and referred to in books and magazines. There is no evidence however to support such a story. A village with such a large population would not have existed in such a remote area of the Northwest Territories (62 degrees north and 100 degrees west, about 100 km west of Eskimo Point). Furthermore, the Mounted Police who patrolled the area recorded no untoward events of any kind and neither did local trappers or missionaries.

Al Capone (Moose Jaw Tunnels)

In 2000 the town of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan came up with a marketing ploy to attract tourists. They claimed that Al Capone spent time covertly in Moose Jaw during American prohibition using the Moose Jaw tunnels to run his bootlegging business. There is no evidence that links Capone's bootlegging to Moose Jaw, let alone any evidence that he ever set foot on Canadian soil.

Mrs. Mike (by Benedict & Nancy Mars Freedman)

Every year people write to the RCMP asking for information on Sgt. Mike Flannigan, one of the main characters in the book Mrs. Mike by Benedict & Nancy Mars Freedman. Unfortunately, even though the authors claim that this is a true story, this book is complete fiction. In fact, A/Comm. C.D. La Nauze reviewed this book in the Quarterly magazine in 1947 and did not have any kind words for it. As a Member who served in the area at the same time period Mrs. Mike is based he did not appreciate some of the creative license taken by the authors.

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