By: E3161 Victoria Edwards
I was born August 21st, 1860. While at high school in Napanee in 1876, I read an item in the “Globe” of Toronto asking for candidates for the newly established Military College at Kingston. On June 1st, 1876, I entered the first class at the Military College as one of the “Old Eighteen” – at the age of fifteen.
I graduated at the top of my class receiving the Governor-General’s gold and silver medals.
I received a commission and was gazetted as a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineers of the Imperial British Army. Unfortunately a serious accident prevented me from attending my convocation ceremonies. The Commandant of RMC secured a six month healing period before I was required to report to the Royal Engineers in England. I soon realized that accepting a commission in the British army was a serious error. Officers of the Imperial forces were required to supplement their meager wages through private means. This meant allowances from well-to-do parents. The military’s medical staff determined that my leg was not yet properly healed and my commanding officer advised me to return to Canada. With the blessing of my family, I resigned my commission; After a brief stint surveying in what is now northern Ontario, I accepted a position as librarian for the Geological Survey in Ottawa. I was gazetted an Inspector of the Mounted Police on January 24th 1882.
I married Emma Duranty Meikle, the daughter of the postmaster and general merchant in Lachute, Quebec on on June 5th, 1883. Our son, Kenneth Meikle (born November 7, 1884) served in the Militia, became a Professor at RMC and retired as a Brigadier. My grandson, # 2772 Bernard P. Jennings, RCE, graduated from RMC in 1942 as a member of College’s, “Last War Class.” He subsequently took part in the D-Day landings, 6 June 1944, but sadly he was killed-in-action near Falaise, Normandy, on 14 August 1944.
During the Riel Rebellion, I was appointed a Major in the Canadian Militia, and received command of the second section of the Alberta Field Force. With a force of 250, I led a march from Calgary to Edmonton. While crossing the Red Deer River I nearly lost my life landing a tow rope attached to the raft carrying a field gun. Following the Rebellion, I was appointed Superintendent of the Prince Albert district, on August 1st, 1885.
I was in command at the Depot, Regina from 1889 to 1897. While in Regina, I qualified in law and was called to the Bar of the Northwest Territories. In 1897, I was given command of the Calgary district and I commanded the Mounted Police as part of the military contingent which represented Canada at Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
I created a new NWMP post at Vancouver. In 1898, I was posted on special duty to the Yukon. On September 26th, 1899, I took over command of the Yukon from Superintendent Sam Steele. I was in command during the days of Dan McGrew and other goldrush characters. On August 1st 1900, I became the fifth Commissioner of the North West Mounted Police. I introduced the stetson to the Mounted Police in 190.
In 1904, King Edward VII added the prefix “Royal” to the Mounted Police name, it was not until 1920 that the force was renamed Royal Canadian Mounted Police;
In 1909 the following appeared in the London Gazette Supplementary:”Chancery of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, Downing Street, 9th November, 1909 The King has graciously pleased to give direction for the following appointment to the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George: – To be a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order, ., Commissioner of the Royal North West Mounted Police, Dominion of Canada.”
In 1911, I commanded a contingent of RNWMP which took part in the Empire Celebrations in England, at the time of the Coronation of King George and Queen Mary.
In 1919 I worked out the details of the force’s expansion and the move of its headquarters from Regina to Ottawa. By February 1, 1920 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were operating throughout Canada. Upon my retirement from the RCMP in 1923, I was conferred the equivalent military rank of Major-General.
I was the only member of the “Old Eighteen” to be present at the re-opening of RMC in 1948 and I took the salute for the match past of the “New Hundred”.
I died on February 14, 1956 in my 96th year in Ottawa, Ontario. I was the last surviving member of the “Old Eighteen” from RMC.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police named a building at the Depot, Regina in my honour. Who Am I?
a) AFF Wurtele; b) HE Wise; c) AB Perry; or d) GE Perley
Answer: Major-General (ret’d) Aylesworth Bowen Perry C.M.G. spans RMC history and connects the only thee Classes to have specific names- The Old Eighteen, the Last War Class and the New Hundred!
*Brandt Zätterberg Aylesworth Bowen Perry of the Northwest Mounted Police http://qschooner.com/abperrybio.html
*R.G. MacBeth Project Gutenberg EBook of “Policing the Plains: Being the Real-Life Record of the Famous North-West Mounted Police”
# 2772 Lt. Bernard Perry Jennings, Royal Canadian Engineers, graduated from RMC in 1942 as a member of College’s, “Last War Class.” He subsequently took part in the D-Day landings, 6 June 1944, but sadly he was killed-in-action at 21 years of age near Falaise, Normandy, on 14 August 1944.” He was the son of G. Leslie and J. Gladys Jennings, of Ottawa, Ontario. His grandfather was #13 Aylesworth Bowen Perry, who served as the sixth Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from August 1, 1900-March 31, 1923. He was buried in the Bretteville-sue-Laize Canadian War Cemetery in Calvados, France. He is commemorated on Page 345 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. Source: