Drilling down further into the Association's history has been greatly facilitated by the hard work of Calgary Division member, Regimental #13407 ex-S/Sgt. R.C.A. Leech. S/Sgt. Leech compiled an extensive history detailing the beginnings of the Association which was subsequently converted to electronic format by Regimental #21449 (O.1391) Insp. Clarence J. Lacey. Calgary Division's intention is to maintain S/Sgt. Leech's work as a living document. It is a fascinating read and may be viewed at the site http://calgary.rcmpvet.ca/History/history.htm.
What follows are some excerpts from the history to provide a flavour of the Association.
“The earliest recorded information of the N.W.M.P. Veterans' Association appears in editions of the Calgary Herald, dated April 3rd and 17th, June 19th and November 6th, 1886.
April 3rd, 1886
“The meeting called for Friday, the 9th instant to form an Association of the ex-Mounted Police of the district, will, we expect be largely attended. Such an Association could have nothing but good results. Bound together by the ties that years of service together must form amongst any body of men, the old Mounted Police of the Territories are in a peculiarly excellent position for forming a union amongst themselves. Such unions are frequent amongst the ex-members of Militia in Canada but the Mounted Police are much more in the position of a regiment on active foreign service than of the volunteer battalions. They are on duty together for a number of years continuously, have the same hardships, pleasure, pursuits and aims in common, and in after life may be supposed to take the greatest interest in each other's future.
It is for the sake of allowing this interest to take a practical shape that no doubt this Association is proposed. In cases of sickness, and death it is not unnatural that the police should like to aid each other. A benevolent and mutually helpful union would be nothing but right and we hope the preliminary meeting will be largely attended.'
April 17, 1886
“A meeting of the ex-Mounted Police of the Calgary District was held in the town hall yesterday. Twenty-four ex-members of the Force turned up and it was decided to form an organization for benevolent purposes of residents of the district who had served in the Force.
Major Walker was elected President, Mr. G.C. King, Vice-President, Mr. Gilmour, Secretary, Mr. Ellis, Treasurer, and Dr. Lauder, Physician. A committee was appointed composed of the following gentlemen: Messrs. Owens, Boys, Butlin, Grogan, Ward, Dunne and Wilson, and the meeting adjourned for three weeks. Gentlemen at Macleod and Edmonton have been corresponding with a view of getting them to form similar associations in those districts.”
June 19, 1886
“A special meeting of the N.W.M.P. Society was summonsed on Tuesday afternoon to consider various subjects of importance, among others we understand, to get a general opinion of the Calgary (members) which, to speak, the mother society, to what the general aim and object of the Association shall eventually be, whether it shall simply exist as a purely benevolent society or partake of the semi-military character, and in the latter case, whether the Government might not reasonably be asked for a subsidy in the shape of arms and money for the erection of an armoury and to recognize the society generally. We think ourselves that this latter shape is the one which any organization of former officers and troopers of the N.W.M.P. should naturally take while still existing for benevolent and social purposes. Of course all ex-mounted policemen could not be expected to serve again as volunteers in scarcely any event but such as would summons every citizen in town to the field. Some may be physically incapable while others would be prevented by the nature of their occupations and business. But there will always be left a large number of ex-M.P., who would be only too willing to put on their belts again in case of any emergency in their own district. And it would greatly strengthen the hands of the Government to know they could depend on this district of Alberta of, say, a couple of hundred men, well acquainted with the country, accustomed to riding and the use of arms and last but not least, to discipline and able either to give an order or obey it. Had such a body been organized and armed the famous Sunday a little over a year ago, we venture to think there would have been very little alarm at the threatened Blackfoot raid.
Another part of the work which such a society could well perform which is especially stated in its Constitution, is the collection and preservation of documents and traditions concerning the past history of the Force. There must be many a "curious yarn" about the great march of '74 and old times at abandoned posts, stories of Pelly and Walsh and Wood Mountain worth preserving. The sooner that the experience of the "old timers" of the Force and their description of the country as it used to be are collected the better, since every year lost increases the difficulty of so doing. There are many ex-members of the Force, both here and all over the country to whom such a task would be both interesting and congenial.
At any rate we hope soon to see the society placed on a practical working basis for extension all over the Territories as whatever shape it may ultimately assume it cannot help but be a benefit both to the ex-M.P.'s themselves and the community at large.”