February 15, 2011 - Today during Session, the Minister of Justice, Jackson Lafferty, spoke about the recent commemoration of a police patrol that has become known as “The Lost Patrol”.
Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to speak to the recent commemoration of a police patrol that has become known as “The Lost Patrol”.
On the 21st of December 2010, in memory of the 100th anniversary of this historic event, the community of Fort McPherson joined members of the RCMP and numerous leaders and officials to honour the members of the Lost Patrol. The day-long event included a memorial service, a wreath laying ceremony, and a community feast.
As history informs us, from 1904 to 1921, it was an annual Royal Northwest Mounted Police tradition to make a trip from Dawson City, Yukon to Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories, which is approximately 620 miles, to deliver mail and dispatches.
In December 1910, the Commissioner of the Force, asked “instead” that the trip be made from Fort McPherson to Dawson City. The patrol was led by Inspector Fitzgerald, who was accompanied by Constables Taylor and Kinney, and Guide, Special Constable Sam Carter. The four set out from Fort McPherson on December 21, 1910 with provisions for one month. Unfortunately, the patrol faced conditions that would prove fatal. With the patrol long overdue, Corporal William John Dempster left Dawson City on February 28, 1911 in search of the patrol. On March 21, all four members were found. They had succumbed to the harsh conditions. Two of the members were found just 40 kilometres from Fort McPherson.
Although I was not able to participate in the events, I do share in remembering and honouring the dedication and sacrifice of the members of the Lost Patrol. It may have happened over 100 years ago, but the legacy of these officers has served as the foundation of the partnerships we share today in the delivery of policing services, a legacy of respect for the need to work together to meet the challenges of policing in a northern environment.
We need to take the time to reflect back on our history and the lessons we have learned from the loss of the members of the Lost Patrol, and others who have lost their lives in the line of duty. These lessons all speak to ensuring we support one another and the community at large as we work together in building a police service that reflects the needs of the North. As an Assembly, we have set ourselves a goal of creating sustainable, vibrant safe communities. Each of us has a role, an important role, in pursuing that goal and making our homes and communities safer places.
This March, the RCMP and the Community of Fort McPherson will be further commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Lost Patrol, by making a snowmobile trip to the area the officers perished.
The Community of Fort McPherson and all members of the RCMP should stand proud as they continue to build on the legacy of the members of the Lost Patrol.
For more information, contact:
Office of the Premier/Cabinet
Government of the Northwest Territories
Phone: (867) 669-2302