Our esteemed Drum Major shared an RCMP history moment with band members, that we hope will be of interest to others as well. He was given a copy of the actual investigation report submitted on “The Lost Patrol” of the RNWMP in 1911 (as it became known). He remembers being told this story by his father, an RCMP member, and has shared the story.
“My father had patrolled by dogsled in the far north with the RCMP, and attested to the challenges of being in the true wilderness with only yourself, your dogs, your toboggan, supplies, and a trusty indigenous special constable to keep you alive. I was so intrigued with this story, which is one of legend in RCMP history. A tragedy yes, but valuable lessons learned as a result, which you will see. The story itself as seen through a diary kept, a report, an investigation, a map, and an unbelievable Arctic winter cold for the history books. It makes for quite the adventure to read about as we begin our own winter.
After I created the map of the patrol route, based on the diary and investigative report, it made the story much more interesting, to view the map, and to understand the challenges and difficulties faced in this Yukon wilderness.
For those interested, page 22 of the RNWMP investigation report, is the transcription of the diary written by Insp. Fitzgerald, which can only leave you incredulous as to how they were able to continue on without food (eating their sled dogs), frozen with frostbite from falling through ice multiple times, and with the extreme cold of -60 temps and wind chill, in the winter darkness of the north, only to succumb within a good day’s travel of their Fort. Cpl. Dempster’s search patrol party report is equally interesting, and one of legend.”