It is well known that ‘the Mounties always get their man’, but the diligence and perseverance of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police doesn’t stop there.
On 20 March 1900 James Henry Blackett, of Souris, Prince Edward Island, enlisted in the North West Mounted Police. He served only one year and one day, before being discharged on medical grounds on 20 March 1901. He died in 1933 and was buried in an unmarked grave at Souris.
About 80 years later the RCMP Veterans’ Association, after considerable research, managed to locate the grave and decided to erect a headstone marker as part of their Gravesite Inspection and Maintenance program. The re-dedication ceremony and unveiling of the grave marker took place at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Souris on Saturday 28 May 2016, attended by a substantial contingent of RCMP members and veterans and members of the public, including Francis Clayton ‘Frank’ Blackett, a 1st cousin 1xremoved of James Henry Blackett, and Donna Flynn, a 1st cousin 2xremoved.
This is, to the best of our knowledge, the only instance of a grave marker being erected so many years after the death of a Blackett, and is testament to the astonishing lengths the Mounties will go to to ensure that a past member of the RCMP does not lie unrecognized.
The images below, courtesy of RCMP Veterans’ Association (PEI), show (L-R) (i) the contingent arriving for the ceremony, (ii) Frank Blackett with RCMP veterans Richard MacAulay, Ernie MacAulay and Jack Jans (iii) the grave marker.
For details of the background of the Blacketts of Prince Edward Island please click here.