1876-pattern North West Mounted Police Officers’ Full Dress Tunic

Object: 1876-pattern North West Mounted Police Officers’ Full Dress Tunic – 1939.38.20

Materials: Fine cloth, silk, brass

Manufacturer: Maynard, Harris & Grice of London

Date of Creation: 1877

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Historical Collection "Depot" Division, Regina, Canada

EMu user since 2003

september_small.gifThe Officers’ Full Dress Tunic was officially adopted for use by the North West Mounted Police in 1876. Based on the pattern used by the British 13th Hussars, it was made of a fine scarlet cloth with gold chain gimp and gold Russian braid with Austrian knot patterns on the front and back of the tunic. Note the sleeve braid which indicates the rank of the wearer, Inspector in this case. The rank designation is also present on the collar of the tunic. The interior of the tunic is lined with a fine scarlet silk.

This Officers’ Full Dress Tunic was owned by James Morrow Walsh, the seventh officer chosen for the newly established organisation on September 25, 1873. An iconic figure of the Force, Walsh took part in its defining moment, the great March West, however it was his involvement with a fugitive Sioux leader, Sitting Bull, that would help cement his place in the history of the Force. Tasked with meeting the Sioux as they migrated north to Canada after the Battle of Little Big Horn, Walsh, now Superintendent, met the new arrivals and indicated to them that they were to abide by Canadian laws. Walsh and Sitting Bull forged a relationship of mutual trust that lasted the entirety of their life, even outlasting the Sioux’s eventual exodus back into the United States in the early 1880s at the hands of the Force and the Canadian government.

Photograph by Tim Hersche