The Canadian Military Police Corps

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The Canadian Military Police Corps

Rylan Kistner

English A30

At the outset of the First World War, the Canadian Army consisted of a tiny "Permanent Force" or Regular Army and a large Non-Permanent Militia. There was no organized Corps or Regiment of Military Police in the Army, a few units had a Regimental Police or Provost section consisting of a dozen or so men under the command of a Provost Sergeant. Camps and Garrisons had locally appointed personnel functioning as Military Police, however discipline was primarily a Regimental concern, through the normal chain of command.

Soldiers temporarily assigned to Military Police duties were expected to be locally recruited, often from gentlemen of large physical stature, who might or might not have civil police experiance. Camp Police are mentioned briefly in various Militia publications prior to 1914. Major General William Otter's The Guide: A Manual for the Canadian Militia describes very briefly, the duties and identification of military police. Generally, the duties of Camp Police were to maintain order, regulate civilian tradesmen, provide escorts for defaulters and enforce sanitary regulations.

In September, 1914, a small detachment of Military Police accompanied the First Contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force to England. Captain E.S. Clifford D.S.O. was appointed as Assistant Provost Marshal for the First Contingent. A section of Military Police consisting of a Warrant Officer and 9 Privates was with Divisional Headquarters. 1st Infantry Brigade Headquarters had a section of 4 Military Mounted Police. Upon arrival in England, the detachment underwent training with the British Military Police. Canadian Military Police appear to have adopted British methods, organisation and equipments. Unfortunately, detailed records of this period were lost due to a fire in 1917. This relates to the book because John Wilson was a member of the cmpc.
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