RCMP Veterans' Association (PEI)

Un-Paid Second Man

 "P.E.I. RCMP, L Division, recognize when the "Second Man" was a woman with presentation

July 15, 2013 - Charlottetown, PE - Ten women were honoured at an RCMP ceremony on Thursday, July 11 at HMCS Queen Charlotte in Charlottetown.  The women, all spouses of RCMP members, were singled out as the "second man" in some capacity of their lives when they accompanied their husbands who were posted across the country in the early years of the RCMP.

In October 2010, the previous RCMP Commissioner, William Elliott, approved the creation of a recognition for the wives of RCMP members who served from the 1900's to the 1970's, and whose contributions are chronicled in a book entitled, "When the Second Man was a Woman" by Ruth Lee-Knight.  The RCMP Veterans' Association National Office in Ottawa was responsible for communicating with veterans across the country to solicit nominations with a deadline of February 28, 2013.

Across Canada, 468 recipients were identified and each recipient has, or will, receive a broach in the shape of the RCMP crest and a certificate of appreciation from the Commissioner.  On Prince Edward Island, the women were singled out for their contribution to the RCMP.  The women were ultimately unpaid members who answered phones, searched female prisoners, and provided prisoner meals.  They often used their homes as a hotel for visiting Senior Officers, court Judges, doctors and nurses to whom they also provided meals and entertainment.  All of this done in often very remote locations with inadequate housing and growing families of their own to which they had to tend.  They provided these services out of loyalty to their husbands who were stationed by the RCMP to various areas of the country, each location bringing their own unique challenges.

The presentations will be taking place across Canada and Prince Edward Island is just the second province to take part.  Each woman brings amazing stories of the priceless work they provided.  The presentation provides an opportunity to recognize their dedication and commitment to their spouses and the work of the RCMP.

Photo attached, shown left to right: (standing) Cpl. Dan D'Amour, MC for the event; C/Supt. Mike O'Neil, Retired RCMP and co-presenter; Jean Hender; Darlene Burke; Marion Riehl; Pat Holmes, post humously accepted by her son, Gary; Valerie Robinson; Suzanne Ralph; C/Supt. Craig Gibson, and S/S/M Larry Kavanagh, L Division RCMP (seated) Edwina Watts; Anne Hyde; Donalda Courtney; and Donna Lee Taylor.  [Photo Courtesy of Sherry MacDougall, RCMP "L" Division, Sr. Communication Advisor.]